Thorough Sourcing

“What’s thorough sourcing?” you ask.

“We’re doing that!” you hope think.

Are you?

Thorough sourcing is when you are confident you have everyone inside a specific company (or companies) that you can contact for your open opportunity.

It’s when you have a list of names along with their titles (and hopefully their direct dials!) that you can sit down and call through and pitch your position to.

Many of you are dealing with some very hard-to-fill positions.

Candidates are not answering your ads.

They’re ignoring your social media call-outs.

You’re not finding enough of them on the job boards and when you do find them on LinkedIn you can’t get in touch with many of them or they don’t answer your e-mails.

You’re not taking things far enough.

When you find a resume on Monster or CareerBuilder and the guy looks perfect, rest assured there are several others inside his past organizations who are also likely to look “perfect” if only you could take a look at them.

But you can’t because, alas, they’re not online.

At least they’re not online in a capacity that links them to your needs.

So what can you do?

If you’re resourceful and have the guts it takes to call somebody on the phone, you’re going to call into that person’s organization and nose around and find out who the rest of his team members are.

This is old-fashioned recruiting.

This is what they did back in the old days.

The technique is (still) golden and becoming more and more so as fewer and fewer recruiters do it.

Article Continues Below

When you do this, and you do it successfully you’ll be rewarded with knowing that you’ve done everything you can do to fill the open position that is causing you (and your boss) such heartache.

You’ll have done everything possible because deep down in your gut you’ll know that you’ve tapped every available resource humanly possible to fill your open jobs.

Once you’ve identified who the players are on the inside you can sit down at your desk and call each one of them up and present your side of things.

Until you’ve done this you haven’t done a thorough job.

Next week on ERE I’m going to start a step-by-step process of how to do the phone sourcing part of thorough sourcing.

In the meantime I’m starting a Tuesday Phone Sourcing Tip over in the ASK Maureen group here on ERE.

Here is this week’s “tip”:

When you’re calling into a company and using their directory to see “who’s still there,” don’t be convinced someone isn’t just because their name doesn’t show up in the spell-by-name function.

Most spell-by-name directories only list the persons attached to that particular office. So if you’re looking for someone in Spokane and calling Chicago headquarters, they’re not likely going to be listed in the Chicago directory.

You have to call the office the person is attached to in order to find them in the directory.

This is a common mistake novice phone sourcers make.

The BEST WAY to find someone in any particular company is to either:

  1. Call the office the person is attached to, or
  2. Call headquarters and ask the Gatekeeper to look in the global directory.

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


15 Comments on “Thorough Sourcing

  1. Maureen,

    Thanks for the great tip. Like you, I am confident that contacting candidates directly is the most effective way to recruit individuals who are not actively looking for a new job.

    As you are aware, sourcing prospective candidates, and then cold-calling each one of them, is a labor intense process. The problem is that many employer-based recruiters don’t have the time to source/contact dozens (or even hundreds) of prospective candidates.

    With this in mind, I would like to point out that there is another way of sourcing/reaching prospective candidates: direct mail. We have a number of clients who have had considerable success staffing hard-to-fill openings by sending a personalized letter to prospective candidates.

    Direct mail combines “sourcing” and “initial contact” into one convenient, cost effective process. The only issue with sourcing via direct mail is the availability of a good mailing list. I recently wrote a short paper “How to recruit like a search firm without the cold calls and the big fees.” that provides recruiters with more information on using direct mail as a recruiting resource. You can access this paper at

  2. Hi Maureen,
    I’ve received on numerous occasions companies in India who claimed that they have the ability and resources to gather names of qualified candidates within a short time (sometimes in 1-2days)based on the Job Requirement we furnish them with. Do you have any positive experience with such companies? If so, this name-gathering job can be outsourced to such research companies freeing us to do other tasks.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *