How to Build a High-Performance Sourcing Department – Part 1 Hire High-Performance Sourcers

In my over 16+ years of experience in sourcing, I have built successful sourcing models in corporate, RPO, and agency organizations. These successful sourcing models have spanned multiple industries, such as financial services, technology, consulting, and health care. During this time, I have learned some valuable lessons on the keys to building a high-performance sourcing department.  The first part in my six-part series on building a high-performance sourcing department will focus on the topic of hiring high-performance sourcers.

Hire High-Performance Sourcers

It might seem obvious but hiring high-performance sourcers is probably the key, most important factor in building a high-performance sourcing department. You can have all the sourcing tools and SLAs in place but without having the right resources also in place; a sourcing department will not be successful.

Define “What is a Good Sourcer”?

Before you can hire high-performance sourcers you need to know what the definition of a good sourcer. Great sourcers are individuals who possess two skills sets that might appear to be polar opposites. They possess strong analytical research skills and outstanding verbal and written communication skills. According to sourcing pioneer Harry Ensley, Director of Global Talent Acquisition at Sun Life Financial, a great sourcer is often a strong recruiter, but a good recruiter is not necessarily a good sourcer.

“There’s sometimes a perception that a sourcer is a junior recruiter — the original typecast might be a basement computer nerd with limited people skills; however, the high end of the market is quite the opposite, and many recruiters would fail at this role. Often, the best sourcers have strong business acumen and communication skills. They can overcome any objection of passive candidates, recruiters, and hiring managers.” Harry also believes that most successful sourcers are driven, Type A personalities with analytical and lateral thinking skills.

Harry also believes that most successful sourcers are driven, Type A personalities with analytical and lateral thinking skills.

Best Sources to Recruit High-Performance Sourcers?

The best possible place to find high-quality sourcers is, without a doubt, referrals from your current or past high-performing employees. You will seldom receive bad referrals and your current and past high- performing sourcers will most likely provide you with a good referral similar to themselves. If you asked most sourcers, they would know of at least one individual to refer to you and possibly more. The next go-to place to find top sourcing talent is to network within the sourcing community. There is a high probability that if you network within the sourcing community, you will be introduced to talented sourcers who can potentially make valuable contributions.

The Importance of Fit in Hiring High-Performance Sourcers

You can hire the best sourcing talent on the market and not have a successful team. When building a high-performance team, the fit is just as important as skill set. Many a sourcing team has been unsuccessful, despite having great sourcers, because the individuals were difficult to work with and lacked the interpersonal skills to get along in a team environment. When building a sourcing team, it’s important to consider how each new employee will fit into the current team. If you perceive that the potential hire will cause internal conflicts, avoid making the hire.

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Go Beyond Typical References

For those who work in sourcing, we are blessed to be part of a huge network of individuals who work in our space. Although large, the sourcing community is also highly interconnected. There is a high probability that if you ask someone in the community about a potential sourcer to hire, you can find some good insights into the abilities of that individual. The sourcing community can provide information about the skill set of a particular sourcer that would be hard to obtain through a traditional reference check.

The next installment in this series will focus on analytics in building a high-performance sourcing department.