Will Recruitment Marketing Automation Make Sourcing Obsolete?

I keep hearing about companies that are increasingly struggling hiring the talent they need currently and for future growth. The one solution that continues to be thrown out is adding a sourcing function within their talent acquisition department.

Adding sourcing to your talent acquisition team is definitely an option to help you obtain the talent you desire.  It’s also a really expensive option! Anytime you’re adding headcount, you’re adding the most expensive resource to your team of all options.

I was at the HR Tech Conference this past week and one thing was for certain, talent acquisition technology is coming after your sourcing work!  Recruitment marketing and recruitment automation technology was clearly the fastest growing segment of technology vendors at the HR Tech Conference.

Large companies can get some of the best tech on the market to help them source and attract candidates for about $25-$100K per year, ballpark, depending on what you need and choose. Your average Sourcing Pro is going to run about $75K on average. One person, no technology.

I know the biggest and best firms will have both.  I also know that most of us will have to make a choice between these two options. Some will try and do both, by limiting the spend on both sides, get some tech and an entry level kid to bang on the internet to find talent. I believe you’re probably best by going all in one way or the other, if you have limited resources.

Based on what I saw at HR Tech this year, and the growth from just last year, I can tell you I would bet my resources on buying the tech!

Recruitment marketing and automation technology can provide you with much of the attraction muscle that you need, plus continue on the backend to retarget and continually connect with potential candidates you don’t even know you need yet.

It’s hard for me to write this because I have a bunch of friends who are great sourcing pros, and do excellent work.  I think there will always be a place for great sourcing pros in the world, like most great talent. The problem is most sourcing pros aren’t great, they’re just average. Technology is better than average. Which is why I ask the question if the technology will make most sourcing obsolete as we know it right now?  I think it probably will.

By the way, I also heard non-stop all week at the conference how technology is also going to make Recruiters obsolete. Which begs the question what human interactions will be most valuable to Talent Acquisition in a future technology driven attracting and hiring process?

It’s going to be the ability of one person talking to another person about why they need to come and work at your company. Sounds simple, but the best Sourcing Pros and best Recruiting Pros do this exceptionally well. They build relationships with candidates, build trust, find ways to make candidates believe working for your company is better than any other option they have.

So, they can sell.  The tech will run the process, screen, test, assess, communicate the basics, etc. What the tech can’t do is sell. The future of sourcing and recruiting is selling. Ironically, it’s also the past!

6 thoughts on “Will Recruitment Marketing Automation Make Sourcing Obsolete?

  1. You make lots of great points. Recruiting technology isn’t going to eliminate recruiters entirely. It’s just going to allow recruiters to focus on the most important tasks, while the others are automated.

  2. Good conversation piece. The ability to source will depend more on mastering the technology’s capability than working around or without it. Few have mastered Excel for example but no one would be hand drawing spreadsheets anymore. Doesn’t change the title but shifts the focus as you’ve suggested. Fewer needed. Technology will also shift the focus for how we assess/select, offer and onboard. Managing the nuances of a highly critical relationship from lead to prospect to candidate to qualified applicant to finalist to employee will grow in complexity and as a separate competency as we measure the impact of doing that really well and the cost of doing it poorly.

  3. Great article, Tim. In my view, recruitment marketing automation software will never replace recruiters or sourcers, though their roles will evolve and in a good way. Before joining SmashFly, I served in Marketing for 20 years and I can say that embracing new technology has really improved my skillset and my effectiveness as a marketer. I think the same transformation and opportunity is happening in talent acquisition. Modern recruiting software should automate simple tasks so recruiters can work smarter and faster, and so they can focus more on the strategic value they provide, specifically building relationships with both candidates and hiring managers, and using analytics to help drive better decisions.

  4. As a technology provider, I don’t see my job as eliminating recruiting. Instead, we should be doing exactly what you said in your closing paragraphs: streamline, automate, and remove all of the transactional elements of the hiring process, allowing recruiters to focus on building relationships with hiring managers and candidates. This is, as you stated, what the best recruiters already do!

    • Ane,

      I couldn’t agree more. But, the unsaid thing in all of this, is technology does eliminate the need for some human interaction. This means that the sourcing you are doing that a machine can do, will go away. Those who are good, have nothing to worry about. The truth is, though, many have a lot to worry about, because they just aren’t that good!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.