Question: I wonder if you might have any thoughts or advice on finding a great sourcer. I feel like I am wasting a lot of valuable time doing this task myself. I tried someone via Elance last month with average results. They only cost me $5 per hour. Maybe I should be spending more money. – Conrad

Answer: To be completely honest, you are wasting valuable time. That means you are probably a good recruiter because people that love doing the sourcing on the internet often, not all the time, often are not the best communicators verbally. Plus, it is part of recruiting that I absolutely cannot stand.

Here is the thing I have learned with my clients over the years as it relates to sourcers. Elance and Odesk have now merged a while ago and are now So, you hired one with average results. Now, one thing you might want to do is go back to that person with average results and coach them up. By that I mean, take their list with them, get them on Skype if they are international, and walk them through.

If they gave you a list of 50 names and you know that these 20 names were pretty good. Go over all the reasons why they were pretty good. These 10 names were close but not fits, and here is why, and these 20 names were way off. Say to the person “Now I want to give you another chance because I see some possibilities here. When you go do this again I want you to find 30 or 40 more like this first 20. What else do you need to know from me?”

When I have talked with some people that really understand sourcing, working especially with certain Asian cultures, depending on where your sourcer is from, they consider it ignorant to ask questions. It is from a cultural standpoint, so you want to make sure they completely understand that you are not going to hold this against them because I want to give you a lot of work, and you need to know that they understand this. Say to them, “I might not be the best communicator on exactly what I was looking for. What else do you need to know from me to get me 30 or 40 more people like that first 20 you got me?”

I have seen it work with clients when they found somebody that was a close to start became a really good sourcer.  Each search got better and better and better and better results.  Now, if you continue to hit like mediocrity with this person, hire another one.  Most of my clients have to go through 6 or 7 sourcers through a place like Upwork to find one who sticks, which is why I usually recommend when you post the job on there, hire 3 or 4 sourcers.  Give them a couple different areas where you need some research done.  Tell them you are giving it to 3 or 4 other freelancers. That once you find and identify 1 or 2 sourcers you plan on giving them work every month consistently.

That would be my best advice. I think kudos to you to understand that your investing time doing a $5/hour activity that you hate, where if you want to bill $200,000, $300,000, or $400,000 a year individually that it is probably . . . your bill rate is $200 to $300 per hour. So you are making a lot of money by outsourcing this. But I think you are on the right track, you just have to do more of it.