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Sourcing, Analytics, Branding: Three Roads Diverge in a Career

3 Roads to one Career

At your desk in the morning you read Google alerts, at lunch you browse LinkedIn, and by dinner you realize you must call your ZoomInfo rep again to add contacts. At this point in your career, you’ve developed a six-cups-of-coffee-a-day habit that has ruled out your fallback job as a surgeon. Congratulations, you're a Sourcer. What does that mean and what does a career in sourcing look like? Well there are three different roads in this career: all of them less traveled.


The first road is right down the middle. You are part researcher, part sales, and part psychologist, sans the expensive couch. You work tactically on roles that are open today. Your task is to augment the active candidate pipeline with a stream of “passive” candidates where you initiate first contact. You are the proverbial purple squirrel hunter. Armed with LinkedIn and Entello you bravely ask the currently employed to consider a lateral move for less pay.

Sourcing is tactical and similar to the function of a perm placement agency. The Swiss Army knife of recruiting, Sourcers fill transactional positions, acting as screeners when the applicant volume is high, finding prospects with a very specific skill set.

Research and Analytics Sourcer

First we identify the proper talent pools, then research to turn this pool into a talent pipeline. We identify contacts—who, when and how to reach them. Employing research and analytics tools, we compile prospects from multiple sources (employing aggregators to automate the process) creating a single, searchable user interface which gives us an overall view of the labor market supply side. This information provides an idea of the size of the pool, confidence in its accuracy and can give us prospect contact channels. The researcher then locates email addresses, phone numbers, twitter handles and other methods of outreach for these prospects using tools like ZoomInfo and

To single out receptive prospects for this message, the Sourcer enters predictive analytics tools. Originally intended for use in workforce planning, these were designed to give HR departments early warning about who might be exploring or at risk, informing companies about turnover, helping to prevent resignations and retain key employees.

The tool, which lets a company more accurately plan ahead, assists HR with retention and more efficiently targets the Sourcer’s outreach, thus bridging the chasm between workforce planning and talent acquisition.

In large organizations, researchers lay the groundwork for identification, qualification, and engagement of talent pool prospects, giving the Sourcer more targeted and receptive daily outreach. The information has been cross-checked by multiple sources, there are a variety of contact avenues and the predictive analytics tool has indicated receptive prospects.

Employer Branding and Talent Attraction

But why employ predictive analytics when you can attract the best talent before they enter the market? In 2015, talent attraction and employer branding are creating social media campaigns with stories that inspire, inform and entertain prospective candidates. Instead of using commercial branding to influence consumers, employer branding positions companies as the employer of choice.

This first, large scale effort, makes work about more than compensation. Social media messages increase reach and authenticity, developing a community where prospects interact with a company in a meaningful way before formally entering the application process.

I experienced this first-hand working for a grants management software development company—not perceived as the most exciting place to work. A story shared in the halls was the essence of the culture the company sought to create. One of our products was used by law enforcement agencies to apply for grants to acquire bullet proof vests. We received a letter from a law enforcement agent shot in the line of duty, thanking us for helping him get the vest that saved his life. Employer branding demonstrates that your company is more than a paycheck and destination—it is a meaningful place to grow a career. A successful social media campaign communicates a company’s core values to a target market attracting talented people who share those values. Employer branding and talent attraction are valuable new sourcing paths that will continue to grow as dependable fields in their own right.

Three roads diverge in a career. All three are roads less traveled. You have decided to take one…and that will make all the difference.


10 Qualities to Look for in a Hiring Partner

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Offering Total Talent Solutions

According to the NCMM’s Q4 2014 Indicator Survey, more than half of middle market companies are struggling to fill a skills gap. Plus, when rating their top five business challenges, the “ability to attract, train and retain talent” ranks fifth with 77% of middle market firms reporting this as a top challenge.

Given the competiveness and urgency for high-growth, middle-market firms to find, attract and retain high quality talent, middle-market leaders must understand all options when choosing a hiring partner.

Relying on recruitment agencies is an option, but it can become costly when you have many open positions. In addition, few employment agencies offer talent management and consulting services to aid with training and retention. That’s where a comprehensive recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) solution comes in.

