The 3 Pillars of Sourcing Innovation

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You know when you come up with something that communicates exactly what you think in a very succinct and quick way?  Well sometimes it can take a while to get there, but when putting a presentation together last week for HR Leaders Forum where I was a speaker, I wanted to close with one slide that communicated in under two minutes what I think the key to building an innovative and engaging sourcing culture in your business are.

I will write more about the HR Leaders Forum (I feel like I’m still digesting all of the great content & insights) but there was one quote that has really stuck with me from the two days ~ GREAT LEADERS MAKE THE COMPLEX SIMPLE AND THE SIMPLE COMPELLING – it doesn’t get more simple than that and I’ve decided that this will be my mantra moving forward.

So whilst I think the three pillars are complex at a deeper level, I’ve tried to make them as simple and compelling as I can.   I will also hopefully share the video of my presentation in the coming weeks.



1) Sourcing Innovation & diversification

Knowing your audience in-depth is the only thing that will allow you to build innovation into your sourcing strategy that will target those individuals.  If I decide to build huge online campaigns for a warehouse, blue-collar target audience, then the likelihood of it being success will be slim because for 8-9 hours a day they are nowhere near a computer.  Whereas if I find out what they read, watch, play etc then my ability to be innovative in the way I attract them is going to be more success.    Many companies assume that everyone is in the same place, doing the same thing, therefore the sourcing strategies remain the same whether they are trying to attract strategy consultant or warehouse staff.  By knowing your audience you’ll also be able to look at how you can develop different and unique attraction strategies to that of your competitors, in order  to stand out from the crowd and run your own race when it comes to attracting top talent.

2)  Exceptional Recruiters & Sourcers

If you have recruiters that aren’t interested in doing anything other than posting jobs on-line then the chances of attracting passive candidates is low.  Having recruiters that are CURIOUS to find better ways of doing things, CAPABLE and want to learn by either researching and teaching themselves or really applying what they learn when on training courses as well as being COMMITTED to going the extra mile to find even better candidates than they already have because they are hunters rather than gatherers.

3) Integrated Employer Brand Messages and Content

Remember you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make them drink!  I can find you the best people in the market, but if you don’t have a clear message reflecting what your organisation is about, what you offer and why they should work for you, the recruiters ability to convert the candidate is going to be a lot harder.



1) Engaged Hiring Manager Community

Do you think about how engaged your hiring managers are?   Do you know how your hiring managers are selling the organisation in their one on one interviews?  Have they been educated and briefed on your employer brand and EVP messages so that they know how to communicate those messages consistently and effectively? Some organisations do this really well and others don’t ever think about it.  Many times, there is an assumption that because you’re a manager you know how to interview as well as engage potential employees.  We all know what assuming does…….

So make sure that your hiring manager community is engage, educated and clear on CURRENT messages that you want to get out there. We obviously don’t want messages from 2 years ago when they last had training or 5 years ago when they joined, but year on year update their knowledge and talk to them about what you’re looking to achieve overall.   When I worked for a large company many years ago, at the beginning of each year or recruitment drive, the MD would get all the managers that were responsible for recruiting together and share the targets that they had for recruitment.  Talked to them about the challenges that we were facing and made it very clear what our message to market was, the updated EVP and if they wanted future interview training, how they could get it.  When I talk about an engagement HM community; that is what I’m talking about.

2) Engaged Recruiters

Once again, having engaged recruiters that know what they are talking about and have clear messaging will make your ability to connect and engage candidates a lot easier.

Think about providing your consultants with a handbook of some sort that outline briefly and clearly:

  • how big the organisation is
  • what divisions you have
  • what the vision of the organisation is over the next 1-2 years
  • key unique selling points of the business line they are recruiting for (and the other business lines if they are supporting colleagues to recruit)
  • and all the great cultural assets the business has to offer candidates.

By providing your recruiters with clear information helps them be confident in what the are saying – never assume that everyone knows this information.   Ensuring that your recruiters are engaged with the overall objectives of what you are trying to achieve, as with anything, will help you meet those goals.

3) Engaged Candidates 

Needless to say that when you have engaged recruiters and hiring managers who are passionate about what they do and what they say then it can be infectious for the candidates that they are speaking to.  I’m sure you can think of people who really love what they do, know what they are talking about and want to really convey that message to you and how you feel when you engage with them – I can guess it’s a pretty positive experience.



What will success look like?

What do you need to achieve basically?  How many people in what time frame do you need to hire?  Where will they come from and how much money do we have to spend?

Set metrics and measure often

If the hires need to be done in X amount of time then set milestone point of measurement that will quickly tell you if you’re on track to be successful when it comes to hiring those people or that person.    I personally always used to work backwards which meant that 9 times out of 10 I hit my time to hire target.  So if the person needs to start on the 1 June with a 4 week notice period, then I need to have X number short listed by this date, schedule in interview slots with the Hiring manager in advance and then crack on from there.  I know that volume recruitment campaigns work like this and I saw it work very well with senior hires too.  It allows recruiters to project manage things more tightly, be more targeted in their approach and drive the result rather than just sitting and waiting to see what comes to them.  By setting time frames measuring becomes easy.

Fail fast and adjust quickly

If you’re not failing every now and then, then you’re probably not trying anything new.  It doesn’t mean that you have to waste a lot of time and money, it’s about setting a (realistic and reasonable) time frame to give something new a go, with a set budget then measure often and if it fails, learn the lesson, get it off the table and move on.  Otherwise if it’s somewhat working then figure out how to adjust it so it can give you what you need.

Allowing your recruiters to fail every now and then, and it being okay is where building an innovative sourcing culture comes from. If people are afraid to try new things or share their ideas then you’ll continue to do the same thing that you’ve always done.  Remember the saying about “doing what you’ve always done and expecting different results” – well I’m just reminding you! 🙂

If you have any other tips on what you think contributes to building an innovative sourcing culture in your business then please feel free to share them in the comments!

One thought on “The 3 Pillars of Sourcing Innovation

    […] spoken about this point a lot here, here and here.  What do they read?  What are their interests?  The approach above is a great […]

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