Sourcecon report - US talent trends

I have recently returned from Sourcecon, a US conference for those in the sourcing industry. It is the second time I have been and the breadth of attendees and growth of the show demonstrates the development of sourcing and validity of the function in US talent acquisition.

Typically we adopt US talent trends so, if you’re in sourcing or running a recruiting team or agency, here are some of the developments you can expect to  see in the next year or so.

Sourcing is a peer of recruiting not a service line 

It’s notable that the result of this is a different crowd. In the UK a group of sourcers is typically wholly made up of junior team members and career research professionals who begrudgingly accept that, bar a handful of major US tech businesses, they will work for a recruitment team not alongside it.

Not in the US. The sourcing crowd was diverse, from the same group as the UK to recruiters who had chosen to specialise in what they enjoy most (sourcing) to leaders who have taken a step into this world as their specialism seeing it as the point at which they can have greatest impact for their employer by developing

these skills across teams.

Hints of changes in technique

One of the challenges sourcing faces is what’s next?  There’s a view that sourcing is a code that can be cracked and automated and this holds back the value as people aggregators could usurp the function.  No sign of that here, the ease of identification of candidates on classic tools is driving many people to close profiles or make them clean of skills. There’s value for the inquisitive sourcer still and this is what they are doing:

Moving from Boolean searching on traditional sites to natural language searches in the wider domain

Using custom built search engine platforms to support their specialism

Getting agile and pivoting on traditional searches using tools such as or

Identification is no longer the game. Engagement is.

For a few years the sourcing world loved the debate around what is sourcing.  That is over, time and again it became clear that the best sourcers win out (in delivery and salary) because they are also the best at engagement.

The best speakers and technicians had a similar skill set in this regard. Capable of taking high volumes of candidate data, moving from volume approaches they would cut this to a field as small as 20 for approaches. Highly personalised approaches sent out with high return on interest  (75-80%) based on quality of approach and sustained follow up.

Sourcing as a specialism is continuing to evolve. If we follow the US, and we normally do, it’s going to be a career path offering solid long-term prospects and pay.  The question at Sourcecon was what should recruiters do now?

By Andrew Mountney

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