In a ‘League’ of Our Own’ … Introducing ‘Sourcification’

Fans celebrating at at football matchHow do you disrupt traditional sourcing?

How do you drive higher performance while making work more fun?

Can you bring the philosophical principles of gamification to sourcing?

Can something be put into play that will help revolutionize sourcing across the recruitment industry?

These are some of the questions we asked ourselves at SAP as we set out on our award-winning reinvention of sourcing.

Our first key goal at SAP was to win the intellectual hearts and minds battle for the case for sourcing. Sourcing is critical to the future of talent acquisition. When 80 percent of candidates are “passive,” (i.e. not looking for a job), and therefore immune to job boards and recruitment agencies, modern business has to be proactive, go out and tap those candidates on the shoulder and paint them a picture of a better future.

Sourcing is not easy, and in fact in many ways it is the hardest part of modern talent attraction. Put yourself in a sourcer’s shoes and take a walk around. Imagine trying to attract a top salesperson to your company. These salespeople have established networks, they have established sales pipelines, they are very well paid, and often locked into their companies with elaborate commission or stock options. And the sourcer is asking them to come to a new company and often start afresh. That takes more than a LinkedIn InMail!

It’s kind of bizarre to think that modern companies who want to be successful can make hiring decisions with a reliance only on the active talent pool. For skilled roles like sales and development, which are at the core of SAP, relying on the right candidate to see the right role at the right time, and then take the time to apply, is playing the roulette wheel of recruitment. It’s not acceptable or sustainable in any way.

Our sourcing hub leads will all tell you that the best candidates are those who are not looking  They are happy in their current roles. They are not registered on job boards or on a recruitment agency’s books. Successful employees are so used to being approached that being headhunted is as natural to them as breathing.

With the “hearts and minds” argument won and the intellectual case for sourcing made, we took the strategic decision that sourcing is most effective when there are teams of individuals working together onsite. This makes it easier to train, develop, invest, and grow people to be great sourcers. Previously, our sourcing model was anchored on having individual sourcers based in different locations, often working virtually. This was not optimal for building team spirit, knowledge sharing, or the competition that flows from sourcers working together. Hence we took a bold and difficult decision to move to building sourcing hubs and replace the old model.

We invested considerable time and effort in building three sourcing hubs: one in Boston to service the Americas; one in Prague to service the Europe, Middle East, and Africa regions; and one in Manila, to service the Asia Pacific region. A key to building successful hubs was to seek out sourcers who understood the value of strategic activity and the importance of proactively seeking out top talent and differentiating SAP from our competitors. The culture at SAP is very sales focused, and we wanted to staff our sourcing hubs with sourcers who had the same drive and hunger as our salespeople.

Next we took another bold and unique decision: we merged the employment brand team with the global sourcing organization. In our industry, often the two areas are separate, but that does not really make sense. Employment branding, via digital marketing and social media campaigns, can create pipelines by educating the candidates about our company and start the selling process very early, and then the sourcers pick the phone up and finish the sale. This process allows us to attract the best and brightest talent.

So, the new sourcing model is now built … that’s the history. Now the disruption.

Article Continues Below

How do we inspire and incentivize sourcers, who are effectively salespeople, and drive performance in a way that stimulates competition? Is it possible to bring the principles of gamification to sourcing? 

Merge sourcing and gamification together and you get … Sourcification!

Sourcing is a sales function and hence is driven by KPIs. Our goal is to create friendly competition among the sourcers to be the “top dog” in their own region and to work for the best sourcing hub.

The key when setting KPIs is that they have to drive the right performance. We are focused not only on achieving hires but driving quality, and that philosophy is reflected in our KPIs.

Our teams are motivated by the friendly competition the League Tables create, and it gets them excited to see their name at the top of the scoreboard. The value of this highly competitive and proactive sourcing team is huge. The traditional, and mostly reactive, candidate generation channels are quickly becoming archaic. The League Tables reinvigorate the fundamental sourcing approach that needs to take place if you want to attract the top talent in the market.

Key Points:

  • A basket of KPIs are given different points values. Points add up to determine the best sourcer
  • We measure each sourcer’s and each teams’ performance against our defined KPIs on a monthly basis in a League Table
  • Each KPI is measured monthly and awarded a point value:
    • Performance KPIs: Four hires per month (10 points); 40 candidate screens per month (10 points); 28 submittals to the CFR per month (10 points); 50 percent submittal-to-interview ratio (10 points)
    • Time KPIs: Seven business days from date of sourcing req open to first submittal (five points); 10 business days from date of sourcing req open to second through fourth submittal (five points)
    • Quality KPIs: survey results from the candidate new hire and hiring manager/recruiter surveys that are sent out on a monthly basis (sourcers and the quality of hire rated on a scale from 1-5, with five being the highest)
    • LinkedIn Usage KPIs: 15 days logged in per month; 80 searches per month; 250 profile views per month; 20 percent InMail acceptance rate (20 points total)
  • Sourcers are given bonus points when they exceed any KPI, incentivizing the teams to not only meet their goals, but smash them
  • After each month, quarter, and year, the scores are shared among the teams in each region, and the winner(s) is given a cash-based award
  • Competition between sourcers in region to be Sourcer of the Month, Sourcer of the Quarter, Sourcer of the Year
  • All sourcers in their own region see their stats, allowing for total transparency
  • All totals in each region are added together to form a cumulative total to produce “best hub” of the month, quarter, and year
  • These KPIs, competition, and transparency drive performance

In so many ways this innovative new concept could be the future of sourcing. It drives quality. It drives the right performance.

Sourcification could underpin the way that sourcing functions are judged in the future.

Matthew Jeffery, pictured at center, cited as one of the world's leading recruitment strategists and leaders, is VP, head of global sourcing and employment branding for SAP. Previously, he was head of EMEA talent acquisition and global employment brand for software giant Autodesk. Previous to Autodesk, he was the global director of recruitment brand for Electronic Arts.

Andrea Woolley is a marketing director at SAP, the market leader in enterprise application software. She has been part of the sourcing & employment brand team for the last six years, focused on large-scale global projects to increase SAP’s employment brand global reach and impact the quality of talent hired at SAP.


167 Comments on “In a ‘League’ of Our Own’ … Introducing ‘Sourcification’

  1. Really interesting and delighted to see quality s one of the points scoring measures. How mature is the model – do you have evidence of its success yet? Looking forward to hearing how things progress.

    1. Hi Adrian. Thanks for taking time out to read the article. And even more appreciation for leaving a comment. Yes. Key is focusing on quality. Driving that whole quality of approach. That leads to better behaviors.

      There are challenges. Re-education of the system. Sourcing is not immediate. Some hiring managers are used to the immediacy of the active pipeline i.e. go to a recruiter, recruiter posts on the careers site, jobs board, utilizes agency, then #BOOM candidates delivered within a few days. But the education there is obviously that the best candidates are generally not ‘active’. That those who are ‘passive’, (approx 80% of the talent market, need nurturing). Hence that takes time for some hiring managers in re-adjusting. But when they get a taste of the quality, they are re-assured.

      Introducing ‘quality’ focused kpi’s also helps drive behavior. If the kpi’s were just weighted to number of placements then that drives the old behaviors of ‘quick & fast recruitment’ for sourcers. Or I call it ‘McDonalds recruitment’. Fast quick service but waiting for corden bleu is preferable 🙂 Why hire 4 ok sales people when you can hire ‘the best’ who ultimately makes the numbers that the 4 cumulatively can’t reach!!!

      We have just moved to this model Adrian. The Americas hub is the oldest at 7/8 months old but it is showing great results and the feedback is awesome. Be it from a placement perspective; finding those hard to find candidates; hiring the ‘impossible roles’; partnering & giving consultative advice to the hiring managers; building pipelines; providing qualitative research & competitive information.

      We will keep you posted on progress. Happy to discuss as well with you. Key is we wanted to share some of the elements & thinking we have been doing for the good of the industry. ‘Sourcification’ is an interesting concept that we have been told is worth sharing. This industry is all about sharing.

      Adrian tell us more of your experiences of sourcing & share key learnings. It would be great to hear. Thanks

  2. Interesting article and points made, although a tad short for understanding full context and how it apply.
    However having on a number occasions worked with off site/off shore resourcing teams I have a little experience with this (both in a direct SAP context and in respect to other roles) I have worked with sourcing teams in Uruguay, Spain, Prague and in India.
    First and foremost what is it that an already employed candidate want to hear if being approached about changing job?
    Many answers to this, but fundamentally being will it bring more and better fulfilment ,career progression, overall enhancement to where candidate may be now.
    To answer this anyone who is tasked with engaging and ‘selling’ what may be on offer will have to possess a pretty deep and wide understanding of what a role about, from structure to culture, from current set up to desired outcome, from operational execution to long term strategy, from people constellation through to people culture, in short a pretty comprehensive picture.
    Onsite recruiters are on a daily basis immersed and ‘in the culture’ can touch it can feel it, know the people in location and everything that has top do with the role, whereas someone not on-site cannot do that.
    I would argue that to entice someone to make a move from a role where they are not necessarily considering leaving
    lakes every ounce available of being able to ‘paint the picture’ to illustrate and to leave a contacted candidate with as much insight and understanding as possible.
    Having as said worked with non on-site teams I have on a lot of occasions found that these essential nuances not explained or conveyed, nor that a non local sourcing individual able to place into context the background (educational, cultural, work/company history) of a candidate meaning either being qualified out (where in fact with local eyes being qualified in) or qualified in (where in fact not at all relevant) My fear is that on the altar of shared services, economy of scale and in streamlining processes essential nuances being lost
    The only thing that can convince me otherwise is if the sourced candidate to interview to hired ratio is sky high, if the number of ‘disqualified’/rejected candidates by hiring managers coming from the source hub centres is less than 30%, as otherwise I fail to see the true value in not having someone local do the sourcing.

    1. Hi there Jacob. Love that you take time to comment in depth. Thank you.

      We totally agree. I think the hardest part of modern talent acquisition is the ‘attract piece’. But attract here is focused on quality. ‘Attract’ is relatively easy in the ‘active’ pool. Posting on your careers site, using LinkedIn job posts, maybe using Facebook posts, utilizing jobs boards & even engaging recruitment agencies, will always provide a shortlist. (Albeit more expensively if using agencies). For many that is job done. BUT is that the best way? Does that attract the best candidates? I think we can agree that 80% of the market is passive and not looking. That part holds the most interest. This lends itself to the sourcing discussion.

      Now, here comes the hardest part of modern TA. Convincing a ‘passive’ to join. Lets take sales. A ‘great’ sales person. They will be on the road/in meetings a lot. they are achieving their targets. They are well rewarded. They have built pipeline for the months ahead. they have established networks. They don’t need to register on job boards or with agencies. They are happy, (and they know that they will be headhunted so they never need to review other hiring routes). Thats a lot to ask them to give up. It certainly takes more than 1 or 2 Inmails. And yes…it requires the ‘back to basics’ of phone calls 🙂 We can take it for granted that they work for companies that want to keep them in and will ‘lock them in’ with stock options, RSU’s and of course restrictive covenants if they decided to lead. (That is sensible as companies don’t like losing talent & established networks). This is hence a challenging art.

      Thats when the art of the sourcer comes in. It is not easy. It is an art. They have to use psychology to convince this person to start again. Finding the psychological ‘pressure points’ is key e.g. as you say Jacob, career challenge, at the glass ceiling, they can’t see a way forward, they are just tired of the same old/same old, they don’t grow/get trained, their manager frustrates them or maybe they do seek better compensation & bens.

      Jacob, key is that recruiters on the ground do have established relationships with hiring managers but it depends on how many offices you have, SAP works across 140 countries and we don’t have recruiters in every location. Plus recruiters look after the whole remit of recruitment from interviewing through to hire. hence they have less net disposable time to source that a dedicated sourcer.

      Sourcers are involved in all briefing sessions with the hiring manager and the recruiter. Hence benefit from getting into the details. Some Sourcers take example LinkedIn profiles to fully understand the hiring mangers needs. Question now boils down to the trade off between having sourcers based at locations vs at a hub.

      We are finding that having Sourcers in a hub really helps in terms of teamwork, competition between sourcers, but also sharing between sourcers. It makes training & development easier as well. The benefits of hubs are clear in this regard. Of course, the key thing is that recruiters are still part of the process. they take the sourcers shortlists and deliver, hence not losing that local touch.

      Hubs are less about streamlining & cost efficiencies than having a team together. Seeing the benefits of sourcers listening to each other, sharing experiences, talking through approach, is very motivating.

      With more candidates relocating & being mobile, especially in the EU, this helps hubs oversee regions. (Of course we have specialized sourcers in the hub be it discipline specific e.g. Sales, Development & those with language/regional knowledge e.g. Russia is a fast growth market.

      Its a fascinating discussion. Companies seem to swing between different models. I think what is right for each company differs perhaps Jacob? Love this discussion…..

      1. Hmm but as we all know, data is the key, never lies and is the ultimate ‘moment of truth’
        So what is the hub centre sourced candidate submittal to hire ratio as well as the rejection rate, because nothing other than that will determine whether a success or not?

