Sourcing Trends and Predictions 2010

Over the past six months, I’ve worked with dozens of major companies and some of the latest new recruiting and sourcing technologies. Based on this, it’s not a reach to contend that how companies will find, recruit, and hire top talent in 2010 and beyond will be far different than how it’s been done in the past few years.

I’ll also make the contention that only a few companies are ready for this shift and none of the predictions below are far-fetched.

For one thing, they’re now being successfully tried out today in some form by big-time companies. More important — they work, especially on a recruiting-ROI basis. I define this as the quality and impact a candidate makes divided by the cost and effort to find and hire the person. (Email me if you’d like to review this Recruiting ROI calculation.)

To further validate some of the more “off the wall” predictions, I’ve tied the major points to an online survey. The results are currently posted, providing an instant view of where your company stands in comparison to your competition.

With the idea of getting ahead of the recovery, here are my 2010 New Year’s predictions for sourcing and recruiting:

  1. Job boards will soon be archaic. Major job board advertising will continue to decline as corporations finally realize that posting individual requisitions on these boards targets “C+” type talent. Money spent here will be reallocated to sourcing programs that actually work.
  2. The talent hub and spoke model will dominate active candidate sourcing. Requisition-based advertising will be replaced by bundling similar jobs into talent hubs. Traffic will be driven to this hub via a variety of ever-changing sourcing spokes (blogs, niche boards, social networks, user groups, specialty sites, etc.).
  3. Sourcing spokes will come and go. This search-engine-optimized “talent hub and spoke” model will dominate active candidate sourcing with new spokes, like Twitter and Facebook, coming and going. Jobs2Web and TalentSeekr seem well-poised to dominate this market in the short term, with First Advantage’s HireEngine, among others, entering the fray.
  4. Applicant tracking systems will eventually react and adapt to the new model. ATS’s will finally re-architect their systems to adapt to this new dynamic sourcing model, but they will not be the driver behind this change. So expect to continue to be disappointed with lag times of one year or more.
  5. Companies will be unprepared for the spike in turnover. There will be a six-month spike in hiring as a result of a big jump in voluntary turnover once the recovery begins in earnest. The current pent-up demand for new jobs will finally be unleashed then, as nearly everyone enters the job hunting market. Expect counteroffers and compensation to increase.
  6. Twitter will not become the silver bullet. Twitter will be one of the spokes in the talent hub model, but not a dominant source of candidates. However, it will be a very useful means to spread the news about open opportunities to a company’s prospect pool. Here’s a very short survey you can take that validates this.
  7. Effort will increase to source passive candidates. Passive candidate sourcing and recruiting will become more aggressive, since this represents 70% of the population (based on surveys indicating that 20%-30% is active). In the short term, LinkedIn, ZoomInfo, and Broadlook will be the primary tools used to find passive candidates, in combination with strong recruiters to drive the process to closure. However, the ERP (see below) will become an increasingly important driver of this.
  8. Just-in-time hiring and virtual recruiters will soon arrive. Companies are now building proprietary databases of top talent nurtured by CRM (candidate relationship management) workflow systems. These systems are now becoming more robust with the addition of advanced workflow design and auto-responders. This will result in an online “virtual recruiter” automatically converting prospects into interested candidates. Avature and First Advantage’s Talon seem to be leading the pack here.
  9. The employee referral program will become the primary driver for future sourcing. The traditional ERP will be transformed into a far-reaching network of top talent by integrating it directly with tools like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. This way the ERP will quickly become the prime source of prospects for a company’s proprietary talent pool.
  10. There will be increased focus on implementing “Hiring A-level talent” training for both recruiters and hiring managers. Recruiting, interviewing, and hiring A-level talent who have multiple opportunities requires strong recruiters and sophisticated hiring managers. Few corporations can pull this off without a significant investment in the proper training. (Email me for info on who does this best.) This void will keep external recruiters in business by hunting down companies that haven’t figured out how to do this.

Peering into the future, it’s pretty clear that sourcing active candidates will largely rely on a search-engine-optimized talent hub and spoke replacing traditional requisition-based advertising. More important will be the use of proprietary talent pools powered by a “virtual recruiter.” This capability will provide companies the opportunity to hire truly passive candidates before they enter the market. For those companies that haven’t built these models, and to fill specific critical needs, there will be increased reliance on advanced passive candidate recruiting approaches including continued use of external agencies.

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As I indicated earlier, I don’t think any of this is too tough to predict, since most progressive companies are already moving in these directions.

However, too many companies think this can all happen without the total involvement of the executive team and every single line manager. This has been the weakest link in the chain in the past, and my prediction for the future is that it will continue to be the problem. I have seen very little effort to get hiring managers totally engaged, and because of this, hiring top talent will still be problematic, despite the efforts of HR and recruiting leaders and some innovative technologies.

Lou Adler is the CEO and founder of The Adler Group – a training and search firm helping companies implement Performance-based Hiring℠. Adler is the author of the Amazon top-10 best-seller, Hire With Your Head (John Wiley & Sons, 3rd Edition, 2007). His most recent book has just been published, The Essential Guide for Hiring & Getting Hired (Workbench, 2013). He is also the author of the award-winning Nightingale-Conant audio program, Talent Rules! Using Performance-based Hiring to Build Great Teams (2007).


16 Comments on “Sourcing Trends and Predictions 2010

  1. Lou,

    This is great stuff. And you are correct – not too tough to predict.

    I do get frustrated, though, that companies are not yet recognizing that the current situation with candidates is going to turnaround very quickly, as the economy improves.

