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Why Sourcers Should Say No To Spreadsheets

Sourcing featured

We’ve seen sourcing teams manage candidates with a variety of different tools; anything from sticky notes to Outlook tasks, but spreadsheets are probably the most popular.

Spreadsheets are great for accounting but terrible for recruiting.

You have to manually update everything, you don’t get any insight into candidate relationships and you have to use them in conjunction with other tools (email, LinkedIn etc) so you’re always jumping around.

Here's why sourcers deserve something better:

1. Sourcing is more important than ever before

Sourcing is still relatively new as a core competency for corporate recruiting teams - even now, there are still many companies that don't have a sourcing team in house.

With hiring getting more competitive by the day though, companies can no longer rely on an organic stream of qualified applicants falling into the net.

Being more proactive, and building a sourcing team worth its salt, is the best way to build a pipeline of candidates that are actually a good fit for your business.

We're not the only ones in this camp - 82% of talent leaders see proactive recruiting and talent pooling as a major priority in 2017.

proactive recruiting is a priority

While ATS systems are great at processing applications and managing interviews, they're not set up to manage candidates that haven't applied. They're not designed for proactive recruiting and they're certainly not built for the workflow of sourcing teams.

It's only now, with sourcing becoming a key competency, that spreadsheets and ad-hoc tools are being exposed as inadequate.

If you think about it, the goal of any tool or piece of software that your team uses is to help them increase their output. How can you enable your team to work faster, be more effective, and ultimately do "rad stuff"? (See below).

When it comes to sourcing, neither spreadsheets nor your ATS are force-multipliers. They're not helping your team get to where they need to be and if you want sourcing to be a meaningful recruiting channel then you need to move on.

what your sourcing team wants

2. Finding candidates is not the hard part

The tough part of sourcing used to be the search. Once you found a candidate, they were usually pretty amenable to hearing what you had to say.

The search is still hard, but the ever-expanding social web gives the average sourcer plenty of shortcuts when it comes to tracking down relevant candidates.

Candidates are also more socially aware. Most understand the need to maintain an online professional presence, which sourcing teams are only too happy to leverage. Throw in a flock of new extensions and plugins to help you find candidate data and contact information, and you’re all set.

You might not be able to find every possible candidate for a role, but you’ll certainly be able to find enough high-quality candidates to make sure you make a great hire.

The real difficulty now often comes with engaging the candidate and building a relationship. Just getting someone to open, read and reply to your message is fast becoming an art form.

Nowadays, candidates are less likely to reply to your message than ever before.

If you really think about it, this isn’t too surprising. The modern world is all about attention. Social giants like Facebook, advertisers, marketers friends, family and recruiters are all competing for candidate attention.

candidate reply rate

For sourcers, charged with making first contact with new candidates, the ability to engage passive talent effectively, get responses and manage the relationship is what counts.

This is where spreadsheets let you down. They're typically rife with duplication, it's tough to see that status of a candidate relationship and collaboration is tricky. It's all too easy to contact the same candidate multiple times and drop the ball with people that you're speaking to.

If you're dealing with any kind of candidate volume, investing in a system that helps your team engage and manage top talent should be a high priority.

3. You can't get the reporting you need

Even the most data obsessed recruiting teams don't have great visibility into their sourcing operation.

Most ATS systems give you clear insights into the application funnel. Everything from cost and time to hire, to conversion rates, is easily available.

Reporting on your sourcing operation is far less structured - your ATS can't provide accurate data because the people that your sourcers are engaging aren't applicants, and reporting in spreadsheets can be a highly manual exercise.

This means that there's little to no clarity on things like total time to candidate submission, and it's hard to dig into individual user performance and see who's moving the needle for your team.

It's also pretty difficult to get visibility into pipeline growth and to see _who _your pipeline is made up of - critical to check that you're on track to fill roles in time.

If you're just importing qualified candidates to your ATS once they're ready to interview, you'll also lose the  "true source" of the relationship, making it impossible to know which channels are most effective and where to focus your time.

In short, it's hard to give management definitive proof that sourcing is _working _unless you have the right tools in place.

4. LinkedIn isn't the answer either

LinkedIn is still the first port of call for most roles. The professional network recently passed 500 million members and boasts an array of candidates for every role.

This all makes it a great place to find candidates, but not necessarily the best place to engage them and build a relationship.

If you want to manage candidates on LinkedIn you have to buy into the entire ecosystem. That means licenses for your whole team, InMail as the primary method of communication, projects, the whole works.

With engagement on LinkedIn falling, and InMail response rates dropping (a problem exacerbated by the introduction of InMail mail merge), it doesn't make sense to put all your balls in one court. The fact that LinkedIn is making it harder and harder to export your own data only makes this more of an issue.

A more sustainable workflow is to find candidates on LinkedIn, use one of the slew of new email finding tools to find their contact details, and message them directly.

This puts you back to square one. Managing candidates in spreadsheets. Marginally better, you control your own data, but not the ultimate answer.

The answer?

To truly accelerate your sourcers' workflow, you need to set them up for success. Spreadsheets can work if you have a small team and a low volume of roles to fill, but they can quickly end up as a band-aid for a bullet wound.

We're biased, so we'll always suggest a Recruitment CRM like Beamery for sourcing teams that want a major upgrade over spreadsheets. You'll get everything you need from a reporting perspective, and can approach sourcing in a far more strategic fashion.

We get a bunch of emails like this from sourcing teams looking for CRM systems:

example request

If this sounds like you, let us know.

Whatever tool you choose though remember that the goal is always improving output and helping sourcers do "rad stuff" - don't get bogged down in features, focus on things that can actually provide value.

With as many as 40% of talent leaders looking to purchase a Recruitment CRM in 2017, it's vital that you're clear on exactly what a CRM is and whether it's a fit for your business.

This handbook is designed to answer any questions you might have, clarify differences between a Recruitment CRM and your ATS and show you the benefits you can expect with a CRM.

Get the Handbook