        1. Ah. This is an interesting one Jacob. You will smile at this. For the submittal to interview ratio we are close to 100%. I was discussing this with co-Author Matt MacDonald. That surprised us it would be so high but shows the quality metrics in play. For the submittal to hire, I want to see a longer period of data. It runs at around 4.1 but seeing more time evolved will be key to establish facts. What ratios do you see Jacob? Ours are still too new to have the validity needed to be valuable.

          1. 4:1 in submit to hire ratio is not bad and IF ratios consistently as you say (and let’s be honest you really need 6 months of consistent results to validate this) then it is deeply impressive and I bow my head in awe. However as with everything details are in the nuances why each region likely quite different to each other with Americas with less overall nuances to 15 very individual and different EU countries.

          2. Sorry Jacob, I left this comment hanging. We have to see the longer term data and I will update you BUT you are right to say regions differ. Even countries. It depends on the maturity of the hiring model. And often the hiring managers. As well as the sourcers ability to hunt, convert & present great candidates.

            Define a great candidate….lol. That will be your next question 🙂

          3. Never in million years will I ask that question as it does not exist, just like rarely the perfect spouse, the perfect house, the perfect job, the perfect this that and the other.

          4. So true Jacob. Nothing is perfect. Never will be. And if it was how dull life would be 😉

  3. LOVE to see this type of thinking and initiatives, especially in companies as large and “established” as SAP. This is the kind of thinking I have been implementing in a lot of the SMB companies I consult for currently and have worked for in the past. In the end, I often take it a bit further. Instead of the KPI/Bonus measurements, I have implemented full on “sales-like” plans to measure and truly incentivize the right behaviors and results. Sometimes these KPI type goals and measurements can be a bit too convoluted, thus I like to keep it simple and measure what really matters – the other metrics you want usually follow in suit. Either way – truly refreshing and exciting to see the “big guys” keep pushing the status quo. As usual, there will be the haters out there. My advice – don’t listen and keep pushing forward. Some things will fail for sure, but without trying new avenues and strategies we will become dinosaurs.

    1. Hi Ed – would love to hear more about the sales types goals you’ve implemented, share if you can!

    2. Thanks Ed. Like you we are all about experimenting & sharing. You are right, some things will work, some don’t, but as an industry it is important to share and learn together. Keep on trailblazing buddy 🙂

  4. I absolutely love that you have moved sourcing and employment brand under the same banner. I see many companies paying very little attention to their employment brand and fewer actually realizing that their Recruitment team are at the forefront of that and hold a wealth of information on what the market is saying about the company. Senior Management get bogged down in hiring numbers etc to think about pulling Recruitment teams in to that area so it’s really encouraging that SAP is paving the way in having such an innovative structure.
    The sourcing KPI’s are also super interesting and a great way to measure success of the model as well as the individual/team. Having worked with centralized sourcing teams in the past, there are always pitfalls – prioritizing of roles is usually a challenge – sourcers can and will go after the ‘low hanging fruit’ to get the quick wins when its the harder to fill and longer burn positions that actually need more support. In the past, I given incentives for roles that are agreed by all involved (inc stakeholders) to be hard to fill. Those positions are very often business or project critical so the majority of senior management is absolutely open to doing whatever it takes to get resources working on those positions.
    Sourcification – you need to get that on t-shirts!! 🙂

    1. Hi Lucy. Thanks for reading and commenting. I don’t know of many companies who have merged Branding & Sourcing in together, especially in companies of a larger scale. It makes sense as ‘Employment Branding’ can help soften up pipelines, (through social & digital marketing’) and then Sourcing can pick the phone up and work their magic.

      Its worrying, as you say, if companies focus little attention on Employment Branding. We live in a very connected world where people talk and share information. Hence Social media, Digital Marketing are so critical a part of modern Employment Branding. To avoid or downgrade it does not help a company attract the talent it wants.

      Love you share your experience of centralized sourcing as well. We were worried of the low hanging fruit’ you refer to. But like you, seeking to weight kpi’s and acknowledge Sourcers through ‘quality’ kip’s helps us drive & change behavior.

      Such a fascinating discussion. Lucy, from your experience, which companies are doing well with their branding & sourcing? Love your views 🙂

  5. “…and then the sourcers pick the phone up and finish the sale.”

    That right there is what will differentiate SAP from the competition. I have been reading so much nonsense about sourcers passing the batton on to the recruiters and a whole lot more but finally we read that a sourcer is meant to close the deal. That right there could take the cake for disruptor award for 2015.

    As a whole, you have a well thought out sales-based strategy. It appears you have stuck to the basics and identified the key revenue generating positions which are sales oriented positions for your business and built a plan which includes using strategems that the very best sales sales teams have used for the longest time. I am a big fan of building from a regional center of strength.

    In essence you have a sales professional recruiting a sales professional where the message can be clearly understood and well delivered to generate high ROI.

    What I also like is that you have not focused your gamification exclusively on the merits of technology. Your fun and games are mainly derived from the interactions and results from phone and face time as well as social marketing. I am sure you will have success with this.

    You also would get the top prize for buzzword of the year. I just hope my LinkedIn channels don’t get flooded with “Sourcification” all over the place now. I am still trying to deal with Datafication.

      1. Thanks for reading Gareth. You make such a key point. Sourcification/gamification is best ‘derived from the interactions & results from phone & face time as well as social marketing’. Creating a buzz and fun at work is what its all about! If you can’t enjoy work, where you spend most of your time at life, then you quality of life is all the less richer. Its a shame that some of my old bosses never realized how to inspire 😉

  6. Creating centers of excellence for sourcing is smart and likely will prove very effective. However where I struggle with this approach a bit is trying to turn a group of individuals who are at their core “people folk” and require emotional IQ into a more pure hunters driven off numbers, peer competition and stretch goals. This is more the personality of a true sales person – a unique characteristic that may not translate into the TA space. I would be curious about the response from your teams. Do they see this as something that adds more stress to their role? Don’t get me wrong, numbers are important and they should be put forth as benchmarks and set expectations, but driving so much around KPIs may take the emotional aspect of this role out of the mix.

    1. Efforts should not be devoted to converting people folk into sales professionals but rather hire recruiters who can sell for the role.

    2. Hi Sean – I absolutely agree. You don’t want to turn “people folk” into sales folks and as Gareth had pointed out you want to hire recruiters who can sell for their role. Additionally, you want to hire people who aren’t afraid to roll up their sleeves and pick up the phone. I have found a lot of people who are comfortable with just sending out a LinkedIn InMail and posting a job and waiting for the applicants. This is the opposite of what we were going after. When we built out the hubs we looked for Recruiters/Sourcers who have a balance of sales and recruiting in their background. I think this is a must have combination with this model. Most of the people we hired had grown up in the agency world and ran a full desk (i.e. sales and recruiting). I personally came from that background and it applies very well here. This isn’t something that is adding more stress to their plate. They already know and feel comfortable working with a “sense of urgency” and know that strategic activity will yield results. They were already accomplishing these things. But now they are driven to really go above and beyond because there’s a competitive aspect to it now, which they thrive off of. As it had mentioned in the article not everyone is motivated by this friendly competition and that is why it was imperative to get the right people that would work well within this model.

  7. This is great to see and a big thank you for sharing how you are structuring the KPIs at SAP, as this is not something many companies have nailed yet. Ensuring your Sourcers understand the Why, How and What (KPIs) will drive the right behaviours and ultimately the results you want, and this is a great example of how you have achieved this at SAP.
    Whilst the What is important, if they don’t understand the Why at the core then it is very hard to drive engagement with the model. The How is easier to address with training, but without the Why and the What it is almost pointless to just target the How, which is a common mistake I see in managing recruitment teams.

    1. Thanks Carly, LinkedIn is one of our biggest partners and best supporters in finding and building relationships with our passives 🙂

      1. Really? what happened to referrals and the giant database of an ATS that SAP has surely that is included as a substantial part of the process?

        1. Hi Jacob – referrals are of course a huge resource for our sourcing teams. They spend a massive amount of time culling referrals from candidates, recent new hires, and more tenured employees.

          I’m interested to hear more of your thoughts on candidates in the database – how often are you finding success in turning those candidates into hires and from how far back in the database?

        2. Ah thats all there Jacob. Don’t worry. I know you valued and used both a lot when you were at SAP. 🙂 But LinkedIn really is a great tool for passive sourcing as you know.

          I think Linkedin has over 347 million on its database. Wish our recruitment database had that many 🙂 Or was kept up to date as LinkedIn’s is. That seems to be a massive advantage for LinkedIN. candidates go on and update and refresh details more often than our own database.

          PLUS…to add. LinkedIn’s 40 million plus grads were also a huge help to us in the SAP Sales Academy when broadening strategy.

    2. Thanks Carly. LinkedIn have been phenomenal business partners to us. We are proud to work with you.

    1. Ah Sorry Mike. It is Client Facing Recruiter. (Sorry internal jargon).

      Mike. Agree with you Gamification is the future. Who do you see doing it well Mike? Great to share these with the community. Gamification is so exciting but few do it ‘well’. Love your insights.

      1. As you say, Matthew, “few do it well,” so no names come to mind at the moment. Striving to blend work and play via gamification is a major paradigm shift and will take time. Meanwhile, have as much fun as possible 🙂

        1. Thanks Mike. I love this area, (Gamification), and want to learn more. Lots of people refer me to the Marriott ‘game’ BUT that is a loose definition of Gamification, (as Gamification is more than just games)… you know. Hence always looking for great ideas in this space. So if you or others see anything please let me know. Its all about the learning……. 🙂

  8. Great strategy and structure Matthew…….how easy was it to get business buy-in ? I think the link between sourcing and EB is key – getting colleagues to understand the marketing and sales analogy was the biggest challenge at AXA……though I was a single voice in a vastly federated company !!! How did you get them to understand ?

    1. Hi Jeremy – I’m sure Matthew will chime in later but I wanted to throw in my perspective. Education is the key! The buy-in is certainly not an overnight thing. It takes time and branding really needs to sell inside out. Meaning we need to educate and get buy-in internally before it can be truly successful to our target audience. Making the business aware of what branding can offer is tackled in several stages. At the Recruiter level where we can educate our Clients on what is available to them when they are looking to tackle an initiative or looking for a better way to attract the best talent in the market place. At the Branding Team level where a Brand Team member is available to meet with a Client to educate and understand their needs and ultimately build a customized set of options. And through our Social Business Collaboration tool. In this tool we offer an Employer Brand Services Menu with all the options available. The business is made aware of this menu through our Newsletters that are sent out on a consistent basis. This is an ongoing initiative for us. We continue to promote our success stories with the business so they understand what we can offer and the results we can provide.

      1. Many thanks Matt and Matthew. How open were your senior HR and business leaders to innovation in a function which is “support” rather than DIRECTLY “revenue-generating” ? I think we sometimes underestimate the differentials between where we want to go with TA and where our internal clients, who we see as innovative in the products or services they deliver, want to go ? Was this an issue which you needed to overcome ?

        1. Hi Jeremy. Sorry for the slow reply. We are publishing an article next week which may help with the revenue generating part of your question. Stay tuned 😉

          I do see it up to the TA Leader to paint the future of TA. It is always about results. But being innovatory, to seek better results, is a given. If a leader is proven as effective then their business trusts them more and gives them more freedom.


          Key here is that few leaders remain in place for more than 2 years in this industry. Hence they perhaps don’t win the trust needed to be truly trying new stuff. They have to focus on fixing initial delivery.

          BUT also there is no point being innovatory for the sake of being innovatory if it produces little ROI.

          1. Look forward to the follow up article Matthew. I think we do sometimes forget that innovation doesn’t have to be the new big thing but if we use more incremental steps in less innovative environments that can work…….but as you say, the problem is the short-termism of TA leaders and also those environments usually focus more on other parts of HR such as Bps, L&D, etc assuming they can grow better than they can acquire.

            Of course, if you acquire properly/effectively, the development of your own talent is somewhat easier. An average chef can take good ingredients and make them in to something great…….but if the ingredients are low quality then you need a 3 star michelin chef to make anything decent !!!!!

    2. Hi Jeremy. Thanks for reading and even more thanks for commenting. I think this industry is very quiet on what people are doing. The same people generally speak at conferences and write articles. hence there is little visibility of what people are doing. Hence the merging of the Brand and Sourcing department. I researched and could not see many ‘scale’ companies doing this. But I would love to know if they are but just shy in coming forward.

      Key internally is making the case and always showing the benefits. Branding can help soften up new pipelines. Educate them if you will of SAP. This can be through Social media or Digital marketing & can be highly targeted. Then the Sourcer follows up and it hopefully helps them ‘convert’ a passive into active easier.

      That makes sense. maybe common sense.

      This industry has so much potential. Exciting times.

  9. The use of KPIs to drive behavior has been used in other places though, in the past, it’s been more under the rubric of “scorecards.” The primary difference here, though, is that that the focus seems more on reinforcing (i.e., incentivizing) behavior that exceeds goals rather than punishing those who do not meet KPIs. Am I interpreting this correctly? If so, how do you react to those individuals (or teams) who do not meet benchmarks?

