I’m really excited to be at Sourcecon in Atlanta. the night before the event, and much of the talk has been about a post from Dr.John Sullivan that sourcing is dead. OK, not dead, but the title of the post is that the end of sourcing is near. This is, of course rubbish. sourcing has never been in more demand.

The point Dr.John makes is that everyone now has a digital footprint. finding people is easy. I don’t disagree with that but …

Can you find the SAME people as Glen Cathey? Probably not.

Will you look in the same place as me? No

Have you built the same reputation as me in the market we source in? Time will tell.

Can you read a profile and know what it really means? I doubt it

And here is the thing, sourcing is just starting. There are plenty of tools for dissecting and finding data that gives you the answers you want. The tools may no longer mean that you no longer need to know Boolean or other internet searching tips,but understanding what data means is a real art. It is not about finding people, it’s about understanding people. Things like who might be most ready to move. who has accumulated experience since they last updated a profile. Finding people might be easy. People are represented by data, and anyone with the right tool can find data, but interpreting data is a real skill. Understanding who is right for an approach, and who might be right for your offer is the art of the sourcer.

In my opinion, the art of sourcing is just starting. The easier it is to find people, the harder it is to source people, because all recruiters are ending up at the same place. The real skill is ending up at a place and with a person no one else has found, because the way in which you looked was different to everyone else.

My message to Dr.John is don’t mistake finding with sourcing. Anyone can search on LinkedIn and find 30 profiles with the right job title, or use the latest tool to find profiles that match. That doesn’t make the people you find candidates. That is the art of the sourcer. To find 30 people who look the same, but understand who is different. To understand that it is not about finding needles in haystacks, but understanding which haystack needs a poke around with your pitchfork.

There is much more to it, and a lot further to go in developing sourcing techniques. Sourcing is not near the end, it has only just started, and I’m looking forward to the next 2 days to discover where the art might be going!

Bill