Q&A with Brent Pearson

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Founder and ‘Director of Cool Shit and Chaos’ at HRX, Brent Pearson is perhaps one of the pioneers of internet sourcing in Australia. Fed up with the low quality of metrics around sourcing and in particular social media, Brent is on a mission to improve them and show the real ROI of sourcing.

Q. HRX has had a dedicated sourcing team since the start. Where did the idea come from to set one up, and how did you go about it?
When we set up HRX, we designed it from the beginning around a tight candidate market. We believe based on the underlying demographics that the battle for top talent is not going to get any easier. This meant a fundamental shift in philosophy from selection to sourcing and marketing. Both Katrina and I had seen sourcing teams being established in the USA and believed this to be the future, so from the very beginning we designed a sourcing function for HRX. The challenge was building one and optimising the function. Experienced sourcers were almost non-existent, so we bought over one of the most experienced sourcers we could find from the USA to train our staff. We hired some very smart talented people and gave them the tools and training. Now we are on a journey to really optimise the function.

Q. You have been very vocal about, what you called ‘bullshit metrics’. At what point do sourcing & social media metrics become useless?
Most of the metrics I see (if I can find them) around social media and sourcing are rubbish! They do not allow meaningful analysis and comparison.  Lots of reasons for this, but I believe that metrics around sourcing candidates will continue improve to the point where good benchmarks are readily available and people responsible for developing social media strategies can get a good sense for what works and what doesn’t work.

Q. For something so critical and central to sourcing, ROI remains difficult to measure. Has progress been made to gauge sourcing investments?
Yes, At HRX we have launched an extremely exciting initiative around measuring and optimising the sourcing function.  I will be discussing this at the conference and laying out a framework that any organisation can use to measure both social media and sourcing effectiveness.

Q. What will you be speaking about at the Sourcing Summit?
The questions above are very aligned with my presentation. Sourcing is still the “wild west” in my opinion. It’s a young immature function and many organisations are grappling with how to make it work effectively. A central theme of my presentation is encouraging sourcing professionals to not become too focused on the latest greatest tool or technique, but instead think about the efficiency and effectiveness of the function from a business perspective and how to optimise this.

Brent is running a survey the results of which will be included in his presentation. It takes less than a couple of minutes, click here to help out