    1. Hi Ben – You are exactly right. Hitting the numbers will still mean you are successful but over achieving them will get you recognition and rewards and so far everyone seems to have the drive to try and get their names to the top of the leader board. Great question on those who do not meet it. As you know recruiting is not black and white and is certainly not always consistent and we take that into consideration. The ebbs and flows of the business, as well as the varying positions (some can be highly niche with a very small candidate pool to go after and others high volume) could very well cause an individual to fall under these requirements. Our tracking system allows us to see the big picture in regards to what each Sourcer is working on. So far if anyone has fallen short it is due to a variety of reasons beyond their control and we are able to capture that data and justify why results are showing the way they are.

  10. Matthew,

    The gamification (i.e sourcification) is indeed a valuable tool to keep a team moving forward.

    Nevertheless, when it comes to quality KPI, I am a little surprised by one thing:

    Although I start to know SAP quite well due to my current job, I have no idea of your internal turnover, so my question might be irrelevant.

    Wouldn’t it be interesting to include in the KPI’s the number of the candidates who are still working for you after 18 months (or other relevant duration) over the number of hires?

    As I view it, it is ultimately the KPI that shows best the quality of a recruiter. Of course, 18 month or 12 months is a long time, and implies that the recruiter would be evaluated on the long term which might be difficult to set up.

    As an agency recruiter, it appears to me that my most valuable source of feedback on my work’s quality are not my clients but ultimately my candidates. Although I’m young, everywhere I worked it was for me the only way to know if I really did my job correctly on both sides for sourcing, managing the process, and also with on boarding and follow up after the hire…

    In this scenario of Sourcification, wouldn’t it be interesting to get the recruiters rated by the candidates (even those not selected in the end) according to different criteria set up by you ? In this way, you have a short-term evaluation tool which will, through this game, not only allow the recruiters to do more but ultimately do better…

    You then can elect of course following multiple criteria, a top recruiter in terms of Stats and productivity for the gamification, but also the Best quality Recruiter which will show up (when coming to employer branding) as one of the most valuable ambassadors of your company!

    Probably you have such things already within SAP I assume but just wanted to mention that !:)

    In any case, the article in itself was very nice to read, looking forward to the next one!

    1. Hi Christophe – Spot on! That is a solid indicator of true quality. Both looking at Candidates who are still here after 6-12-18 months and feedback on Candidates who were not ultimately hired. We have discussed this at length and we are still working on something that will allow us to track and survey Candidates who we have hired over time. We have recently just implemented a Candidate survey we can send to those who made it far along in the process but were not hired. Glad you liked the article and great points.

  11. It really sounds like you’re trying to do something innovative at SAP – I especially like that you’re collecting quality KPI data from hiring managers.

    It’s always confused me why time-to-hire and cost-to-hire metrics matter if the candidates who get hired end up not being any good. It’s great that you’re collecting data to close the loop!

    I would like to point out, however, that there’s no data showing passive candidates are superior to active ones – there are many reasons why someone might be looking for a job after all – but I do agree that ignoring the large passive pool when it comes to sourcing is a mistake.

    1. Hi Ji-A – Thanks for taking the time to read the article and making a great post. I agree and it’s always confused me too. Quality is everything in our business and those statistics probably matter more when the Candidate ends up not working out once they are hired. The most expensive and time consuming thing for a business is making the wrong hire!

      The active pool is definitely not to be overlooked. A large percentage of hires are typically made here. The main goal of the Sourcing Hubs here is to cover the remainder of the market which consists mostly of passive Candidates.

      Do you find that active Candidates work better for some positions and passive Candidates work better for others?

      1. There is no data showing that active candidates are systematically better than passive ones and that has proven to be true at my company. All of the salespeople we hired at my company – using our own system – were active candidates and they are doing great so far. We also have a few passive hires in other positions that have turned out to be great too.

        Some experts like Mark Suster and Geoffrey James strongly discourage hiring passive candidates from your competitors because they think it indicates disloyalty and they’ll just end up doing the same thing to you. I don’t feel as strongly as that but an important factor that often gets ignored is how inefficient it is to try to convert passive vs. active candidates.

        The other factor that gets ignored is that active candidates are sometimes hard to convert too! Just because someone is looking for a job doesn’t mean they’re looking for a job with you.

        1. Ji-A Min. Do you have a link to that research? Mark Suster & Geoffrey James? Would be great to read. Thanks

          1. There’s no research, unfortunately – this is just their opinion. Geoffrey James criticized hiring from competitors in a LinkedIn webinar on hiring salespeople that I reviewed here:

            Mark Suster didn’t discourage hiring from competitors – I misremembered his post – but he argued against hiring job hoppers:

            Again, without actual data, these are just unverified opinions that may or may not be true for your company.

          2. Thanks for the links Ji-A Min. 🙂

            Great reading. Recommend others to take a look as well. Worth the investment of time.

            Although as mentioned, we have data to back up passives vs actives but can’t unfortunately share publicly 🙁 . There are limits to transparency 🙂

    2. Innovative? It’s a sourcing department. It’s existed in manufacturing plants since the beginning of… manufacturing, just for materials, not people. And there’s still a hell of a lot such departments can teach recruiters and sourcers, like price matters, and that not buying matters, and carries a cost and potential risk.

      You can likely tackle this issue various ways, the reality is most companies still treat vacancies as ‘savings,’ they accept nonsensical excuses from managers and recruiters for not hiring people who seem to measure up, and their systems don’t capture the costs of vacancies and turnover, meaning the cost of not hiring never feeds back into manager or recruiter reviews. And, most companies still assume, for some unknown and never articulated reason, that people should be willing to take a vow of poverty to work there.

      1. Yup, I completely agree with you that the opportunity costs of not hiring are usually completely ignored. I think that’s related to people’s – not just HR’s – reluctance to quantify things: interviews, assessments, performance.

        When you don’t collect data in the first place, all these metrics remain a black box and the perpetuation of biases and misbeliefs continue.

        1. Ji-A Min. Agree. A key learning from ERE San Diego was that the industry is exceptionally poor at data and measuring itself.

          ERE revealed a comprehensive study, where they polled hundreds of recruiters & leaders.

          Interesting stats were:

          – TA spends 45% of its time on backfills & attrition hires (stats that should be attributed to HR as key vehicle to prevent attrition?)

          – Average time to hire is 50 days

          – Average cost per hire is $4,200 USD

          – 28% of companies don’t track time per hire. Ji-A Min can you believe that. Companies not even tracking their costs!!!

          – Recruiter Workload. Average hires per year = 100

          – Hiring managers graded by recruiters as C – in their recruiting abilities

          – TA is very poor at reporting & measuring itself

          1. Thanks so much for sharing these valuable stats. I’m dismayed, but not shocked, at the lack of systematic data collection in the TA field.

            I wish there was more we could do to convince others that collecting the right data needs to be strategic priority because it creates a competitive advantage, much like it already has in other business functions like finance, operations, sales, and marketing.

          2. Ji-A Min. No probs. Its important to share data 🙂

            We have much to do and much to share 🙂

            We are on the same page 🙂

      2. I think the innovation reference was less towards sourcing Medieval which I agree has been around since when Adam met Eve. But the Sourcification elements, i.e. the league tables, employee of the month, quarter, year; Souring Hub of the month, quarter, year and the weighted kpi’s, (driving quality & new behaviors than the old methods of time per hire and cost per hire.

        Hopefully this feels fresher?

        Nothing new here on sourcing…agree there Medieval..:)

    3. Hi Ji-A Min thanks for reading and commenting. Really appreciated. And thanks for the innovative comments, (of course directed at ‘Sourcyfication’ rather than sourcing itself. The league tables, weighted kip’s, driving quality not quantity feel new. We researched and can’t see others doing this. Of course someone maybe but they have kept it quiet. Surely we are an industry of sharing 🙂

      Totally agree on metrics. A recruiting department can smash those stats. Time per hire & cost per hire are not quality arguments. You can hire poor performers quickly and achieve great kpi’s. Company then has to manage them out and the costs associated with that. Be it financial costs or opportunity costs.

      You are right on the data. I posted this answer to medieval earlier. This may help:

      I wish i could publish that very data that would convince you in this area. Perhaps sales is one of the most measurable areas. You can look at hires and assess them as a quality of hire in several ways:

      – How many new salespeople made 0% of Quota; <50%, 51-75%; 76-99%; 100% 110% PLUS within 6 months
      – How many made 0% of Quota; <50%, 51-75%; 76-99%; 100% 110% PLUS within 12 months
      – How many made 0% of Quota; <50%, 51-75%; 76-99%; 100% 110% PLUS within 18 months (past 18 months is not really an indicator of recruiting success as they are socialized in the business and should be performing by then).

      – Which performance grade the sales person got e.g. developing performance; successful performance; Outstanding Performance; Extraordinary performance
      – Attrition rates of the sales force (within 3, 6, 12, 18 months). Within 3 months is a misfire, (same could be said of 6 months)

      This provides quantifiable data. And is measurable on the bottom line.

      What we are seeing is that 'passives', (key is the definition here), vs actives, achieve quota, quicker, higher.

      Wish I could share the data Medieval Recruiter. Would convince you. But its proprietary info our competitors would love to have an idea of 🙂

      From a logic point of view. Again, I am speaking sales. If a salesperson is great, they will have pipelines developed, networks established, Their company will lock them in with stock, great comp. And maybe some punitive restrictive covenants.

      Why would a great sales person walk away from that without lots of persuasion? i.e. sales / persuasion 😉

      if you are not achieving targets. Not successful. Then you will be worried for your longevity / current job and register on job boards & with agencies.

      Not seeking to make a sweeping generalization but state an argument

      1. Hi Matthew, that’s awesome you’re collecting data to verify your assumptions and prove the ROI of recruiting passive candidates! Now if only all organizations did the same 🙂

  12. Matthew, Andrea and Matt – flat out love that you shared this story…of course branding and recruiting should be joined, of course great sourcer/recruiters passionately and empathetic-ally sell, of course sourcer/recruiters are competitive people, of course its absurd to expect to fill openings with only an active talent approach…and on and on…

    You guys though have put it all together and crafted a system that makes use of these TA success a word…brilliant!

    I do have a few Q’s & points…internally, isn’t measuring the right activity a bit easier than KPI’s…especially when the activity leads to the results you seek? Once a prospect is ignited you may only have 90-120 days before they make a move elsewhere (we find this happens 30% of the time). What do you do to manage prospect shelf life? Find the active v. passive debate tiresome…great sourcing comes down to targeting and attracting those targeted…if on-target with interests and motivation in alignment, it matters none how actively they’re looking for a new assignment/job. Love your 100% interview to submission ratio – clearly demonstrates targeted prospect quality. We have 10 years of a 40% rate of hire to submit – there is a number you can throw down to your teams – it is doable… 🙂

    For the past 12 months I have been stealthily developing a new business that is eerily similar to the “disruptive” part of your sourcing program and would love to share it with you once we’re closer to GTM…purely awesome post!

    1. Hi K.C. – Thanks so much for taking the time to read the article and write such a great post. I’m glad you liked it.

      Shelf life is a tricky subject. There is an expiration date on the time we have every Candidates interest and they are the ones who mostly dictate that timeline. The only thing we can to do extend that is to have a enough of an enticing package that aligns with their interests and goals around career, culture, work/life balance, compensation, etc that will make them hold out a little while longer. However, this may only be a minimal increase. I think what is key here is to not only try and extend the shelf life but be there at the very beginning of that timeline before anyone else, and that’s why relationship building and differentiating yourself from the competition is key. I find that most Candidates will be contacted about an opportunity and never followed up with. Right now we are building out Talent Communities in which we can place Candidates of similar background, technical skills, location, industry experience, product, computer language, etc. We have the ability to send out tailored messaging that pertains to them based off this criteria. Not only are we allowing the door to be open for consistent follow up but we allow ourselves the opportunity to be thought of and contacted first before they contact anyone else, giving us the most time to work them through the process. Obviously consistent communication and questions around timeline and other pursuits need to be routinely asked and synced well with whatever position we are looking at them for. Finding out what other companies they are pursuing or speaking with can give us an opportunity to emphasize where we outshine and asking any Candidates who are currently in process to let us know if and when they receive another offer, can sometimes prompt our Clients to do an “I don’t want to lose them” type move.

      I am very interested in hearing about your new business. When is the GTM?

      I hope I answered your question correctly. If there’s anything that needs more clarifying please let me know.

        1. We are trying Jacob. Pushing the envelope is never easy. Hard work. Sweat & tears by the likes of Matt & crew 🙂

      1. Yes, yes and yes… 🙂

        If you are an effective sourcer and “igniting the prospect” it means you’re the one that first got them to consider a new challenge…thereafter the Laws of Frequency Illusion take over and they start seeing job ads that they always ignored and listening fully to those recruiter VCM’s they always deleted or worse taking their calls (eek!)…pure neuroeconomics….like consumer decision mapping is it possible to map the career consumer decision journey from ignition through job change? Have you all at SAP thought about this…just curious. I think any good recruiter/sourcer digs into the interest and motivations of their prospects and provides the reasons why their company is the one to put at the top of the opportunity pile…knowing when and prompting prospects to pull the trigger at the peak of the career consumer decision path might be pretty important in helping to land more of the hard earned prospects being cultivated. Just food for thought…

        As for TC’s, as a vendor I’ve managed scores of them for clients for the past decade and although helpful in maintaining interest, most primarily evolve into a large group of active job seekers who participate in TC’s to get noticed (communities can definitely serve this purpose well)…talent that don’t need to get noticed (the best) typically can’t be bothered and ignore the send outs and TC activity…interesting to see where your TC’s evolve for you…by the way Matt – would totally love your take on our new enterprise and will send you a separate note about it in the next few weeks – we’re very quietly moving to test this summer…and would bet you’d find it interesting…thanks again for an awesome article and commentary!!

  13. One of the most awesome thing I experienced at SAP and never ever seen again is the year hiring plan, where pretty much apart from attrition, all future hires set out and placed into the respective quarter where hire should be in place. Does that still exist, as surely with such a headcount plan it is 100% times easier to be proactive in building pipeline in ‘ramping up’ for future hires. It is in my opinion the most mature and well thought through way of managing new hires and mean the world for the work and the structure of talent acquisition.

    1. It still exists, although we may take it for granted now that you mention you haven’t seen it anywhere else. That forecasting is a HUGE advantage. It really allows for proper expectations to be set, pipeline building and follow up. We talk to so many Candidates who aren’t necessarily ready to make a move right now but having this sort of hiring plan allows us to plant the seeds for our future hires. Really great stuff and great observation, Jacob.

      Without having a hiring plan structured like this do you find yourself doing anything specific to plan for future demand?

      1. If that is the case and not part of context in original piece then I am sorry to say 2 x Matt that is a serious flaw in not being mentioned. There is a world of difference between carrying out JIT sourcing and hiring versus having reasonable time and opportunity to plan, to structure, to reach out and to steadily build pipeline. Any TA lead and recruiter would fall over themselves for not having to be in a position of being re-active but having the opportunity of being ahead of the game and pro-active.

        1. Well Matt is right to a point. You will remember Jacob that this is a very fluid industry. Especially as we head to the Cloud. There are a number of Fast Growth Markets that SAP are focusing on and this leads to investment requests that some get approved some don’t, (natural in any business). When they get approved, then the business wants to move quickly and hence recruitment has to be immediate i.e. recruit people as of yesterday ;). This makes forecasting tough and staffing team sizes. As many investment requests take time to approve, may not be approved, may be diverted to other markets, may get partial approval, then we have to wait and see what happens. We cannot over staff or put aside people for projects that we don’t know when green light flicks on. Thats true of a lot of businesses BUT makes planning tougher. Hence planning for team sizes, sourcing demand is a challenge. I saw similar challenges at my previous companies. Its part of modern business.

          1. That is understood but whatever set up (and here coming back to earlier made comments about remote resourcing vs local) sitting in on weekly review meetings, listening to what said and then keeping that in mind and as part of the ‘bigger picture knowledge’ is essential in being able to know as and when resourcing able to play a role. How do you ensure a complete (and I mean warts and all, above, under and in between the lines) as what being said locally transferred to the local sourcing hubs? Who carry responsibility for this and who ensure that nothing is missed? Also for me everything in Corp TA is fluid and as such I am struggling a little with what I read to be a quite regimented and structured way, where in fact due to fluidity much changes and on a constant basis

          2. Great points. Remember here the separation of Sourcing from Recruiting at SAP. The recruiters should be in those meetings. TA leadership at senior levels with the business engaging. I would say much is done well and we are aware of progress BUT things can still get green lit very quickly. More quickly than it takes to staff up with more sourcers / recruiters. And we can’t second guess what gets signed off. Some investment requests, (we know of), take months of back and forth of justification. Others can move quickly. We can’t staff up until we know ‘green light’ is achieved. As we are still a cost centre. However close we are to the business, its a difficult science. I think few companies get this right. And with Workforce Planning coming out as the number 1 issue at ERE, I guess many companies are challenged.

    2. Jacob. I am at ERE San Diego. You will be fascinated to learn that ERE did a huge study into the state of TA. They revealed, based on a large number of questionnaires what were the top 7 inhibitors to recruiters success. They are:
      #7 HR Leadership
      #6 Recruiter Search Skills
      #5 Technology
      #4 Recruiter Talent Advisor Skills
      #3 Business Leadership
      #2 Too much time spend on backfills (attrition)
      #1 Workforce planning (WFP)
      I am sure no surprise there? Or is there Jacob? 🙂

      1. What a really really sad state of affairs that HR the supposed lead and where 90% of all TA report to being pronounced as the inhibitor where in fact they should be the facilitator, I think it simply speaks H U G E and shameful volumes (apologies but I think HR has lost the plot completely when coming to TA) Recruiter search skills , ….. hmmm really? Must because someone still believing in methods of years back solutions for finding people. Technology, … perhaps it may in fact be more an excuse than anything else Recruiter Talent Advisor Skills ,…. definitely I am 100% with that! Attrition,…… straight back to HR as for ensuring that being low Workforce planning,….. sure, the more forward planning the better chance there is of building proper and valuable pipeline.

        1. Jacob. You will love this. Other parts of the ERE report. Much of which has been Tweeted, but compiling into a few notable takeaways:

          – TA spends 45% of its time on backfills & attrition hires (stats that should be attributed to HR as key vehicle to prevent attrition?)

          – Average time to hire is 50 days

          – Average cost per hire is $4,200 USD

          – 28% of companies don’t track time per hire

          – Recruiter Workload. Average hires per year = 100

          – Hiring managers graded by recruiters as C – in their recruiting abilities

          – TA is very poor at reporting & measuring itself

          1. Anyone care to enlighten me as to why and how it is possible that we have seen a total transformation of TA since 2007, more channel, more tools more solutions more wise men and women more white papers, more conferences and more information and insight available than ever before (and increasing by double every year) and we have this ……words fail me sad and utter unspeakable state of affairs. Where is the interest to better, to change, to show the world that things can be done differently (and with that make huge advancements) It is as if the majority of all in TA and HR simply do not care, and that is a pretty frightening prospect

            Bottle of best Krug for anyone who can help me out here

          2. Hhhhmmmm. Thats a tough one. I would love the Krug lol. BUT I can’t answer it.

            There are a mix of factors worthy of debate:

            – Recruiting has not reached maturity. By that I mean we are still to be seen as a critical function. We are an operational, reactive delivery unit.
            – Business leaders are not recruiters, (by that I mean they don’t follow the latest TA trends. So they don’t know the latest tools, technology, best practices, innovations). Why should they…they are business leaders. Hence they rely on their existing Recruitment Leader. If their Recruitment Leader does little but achieves hiring stats, then the status quo remains.
            – There is little movement at the top level of recruitment leaders. If A leaves a top role, often a game of recruitment chess happens, with B replacing them and a small game of musical chairs takes place. But the same leaders remain at the top of the chain but in different roles.
            – Many great leaders are invisible. I remember discussing this with Lisa Scales. She works & knows some great leaders. They keep to themselves and don’t go on the circuit / write articles. Often because of the ‘Commentariat’ who live to promote their brands by ‘Social media’ blasting i.e. criticizing what people are doing, (rarely giving their own ideas or new innovations). They use this to be more visible to then provide ‘advice to businesses’. Hence, some leaders/mangers in this industry think why go public to be fish bait to the ‘Commentariat’?

            Its a fascinating area but the brand of ‘recruiter’ despite being a critical function is not the brightest in modern business.

          3. I do not buy that (and likely to be something of that sort on my gravestone) It simply cannot be
            Who is that that has not understood and looked around right where they sit or stand and made the analysis ‘what here surrounding me is n o t made of man/human beings?’ answer is 95% of e v e r y t h I n g is made by the involvement by the ingenuity or the use of a human being, be it in thought! be it in production or in delivery of a service/solution. so which part in a company or an organisation can therefore underestimate or neglect the all encompassing value of the people that a company or an organisation consist of and where does it all start …. with TA. This is n o t rocket science yet seem still to be the least focused area of all in business, yet it is where the answers to success or failure lie, whether superior products and solutions or through the sheer ability of people to work together. A n y CEO who neglect their people element will fail and so will their business eventually as people not fools as to where or how they wish to work and that with up and coming generations only becoming more acute.

          4. Jacob. I don’t think CEO’s across the different industries neglect their people element. I think they trust their HR leader, who in turn trusts their TA leader. As it should be. If business exists without trust then that is a bad state of affairs.

            BUT my point is that it is not the job of business leaders to keep up to date with all our developments be it technology, tools, talent communities, big data, digital recruitment marketing, social media, employment branding, sourcing techniques.

            If a TA leader does not drive through some of these strategies, it will not be visible to the business leaders. There is the issue. Business leaders only know what they know. They rely on their TA leader. I am lucky to have great leaders at SAP that allow the freedom to do what we do. But we can all point at other companies that lack that. And guess what Jacob. Those TA leaders not pushing forward can do that and remain in place for many years…you see it 😉 Hence the industry malaise.

          5. Ha,the Commentariat…great word and great point…

            I had a very similar chat with Rob Macintosh on this just a few weeks ago…LI lists 6500 Talent Sourcers, yet the same 200 or so members of the Commentariat talk at one another on social platforms/blog sites and rub shoulders and present at SC and ERE conferences and the like…I’d bet the several 1,000 others (practitioners/doers) have a few ideas…there are a ton of energy and interest in doing the right thing…like you guys are doing at SAP…creatively re-thinking (Sourcing, Campus, etc.) by asking why do we do things the way we do, and what if…there needs to be just a catalyst to unleash these better views and accept new…like Uber…before you know it the new seems like old hat… 🙂

            There is an old Chinese proverb that says, “People who say it cannot be done, should not interrupt those doing it…”

          6. K.C. Love it. How do we get more people to speak? I do hear many stories that some leaders don’t want to speak because of the ‘Commentariat’ being negative. They worry that if they speak or write, the negative comments on Twitter, blogs, Facebook, LinkedIn, could detract from the company brand. They worry of Corporate PR’s reaction as they monitor channels for comments. Hence, it is safer to keep quiet than share.

            That’s not a criticism of Corporate PR. Their job is to monitor. But if its negative. Then that does not help the TA leader/idea sharer.

            Sharing does not mean you know it all. It means you want others to share, learn, improve and help the industry.

            Its easy being a member of the ‘Commentariat’. Sit. Watch. See articles or talks getting attention, momentum. Leap in. Comment. Criticise. Say it is not the way to do it.

            Think of it. How many of the ‘Commentariat’ offer ideas? Solutions? Innovations?

            The sooner more are confident to share, the better for the industry.

            Any ideas K.C. how we can get to that point?

          7. Sure…as an industry we need to create standards and best practices by building a true TA association where these can be shared, discussed and continuously improved without fear of the corporate mandates. In pharmaceuticals, there is such an association that has a revolving chair where a different pharma leader holds the seat every year and the industry supports it by each company funding a share of the costs…there are many other examples – but the key is to have a group of collective industry leaders and their experts pushing the limit of what could be…

            Gerry Crispin does an amazing job with his Colloquiums and this could be a model to build from…he and I chatted in Seattle at SourceCon about working with ISO to establish standardized systems that are reviewable and measurable (this is moving forward I am told). BIll Boorman also does an incredible work with his unconferences where sharing is a given and there are numerous other leaders pushing the envelope…but we need to bring all these efforts together under one tent. In the wine industry there are exams for Master Sommeliers and Masters of Wine that are so arduous that only a few hundred globally hold the Master title… (CCIE also comes to mind in Tech), and these few hundred set the bar for an industry where today numerous US universities offer BS degrees in Oenology that were only a dream a few decades ago. This all has raised the level of wine practitioners – making it a valued and respected career path…something that our fractured non inclusive industry could model…(by the way…I love what we do…just would love to make it awesome…).

            Guess I had a bit of energy about this huh? ..well you did ask Matthew 🙂

          8. K.C. Loving your energy. I am sure that Jacob will join in with this as well when he wakes in the UK 🙂

            You raise some great points. The challenge is that often the same people attend some of these events. I love Bill’s Tru philosophy and unconferences but they are not mass industry. Plus business leaders do not attend. Well neither do they attend LinkedIn or other recruitment conference. Therein lies an issue. We are a very insular profession.

            I would love conferences to break free and start to widen agendas. Invite marketing thought leaders to present. Commercial leaders with recruiting experience. Sales professionals. All to analyze our profession on a conference stage. But we have the same recruitment leaders speaking and hence remain navel gazing.

            In terms of qualifications you raise a great point. I agree with you in your totality. I look at HR in the UK. Most HR people are expected to hold the CIPD qualification. There is a low bar to entry in recruitment. Actually a zero bar. Hence that can lead to career path snobbery. I have heard it at events. I was told at one that because I was not CIPD qualified, (HR qualification remember not recruitment), that I would not progress well in my career!!!

            That was likes fuel to the fire as you can imagine.

            They also told me they were better qualified to speak on recruitment as it was part of the HR mix and they had the HR qualification and they passed a component on recruitment.

            How many people have this attitude is open to debate?

            But what is true is that we are a complex profession e.g. Social Media, Sourcing, Employment Branding, Digital Marketing, Communities, Recruitment marketing etc etc that would benefit from qualifications.

            Who will lead the charge? You tell me?

            Would it make a difference?

            Next steps? Maybe something for you to lead the way K.C.? A conversation with Gerry?

