What is a Candidate Sourcer Worth? More than $100 Million

What is a sourcer worth these days? Amybeth Hale, Nike’s research goddess,  raised that question in an article she wrote entitled Determining a Sourcer’s Worth.

Amybeth Hale, Research Goddess

Amybeth Hale, Research Goddess

In it, Amybeth notes that the answer she gets back frequently ranges from an hourly rate of $6 to well in excess of $100. However, while the hourly rate may tell you what a candidate sourcer might cost, it doesn’t necessarily answer Amybeth’s question of worth. So Amybeth did what any self-respecting researcher. She did a little research and came back an answer, “I am worth $1.83 million.”

Of course, she got her answer from filling out a survey on humanforsale.com. The survey readily admits, “This is obviously a very subjective survey and is not intended and does not claim to be scientifically accurate.” Since the website is purely for entertainment value, it would be easy to conclude Amybeth is kidding. She is not.

Amybeth makes an important point. Recruiting research known as sourcing can be extraordinarily valuable. You just need to remind yourself recruitment research can do oh-so-much-more than inform talent acquisition.

The best candidate sourcers deliver valuable talent intelligence that informs M&A. In more than one case, talent intelligence has led to acquisitions valued in excess of $100-million dollars. 

Passive candidate research and talent intelligence reports are also used to inform other corporate activities, including M&A. All you need to do is to stop and think about it. The most talented executives and technologists can be found gathered around emergent technologies, hot startups, and stealth intrapreneurial ventures by massive corporations. The movement and aggregation of top talent create patterns that expert researchers read like tea leaves. Talent intelligence can be leveraged competitive insights that are so valuable that 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 $5 an hour. Of course, often low hourly rates are offset by reduced efficiency and limitations on what kinds of work they are capable of doing.

Off-shore sourcing tends to be more appropriate for repetitive, data-entry intensive sourcing tasks. That is why offshore candidate sourcing teams are typically used for resume database searching and Internet sourcing with bookmarked Boolean keyword search strings. However, if you’re not careful, make sure you focus on quality over quantity. The real problem is that there are many candidate names, instead of far too few. (For more, check out How to Crush Candidate Sourcing.)

A Sourcer’s Greatest Value: 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.


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