Recruiting Truths

Posted in by Harsha on February 22, 2011

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Sourcing Outsourcing

Posted in Business, New, People by Harsha on February 18, 2011

Why do you think staffing agencies are not finding much success with off-shore sourcing teams?

It is neither the time difference nor the perceived language barrier (there are more English speakers in India than the US) that hinders your success in using off-shore resources. It is the fact that we do not celebrate sourcing as the most important task in the staffing process flow.

I believe that the size of one’s staffing database, is irrelevant. A good recruiter can staff up any opportunity, if she has the aptitude and tenacity to know what and where to look. I am sure you also have numerous examples of your own recruiting success because your sourcing strategy was better than the internal and external competition’s. Sourcing is everything that stands in your way of putting the right person on project and generating billing dollars. 


My two step recommendati0n to underscore the importance of sourcing for you is to:

  1. Accept that sourcing is the most important task in the staffing workflow
  2. Find tenacious people and train and retrain them in sourcing strategies



Recruiting success begins with your acknowledgment that sourcing is the most important task in the staffing workflow. Make no mistake, it is absolutely the most important task in the staffing workflow. Sourcing is what separates the wheat from the chaff. Good sourcing relies on an individual’s tenacity and aptitude, which are excellent skills for any person to possess. Such an individual is also a hard-worker with a focus on results. So finding someone that can demonstrate good sourcing skills, will help you find top notch recruiters, even if you are hiring from outside our industry.

Acceptance of “the sourcing mantra” starts with:

  1. Acknowleding that sourcing is an “intelligence function”, not grunt work
  2. Spending more time and effort on identifying the right sourcers
  3. Setting and rewarding a good source-to-deal ratio (example – 20:1)
As you know, recruiting is an art and practising and learning about it only makes recruiters better at their work. Since there is not much science to it, you need to try various strategies and ideas to find a path to success. You may know of many companies, and yours may be one as well, where recruiters are hired, given initial training and then left to fend for themselves. You don’t find the the time to retrain them or hold round-table discussions to talk about ideas, strategies or problem-solving. When you expand this approach to your outsourced sourcers, it only gets more sticky.
While you may plan to retrain your recruiters on a regular basis, you can experience tremendous sourcing success as well by:
  1. Prefering sourcers with a Master’s degree and some staffing experience 
  2. Reviewing every resume submitted to your recruiters
  3. Meeting weekly to discuss performance issues

I believe that staffing success begins with both the acceptance of the importance of sourcing and being dedicated to (re)training sourcers regularly. Sourcing is not grunt work, even if it feels like the heavy lifting you don’t want to do. While it sounds great if you or your team came to work in the morning and had a nice list of 10 people per requisition to call on, it is a simplistic view that dilutes the importance of having the correct 10 candidates on that list.


World of MSP blog on

Posted in Business by Harsha on February 18, 2011

Assuming that I am going to get a few more minutes over 24 hours, I created a new blog over at

About: ERE contains thousands of pages of content relating to recruiting, and continues to drive traffic from more than 58,000 loyal members, most of whom receive its publications in their inbox each day. Having established a strong brand associated with the cutting edge of the recruiting industry, the website continues to add new content and functionality regularly.

I plan to echo over there, what I will be writing here related to staffing.

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Staffing Databases are Irrelevant

Posted in Big Thought, Business, People by Harsha on December 13, 2010

Staffing companies pride themselves in their “database”.

Ask ANY sales person that works in the industry and it will most definitely be one of the main selling points that they will make to you. They will shill for their vast database of resumes (1m, or 5m or whatever) giving you the impression that they know so many people that they can find you any skill set for any project or need that you have. Period.

I take a different approach.

I believe that owing a large database is highly overrated. When I started in this business, it was with a startup with barely any database. In fact, the founders has a set of 5,000 some names, none of which were ever used in my knowledge, at least by me. That company then went on to becoming one of the 500 fastest growing private companies in America in 2008, as ranked by Inc Magazine. So I came to the conclusion that owning a large database, or any database is highly overrated. There is one exception to this statement – a database is highly relevant in niche skill sets. At the same company, I have seen this in play. My constertation is with a generic across-the-board staffing agency sales person pounding the desk claiming to have a large database that includes tons of resumes across tons of skill sets.

It is never the database but the data mining tools and data mining strategies that are much more important. Oracle probably recognizes this through its various acquisitions. The database company is now almost ubiquitous in many other unrelated areas of software development and delivery. The art of mining for candidates is the true differentiator between one agency and another. More specifically, the abilities of individual recruiters and their tenacity in finding the right person for the open job outranks a database, in my humble opinion, by a million times to one.

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