          9. Not sure if I am the one for this – there are many others perhaps better suited…but I will say that for the past several months I have been crafting a new business model to begin some of these steps…interestingly parts of this concept are eerily similar to your disruptive competitive sourcing program explained in your post…not for one company…but taking it to the entire industry…still pretty stealthy, but suffice to say that if successful, we will help elevate sourcing as a function, offer means of measuring sourcing quality, provide individual sourcers with a qualitative ranking, instill a Sourcing Manifesto and deliver pathways for sharing sourcing best practices among participants…oh and yeah…as a commercial enterprise share the proceeds with sourcing participants based on their rank and points level accrued…think of it as the Uber or Task Rabbit of sourcing…there are a lot of moving parts still to be managed (could use a partner or three…) but hopefully we can roll out some of this by summer… This commercial effort could start things if we do it right, but…

            I do think it is totally feasible to create a TA org for TA activities only…the best way for it to work well is to convince companies (or a Foundation) to cough up enough cash to be able to remunerate a passion driven leadership team to take it on and see it through…

          10. K.C. Loving your thinking. Bold. Imaginative. Love to support you. I know Matt would as well. Raising the profile of sourcing would be awesome. Love the idea of a sourcing manifesto. Very cool.

            Count us in to support you.

          11. That is very very fabulous…

            I actually traded email with Matt this morning and we’re hoping to connect soon in person to chat about things…I live in the Boston Metro area as well…hopefully when you visit your Boston Hub we can try to connect too…In the next month I’ll forward you guys a brief outlining the plans (I shared this with Rob Mac and Gerry and they both loved it…). Its a work in progress looking for friends 🙂

            Thanks so very much for being one!

          12. Great news. And awesome you are in touch with Matt. Please do go visit the team and share you ideas and knowledge. Love it.

            Always happy to support innovators like you K.C. 🙂

          13. Thanks so very much…but in reality you are the motivator for innovation…ever since your 3.0 ERE post a few years back I got focused…much of the items in your post were things that my team had already implemented and it got me to thinking that perhaps we may be on to something…

            So actually your innovative thinking has been an inspiration (I shared your Campus post of mid April with the VP of Campus at PepsiCo and told her that is the way to do it!)

            Cheers Matthew!

          14. Wow. Thanks for the compliment. Appreciated K.C.

            I like trying to give back, open debate.

            Intrigued what PepsiCo thought? Any feedback?

          15. 3.0 was for the few that actually read it (and that was far too few, 8 out 10 I mention 3.0 to have no clue what I am talking about, a seriously bad indicative of real state of affairs in corp TA) a s e r i o u s and very well written profound piece and deserves to stand as a milestone in corp TA thinking. It what what got me started and one my eyes as well KC and has lead me down a path I now cannot let go of that is both giving me huge motivation but as well frustrations (as to how little interest and general awareness there is in TA for new and better solutions and thought processes)

          16. BTW K.C. It does make me a little angry when I hear Sourcing downgraded to the first step on the rung to be a recruiter. It is not a junior role. It is tough. An art. Challenging. Convincing someone to leave the security of a successful job is not easy. It requires considerable skill in the art of persuasion & knowing how to press the right psychological buttons.

            Sourcing needs to be seen as a profession in its own right……

          17. Couldn’t agree more…it actually NEEDS to be elevated…

            For the last several months I have been on a Consulting project at PepsiCo helping them to build a completely new sourcing function…it’s been quite a project and they have got off to a good start, but the interesting thing is that with so much ambiguity and nuance of the various functions we have them tackling, leadership clearly sees the role of a sourcer to be an industry expert at the senior mgmt level…this idea needs to spread…recruiters project manage reqs (administrative), sourcers are the artists, creatives, behavior managers and empathetic sales guys…the proverbial “Pros form Dover”

          18. WOW. Thanks K.C. Really appreciate your comments. they mean a lot. And I hope PepsiCo liked what you had to say 😉 Any feedback?

          19. Hook line and sinker all in…there is a 2x SourceCon Grand Master and another that has been a finalist several times in the annual SC Challenge on the team…all but one sourcer has 15-20 years of experience….its a bit different than in your world…they are hyper targeting these resources on very tight talent markets (smaller volumes) focused on top 5-10% talents in e-com, digital mktg, insights, innovation and design thinking areas like that…there is a very high caliber of talent in HR/TA there (some of the highest I have encountered at one company). Its fun consulting – but I am itching to make a broader impact…we’ll see what the future brings… 🙂

          20. Spot-on Matthew. It needs to be “done” by people who are seasoned in the arts you mention above and with gravitas that more readily comes with experience (which almost sounds “ageist – apologies !!). Sourcers need to be able to talk lucidly about the challenges of their industry an be specialist enough to at least be able to talk about key concepts and future strategy.

            IMHO, thats not a job for someone just starting out in their career – that doesn’t mean it couldn’t be done by a non-recruiter, I have seen mid-career IT folks really excel at “selling” the tech environment of a company to potential Engineering VPs, but they had some experience of the workplace which meant they could relate the IT estate back to the organisations strategic objectives.

          21. Totally Jeremy.

            Sourcing is an art. It is not an easy art. But one that deserves far more credit.

            Sourcing is not the preserve of entry level graduates/talent or outsourced cost efficient centers. It is a career in its own merits. That will become seen one day and the norm 🙂

          22. Well said Jeremy and others on this subject, and if you listen to what Grand Master Glen Cathey has to say about these matters it is about so much more than just a skill, an ability and what else people like to put into boxes. It is about mind-set about having the right mix of hunger, curiosity, boldness, librarian (yes someone once said that sourcing was akin to this!) a whole raft of explicit and implicit skills and facilities, leading me to ask why the h……. no one is giving this a whole new focus and nurture it. It is as if the more we can dumb various skills and abilities down the better it is. What about the opposite what if the entire recruitment industry grew up and saw the opportunities that lie in good and solid and thorough sourcing and qualification of people, _ guarantee you there is money to be made for those that get it right and spend the necessary time and effort into it. – Ohh but that is the problem isn’t it no investment no contingency plan no looking beyond this quarter and the profit for this quarter, sign of broken models and broken mind-sets.

          23. Matthew – I have also had similar comments about recruitment expertise being the remit of the CIPD-qualified (or similar !) HRBP community. Unfortunately, many of them don’t get some of the basics which you have discussed in your article above – and for many of them recruitment change is about which of the “best in breed” ATS’s you move to next and how do we adapt our processes to fit that !

            When agencies moan about companies going in-house it is generally about the company that goes for the post and pray option managed by an already over-worked and under-motivated HRBP.

            I find it shocking that many organisations don’t share the succession plan with recruitment teams and the BP community holds it close their chest like a highly guarded secret – with many more likely to share it with the search firm of their choice than with their internal colleagues.

            Whilst this attitude is maintained there won’t be a substantial shift in the way things are done generally – and I think it is the business rather than HR leaders who need to be educated (or at least alongside HR).

            Whilst I agree there are lots of TA leaders who don’t raise their heads above the parapet, how many times do we see business leaders presenting at TA events…….yet we are being told that TA is the key issue keeping CEOs awake at night ?

            Your article, as I said before, is great and having seen several of your presentations “live” I can concur they are entertaining and hugely informative – but how MUCH stronger would they have been if presented with and openly sponsored (broadcast/networked/etc) by one of your global senior business leaders ?

            Okay, you are Matthew Jeffery and you probably don’t need that support personally – but hopefully you get my principle ?

          24. Great points Jeremy. Totally get your points. And it would be more engaging for me to see business leaders present at Recruitment Conferences than pure TA Leaders, (and the same old faces). I do giggle that some TA leaders are recycling the same old presentation from conference to conference….really? !!!!! Crazy….and I know you can name some of them. Its like an 80’s pop star playing pub gigs singing the hit that made them famous 😉

            I will always remember that moment when I was told by an HR leader that they knew more about recruitment than I because they had CIPD & they had done a recruitment assignment and passed it!! I was only merely doing the job. Hilarious but they were passionate that they were right.

            We have much to do as an industry to improve our stature & lot. And gain the political clout we deserve in the wider politics community.

          25. BTW K.C. Rob Macintosh gave an awesome presentation and insight into the current state of Talent Acquisition at the ERE San Diego Conference. You should twist his arm to get a copy. Its fascinating. He provides some awesome insights.

          26. Thanks K.C. I always think that its our job, when on stage, to entertain the crowd, be provocative, wake people up. Hopefully I was able to do that 🙂 lol. Feedback was positive so I maybe was ok lol

          27. Simple: Talent Acquisition isn’t the problem, never was. The problem is bad managers and companies who treat people like crap, pay them like crap, and expect them to just stay and deal with it. But, if you acknowledge that as the key problem, well then the blame falls on senior management, therefore that can’t be the case. It must be TA, or HR, or the ‘talent shortage’ that exists only in the minds of people who are detached from reality to the tune of living in a Disney movie. To C level executives looking to fix blame for something, the only verboten answer is to accept responsibility for it themselves. In the rare cases where they do accept responsibility for their own screw ups, they do it in politicianesque fashion, a la Hillary Clinton, which is say they ‘take responsibility’ for X, Y. or Z, but never suffer any actual consequences.

            Simply put, most companies have tried to push salaries and benefits so low that they’re hitting a floor, a level below which even the most desperate for a job won’t go because they’ll actually be worse off working than sucking off the government teet or moving back in with relatives. But, the existing business models basically depend on this subsistence level ‘labor,’ which is really indentured servitude, and business ‘leaders’ by and large will not allow even a single hit to their margins to compensate for it.

            You pay peanut, you get monkey. It’s taken several decades for business ‘leaders’ to see the results of their policies, it will likely take another few decades for them to admit it’s their fault and offer people slightly more money or time off as an incentive to try and reverse the process.

          28. @ Medieval Recruiter Let’s first and foremost count our blessings that it is possible to say whatever anyone thinks, feels and have opinions about, a BIG hoorayyy for that, and how refreshing to like Keith Halperin read someone who will say their honest opinion. You are naturally totally right and much is broken and built on structures and system that long time ago failed to keep up with times, however that still form the basis on which everything is done, – and that is the fundamental problem in it all. For me it is simply very hard to see that on one side we have as a world been on the brink of collapse, that there is so much knowledge and wisdom around, yet no one seems to make any use of it, but would rather trundle on making the same mistakes as before (and yes the world will again in the next 10 years suffer as massive economic crash) I cannot fathom that mediocre and inadequate solutions prevail, that there is not a bigger urge and interest in doing something about things and that we are in effect when coming to TA and recruitment at best running at 20% steam, imagine if that could be doubled what that would mean for everybody. As we know this is not a question of cost but more about mind-set, tons and tons could be done if someone actually wanted to.
            I am as a humble human being, a tiny cog in a giant wheel just, ……. baffled.

          29. Paradigms persist until people who benefit from them die or leave the profession, and then new paradigms form. In science this means prevailing views will hold even though they’re false or in need of modification until everyone who has staked their career on those views retires. In other professions it means business models are maintained until those people retire, or until the cost of maintaining them outweighs the profits and prestige those at the top earn by maintaining them.

            Like it or not, there are TONS of agencies making TONS of money doing recruiting as is, why change? Why push back on that client and say, “No, that salary is inadequate for the role you’re hiring?” You know, they know it, the candidates know it, but the company would rather engage in a prolonged search and eventually lower their sights, or hire someone at a higher salary. And the agency rep will not challenge them because there’s a dozen other agencies out there willing to oblige the client’s desired, if wasteful and ineffective approach. So, why change? There is absolutely no incentive to change, or at least none big enough.

            Now, if the economy ever truly turns around and labor becomes scarce relative to jobs again, then things will change, because the usual crap won’t cut it. But, I don’t see that happening, ever, to be honest.

      2. Questionnaires don’t count as a ‘study,’ they are just questionnaires. What people say isn’t evidence of anything except what they said at that particular moment in time. It offers no actual insight, only real world data can do that. Ask a million single people why they’re single and they’ll give you a myriad of reasons why. Ask them to pick from a pre selected list, they’ll do so. Doesn’t mean jack in terms of how accurate or honest they are. They may think they really just haven’t found The One yet, when in the meantime their problem could be they smell like hell, or are abrasive and not pleasant to be around.

        Point being, a questionnaire won’t tell you what you actually need to know.

  14. SAP team, with all the finer details emerging and with all the goodies that you did not tell about in initial piece this really calls for a whitepaper, or somewhere where it all included, telling about ALL the points that have surfaced here as they are all relevant they are all of huge importance and they are all, metrics, structures, thoughts and processes something that every single TA lead and anyone interested could draw huge experiences from.

    1. Thanks for the continued comments, Jacob. Love the insight. I don’t expect this to be our last article and an in-depth look at the metrics, structures, thoughts and processes may be in order.

    2. Jacob. Thanks for the compliments. We really debated whether to release this article. Because we wanted the benefits of time to see more results. But we have the basic ingredients in place and I am super confident in the delivery model. We have the right attitudes. We are building communities, (but know what to do with them). We are constantly monitoring ROI. Asking why we do things. We are focused on driving KPI’s, but ones focused on quality & driving the right behaviors. Hence we wanted to share this initial insight.

      We also hope we encourage other companies to share. Thats how we all learn. Its how the industry grows. But. It is the same old faces at conferences, (and you know I took 2 years out for a break), and the same people writing articles. hence we need to see more in the industry share and develop us all.

