Feb 27, 2007

On Sourcing and Recruiting

When I posted this yesterday, I didn't realise that I would have a response the same day. If you've ever wondered what is it that "sourcers" do R Karthik's post on creative sourcing would be educative. You can find him online at the Indian Recruiters forum too. He introduces himself as :
"I am a business enthusiast; passionate about HR, entrepreneurs, A.R.Rahman, Sherlock Holmes, humour, creative writing and other interesting pursuits."
In fact his email signature is a Sherlock Holmes quote "The Profession is its own Reward" :-)

On Sourcing

Well, i have worked in the capacity of a recruiter for a Pharmaceutical co.
I wanted to write on sourcing as a crucial phase in the hiring cycle; how we go about widening our candidate populace so as to have to greater lot to select from.
It is not always that we have budgets for advertising!

Again our experience has taught us that advertising is not all that effective an avenue to fetch us (or our hiring managers rather!) the kind-of pool we are looking for.
Sourcing also becomes particularly difficult when we are hiring in tight labour market conditions.

Any recruiter would agree all sourcing tricks don't yield results for all organizations.
Posting your openings on job portals also doesn't guarantee you the expected yield in terms of the the kind/breed of candidates you are looking at.
It may give the recruiter a 'feel-good' of so many clicks/views and it does only as much.

How many times have we suffered heart-burns looking at the ridiculously irrelevant CVs we receive in response to our posts? (this may not be true with tech. recruiting)

While reliance on advertisements/job portals can't be something we can bank on, we as recruiters ought to give wings to our imagination in arriving at other sourcing methods.

I am sure i have raised several eyebrows in saying the above! Imagination....what does fantasy have to do with sourcing or hiring for that matter??
As a case in point, i want to share a true experience of mine (with my 1st employer-the Pharmaceutical).

I took up an assignment of appointing 2 Biz Development Exec.s for Coimbatore region in the co.s Nutrition solutions biz.
Now, specifications ran like this....3 years exp. female candidates with a degree/PG diploma in Nutrition or Food Sciences.
A start-up based in Ahmedabad in the west will have not much of a connect with campuses in the south.

The managers- my customers so far as these positions were concerned demanded a pool from co.s like J & J, Mead Johnson, Novartis, British Biologicals, Raptokos & Brett, Nestle et al. These are the who's who co.s in Nutrition biz.

Little did they realize our constraints; we simply couldn't have done this given the compensation package we had to offer!

They would not compromise on the experience level considering the business stakes involved.
Nor would they look at non-nutrition grads (simple science)....subject matter knowledge was a pre-requisite.
With not much of a choice left, i had to think through and do a little more homework to get started with these openings.

I fantasized and finally hit on something!

Out of the blue, it occured to me that there are some businesses/organizations which employ such qualified nutritionists in possibly non-marketing roles.

What else does the huge population of M.Sc Food Sciences or Nutrition & Dietics students do after their courses?

And then there was light.....

Yes, i set my eyes on VLCC, Apollo and other corporate hospitals that turned out to be good catchment areas for us.
Now that i had zeroed in on my target, the next most important thing to do was to quickly source CVs of some interested candidates.

How do i do that?

I am not that cold-blooded recruiter who would do cold-calls and get access to prospects.

I fantasized further...and now that i was very happy (rather proud) of my idea i thought 1 another fantasy would work.
Quite like Music, HR, and A.R.Rahman...Nutrition is also an interest group.

Several thousands of A.R.Rahman constitute arrahmanfans yahoogroup.

Similarly, If i as a HR enthusiast am part of IHRC, HR Infotech association, NHRD and so on, these folks would also have some affiliation which would have already manifested in the form of an online forum or e-group. But only those passionate or rather fanatic about Rahman and HR would choose to be on such networks.

And we were actually looking for such individuals who were passionate about nutrition as a profession/subject.

I surfed and found to my amazement, tens of such networks on yahoogroups.
Atleast i had something to go back and update my managers about.

We touched base with a few candidates and went on to fill the 2 slots in record time (about less than a month) without any advertisement expenditure.
Last and not the least, the satisfaction one derives out of closing a challenging position which would otherwise have remained unfilled is very soothing.

All the running around, travel, back-aches,reviews and disappointment/angst at candidate tantrums are rubbed off when we taste such successes.
The leit motif of this whole passage is "one can get as wildly imaginative as possible with sourcing".

Sometimes, your gut leads you somewhere while horse sense would suggest exactly the opposite.

Yet, a bit of fantasizing and floundering here and there helps to beat the monotony of work.