Training a new sourcer can be tough, especially if you’re not in a full time sourcing role yourself. Quite often the task falls on recruiters who are busy managing all aspects of the recruitment process and don’t necessarily feel particularly confident when it comes to online search. To add to the challenge, hiring a sourcer is often done as a last resort, which means by the time your new team member arrives, no one has the time to walk them through the intricacies of what sourcing involves and there’s already a backlog of things that have to be done.

The bad news is that even a proficient social media user will need some guidance when they first get into sourcing. You can’t just drop them in the deep end and expect them to swim. The good news? There’s plenty of resources available for beginners in sourcing – a lot of which are free. It may take a while for a new sourcer to get up to speed, but once they do, you’ll see that investing time in their development was worth it!

Here are three things you can do to ensure your new sourcers get off to a good start:

      1) Use existing knowledge

The number one challenge I see in teams training new sourcers is making sure that existing knowledge about finding candidate information isn’t lost. If you think about it, sourcing isn’t that different than any other sort of research and mostly relies on common sense, so be sure to encourage people to harness what they already know.

For example, imagine you’re at home and you discover a leak in the bathroom. Would you know how to find a plumber to come in and fix the problem? Most people wouldn’t hesitate in that situation, they’d run a basic search online, find a phone number and call to see if the person on the other end can help them.

Yet a lot of the time, sourcers forget all of the methods they’d use for research in their everyday lives – they won’t search for a candidate the way they’d search for a plumber. To combat this issue when training a new sourcer, make sure to ask them how they would find information in their personal life and help them understand they need to build on that knowledge rather than acquire a completely new set of skills. It can also be helpful to reference their backgrounds. For instance, a recent graduate should have some experience with research and finding references, tell them to treat sourcing candidates the same way.

2) Create a library of resources

When a new sourcer joins the team, they’re often required to go through all of the training the team has to offer in one go. Sometimes it’s a classroom style training for a couple of new team members, others it’s on-the-job training provided in the first week of the job. After that, they’re expected to do the job with minimal help from anyone else.

However, when I train recruiters, even the most experienced ones implement their training bit by bit, rather than all at once. They go back to their training materials each week, looking for the elements of the training that could help them complete the particular project they’re working on. It can take weeks or even months for them to finally implement all of the tools and techniques discussed over a day long training session, but this methodical approach ensures the training sticks better.

In addition to spreading training out over time, creating a library of resources available internally is a good option as well. It will allow your new sourcer to focus on what they can do well at first and try out more advanced sourcing methods gradually. That way they’ll be able to deliver the candidates you need today but they’ll be able to train themselves when they get stuck in a more challenging search.

You may also want to point them in the direction of externally available libraries of resources. For example, sourcers working on the Polish market can join a Facebook group called the Poland Sourcing Community where all members can access a list of sourcing platforms and tools used by the group members. One of the great things about sourcers is that they are incredibly willing to share their knowledge with each other. Joining a few groups is a great way to jumpstart a sourcing career. You may also make a list of all of the sourcing blogs your team currently reads (or ask your new sourcer to create a list of sourcing blogs they like that they can then share with the recruiters).

3) Encourage self-development

The best sourcers I know are people who rely on themselves when it comes to learning. Sure, they can benefit from a structured training, but they will also find ways to keep up to date with the latest trends and techniques. You can encourage them to do so by letting them take an hour or two every week to try something new.

The most important part to remember when it comes to learning is that sourcers make plenty of mistakes in the process of sourcing – there’s just no other way to do it. You need to make sure they know it’s ok to fail sometimes, otherwise they’ll be reluctant to take risks that will help them progress. If you’re worried about the negative consequences of failure just remember that tried and true methods almost always lose their value over time – people need to think outside the box in this field of work, otherwise they get left behind. As long as sourcers know how to measure their results, use the feedback they get from the candidates, and learn from the mistakes they make you really can’t lose by allowing them to be creative.

If you have a bigger sourcing team, you should encourage knowledge sharing on a regular basis. Make sure your new starters are ready to contribute early on, even if their insights aren’t necessarily new. The key is that they are comfortable sharing ideas and asking for help. If you only have one sourcer working with a team of recruiters you can still hold knowledge sharing sessions. Recruiting and sourcing are becoming more integrated anyways, so why not empower everyone on the team?

However you structure the onboarding training for your new sourcer, remember that the job will require them to constantly look for more. They will need the time and space to hone their skills but it’s an investment you won’t regret.

 This is a guest post from Kasia Borowicz. Kasia is one of the sourcing world’s rising stars, and has already spoken on social media, culture, and more at a variety of sourcing and recruiting events. Follow her on Twitter and on her blog

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