Sun Tzu on Sourcing

Is there nothing new under the sun?

Sun Tzu was an ancient Chinese general. His Art of War is the oldest military treatise in the world.

He thought spies were an essential part of war — and where is Sourcecon being held in 2010?

At the International Spy Museum in Washington, D.C. (on September 28 and 29).

When I saw that, it made me want to go back to Sun Tzu and see if there is anything he can tell us about intelligence gathering today.

Here’s what I found: economics.

This is the first thing Sun Tzu says about spies. (Chapter 13:1)

Raising 100,000 men and marching them a long distance will bring heavy losses and drain the resources of the state.

Men will drop exhausted on the highways.

It will cost 1,000 ounces of silver a day.

There will be problems at home and abroad.

Up to 700,000 families will be negatively affected.

Waging war costs money. It uses up your resources. It takes people away from their regular jobs.

So, one of Sun Tzu’s major goals was to avoid war altogether or reduce the cost and an essential part of his strategy was the use of spies.

He said that a wise general will use “the highest intelligence of the army for spying.” (13:27).

Here’s the reason. If a spy can identify the most important targets and tell you how to get to them, it spares you the cost of throwing a big army into the fray without knowing exactly where you’re going.

So, in effect the spy leads the army. She tells the generals where to go.

Spies are a most important element in war, because on them depends an army’s ability to move. (13:27)

How does this relate to recruiting? Well, what are the options? If you put an ad on a job board, you’ll get a ton of resumes. Most of them are going to be irrelevant, but your recruiters will have to spend time sorting them out.

The person you’re after, however, might not even be looking for a job. She might not be searching the job boards and it’s likely that no one is telling her about the ad either. So, all of your time is wasted, the job remains unfilled, and the required work remains undone.

On the other hand, you can hire a sourcer who will go out and identify good people and then the recruiter can call them.

Which path is most likely to reach the right targets faster? And which is going to be cheaper in the end?

Sun Tzu says that:

Hostile armies can face each other for years, striving for the victory which is decided in a single day. This being so, to remain in ignorance of the enemy’s condition simply because one grudges the outlay of 100 ounces of silver in honors and payments, is the height of inhumanity. (13:2)

And what is the most important kind of intelligence? According to Sun Tzu, names.

Whether the object be to crush an army, to storm a city, or to assassinate an individual, it is always necessary to begin by finding out the names of the attendants, the aides-de-camp, and door-keepers and sentries of the general in command. Our spies must be commissioned to ascertain these. (13:20)

Cheaping out on the cost of a sourcer is only going to postpone, sometimes at great cost, your opportunity to meet the people you’re pursuing.
Types of Spies…


Sun-tzu

Is there nothing new under the sun?

Sun Tzu was an ancient Chinese general. His Art of War is the oldest military treatise in the world.

He thought spies were an essential part of war — and where is Sourcecon being held in 2010?

At the International Spy Museum in Washington, D.C. (on September 28 and 29).

When I saw that, it made me want to go back to Sun Tzu and see if there is anything he can tell us about intelligence gathering today.

Here’s what I found: economics.

This is the first thing Sun Tzu says about spies. (Chapter 13:1)

Raising 100,000 men and marching them a long distance will bring heavy losses and drain the resources of the state.

Men will drop exhausted on the highways.

It will cost 1,000 ounces of silver a day.

There will be problems at home and abroad.

Up to 700,000 families will be negatively affected.

Waging war costs money. It uses up your resources. It takes people away from their regular jobs.

So, one of Sun Tzu’s major goals was to avoid war altogether or reduce the cost and an essential part of his strategy was the use of spies.

He said that a wise general will use “the highest intelligence of the army for spying.” (13:27).

Here’s the reason. If a spy can identify the most important targets and tell you how to get to them, it spares you the cost of throwing a big army into the fray without knowing exactly where you’re going.

So, in effect the spy leads the army. She tells the generals where to go.

Spies are a most important element in war, because on them depends an army’s ability to move. (13:27)

How does this relate to recruiting? Well, what are the options? If you put an ad on a job board, you’ll get a ton of resumes. Most of them are going to be irrelevant, but your recruiters will have to spend time sorting them out.

The person you’re after, however, might not even be looking for a job. She might not be searching the job boards and it’s likely that no one is telling her about the ad either. So, all of your time is wasted, the job remains unfilled, and the required work remains undone.

On the other hand, you can hire a sourcer who will go out and identify good people and then the recruiter can call them.

Which path is most likely to reach the right targets faster? And which is going to be cheaper in the end?

Sun Tzu says that:

Hostile armies can face each other for years, striving for the victory which is decided in a single day. This being so, to remain in ignorance of the enemy’s condition simply because one grudges the outlay of 100 ounces of silver in honors and payments, is the height of inhumanity. (13:2)

And what is the most important kind of intelligence? According to Sun Tzu, names.

Whether the object be to crush an army, to storm a city, or to assassinate an individual, it is always necessary to begin by finding out the names of the attendants, the aides-de-camp, and door-keepers and sentries of the general in command. Our spies must be commissioned to ascertain these. (13:20)

Cheaping out on the cost of a sourcer is only going to postpone, sometimes at great cost, your opportunity to meet the people you’re pursuing.

Types of Spies… Leer más “Sun Tzu on Sourcing”

Sun Tzu: el Arte de la Guerra en los Negocios

Sun Tzu dice: la guerra es de vital importancia para el Estado; es el dominio de la vida o de la muerte, el camino hacia la supervivencia o la pérdida del Imperio: es forzoso manejarla bien. No reflexionar seriamente sobre todo lo que le concierne es dar prueba de una culpable indiferencia en lo que respecta a la conservación o pérdida de lo que nos es mas querido; y ello no debe ocurrir entre nosotros.

Hay que valorarla en términos de cinco factores fundamentales, y hacer comparaciones entre diversas condiciones de los bandos rivales, con vistas a determinar el resultado de la guerra. El primero de estos factores es la doctrina; el segundo, el tiempo; el tercero, el terreno; el cuarto, el mando; y el quinto, la disciplina.


sun tzu, el arte de la guerraSun Tzu dice: la guerra es de vital importancia para el Estado; es el dominio de la vida o de la muerte, el camino hacia la supervivencia o la pérdida del Imperio: es forzoso manejarla bien. No reflexionar seriamente sobre todo lo que le concierne es dar prueba de una culpable indiferencia en lo que respecta a la conservación o pérdida de lo que nos es mas querido; y ello no debe ocurrir entre nosotros.

Hay que valorarla en términos de cinco factores fundamentales, y hacer comparaciones entre diversas condiciones de los bandos rivales, con vistas a determinar el resultado de la guerra. El primero de estos factores es la doctrina; el segundo, el tiempo; el tercero, el terreno; el cuarto, el mando; y el quinto, la disciplina. Leer más “Sun Tzu: el Arte de la Guerra en los Negocios”