RPO is where an employer transfers all or part of its recruitment activities to an external service provider; however, not all RPO providers are created equal. All RPOs provide transactional recruitment services; however a subset provides comprehensive solutions to solve challenges along each segment of the talent value chain. If your organization grapples with training and retention as well, the more inclusive provider will solve more of these challenges while you gain the economies of scale of using one provider. In addition, an RPO firm providing broader services will be able to evolve from transactional recruitment provider to strategic, total talent solutions consultant as your organizational needs transform over time.

When shopping for an RPO provider that can provide a total talent solution, here are the 10 qualities to look for in a hiring partner: 

  1. Recruitment &Employer Branding Expertise: Experienced recruitment process outsourcing companies offer extensive research skills, are familiar with cutting edge recruitment and sourcing strategies, and can furnish tools and techniques for building a desirable employer brand.  They can also build specialty talent pools and communities. The best among them understand generational differences in communication methods within candidate pools.
  2. Speed: Skilled RPO providers streamline your recruitment process by eliminating unnecessary research and creating a simpler, more efficient solution—all while balancing improvements in time-to-fill and maintaining a high quality of hire.
  3. Flexibility & Scalability: One of the greatest recruitment challenges is effectively responding to rapid fluctuations in hiring demand. An RPO provider should offer several solution options for scalability and flexibility to minimize your cost and risk as your hiring demand levels vary.
  4. Cost Savings: Outsourcing cuts down both measureable and soft costs. The longer a role is left unfilled, the more money it costs a business. Placing the wrong hire in a position creates unnecessary turnover costs. An RPO decreases a company's cost-per-hire and time-to-fill while enabling HR and hiring managers to focus on high priority responsibilities. 
  5. Technology and Data Expertise: A skilled RPO provider will assist in selecting the best tools and technologies according to your business requirement. They can also analyze and interpret industry and market intelligence, leverage big data for better business decisions and implement automated candidate campaigns for enhanced communication.  
  6. Compliance: From an EEOC, OFCCP and process perspective, your RPO provider must build your hiring system around your goals and objectives. This includes pre-defined Service Level Agreements (SLAs) complete with a governance model to safeguard expected program results and requisition activity levels. 
  7. High-Touch, Consultative Approach: A premium RPO partner provides white-glove service to both hiring managers and candidates with an exceptional attention to detail. For hiring managers, this means offering strategic planning and ongoing reporting and measurement against SLAs. For candidates, it translates into an exceptional hiring process experience to signal how the candidate will be treated as an employee. 
  8. Customized Solution: Many large recruitment companies operate on a one-size-fits all model. Once you hire them, they simply plug your company into their RPO model. This solution isn’t always best for high-growth, middle market companies. Be sure your RPO provider can customize the solution to the unique needs of your organization.
  9. Talent Management and Coaching Services: Premium RPO providers offer value-added talent management and coaching services to aid in the recruitment, selection and development of top talent. Value-add services typically include competency profiling and psychometric testing, interview skills training, career and leadership coaching and services to aid with succession planning. 
  10. Ability to Reach Beyond Current Borders: Whether your operate globally today or have future expansion plans, it may be beneficial to seek an RPO provider who can grow with you globally. However, not all providers who claim to be global truly are. Be sure your provider has an on-the-ground, multi-national recruitment presence with local teams that grasp the values, customs and cultures of a particular geographic location. 

Hudson RPO named to HRO Today's Baker's Dozen List for Top RPO Providers for six consecutive years. Contact Hudson RPO to begin exploring how our products and services can help your business meet its recruiting needs, goals and objectives.


How RPO Impacts Talent Practices in China


Lessons from an Australian RPO Executive Operating in China

While working in China, I have been asked many times what I see as being the main differences between recruiting in Australia where I am from, versus in China. Basically, there are many, and I’m still finding differences each day! While the main process steps remain the same, the key variations are not surprisingly the culture, but also where China is at as a country, an economy and its evolution of producing and managing talent. First and foremost, China is still developing; so recruitment and HR practices are still evolving too. RPO solutions therefore can partner with businesses and HR teams to help shape and progress these talent practices, to ensure businesses engage and retain the talent they need to keep up with China’s growth. Below are some of my key learnings and observations in how RPO is positioned to do this.

I think we are all guilty, myself included, of picking up processes that are tried and tested in another developed country and then attempting to implement them in China. It doesn’t work. One of the key lessons I learnt early on is to localise, localise, localise. Recruitment teams within China are very eager to learn the best practices of RPO Management including sourcing and selecting talent; however they also know what will and won’t work in China. Everything has to be localised.