  15. “Our sourcing hub leads will all tell you that the best candidates are those who are not looking They are happy in their current roles. They are not registered on job boards or on a recruitment agency’s books. Successful employees are so used to being approached that being headhunted is as natural to them as breathing.”

    On a skim, which is all I had time for thus far, this reads as typical recruiting BS. While unscientific surveys say a good portion of the candidate pool is ‘passive,’ passive candidates one week can be active the next, that has no impact on their potential performance in a new role. Nor is there any evidence whatsoever that just because someone isn’t looking for a job that they’re a great performer, they may just as easily be a satisfied idiot not looking for a new position. A person’s status as active or passive has absolutely nothing to do with their potential performance. As a marketing approach you obviously have to approach ‘passive’ people differently than ‘active’ people, but that’s all it is; marketing.

    1. Ah Medieval. I was waiting for you. YAY. Thanks for joining in this discussion. And love that you are looking at this from a different view point.

      Medieval. Love to know your insights into the talent pool. Research says, (National Labor Stats), that 80% of talent is passive, i.e. not looking. Hence you won’t attract them via job boards, agencies etc.

      I don’t see that as BS. It feels kinda right. When we post up jobs and active candidates reply, we seem to get the ‘traditional candidates’ that we easily attract. In our case, SAP, we want to attract Cloud ‘ready’ employees. Its an important skill/experience/mindset. Every company seems to want these talents. The Cloud is the future for the IT industry. Probably most industries.

      So, how do we attract ‘Cloud’ ready employees. Agencies? Job boards. They have not been as effective for us. Hence. we need to source. Leap on the phone, (not an Inmail as they get lots of those & probably delete most/all of them).

      We cannot rely on the roulette wheel ‘lottery’ of a job board or agency having a great candidate at the right time, at the right place, with the right skills, with the right culture fit, who we want to hire. Its too risky. And luck is involved. That’s not to discount the active pool. But to be realistic that sources are need to pick up the phone and work their art.

      Sales is an interesting term. Is recruitment sales? When you are talking to passives, (happy in their job, not looking to move), you engage in ‘sales’ / persuasive skill sets to attract them in. Or is that too simplistic a definition?

      Like the sales function we also operate via a sales funnel. We start with the many prospects, we refine, target, filter, research, to reduce that fuel to a defined pipeline. Again, similarities to sales.

      Or do you disagree 😉

      1. I didn’t say that ‘passive’ candidates weren’t the majority, I said they weren’t ‘better,’ as you claim in the below quote:

        “Our sourcing hub leads will all tell you that the best candidates are
        those who are not looking
        They are happy in their current roles. They
        are not registered on job boards or on a recruitment agency’s books.
        Successful employees are so used to being approached that being
        headhunted is as natural to them as breathing.”

        As a marketing position you should always go after passive candidates when the active funnel is low because it increases your chance of a good hire. However, there is zero evidence that a current ‘passive’ status means they will perform better if hired. It just means they’re not looking right now. They could just as easily be an incompetent putz as a top performer. The passive/active dichotomy is a line of crap. You source people in the most effective way possible, you hire them based on evaluations of potential performance. Whether they were looking or not at the time you sourced them has nothing whatsoever to do with the latter. It only dictates the means you need to use to reach them.

        And, since sourcing for active candidates is easier and lower cost, that means when there’s a healthy active pipeline you could actually be losing money by engaging in passive recruiting. Sourcing passive people to fill a funnel which is already healthy is a bad move, it carries opportunity cost because that is time and effort spent passively sourcing for position X when it may in fact be position Y which needs that attention. And, since there’s no link whatsoever between job search status and potential performance in future jobs, you’re not even increasing the likelihood of a better hire by concentrating those resources on job X.

        The idea that ‘passive’ candidates are somehow inherently better because they’re not looking is just a piece of nonsensical BS recruiters push as marketing hype. Not a single person in more than a decade in this game has ever been able to present a single piece of evidence to support the claim to me, other than that reliable source of “everyone knows.” Everyone knows a lot of idiotic crap that it isn’t true. However, if you work at an agency with a database of tens of thousands of people who might not currently be on job boards or linked in, you can mine that to your advantage and claim those people were ‘passive,’ simply because your client didn’t have access to them. And, because recruiting is dominated by ‘sales’ types, who by nature repeat BS bumper sticker slogans and lore as if they were truth, this nonsense is perpetuated.

        Passive means they weren’t looking. It doesn’t mean jack %^& with regard to the quality of the candidate.

        1. Medieval. Love what you are saying. I wish i could publish that very data that would convince you in this area. Perhaps sales is one of the most measurable areas. You can look at hires and assess them as a quality of hire in several ways:

          – How many new salespeople made 0% of Quota; <50%, 51-75%; 76-99%; 100% 110% PLUS within 6 months
          – How many made 0% of Quota; <50%, 51-75%; 76-99%; 100% 110% PLUS within 12 months
          – How many made 0% of Quota; <50%, 51-75%; 76-99%; 100% 110% PLUS within 18 months (past 18 months is not really an indicator of recruiting success as they are socialized in the business and should be performing by then).

          – Which performance grade the sales person got e.g. developing performance; successful performance; Outstanding Performance; Extraordinary performance
          – Attrition rates of the sales force (within 3, 6, 12, 18 months). Within 3 months is a misfire, (same could be said of 6 months)

          This provides quantifiable data. And is measurable on the bottom line.

          What we are seeing is that 'passives', (key is the definition here), vs actives, achieve quota, quicker, higher.

          Wish I could share the data Medieval Recruiter. Would convince you. But its proprietary info our competitors would love to have an idea of 🙂

          From a logic point of view. Again, I am speaking sales. If a salesperson is great, they will have pipelines developed, networks established, Their company will lock them in with stock, great comp. And maybe some punitive restrictive covenants.

          Why would a great sales person walk away from that without lots of persuasion? i.e. sales / persuasion 😉

          if you are not achieving targets. Not successful. Then you will be worried for your longevity / current job and register on job boards & with agencies.

          Not seeking to make a sweeping generalization but state an argument Medieval 🙂 Make sense? (love discussing these things with you).

          1. What is your definition of “passive”. Is it simply any candidate that wasn’t actively interested in SAP?

          2. Logan. Great question. I think we keep it simple. Someone NOT looking for a job, happy in their current one, not on job boards, not on agency contingent books. Fair description or you have a different one you use?

          3. BTW. Logan. What is your definition of ‘passive’? The same as mine below?

          4. “What we are seeing is that ‘passives’, (key is the definition here), vs actives, achieve quota, quicker, higher.”

            All well and good, but for several reasons, that doesn’t prove passives are better. Have you controlled for any other variables that would affect performance, including the bias of the sourcer, recruiter, and manager who put so much effort into wooing this ‘passive’ person to come on, and perchance wanting them to succeed more than someone who just walked in the door? Would the same added fawning, desire, and treatment, if heaped on an ‘active’ candidate produce the same result? There are ‘plausible’ explanations either way, which is a solid indication that it’s BS.

            Then you have the problem of it being a very limited data set, just your company, in an even more limited subset of a single department, sales. Relative to the population at large, that covers, what? Say you’ve had 1000 hires in one year to maximize the coverage and give the ultimate benefit of the doubt. In a country of over 300 million people that’s 0.000003% of the population with the two previously mentioned major caveats as well, and I seriously doubt you hired that many people. So, data of limited applicability that really is nothing more than a case study with no controls whatsoever at best. And, you can’t share it, which no offense makes it meaningless.

            “From a logic point of view. Again, I am speaking sales. If a salesperson is great, they will have pipelines developed, networks established, Their company will lock them in with stock, great comp. And maybe some punitive restrictive covenants.

            “Why would a great sales person walk away from that without lots of persuasion? i.e. sales / persuasion 😉

            “if you are not achieving targets. Not successful. Then you will be worried for your longevity / current job and register on job boards & with agencies.”

            Or, any number of a million other life circumstances, like because their wife hates that they’re out in the field 12 hours a day. Because they hate their commute. Because they just had a kid and want to be home more often now. Because they just bought a house and, however good their current job is, they need more upside potential. Because one of their parents died and they need to move to be closer to home to care for the remaining one. Because their old boss left and the new one sucks. Because their company went through restructuring and kept them, but laid off 1000 other people, nearly tripling the remaining staff’s workload in the first step into a downward trend leading to bankruptcy, and this particular employee is looking to leave before that starts in earnest. And a million other reasons I can’t think of right now, and wouldn’t want to list anyway.

            Point being, why and how people make such decisions depends on highly contingent and personal circumstances. You can’t predict who will be active or passive from one week to another. And what about all those passive people you’ve wooed but didn’t hire. IF, after your wooing, they decided to keep looking, well now they’re active, so did their potential performance just drop? Do they suck as candidates now? What plausible explanation would explain why those people, who were passive when you first called them but are now active, are all of a sudden lower quality candidates?

            “Not seeking to make a sweeping generalization but state an argument Medieval 🙂 Make sense? (love discussing these things with you).”

            It sounds plausible, as do the points I listed, which is why evidence is the key, and while I appreciate you guys at least bench marking internally, that’s not evidence. That’s another problem in our industry, the apparent complete lack of any knowledge of how to actually study things. Maybe that’s a result of so many sales! types who thrive on BS, or the result of being infested with soft social science types who are used to studies with no controls, and the proliferation of ‘white papers’ detailing Major! Industry! Trends! that are really based on unscientific random surveys of one billionth of the industry population.

            In the end though even your numbers, if you could publish them, would make an interesting case study, but unless you can drill down and correct for confounding variables there’s no way to really know why some people succeed and others didn’t, and there is no per se reason why passive has to mean better, and the evidence so far is shoddy to non existent. The reasons you listed for a sales person not looking are plausible, but they could also be comfortable, or maybe they think that they’re not likely to do better because they’re are at the limits of their ability, and don’t want to rock the boat. How do you know? You can’t ask them, they’ll give the answer they think you want to hear, or the one they want to hear, or the one they believe but which isn’t true, or they’ll flat out lie for reasons you or I can’t discern, or they might just be completely frigging nuts.

            That’s why actual controlled study of such issues is important, but will likely never happen. There are issues of proprietary information, such as you have, which I think are legitimate, but also you have a significant portion of the recruiting industry who would prefer the status quo keeps going, because they thrive on BS and lore, and what ‘everyone knows’ vs what reality is.

            So once more with passive vs active, where’s the EVIDENCE that they’re better? You have anecdotal numbers? So do I. At my last job I tracked sources, I’m doing it now too. No correlation whatsoever between sourcing method and performance. And that information is just as anecdotal and meaningless as yours. It’s not evidence. There are countless factors that affect a person’s success or failure at a company, to pin any significant amount of it on the method via which they were sourced absent any real evidence for it seems highly questionable.

          5. Medieval You are on to again real core issues here and I salute you for asking the questions and the basis for numbers and how things are measured. We all know that objectivity is rarely what is displayed out there and I believe there exist studies that overall speak of coincidence and un related factors playing a role in many instances. The entire passive vs active debate is like talent shortage and what else various spin will make us believe cover for either a whole different agenda or a way of attempting to explain or manipulate or re-sell old wine onto new bottles (war for talent etc. BS) There m a y be a tiny truth to some correlation in terms of sales but only true valid unbiased and controlled research will ever get to the bottom of this. Thoroughly enjoy that someone bring some of all these actually pretty important topics to life and questioning.

  16. And you did not mention this up front 2 x Matt that is sorry to say really a flaw and making a whole world of difference whether doing mostly JIT and reactive sourcing and recruitment or having ample (meaning at least 4 weeks or more if quarter scheduled hires) time to build communities and proper pipeline Every TA lead and recruiter would fall over themselves if being in such a massively fortunate situation.

  17. This was a great read, and I really think you’re on to something. I definitely share your belief that a cohesive unit of sourcers working under the same roof, in a competitive environment, will ultimately drive success for the firm. Additionally, bringing the employment branding and sourcing together should really help to further create a groundswell that strengthens the pool of talent for sourcers to connect with. Are there any early hurdles or bumps in the road that you’ve experienced, and if so, what adjustments have been made as a result?

    1. Hi Patrick – Thanks for taking the time to read the article and adding a comment. It does seem like we are on to something and we are very excited to see how it plays out. This is still a new process for us so I think there may be some shifting as we progress and evolve. The hardest part is the fluidity of recruitment and all the variables that play out from sourcing to hire. In other words, the recruitment world we live in is not black and white and in many cases unpredictable. After all, we are working with people who are making very big life and career decisions so anything can happen. The KPI’s, when looking at them from a pure numbers perspective, doesn’t take this into consideration. They are finite and all encompassing. That can obviously become a problem when measuring a Sourcer who is working on purely niche, “purple squirrel” reqs, in very tough demographics, or has had many of their reqs shift, change scope, hired internally, canceled, transferred, etc. We all know this can happen, it is unexpected and most of the time beyond our control. This was an issue because in these instance a Sourcer may have a very successful month but the numbers don’t support that. We were able to put a lot of additional data within our database and ATS that gives us the ability to paint a very detailed picture of exactly what each Sourcer went up against each month. We can now really pull back the covers and get a realistic idea on whether or not someone is successful based on what they had been working on and the situations that played out throughout the month.

