In it, Amybeth (also known affectionately in sourcing circles as the Research Goddess) notes that the answer she gets back frequently ranges from an hourly rate of $6 dollars to well in excess of $100. The difference in cost reflects a difference in approach from quantitative and qualitative sourcing. However, while the hourly rate may tell you what the going rate is for most sourcers, it doesn’t necessarily answer Amybeth’s question of worth.
Recruiting research known as sourcing — the study of the talent ecosystem — can be extraordinarily valuable once you realize it can do oh-so-much-more than inform than talent acquisition. Qualitative, investigative sourcing — the kind Intellerati does — can also be used to inform other corporate activities, including M& A. To that end, what would you say a sourcer is worth if that research also leads to the acquisition of a business worth in excess of $100-million dollars? When you stop to think about it, the most talented executives and technologist can be found gathering around emergent technologies, hot startups, and stealth market-creating enterprises. The movement and aggregation of top talent create patterns that gifted qualitative researchers recognize and analyze for competitive insights that are so valuable to they verge on priceless.
Of course, there is a place for quantitative sourcing. For volume recruiting, quantity may, indeed, be the requirement. To that end, there may be advantages to be found in global labor arbitrage that reduces the cost of some candidate sourcing activities to as low as $6 an hour. Of course, often low hourly rates are off-set by reduced efficiency and limitations on what kinds of work they are capable of doing. Off-shore sourcing tend to be more appropriate for repetitive, data-entry intensive sourcing tasks – the kind that can be described in step-by-step instructions, such as resume database searching and Internet sourcing using a list of bookmarked boolean keyword search strings. For companies whose number of openings more resemble an onslaught, recruiting processes first need to scale, in order to move from reactive to proactive mode. Sourcing, whether offshore or on, is an an effective way to create and sustain talent pipelines. It can help take some of the pain away. However, if you’re not careful, a quantitative approach can create even more pain if the real problem is that there are many candidates, instead of too few.
A Sourcer’s Worth: M&A Intelligence
Qualitative sourcing takes a strategic approach to recruiting research, one that focuses on recruiting top talent. It drives efficiencies in recruiting, in diversity initiatives, and succession planning because it supercharges recruiting research with competitive intelligence. Its filter is critical thinking — analysis that transforms information into actionable intelligence that identifies the shortest path to best and brightest. It is that critical thinking that leads to other competitive insights — observations that return extraordinary organizational return on investment, known as ROI. You don’t get that kind of value from sourcers performing repetitive, if not mindless, tasks. Quite the contrary. This is about as mindful as one can get.