Selection process objectivity. Internal referrals are high in China; there is a strong culture of recruiters seeking referrals and employees referring people. You don’t actually have to even know them, just meet a person somewhere, exchange name cards and boom – referral made. The average referral rate is between 40-60% in China. While having a high number of referrals can be a great thing and is a really important sourcing channel, our challenge as RPO specialists is making sure they go through a consistent process and to influence managers to show objectivity when choosing their preferred candidate.

Brand is currency! As we know, China loves their brands. So employment branding and image is everything here. However the concept of an EVP is still relatively new. Many big MNCs have their headquarters in Shanghai now, and there is also more competition from local companies for talent. The perception of a company’s brand, their positioning in the global market and reputation as an employer of choice is therefore critical. While China is a massive country, word of mouth still spreads fast! RPO has a great opportunity here to work with clients to develop strong, localised value propositions for their current and potential employees. People in China love to work for a company they makes them proud.

‘A whole new world’. The speed of growth in China means high vacancy and turnover rates. Even though China has a massive population, quality is still hard to come by and speed can’t come at the sacrifice of quality. While hiring turnaround times need to be fast to keep up with the market here, as RPO specialists we also need to push back and manage expectations in regards to timeframes, ensuring we get the right person. Due to the respect of hierarchy in China this can at times be culturally sensitive, so the role of an RPO Leader is to build the team’s confidence to do this and show it’s a way for them to demonstrate their worth and value, by ensuring we hire quality people. Stakeholder management and assertiveness are therefore vital skills for RPO specialists in China.

HR now has a seat at the table. Until the last few years, Human Resources within China focused heavily on recruitment and associated administrative functions. A greater need existed then to ‘buy’ talent. Fast forward to now, and the focus has shifted to developing and managing internal talent. The demands on talent are increasing and China businesses are expecting their new employees to work in complex, global organisations. Therefore HR Directors need to be both strategic and commercial, and HR Managers are now moving into true Business Partner roles. This means that Recruitment too is now seen as a specialist area requiring specialist skills.

Build or Buy talent? Due to increasing people demands, as well as increasing wages costs in China, there is a shift to promote more internally and ‘build’ rather than ‘buy’ talent. HR now must strategically help their businesses to plan for future talent needs. Some capability however doesn’t yet exist in China, so the requirement for RPO solutions to develop specialist sourcing strategies to ‘buy’ key talent is still required.  

Local autonomy required for talent management. For MNCs operating in China, local HR and Talent teams must retain some local autonomy for talent management. The workforce in China is much younger than most Western countries and also the years of experience are lower. With many frameworks and development programs designed and rolled out from global headquarters, local flexibility is needed. For example, employees within China may not yet have developed the same level of competency in some areas that their global colleagues possess; therefore talent programs need to be localised. RPO Specialists can assist HR teams here by providing local market data.

Global mobility programs remain a challenge. Identifying and developing China talent for global roles can be challenge. Family is fundamental in China; therefore family ties can make it difficult for Chinese workers to be mobile. RPO teams can work with the business to identify stretch assignments and secondments, which can be effective ways of giving China talent the global exposure they need, while allowing them to still honour their long-term family commitments.

Competition for talent.  A large portion of China’s economic growth has come from the successful rise of locally owned companies, which now are beginning to attract top talent. Working for a MNC has always been viewed as prestigious, however now senior employees at local companies can get direct exposure to CEOs and Executive teams. To do the same in an MNC, they would need to move internationally. More than ever, RPO Specialists need to work with businesses to ensure their EVP and employment brand is current and competitive in the market.

Support from the C-suite. In China, people respect authority and will follow the ‘Boss’. This means when the CEO and senior management team get behind recruitment and talent strategies, it works. Buy-in from the C-level is therefore critical to ensure a successful RPO solution and recruitment outcome for the client.

Read our case study on RPO Management for entering the Chinese market.

Need assistance with your talent solutions in China? Contact our team.





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Hudson is a global talent solutions company. We help transform the workplace and unleash the full potential of organizations and individuals. Our expert team and proprietary tools provide you with unique insights and services that help you maximize your success. Across 20 countries, we deliver a range of recruitment, talent management and recruitment process outsourcing solutions to get you and your business where you want to be.