If Your Talent Acquisition Department Doesn’t Have One of These, Maybe It Should

“… my awesome company/team is looking for a ninja recruiting coordinator … if you all know anyone please send them my way…”

That was posted in an online sourcing group I’m in.

Recruiting coordinator — maybe for those departments which lack it, that’s what we’re missing today in the sourcing field.

Maybe we need sourcing coordinators instead of this ridiculous “sourcer/recruiter” (take your pick) or “recruiter/sourcer” label oxymoron we’re currently struggling with.

A “sourcing coordinator” could partner with and become the bridge between the sourcing and the recruiting teams to build a streamlined recruiting and hiring process.

She or he could:

  • achieve staffing objectives by evaluating potential sourced candidates
  • determine candidate qualifications by contacting and interviewing candidates
  • analyze responses
  • compare qualifications to job requirements
  • advise recruiters
  • manage recruiter-candidate handoffs, and in-system follow-up (if necessary.)

That in-system follow-up can become an important piece in some organizations because, as the first point of contact in an organization, sometimes that sourcing coordinator assumes an important (larger-than-life) image to some candidates and is the person candidates reach for first when things grow hair in the process. For this reason alone this person must be a skilled communicator.

Skilled communications is one thing lacking in many sourcing programs today and is perhaps where some systems are faltering.

Instead of recruiters who know how to source (how many really want to/have the time to do that?), why not have recruiters who know how to recruit.

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The important parts of the recruiting process include, among others:

  • the finding of the candidate part (sourcer)
  • the engagement/gathering part (sourcing coordinator) and relationship building/holding together of the candidate (sourcing coordinator/recruiter)
  • the closing part of the candidate (recruiter)
  • the onboarding part of the candidate (recruiter/recruiting coordinator)

And so on; the entire thing takes a village, and it’s far beyond time we stop bickering over who does what and whose piece is bigger and more important and all of us put our shoulder to the wheel and heave ho and get the thing done.

To do that, I suggest we put a system in place that looks like this:

Sourcer –> Sourcing Coordinator–> Recruiter–> Recruiting Coordinator

What do you think?

Maureen Sharib has been a “Socratic sourcer” her entire sourcing career; from the moment she first picked up the faxed list of Silicon Valley high-tech companies that was her target list to “phone source” in 1996 to today she has instinctively followed this method of investigative sourcing using (mostly) the telephone.  She is a proponent of sourcing as a synonym for success and envisions the craft moving away from a dangerously drudgery-paced life-form existence to an exciting investigative/competitive place within organizations where practitioners co-exist within a framework of market research, human resources, and C-level future planning. She owns the phone sourcing and competitive intelligence firm TechTrak.com, Inc. You can contact her at Maureen at techtrak.com or call her at (513) 646-7306.  If she’s not on the phone she’ll pick up!

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17 Comments on “If Your Talent Acquisition Department Doesn’t Have One of These, Maybe It Should

  1. Maureen,

    Right on!

    Two immutable facts of life back up your recommendation.

    1. Division of Labor: “The division of labour, however, so far as it can be introduced, occasions, in every art, a proportionable increase of the productive powers of labour.” − Adam Smith. “The Wealth of Nations” 1776

    2. Theory of Constraints: At any point in time, only one thing constrains the performance of any system. To improve performance, identify the constraint and make appropriate rule-based operational changes to secure rapid and dramatic system performance improvement. − Eliyahu M. Goldratt. “The Goal” ©1984

    I advise companies on implementing high-performance selection systems. The system goal is always the same – i.e. be able to hire as many top performers as required, in a highly responsive (rapid), smooth and economical manner. The implementation details depend upon the utility of each position being filled and the throughput (hires per unit time). In a well designed system, recruiters only engage finalists and hiring managers only see those finalists who are presently predisposed to offer acceptance. Most of the work necessary to achieve those results gets done by specialist coordinators (e.g. sourcing, screening, documenting, prioritizing, etc.), in concert with combinations of online assessments that demonstrate high predictive validity for job performance and job learning. The system also actively involves those in the talent pipeline to do their part (e.g. provide ready references, make attests, furnish certifications/licenses, etc.).