      1. Thanks Patrick for taking time to read and comment. Appreciated. I totally agree with Matt.

        I have visited Matt’s team in Boston. I can tell you that they are hungry. There is a feeling of friendly competition. That may sound a contradiction but it is true. The team are great friends. There is a lot of banter. But they are competitive. Each one of them wants to beat the other. BUT whats interesting is that they look out for each other.

        Matt has built an impressive team. He is a name to look out for in the Sourcing world…watch out for further articles from him an he will be at SourceCon next year. Kudos to you Matt.

  18. Hey Team, great post. I’m curious where sourcing meets your Assessment that was discussed in previous posts. Or is the Assessment exclusive to college recruitment? And what happens if a passive candidate does not do well on the assessment?

    1. Hi Logan. Thanks for commenting. Happy to answer. The assessments are not used in the Sourcing process. Given the complexity of attracting ‘passive’ candidates, happy in their current roles, asking them to do an assessment does not feel right to us. We have to ensure they feel motivated & bought into SAP. Hence we don’t use assessments in Sourcing.

      However, Logan, would love your insights here. Are we playing too safe? Whats your view? Have you seen assessments work well in Sourcing? How would you see them being used? At what stage? Love your thoughts.

      1. Hey Matt, it’s certainly a conundrum. On the one hand you’ve spent all this time and energy identifying the magic cultural DNA that equates to success in your organization in the form of the assessment. And on the other you have spent considerable time and resources to develop a great sourcing model to attract the coveted passive candidate.

        If I am being honest, from your answer it sounds like SAP took the easy road. Instead of having passive candidates take and potentially fail the assessment and expose the weakness of both investments, you have simply chosen to not have them take the assessment at all.

        I like sourcing, and I try not to classify candidates into ‘active’, ‘passive’, ‘happy but open’ etc. I like sourcing because it is proactive. Instead of being a ‘passive’ recruiter and waiting for applicants to find our jobs and apply, I like to search our ATS, call past candidates, source LinkedIn…

        I really like your KPIs for sourcing as it sets some objective measurements. But I’m still not convinced that the Assessment is a great tool. It is too subjective for my taste…and at the end of the day its You are matching answers. But I have yet to see that the test is reliable or valid. Can you prove that those who ‘fail’ the assessment can’t perform well in your organization. Or can you show that passing the assessment always leads to success. If the answer is no…then assessments are just a subjective first filter…like eliminating all resumes that use Times New Roman.

        1. Hi Logan. I always love honesty. Creates better discussion. Thanks for being open with your views 🙂

          In terms of the assessment, we opted for the graduates. It is harder to differentiate between grads. Apart from traditional sifting techniques that reinforce the subjective stereotypes i.e. recruiters will sift based on traditional universities.

          I think time will tell us more as well Logan. We feel that based on initial results that grads coming through are hitting targets & achieving better quota numbers. Hence contributing to ‘quality of hire’ But you could also make an argument that the economy has improved and it may be easier to do better. Hence time provides greater validity.

          Maybe we are too conservative but asking a sales person of 10/15/20 years to do an assessment when we are selling SAP, feels a tad overly pushy. We approached them They are happy in their job. BUT maybe its when in the process we could introduce. I am happy to pilot this with Matt and the sourcing team in the Americas. Obviously early on and the candidate may tell us to **** off as we approached them

          BUT worth a try. What would you advise? Whats your thinking Logan?

          I love experimenting. And sharing. Like you, debate and new ideas are what makes the world go round

  19. Thank
    you Matthew, Andrea, and Matt, for the interesting and stimulating article.

    In a ‘League’ of Our Own’ … Introducing ‘Sourcification’

    I think the techniques you mentioned are valuable, and not relevant or applicable
    to the great majority of recruiters and their companies. Let me say why:

    I. For several years, I’ve maintained that sourcing/finding people is not the problem- having something worthwhile to tell the people is the problem. As John Sumser has been saying for quite a while “Pretty good sourcing keeps getting better and better.”

    A. Assuming your Philippines Sourcing Center is comparable to your other centers, it would make economic sense to minimize your
    Prague and Boston Centers and run three shifts in The Philippines, as you’re probably paying (or should be paying) considerably less than U.S. UK, or EU minimum wage for those people. Gamification (or more properly “incentivization”) could work very well for your team AND ALL YOUR EMPLOYEES (When it’s fair and realistic it certainly works for me.)

    B. I would think that with the computing power that a company like SAP has, after an initial sourcing campaign or two, you shouldn’t need to do more than a minimal amount of additional sourcing for potential candidates- just keep track of who comes and goes and where. i.e., “If you know where your car keys are at all times, you don’t every have to go look for them again”. If SAP CAN’T do this today, you should be able to do so within 3-4 years. (I’ve also said that within a few years, many companies will have the search capacity that would make NSA spooks
    of the early 2000s green with envy.) Not sure how? Being a German company, I bet SAP could hire some old Stasi folks to show you…

    II. A couple of years ago, I wrote that no matter how well you source, you need to have something worth telling people when you find them ( I maintained then and now that a very large percentage of companies and their hiring managers have unrealistically high expectations and senses of entitlement- they believe they can and should get far better people than they can reasonably expect to attract. Consequently, the real problem is not sourcing the people you think
    you should get, but convincing the founders, CXOs, other executives, and hiring managers to hire the people that ARE willing to work for them.(If your company really DOES need people that they can’t get for any price they can afford, then they’ve really “painted themselves into a corner”.)

    III. I had hoped that the unrealistic discussions of social media recruiting and talent communities would have gradually faded into irrelevance by now, but it appears my hopes were premature. The great majority of employers cannot or will not plan ahead, and have immediate hiring needs that social media cannot effectively address. While SM may be highly effective at creating a “talent community” of people who may or may not be interested in your job/company in 3,
    6, or 12 months, I still am waiting for someone to show how it can put quality butts in chairs NOW, which is what I am usually paid to do.

    IV. In summary, instead of making a big deal about sourcing, most companies should:
    A. Spend a fair amount of time calculating (using my Corporate Desirability Score) who they CAN reasonably get

    B. Hire a proven offshore phone- and/or internet sourcing firm to go after them

    C. Hire a seasoned in-house/contract recruiter to handle things which are worth paying >~USD$50/ do (your costs may vary) or a contingency/retained recruiter to do things which are worth paying
    30% fees for.


    “Guess I Still Won’t Be Invited to Participate at ERE Con Any Time Soon” Halperin, 1.415.672.7326 c

    1. Hey Keith. Yay. Thanks for reading and providing a really considered reply. I am loving what you have raised.

      I am just boarding a plane to the UK. So I will reply when landed.

      The shame is that the British Airways transatlantic planes don’t have wifi. Would make flying all the more bearable. Why they don’t……? You tell me. lol

      Thanks again Keith….will reply on landing…loving the ideas & thoughts you are having 🙂

    2. Nice response. You’re right of course, the problem still is that the average company is just that: average. Yet every single one of them thinks they can get, should get, and deserve to get the top top 1% of the top 1% of the top 1% of employees. This is not realistic, but this is the narrative pushed by almost every sales!recruiter out there. What’s really needed by almost every company out there is a brutally honest assessment of their value to employees; what do they pay, what is working there really like, what are their benefits really like, how competent are their managers, and what kind of ‘opportunity’ does working there really represent, and how do all those things compare to roughly equivalent employers in the area, and to employers in the area in general? Then, how do those things measure up to what employees actually want? Most companies who need help recruiting are generally going to find they fall toward the left, or lower end of that bell curve. Let’s face it, the top companies rarely need help finding people, they need help sorting through them at most. It’s troubled, poorly run, and just out and out bad and abusive companies that usually need help finding people.

      But that assessmentnever happens and likely never will happen, which is why with still roughly over twenty percent unemployment – once more, using pre 1994 calculations – employers can still complain about ‘talent shortages’ with straight faces. One main reason is that our profession is ruled by Sales! people, or BS artists as they used to be known. Objective reality doesn’t matter to these people, what matters is the chase and the fee, and nothing else. I still say the problem with recruiting is these sales! people and their influence, and that not enough basic supply line influence has come into the industry. That influence would lead to exactly the kind of assessments Keith is talking about. When they’re buying steel or contract components for a production line, they know the price range they can afford, they know the specs the product has to meet, and they know if they can realistically get it at that price, and if not they adjust. They don’t just let the production line grind to a stop while they wait for the perfect commodity to ‘walk’ in the door. What’s more, if the line does come to a stop because of one critical piece of inventory is missing, the production manager and his buyers better have a damn good reason why they haven’t bought any, because when the plant manager shows up and asks, and it turns out they’ve seen a few hundred suppliers who met the specs and the price and they just didn’t buy because they “weren’t the right fit” or any other vague nonsense, those people are getting fired on the spot.

      But, do that in recruiting and it’s just par for the course.

      1. Enough material here for another 20 debates and subjects that could and should be discussed, and very interesting angles to what it is that is fundamentally going on and where the r e a l issue lie. This is when we move from skirting around subjects to go deep and wide as to the reason and the real core of what going on. Discussion about chasing the almighty top 1, or 5 or 10% is hugely relevant and you have a point in what you say. Much of what is really going on is based on ‘playing the game’ believing in the hype and the self promotion and spin. Every single enterprise IT company pronounce themselves as being in the top 1 or 5 or 10% I can count at least 100 companies that use those phrases and the truth is it all has to be taken with a fair dose of pinch of salt. As such we are coming to the messaging becoming diluted and with that left with what at lot of times can be pronounced hot air.

        1. Jacob. Agree. This is a very refreshing debate. Loving what people are saying here. Its a quality discussion. Would love to see this played out at a conference 🙂

          Jacob. Question to you…..Surely spin is not just restricted to recruitment? Its in all areas of business? And Politics 😉 Look at the election. How much of the debate is on real issues vs ‘spin issues’? Spin is now part of the reality of our lives…..good or bad!

          1. As you know me MJ I could spend page upon page on this subject, I will not do that. Spin or ‘innocent lies’ or creativity with the truth’ is acceptable and anyone who take things at face value are naive. However spin that start to seriously distort or manipulate and lull people into false beliefs are dangerous and can never be good, whether in politics or in recruitment. Think about what kind of ‘worldview’ you want your offspring to have and then apply that and one should come to some reasonable balance. As for ‘spin is now part of the reality of our lives’ – this lead to only one thing disbelief at everything and ultimately apathy and disengagement, and that is very very dangerous.

          2. Jacob 🙂 Yes. people need to challenge everything. Statistics can be read in different ways. We see that in politics. One parties set of ‘great’ figures can be the polar opposite for another party.

            As you say. Life is about ‘spin’. Ie putting forward ones view on something. No harm in that.

            Key is asking the questions.

            On stage at ERE this week I said if you take nothing else home from this presentation, if you write down & remember only one word, please let it be ‘Why’. If people always just ask, ‘why do we do it this way’, I will be happy. People just accept the status quo. That is dangerous.

          3. Well if that the case then that build an undermining world of mistrust or never knowing what to believe as to what anyone says. Plenty of that in current politics and frankly it makes for confusion and doubts all around Wait and see until 7th May in the UK millions that have no idea who or what to trust what being said, from what angle the lot, – the confusion is near total.

          4. Jacob. Without getting too Political, ‘spin’ rules the roost. You know that. Look at current UK politics. When The Leader of the Opposition says last night on TV that he would rather lose than go into coalition with the SNP, then that is a great example. Lets be honest. If Labour have a chance of power and they have to govern with the SNP then they will. Nothing wrong in saying that and being honest. Not making any political points there. So to be balanced….If the Conservatives don’t win a majority but are the largest party, they may see no potential with working as a minority government and they would most likely go back in with the Liberal Democrats. But again both sides have to be positive and say they will win majorities. They can’t say if we don’t win….as it loses confidence and loses votes. Its tough to ever see that cycle being broken.

      2. Medieval. How can that be changed? What will shift this industry? Or is it now stuck in a groundhog day?

        1. It won’t change, most likely. The only thing that will change it is if there is a REAL shift in the market and companies have to actually start competing for labor. As it is, they’re complaining about ‘talent shortages’ when there is still significant unemployment and a labor participation rate that is shamefully low. So, it’s not going to change any time soon, if ever, to be honest.

          1. That’s depressing.

            You see no real catalyst? What will change this industry?

            Or apathy rules?

          2. No catalyst. Every country on this planet is run by thieves who collude with their cronies at the tops of various corporations to steal as much as humanly possible. When people start going after those thieves with pitchforks, and crucifying a few in the streets, then maybe things will change. But, more likely than not, when that happens they’ll just move to islands shaped like skulls where it’s nigh impossible to get to them and just drop the pretense at that point.

            There are two ways to get things in this world, via trade or thievery. The richest among us figured out a long time ago thievery is more lucrative when cloaked with euphemisms like ‘democracy’ and ‘free trade,’ and that’s the world we live in, like it or not. Societies seem to chug along until they completely collapse, I don’t know of a one that’s escaped that, and there’s no reason to think we’re any different.

          3. The depressing picture is being painted by the growing shanty towns in the US, not by me. The depressing picture is being painted by the police every time someone dies suspiciously while in their custody, or when they beat someone into a coma, or when the parking ticket they issued turns into a 10K fine because of ‘service fees’ tacked on by a private debt collecting service that the recipient can never pay back, and which eventually lands the person in a modern debtor’s prison. The depressing picture is painted by a simple drive through any depressed rural or urban region where you pass and interact with people of all races and ages who can’t even read, and for whom there is literally no realistic opportunity to better themselves.

