It’s a candidate’s market where for the first time candidates hold the power. There’s a great resignation or a great reshuffle as people seek the grass that’s greener. The skill gap is widening day by day, leaving businesses scrambling to find people with the right skill mix for roles that need fulfillment. These are three messages that I see on LinkedIn almost every day of late, and while there’s some truth to them, like most things on social media, the devil is in the detail and the alarmist nature doesn’t do a lot to help.
The goal of recruitment is to find and employ the best candidate for a role. In the olden days, we’d put an ad in the paper, the applications would roll in and off we’d go interviewing, checking references, making offers, making counter offers then onboarding. Things are a little different now, thank goodness, and a huge part of my work with people as their outsourced HR Director is setting up HR policies and practices that solve contemporary problems with equally contemporary solutions.
Selective sourcing is one such example. In simple terms, selective sourcing is proactive searching for a qualified position candidate as opposed to a reactive filtering through curriculum vitae and applications sent in as a result of a job posting. That said, there may be times when a job ad is required but it can be done in a way that does the selective sourcing for the organisation. While I’m not a recruiter, my work overlaps this function in many ways, and I love working with people to help them identify talent through a strategic process that aligns the needs of a business with the skills, expertise and aspirations of a potential candidate.
Let me be clear here- selective sourcing isn’t about those LinkedIn direct messages that make you want to take a shower in pine-o-clean. Like everything at Kath Harris HR HQ (I love all those H just for the record!) it all comes back to values. Values should underpin everything from position descriptions and job ads and the interview process.
Role clarity is critically important as this will determine all efforts to source staff selectively, be it through a job ad or a networking event or a LinkedIn conversation. Any detail around the role needs to be aligned to what’s actually required and positioned to bring in the right candidates. I’ve seen organisations take a position to market, get candidates lined up and then change the role with a shift in goal posts and a downgrade. That’s demoralising for candidates to put it mildly and a sheer waste of time and effort for all.
By definition, selective sourcing involves screening and this should be done in a variety of ways beyond the interview. Some great clients of mine used recording of a short video that answered basic targeted questions.
The screening process can happen before the formal interview. I worked with an organisation to bring in a short/initial screen where people had a 20 minute phone conversation before moving through to the next stage. This is where we prepared with a set of questions that would check cultural fit for the organisation as well as confirming the candidate met the minimum requirements, competencies and technical skills for a role. Where needed, it might be worthwhile to do additional screening such as psychometric testing or other screens.
One of my essentials for selective sourcing is appropriate processes. As a D on the DiSC tool , there’s nothing worse than making someone jump through unnecessary hoops. It’s important to create a process that’s aligned to the level of the role. In some cases it might be asking candidates to do a presentation or provide a case study. This shows how the candidate prepares, problems solves, communicates and comes across to others, however also be respectful that it’s not overly extensive nor overly imposing on their intellectual property. I’ve heard horror stories of people interviewing for social media management roles and having to provide strategies including content suggestions, only to hear that the role has been absorbed in house, yet their strategies and content ideas are subsequently rolled out across platforms. This isn’t cool.