    Specialist coordinators typically operate from home offices and engage progressions of prospects, applicants, candidates (24/7, as opportune) by phone and email, using prescribed checklists and workflow, typically with 3-5 times the productivity of generalists, and at lower cost.

    High performance selection systems also benefit from downplaying the relevance of resumes, applications, experience, educational attainment and all the other legacy “time and attention wasters” that have little or no predictive validity.

    It’s also important to note that no selection system can make up for a dearth of top performers at the open end of the funnel.

    Additionally, there are usually opportunities to better manage the differences between “pay for”, and “utility of”, top performers, as well as the selectivity setting of the system, in order to maximize bottom line talent contributions; these opportunities usually get ignored.

  2. As someone who calls himself a Staffing Ninja that is formerly and Agency Executive turned In-House Talent Acquisition, I love this piece.

      1. This breakdown of yours (Sourcer –> Sourcing Coordinator–> Recruiter–> Recruiting Coordinator) almost hints that Corporate should start to have an agency mentality. Two quick things…. One, I feel the full cycle recruiter is sadly becoming a dying a breed. Two, a few years ago, I had gone on in interview with a Manhattan hospital that was using only nurses for nurse recruiting. I remember saying these exact words…..”If you put me in this department, you’d be adding a shark to your waters” – that was not a role for me.
        Luckily I’m now in a position where I am building an In-House Talent Department (Corporate) and what I look for are applicants (sourcers/recruiters) that can handle any of the first two/three roles you’ve laid out. Once you get to the Recruiter, I step in, partner up with the in-house leader who would be supervising the role and guide them on how to close. From there I pull in my counterpart, HR.
        Our on-boarding starts with the candidate experience and runs all the way through first 90 days of employment.

        1. How easy/hard is it to find applicants (sourcers/recruiters) that can handle any of the first two/three roles you’ve laid out? Do you find a disconnect anywhere along that line and if you do – where and what do you think is causing it?

          1. Easy…. it is anything but! Luckily my organization supports the concept that you hire the person, not the person on paper. We are very into mentoring. The disconnect —- I believe it comes from the switch on the agency side. Not too long ago, recruiters (full-cycle) did it all. New Biz Dev, Client Relationship Mgmt, Sourcing Talent, Screening Talent, Sendouts, Prep Talent, Coaching Clients, Skill Marketing of Candidates, Closing, etc…… Now those roles are all broken down.

  3. I’m sure this model could work, whether it’s better or worse than any other model I’m not sure. It would likely depend. My guess is you could see this in corporate or in some larger, RPO type firms. Likely you wouldn’t see this in agencies. They’re too sales oriented and lack the ability to see the opportunity costs of having one person do everything vs take more specialized roles on.

  4. Great topic, Maureen. Suggest one more role at the front end – Recruitment Marketer. Our customers are adding this role focused on engaging and nurturing leads BEFORE they are ready to apply. Your thoughts?

    1. Recruitment Marketer – when you say “customers”, Lori, to whom are you referring? Maybe because it’s 3:20 am I’m not following…but I see sourcing coordinators taking the leads from the sourcers and then doing the engagement/nurture/come hither piece and THEN walking the candidate down the hall to the recruiter’s door. We may be talking about the same process – or maybe not. This person would be doing the outreach to the person(s) sitting out there in the ether (usually) not looking for another job – the person with their butt firmly soldered to a chair somewhere inside another company/ and for this reason needs to be a skilled communicator – someone who can reach beyond that awkward first few moments of connection where the surprised potential candidate says, “Who, me?” and sits up in his chair and embarrassedly and gawkily looks around himself to see if anyone is looking at or listening to what he is saying because of course at that moment he is filled with a million thoughts of the possibilities of what is happening and the smart ones, of which there are plenty, don’t want to give themselves away either to their surroundings or to the caller on the phone. The caller on the phone has to be such a skilled communicator that she understands all these nuances and able to pick up on them happening through a kind of paranormal osmosis and immediately allay and assuage the potential candidate and able to, in a soothsaying kind of way, draw him into a comfort web where he will talk to her or agree to talk to her at some later time. Of course the best possibility lies in him talking to her right then and there because the best sourcing coordinator knows being put off to a “later time” holds about a 60% chance of reconnection…