            I used to be an optimist. Long term, I still am. But apparently humanity still needs to go through a few thousand years of boom bust and the poor and oppressed killing the rich cycles eventually before it learns the basic rule of not being a d&ck to one another.

          4. One person can make a difference. Always be an optimist. Martin Luther King. Nelson Mandela. Never gave up. Fought against the odds.

            Get back to being an optimist & make a difference Medieval. Its when people give up the battle is lost 🙂

    3. That is a shame Keith if ere or anyone else not allowing you the space and ability to be heard, as you may come across as at time rambling and riding the same horses, b u t anyone with brains will see that there is system, meaning and reason for your arguments and that in fact it IS worth listening to and taking into consideration. We need and are dependent on huge amount of debate, of asking ourselves about status quo, about what and where and how things could and should be done differently and from all angles. Being afraid of doing that, and not allowing those with alternative view points will only stifle things and ultimately suffocate us all. Look at the weird and wacky things L’oreal presented at LinkedIn Connect in London in 2014, it was crazy, it was wild, but at least they are trying it out, have a spirit of allowing to explore and to see what may work and what may not work. Others are to a smaller degree doing similar things, and guess what it is something that like what SDZ did a Zappos is yielding results.
      So let’s hear it from the Halperin’s The Medieval Recruiter those out there with ‘different ideas’ let’s discuss, debate, agree/disagree throw up in the air and let’s never forget to be seriously openminded about a n y t h i n g.

      1. Jacob. Totally agree. I love seeing innovations. And yes. Kudos to L’Oreal for trying new ideas. Using Soundcloud for branding purposes is original and has value. Kudos to Stacy & the experiment to move from job descriptions with Zappos. I remember discussing with her at the time to ignore the haters. We only learn from experimenting & trying new things. This in the ‘Commentariat’ need to take note 😉

    4. Hi Keith. Back on UK soil now. Sorry for the pause in reply. Was bumping round the sky in a tin can at 37,000 feet!!!! 😉

      Again. Thanks for replying Keith. Loving your response and questions raised. Debate is what keeps this industry fresh. Wish there was more of it. Especially to this quality.

      I agree with point I. Technology & referrals makes identifcation easy. That is not hard. The hard part is what to say i.e. the proposition. So totally agree. We are on the same page of the same book there 🙂

      IA. On the Philippines. Its a great thought. We looked at that. Pilotted it. We found it challenging. We have run pilots for approaching candidates in the USA both from the India & Manila hubs. It was challenging. We found that US candidates did not respond / were as engaged with approaches from India or Manila, than they were in the USA. Hence there lies the challenge. If approaches are rejected or curtailed then it lessens the impact.

      B. Yes. We have a huge database. Our challenge is the move in the market. We are now a Cloud company, as well as still offering traditional enterprise software. The Cloud brings different skills & different mindsets. Hence we need to hire different people. Many of the Cloud people we want are in startups. Hence we have to source and reach out to them. And guess what. If they are in a startup, they need to have a fuller explanation about moving into a larger company, (being one of a crowd or lost in the crowd is a natural concern). Hence again we have to be proactive. As are our major competitors. The War for Talent is the War for Cloud Talent.

      BII. Yes. But we also have to be out in the markets as we are seeking more ‘Cloud’ experienced people, with Cloud mindsets. We cannot wait for everyone to approach us. And the move to the Cloud is a fundamental shift in our model. Its what is exciting the markets and upwardly driving our share price.

      BIII Talent Communities have real value NOW. We have a TC of over 500,000 names. This is fully searchable. We have a Talent Community building tool called RMK. It takes 30 secs to fill in some basic business card details, register against job alerts and boom you are in the community. Key here is that there is not always a job specific to someones skills at any given moment in time. Hence they join the community and get immediate notification when that job comes up. Plus…Not everyone wants to complete a full job application, hence again we capture them into the Community. Plus many just join the community to be part of it & get latest marketing updates. That 500,000 Talent Community is hence a community of searchable talent, a ‘crowd’ to source external referrals & an audience to segment & market to. This Community is supplemented by Social & Digital marketing. Hence Communities can have immediate value. And yes. Social does work. We track traffic from Facebook & number of hires via RMK.

      PS. I hope you do get to be invited to the next ERE & you get to speak 🙂 Great debate.

  20. Passive candidates – those that make friends for tomorrow, that show interest in their audience, rather than continually force jobs into the conversation will become ‘interesting’ to the candidates. They are people, first and foremost. And great recruiters are brilliant at building relationships of trust .

    Your example of the sales person, with the pipeline, doing a good job and earning good money is spot on – it will take more than a InMail to spark interest – Why would a message even get opened, let alone read and cause action by a high performer who isn’t even thinking about a job? We have to be much smarter than that – understand
    what makes them tick. What interests them, what challenges do they face? How could you help them? How do you continually engage them with ‘things of interest’ and help – overtime building a relationship.

    Replace the word sourcing, with marketing – then take a lead (candidate) that drops into the pipeline (talent pool)– at any stage. The marketers’ role is to nurture that lead – person – towards conversion and as we know this will have a variety of different touch points and activities across a varied attribution path – people (certainly
    passive people) very, very rarely convert on ‘first touch’.

    A strategic approach to sourcing (sales and marketing) is totally where you need to be. In some ways the old ways of sourcing are very much tactical activity to try and win a battle – but you won’t win a war with a strategy. Having KPI’s that encourage, reward and champion the behaviour you belief will help manage and motivate your people to deliver on the strategy – great business practice.

    Then embrace the technology and digital tactics, tools and techniques and create a culture that puts your customers (candidates) at the heart of what you want to do – build lasting relationships with people and they will become engaged with your brand. And when it comes to choosing, they are more likely to choose you.

    1. Cheers for reading Google Dave and taking the time to comment. Really appreciated. What I learn from you & is key to your presentations is people are people, build relationships with them, get to know them. Do that and you win trust. Win trust and they are likely to entertain working at your company, (in recruitment terms). Don’t get to know a candidate then they are just a number on the KPI’s.

      Love your message & insights Sir. You are on the cutting edge.

  21. How do you differentiate between a Recruiter and a Sourcer. Sounds like the role of the recruiter is less vital than that of a sourcer?

    1. Hi TA Disruptor. Love the name! They both have their own importance and responsiblities. The Sourcer’s here are supporting the Recruiter’s (“CFR’s” or Client Facing Recruiters as it is called here) as an additional channel to support their reqs. In a lot of cases they are doing their own sourcing but when a very difficult req or a large project arises, or one that covers a large area, the HM is very picky, there is a very tight deadline or they simply don’t have the capacity due to req load, they will then utilize sourcing support. The Sourcers will go out and hunt for passive Candidates to put forward for consideration. The Sourcers have a very narrow focus here and they do not have any responsibility for scheduling interviews, negotiating salary, processing offers or onboarding. All of this is taken care of by the CFR. The CFR also manages all of the inbound applicants as well. They are by no means less vital, they just have a different set of responsibilities around managing
      Candidates once they are introduced into the process, and closing them which is obviously extremely important.

      1. That brings up an interesting question Matt (Hi – btw)…

        Its one thing to source for volume profiles (sales, supply chain, help desk…), its another to source for specific difficult reqs, picky HMs, etc.

        In the micro sense the sourcer will have developed the relationship with the prospect…how is that transference to the client facing recruiter working out? If the “white glove” passive treatment ends with the sourcer… hmm…the experience may be very different for the prospect who is now being treated like a number by a CFR managing 30 reqs…or worse by the HM that views the candidate like all the other active candidates in the interview pool…has this caused any issues as of yet?

        1. Hey K.C.! Great observation and question. So far so good and that is mostly due to setting the proper expectations up front. In the relationships we build both proactively and in a reactive situation we are outlining the process, the what’s-what and the who’s-who to the Candidate from the get-go. That way it comes at no surprise to the Candidate when they are moving through the process. We have actually seen an added benefit to having two Recruiters in the process. For one, the Candidate now has two people he/she can go to directly for follow up, questions, etc. The other is they can hear about the job, culture and overall perspective from two people, and that can, most of the time, lead to a fuller picture of the position at hand. We do not close out the relationship as soon as that hand off happens. The majority of the time that Candidate, especially if they are passive, may not be the hire and the relationship needs to continue.

          The same goes for the HM and setting the proper expectations and educating them on what Sourcing is going to bring to the table. It is known up front that when Sourcing is engaged they should expect to see passive Candidates and we educate them on the difference (we even have a great document branding put together to highlight the value of engaging sourcing, what we bring to the table and key things to consider when working with passive Candidates, such as timing, what they are looking for, etc.). They are made aware of what Candidates are coming from Sourcing so they know which Candidates are the passive ones and this definitely helps.

          1. Said before, but reinforced with the approach applied above, this is real ‘grown up, thought through and proper TA stuff’ you guys are applying here.

  22. The is a great initiative and I’ve believed for a while that aspects of sales can be brought into recruitment. The strategy to bring sourcers together into hubs was a good one, as from experience, it’s very difficult to create internal competition when people are satellite, but more importantly they will teach each other, whether they want to or not.

    I would question why you would reward them points based on using LinkedIn? Anyone can use a LI Recruiter License and it shows little to no sourcing skill, possibly outside of the way they engage with the potential candidates. For recruiters I understand LI is a necessity, and it has changed the game, but I don’t see where it offers any competitive advantage? Now, finding a hire without using LinkedIn should be something that’s rewarded, because it’s making them go outside their comfort zone and possibly find one of the 4 billion members of the global working population not on LI.

    The quality of hire piece is interesting and something we’ve been discussing A LOT recently. General consensus seems tone that there is no formula for every employer. On the surface the SAP approach may seem like a blunt instrument, but actually something as simple as monthly line manager feedback could be a scaleable solution to something the industry is crying out to understand.

    The key to making this work long term is constancy. It’s not just about making a big splash and waiting to see what happens. The Managers / Leaders will need to live and breath this is they want their people to do the same.

    Great indicative and a lot other employers can learn from it.

    ++Sorry if these points have already been made but who has time to read through this many comments?!? :-)++

    1. Hi Jamie – Thanks for taking the time to read and comment. Consolidating the sourcing organization into central hubs was necessary to make this work. On top of this it builds a stronger culture and camaraderie, best practices and knowledge sharing can be shared and implemented freely and it definitely creates a good buzz in the office.

      Great point on LI Recruiter. It certainly doesn’t define a great recruiter and I completely agree with you. There was a lot of talk about measuring the activity on LI. We obviously want to see the Sourcers using this as it is a tool that can lead to success and it costs quite a bit of money so we wanted to show some return on investment here. However, the KPI’s put in place allows for LI to only be a part of the overall recruiting strategy. If we had put a high number out there for the Sourcers to obtain then that would have been all they would use. Furthermore, we put very few points towards hitting these KPI’s as we did for any of the others KPI’s.

      Quality is key and that is the number we are focusing on the most. We do not want to mistake activity for achievement. There needs to be quality in order for the activity we are measuring to turn into success. If we are screening and submitting a high volume of Candidates that don’t go anywhere then what is it all for? The quality KPI really allows for us to critique our approach and strategy. After all, our ultimate goal is to get great Candidates hired into roles they will be successful in and that’s what justifies the means.

      This approach is at the forefront of Sourcing. It is a constant topic of communication and something we are making a big deal out of. The wins and successes are promoted and it is something that we are taking quite seriously. In turn the teams are putting a big emphasis on how their daily activity will translate into success. It’s a truly fun and exciting time for the team and so far everyone seems to be embracing it. I’m sure we will run into the speed bumps and hiccups you expect to have when you role out something new but we understand this is going to evolve as the business evolves.

      Are you saying you didn’t read through every single one of these comments??!? 😉

  23. As always, your articles add value to my career, so thank you MJ!
    I haven’t had the time to read all the comments (things are a little busy this end) but I wanted to add a few points regarding your piece. You seem to infuse every TA article with honesty and optimism, whilst being 10 steps ahead. For me, the section that stood out was your ‘sourcing culture’ shift – you seem to have taken some big steps to change this (key sourcing hubs & EB/Sourcing merge).
    As well as having brilliant KPIs put in, have you done anything else to make your Sourcers understand the value of proactive and strategic activity? Are they all ambassadors of your employer brand? Are they all socially active? I’m keen to know how SAP make knowledge/behaviour stick too – sorry so many questions.
    My only concern in pulling EB into sourcing is, you’re opening the gap between EB and your Corporate/Consumer brand. For me, I feel the partnership between EB and sourcing needs to be ‘bestfriends’ status.
    Transformation and driving ‘recruitment readiness’ to life is key right now, in order to capture the best talent.

    1. Sharp observations, and damn good questions Becky that I look forward to seeing answers to.

  24. Very last comment on my side, promise.
    Huge initiatives, huge strides, huge changes and hopefully huge success with the entire program.
    For me e v e r y single element is interdependent and must fit like a puzzle or all in vain, what I term the ‘holistic approach’, or ‘symphony orchestra methodlogy’ if you like.
    With that naturally also a candidate journey, a candidate experience and question is simply whether you also have that mapped out, with internal/external SLA’s and structures, and if so what that looks like.

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