Sourcers vs. Recruiters: I Have Changed My Mind

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When I started sourcing and teaching sourcing, I believed that Sourcers should be separate. Sourcers are nerdy, introverted, and know the technologies. (As an introvert, I get tired after speaking with two or three people, then need down time.) Making Sourcers reach out to potential candidates is not utilizing their top skills. Recruiters are good communicators, extroverted, friendly, and outgoing. The best personalities for the two roles are different.

However, I now believe that, in most cases, it is best for Recruiters to source. It is not rocket science. Everyone can learn to Google, LinkedIn, and use productivity tools.

The reasons to not separate the roles include:

  1. If a Sourcer speaks to a candidate, then, Recruiter, and only then, the Hiring Manager, it creates a poor candidate experience.
  2. In this economy, you are likely to lose the best candidates amidst all the scheduling.
  3. Information gets lost in the communication between the participating parties.

It is best to train your Recruiters and let them both search and reach out.

A separate Sourcing function at your company can serve three purposes:

  1. Looking for hard-to-find talent
  2. Working with urgent requisitions
  3. Building talent pipelines.

My partners and I offer Sourcing Services covering those needs. We generate a list of matching prospects along with contact info, and the client reaches out themselves. We have worked in all industries and across locations, and it has not been boring!

It is often hard to sell our services to the companies’ management since we cannot guarantee any outcome – not a given number of leads or placements. But almost all of our clients come back with more projects since it works well for them.

What do you think? Should Sourcers and Recruiters be separate functions? Should Sourcers talk with potential candidates? It is funny that, after so many years, we are not on the same page!

 

Comments 6

  1. Fully agree. And conversely – I’m an introvert that found myself working as a recruiter. Communication is also a learnable skill. Yes, I can get very tired from it sometimes. But then I can go and do some sourcing to give myself a break.

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  2. In a perfect world, the Recruiter would cover the entire process, including sourcing, in my opinion. In reality, it’s very difficult to do both if you have more than a few requisitions. Sourcing takes focus and concentration, and is not very effective or efficient when you get the typical interruptions that a Recruiter must respond to (offers, interview requests, etc.). I’ve worked under both models during my 24+ years of recruiting and have found the most effective model to include separate Sourcers (whether they talk to the candidates or simply find and hand off). With that said, I definitely agree that Recruiters should know how to source and actually keep their sourcing skills sharp.

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  3. I think there’s room for multiple types of roles. Hybrid sourcing recruiters are ideal with small req loads. When req loads get high or niche and difficult to fill roles are frequent occurances, dedicated sourcing support is an excellent use of resources. While I don’t think sourcers should talk to every lead they generate interest from, it does benefit them to speak with some of their leads. You can learn more about a role by asking questions of the people in the roles and learning about their backgrounds and where they come from. You learn about technologies that they’ve used that may be relevant precursors to what you’re searching for, or other job titles that you can use to search. This is information you may not get from your hiring manager, aligned recruiter, or even the team at work if you have access to them. To fill a sourcer’s day with phone screens is not a good use of time, but occasional calls are benefitial. Finally, there are recruiters whose strengths do not lie in sourcing and while they could learn it, the process would be arduous and more time consuming than necessary. These individuals are often better at managing process and relationships and work well with a sourcer or sourcing team.

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