      …and who wants to do – or can do – all that? This is a specialized skill set and that sourcing coordinator – or, I think what you’re wanting to call her – Recruitment Marketer if I’m reading you right – don’t exist in great numbers. They certainly don’t exist where most Staffing/Recruiting Directors/VPs dream about them existing and that’s in that – I say again – that ridiculous title “Sourcer/Recruiter” or “Recruiter/Sourcer” role – oh for heaven’s sakes why don’t they just come right out and say it what they’re really looking for are old fashioned headhunters at corporate rates!

      1. I think she was referring to a super-passive approach, maybe similar to the Zappos thing. Engaging people by concentrating on certain talent pools likely to be needed in the future before they’ve even thought of applying for a position, and well before anyone of any title decides to source or recruit them. It’s certainly an interesting approach, but one that requires an investment of time and effort many companies would refuse to engage in, and also you need a solid reputation as an employer first, or it’s as likely to backfire as work well.

      2. Interesting article; and comments even more so. I’ve long been an advocate of innovative approaches to various Business Modelling problems, largely Marketing Principles and agree more so with Lori… Recruitment Marketing (in it’s truest sense) is the way forward.

        Anyone who’s studied Marketing and has a good grip on it’s Core Principles will appreciate that one of its Key aspects is indeed communication, who you target, what they’ll want to here, what’s going on in their world and how you can tap into that world in order to achieve your pre-defined goals.

        That is, any person we need to win over in life, or any goal we want to achieve in life, Marketing Principles can USUALLY be applied.

        I’ve been training a major UK Insurance firm on this very topic. ‘Marketing’ until fairly recently has been the assumed role of the Marketing Department, however, it increasingly touches other people in our organisations, I feel partly due to increased financial pressure’s , but largely due to how we all evolve. Technology and education are increasingly closing the gap of various roles.

        Regardless, any individual who thinks holistically is of more value to the team. Thinking holistically is where marketing comes in; being aware of other parties needs, problems and ideas – cross collaboration? yes a little but more so, thinking out what we say, to whom, when and how. Recruitment Marketing I feel is here to stay – you’re idea of adding someone at the front end is indeed handling that one aspect of marketing – but as others say, I’m not convinced of many organisations resources to do so. The firm I’m working with currently would quite rightly frown at me for suggesting this without being able to guarantee the cost savings or returns.

        I hope this helps. I’m honestly not trying to be a know all here, it’s just how I see things in my experience and in terms of the future trend. Love to hear everyone’s thoughts.

        Steve Walters.
        Efficienate Ltd.

  5. Maureen it may well work in corporate. If I were to start all over again and have to go through the new proposed system, I would get so bored and go nuts in other one of those roles. I enjoy different parts of the full cycle. For instance, if I do not get to close the deal, then I feel I did not get the job done. Would we not be be taking meaningful work away from recruiters?

    Are we not creating a conveyor belt system of hiring which may be effective depending on the structure of the organization/dept but taking away job meaning?

    Interesting post.

    1. As it is now Gareth and what I’m hearing from many sourcers, recruiters are pushing the first contact piece (the meaningful work piece that you mention.AKA the time consuming work piece) back onto the sourcer and sourcing in and of itself is so time consuming that adding close candidate contact to it is really taxing the sourcer system and many sourcers aren’t saying so (except for the offshore sourcers who are happy to remain silent (or positive) on the subject so they get the business) to keep their jobs intact but it’s causing angst in the corridors around the water coolers.

      I don’t know what your situation is. What is it?

  6. Did recruiting departments suddenly get big budgets? I’ve rarely met a staffing leader that doesn’t feel understaffed.

    However, adding headcount is rarely the solution to things like this and is more often the band aid. Band aids don’t stop bleeding. They just get soggy, fall off and left on the ground so the next person walking by can say, “Oh, that’s nasty!”

    If staffing teams focused on workflow process and strategic use of affordable tools, they would be surprised at what type of “strategic” program they could build at their company.

    Band-aid management is just another example of a “transactional” recruiting department.

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