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The importance of sourcing in a world of recruitment ‘gods’

By Valerie Wasch
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Recruiters – they’re the real money-makers in a firm… right? Often charging a minimum of 15-20% for quality candidates, they’ve helped drive the creation of 9,001 new recruitment agencies in the UK for 2017. According to the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC), which recently released their Recruitment Industry Trends report for 2016/17, the industry is now valued at £32.2bn in the UK alone - $528bn globally. There is, quite frankly, a huge demand for the services we offer today.

Traditionally, recruiters will command lower basic salaries, but will make up for it in commission. This means that recruitment agencies are in a particularly low-risk agreement with said staff member. If they don’t perform, they quite simply don’t get paid… but when they do perform, it’s a lucrative proposition all round.

Discount the Rolex watches and boat-party perception, if you will, and take a look at the infrastructure that allows this business model to remain a success. Where do recruiters actually source their candidates, for example? It’s rarely done by the same person placing the role (and winning that commission).

Enter: the sourcing department. 

Sourcing involves the delivery of candidates to the recruitment specialists. This includes parsing CVs, headhunting workers not on the market, and vetting incoming calls to assess the suitability of a potential placement. In terms of candidate placement, sourcing and delivery often acts as a form of quality control – helping recruiters place the best candidates, and boosting the reputation of a specific agency as a result.

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes… who will guard the guards themselves

Paraphrasing Abraham Maslow, “if all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” This is often the mentality from our recruitment brethren. This is not a criticism, however, far from it – it’s a comment on differing motivations and requirements. Recruiters are motivated to place the best candidate possible for the greatest possible fee. But what happens if that talent pipeline isn’t in place?

While recruiters make money, the sourcing department makes quality recruiters. Without sourcing, there is no recruitment cycle - they are the ambassadors of the company. While recruiters build and develop relationships with clients, it is the sourcing department that builds relationships with candidates (as well as dealing with any divas internally).

The issue, then, comes down to financials. As sourcing (by design) generates less revenue, the department is often seen as sub-standard compared to its recruitment counterpart – in reality, both of these departments are different sides of the same coin. One simply cannot function at its peak without the other.

Specialisation vs generalisation in business

The question of whether specialism is superior to generalisation is an ongoing debate for many sectors – recruitment is not one of them. For optimal revenues, not to mention reputation, recruiters are more effective when focussed on recruitment. The same applies for sourcing and delivery specialists.

Specialisation in this sense, the balance between recruiter and sourcing, results in a far more streamlined approach to business. Instead of each worker managing a candidate from introduction to placement, dealing with multiple different candidate requirements on the way and then placing them, the person who is best for the task actually does the job.

It’s a business built on symbiosis, and a hugely effective one at that. With sourcing professionals delivering the right candidates to the recruiters looking to place them, a potentially messy organisational structure turns into a well-oiled machine. 

Author
Valerie Wasch
Project Solutions Manager