Hoe 2022 het gloriejaar van sourcing werd

In ‘the year of great shortages’, more and more organizations discovered the power of sourcing. Across the entire labor market. What were the most striking trends? Milou Verhoeks (Cooble) provides all the insights.

Peter Boerman Op 03 februari 2023
Gem. leestijd 6 min 1213x gelezen
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Hoe 2022 het gloriejaar van sourcing werd

Not approaching candidates faster, but slower. According to Milou Verhoeks, that is the key to making sourcing a success. “I see taking more time as a good point,” she says. ‘A few years ago we spent an average of 5 minutes on a message to a potential candidate. That was stretched last year to an average of 10 minutes. But on the other hand, there is much more quality and a much higher response rate.’

‘You really have to look further now and use more to convince someone.’

About 10 years ago, she says, you could still more or less ‘bulk source’. At the time, it was still special for almost everyone to be approached for another job. But times have changed. ‘Now a candidate no longer thinks it is personal enough if he is only addressed by his own name and his work experience. You really have to look further now and use more to convince someone.’

Annual overview

As a partner and self-proclaimed ‘sourcing geek’ at the sourcing agency Cooble (‘We find untraceable talent’), Verhoeks has a good insight into what is happening in the world of sourcing. The agency has also just created an annual overview of the special year 2022. It contains all the figures about the entire funnel that a sourcer encounters in practice: from how many people you have to approach to have a conversation, to how many hours it takes on average to to reach a hire .

Verhoeks (r), with Cooble colleague Morgan Doelwijt

What is particularly striking, says Verhoeks, is that quality is becoming increasingly important. ‘That will bear more fruit. Better to send 40 good, personal messages to candidates than 100 of low quality. It comes across as spam , irritates the candidate and ultimately damages your employer brand .’ In her experience, candidates really appreciate the personal messages. ‘This is important in a market in which robotization is increasingly used. But robots are not yet capable of writing a truly personal message, it turns out time and time again.’

Golden combination

This quality is also reflected in what employers offer, says Verhoeks. And according to her, some things will have changed in 2022. ‘In 2021 we still had quite a few offers rejected . Then we were quite good at getting candidates talking, but in the end things still went wrong. You see that employers have now thought about this more carefully and are immediately clearer about their offers in terms of, for example, salary and remote working. We also call that “the golden combination”. For example, if you can immediately offer work planners the prospect of a lease car in your message, they will of course respond more quickly.’

‘We are convinced that recruiters are not sourcers.’

Sourcing and recruitment are increasingly developing into separate professions, Verhoeks also sees. And that’s good, she thinks. ‘We believe this will take recruitment to a higher level. We are convinced that recruiters are not sourcers. Different skills are required and the activities differ enormously.’

Higher response rate

It is striking in the annual overview that the response ratio has increased considerably on average. “More and more candidates are responding to a message from a sourcer,” Verhoeks summarizes. ‘Even better news: there is also a faster positive response.’ And that is striking, she says, given the tight labor market. Another striking trend is that not only do more candidates respond, but also that more hires ultimately result from sourcing. ‘Ultimately, that is of course what sourcing is all about.’

Verhoeks (r), with colleague Sanne Roffel

A striking trend is that not only do more candidates respond, but also that more hires ultimately result from sourcing.

What was also striking in 2022 was that sourcing was in any case much more widely accepted in the market. While this method of actively searching for candidates used to be reserved for large corporates, nowadays almost all types of organizations know how to find their way to it. And for more and more functions. ‘Branch managers of stores, account managers and customer service employees, we now source it all,’ notes Verhoeks. ‘And increasingly for governments too. I think we’ve seen it grow from about 10% to 30% of our assignments in the past year.’

More strategic

She also sees sourcing becoming more strategic, more part of a complete recruitment approach of organizations. ‘Previously it was sometimes ad hoc, for one vacancy. You now see that we are moving from vacancy-driven to candidate-driven: organizations use the instrument for certain positions for a longer period of time, in addition to other methods. That’s nice, because it means that you don’t have to start from 0 every time you apply for a vacancy.’

‘You see that we are moving from vacancy-driven to candidate-driven.’

Cooble has experienced significant growth in the past year. This means that more and more candidates were approached, and more and more hours were spent on sourcing. That growth seems to continue in 2023, Verhoeks notes. ‘At the end of 2022 you noticed that everyone was equally excited about what was going to happen economically. But the labor market is now running at full speed again. And we also continue to grow. This month 2 new people, next month 5 more. There is still a great need for good sourcers.’

Creative profession

So what exactly makes a sourcer good? According to Verhoeks, it is increasingly becoming a creative profession. You have to know something about technology and be able to find people in places where others cannot. But according to her, what really makes the difference is the personal approach. ‘Take a further look at the LinkedIn profile. For example, do you see that someone is a hockey coach in his spare time? Then start a conversation about that, and start talking about the World Cup that just ended, for example. We have noticed that this helps you get further. There is often much more to a normal LinkedIn profile than you think at first glance.’

‘Do you see that someone is a hockey coach in his spare time? Then start a conversation about it.’

And anything can be a starting point, she says. ‘Do you see that someone is from Friesland? Then speak to him or her in Frisian. If you can increase the quality of your approach in this way, you will also get higher response rates. And we also sometimes say no to potential clients. We know that it is difficult to reach some target groups. Then it makes us grumpy, and so does the customer. So we don’t do that.’

Quality of hire

But if it works, it often leads to high quality-of-hire , she notes. ‘For example, I spend a lot of time sourcing public prosecutors for the Public Prosecution Service. They are very satisfied with that, and we really hear back: we would not have had that quality if we had not sourced.’ And that is also the nice thing about the profession, she says. ‘The interaction with people, and the good feeling you can get from that. If you look at someone’s profile for 10 minutes, you can already reasonably estimate where someone fits. It’s nice to have that confirmed.’

‘If you look at someone’s profile for 10 minutes, you can already reasonably estimate where someone fits.’

The sourcing profession can sometimes be quite repetitive, she admits. Constantly composing new InMails to candidates, constantly conducting new searches . ‘But it is also very creative. Sometimes you are almost a marketer, or a writer. You have to have fun in every post you make, every time you approach a candidate. I think we have found that mode.’

Verhoeks, with Cooble partner Jan Karel Sindorff on the left

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Peter Boerman

Hoofdredacteurbij Werf&
Hij heeft eigenlijk nog nooit een vacature uitgezet. En meer sollicitatiegesprekken gevoerd als kandidaat dan als recruiter of werkgever. Toch schrijft Peter Boerman alweer een jaar of 10 over weinig anders dan over de wondere wereld van werving en selectie, in al zijn facetten.
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