    Hiring managers continue to confuse the fact that there is a high quantity of candidates with the fact that the quality candidates are still “underground” for the most part.

  2. Great post,

    I really think the referral method will work well as social networks are now second nature to so many people it just seems natural to ask employees to attract the right people they think are best for the job. Looking forward to hearing more!

  3. To Lou Adler: Will appreciate your comments:

    Our firm, and many others, have been operating sucessfully for years on the (to us) proven premise that no method is more effective and PRODUCTIVE in surfacing and attracting the largest quantities of the highest-quality type of candidate (the PASSIVE candidate) than TELEPHONE-based candidate I.D. (“Name-Generation”), followed by PROACTIVE TELEPHONE-BASED contacts with such identified prospects.

    This has been the “Gold Standard” for recruiting used by the top RETAINED search firms.

    We are still convinced, based on extensive ACTUAL EXPERIENCE, including “side-by-side” tests of Telephone-based methods versus INTERNET and Business/Social network methods…for the SAME SEARCHES, that internet methods do not even approach the level of productivity of prime candidates typical when using telephone-based methods.

    Your article and research didn’t touch upon the future outlook for the Telephone-based approach to identifying and sourcing PASSIVE CANDIDATES. I would be interested in any impressions or research findings you have addressing that issue.

  4. Lou,

    I love your vision of the near future but I’m afraid that one thing may stand in the way: the government. In particular the OFCCP and to a lesser degree the EEOC and state regulators.

    In my view, the current requisition based model still exists because so many firms (especially large firms) are required to track and report on applicant activity for specific defined positions.

    The hub and spoke model is beautiful. It’s dynamic, it’s robust, it’s scalable, and it allows firms to focus on quality. But as long as companies are required by law to track “applicants” to “positions”, then form will follow function and the requisition model will persist. And as long it persists, we will continue to see Applicant Tracking Systems rather than Candidate Relationship Management systems dominate the market and ERP’s will feed into an ATS rather than a CRM.

    I’d much rather see your vision of 2010 come true. Please convince me in can still happen.

  5. Lou –

    Thank you for your thoughts, and I think most of these are happening now. Social media is the way to find people, if an organization is hiring they wnat the perfect candidate so you need to go ager passive candidate’s, job boards are not very successful in finding candidates you need to use other means.

    I agree that companies need to start preparing for the upturn with their hiring plans, many people are waiting out the market before they find the next role.

    Best –

  6. Brian – the beauty of the hub & spoke is that you’re not offering specfic jobs, just generic opportunities. This is what a talent hub is all about – from here candidates can search for specific jobs or become a prospect in a talent pool. Since the prospects haven’t applied for a specific job, there is no reporting required. When the person applies for a specific, if ever, the OFCCP reporting would kick in.

    Mike – this article was referring to corporate recruiting departments – not outside firms. Your view is covered in point 10 in a roundabout way.

  7. Lou,

    Extremely, glad to see what you have written here in the article. We @ had similar thoughts for quite sometime now and have actually gone in and implemented a service which takes care of pretty much most of the stuff you are talking about here. The good thing is companies are already using it and are seeing the benefits. We are very passionate about bringing a change to the recruitment industry, which has been kind of static for quite sometime now, with only marginal changes happening here and there. A unified and holistic approach is needed to bring a dramatic change to this whole process of hiring. Visit and check out the site at when you have time.

  8. A thought provoking piece, though not necessarily one that I totally agree with. I should point out that I neither work or own a job board, nor am I a staunch advocate. As an experienced consultant to the recruitment industry and trainer I observe it.
    My thoughts are that it is true that there is a significant decline in ads on job boards. There are a few reasons for this. Firstly, there are not the jobs and secondly recruiters have learnt to search bulging data-bases before posting. This “look at the stock” approach is one I have been advocating for some time. The years of “post and hope” are passing as recruiters become more cost conscious. Equally, there has been a greater emergence of corporate recruiters who are skilled in searching from sources such as linked in. All of this has impacted on advertising spend.
    I don’t however see this as the end of the job board, far from it. What I have been observing is that like many businesses, job boards have had to review and change their offering to increase value. Initiatives I have heard of recently are making the boards far more responsive, offering filtering and search capability. In the UK most notably Guardian jobs have added a sourcing team to response handle and search the cv database, others I have heard of such as jobs Ireland are offering free job postings and generating revenue from the CV database, others are charging job seekers for an enhanced service and making it free for advertisers.
    The advent of social media channels such as groups, blogs, hubs, twitter etc have again impacted, but I have noticed the boards getting much better at promoting themselves through these channels, and offering greater value by initiatives such as setting up their own industry groups on Li and utilizing Twitter to increase brand exposure and promote new job postings. The staff also seem to be far more attentive, and even the biggest names are being far more attentive in their approach to pricing.
    2010 I believe will see the merge of the smaller niche brands in to the larger groups, offering a much wider range of services which will be a lot more interactive and offer greater value. As the market rises, so will the traffic in job boards. For me this will be the trend for 2010, with greater service and value for recruiters.

  9. All good points! Here is the “sleeper” at the end of Lou’s post:

    “However, too many companies think this can all happen without the total involvement of the executive team and every single line manager. This has been the weakest link in the chain in the past, and my prediction for the future is that it will continue to be the problem.”

    … and that ladies and gentlemen is why they will continue to need us as recruiters. We DRIVE the process and help them get out of their own way!

  10. Great to hear that employee referral programs would be one of the main sources to find new employees. Technology is really changing how employers and potential employees communicate!

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