Are Sourcing and Recruiting The Same Thing? It Depends

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Do you need a recruiter who can source, or a dedicated sourcer? There’s no one-size-fits-all answer, says recruiter Angela Bortolussi.

Recruiting vs. Sourcing

Last week, I had a conversation with the VP of HR at a growing Vancouver technology company. He asked:

“Should a company split the function between sourcing and recruiting or have the recruitment and sourcing function as one?”

I responded: “It depends. What are the issues that you’re having? Is it pipelining candidates, and closing them? And what are your definitions of recruiting and sourcing?”

Is there a difference between the two? There can be, yes, depending on the company. Here are a couple common definitions:

Recruiter: Takes part in the ‘candidate process’: screening, interviewing, reference checks, offer/negotiate contract, on-boarding etc. May likely be a sourcer, too …

Sourcer: Developing and building a pipeline of candidates, through Boolean search strings and other tools. Sourcers can also better measure which social network provides the best ROI in terms of candidate response rate.

Can one person do both?

Take myself for example. I work with companies that require ultra-fast, demand-based recruiting and companies that are still steadily growing and need a pipeline of candidates for when they hit the ground running. Whether it’s an act of urgency or merely mapping out a recruitment strategy for the next four months, I am both their recruiter and sourcer.

Finding candidates – sourcing – can be easy. Getting candidates on the phone, pitching your company and its jobs – recruiting – can be easy. But not many people will do both. Some just want to research, build a list and never talk to anyone. Some would rather be the ‘cool kid’ and make the deal happen.

Back to that original question …

“Should a company split the function between sourcing and recruiting or have the recruitment and sourcing function as one?”

It turns out, the company in question’s issue isn’t recruiting, interviewing and closing. It’s sourcing candidates. Their pipeline for immediate and long-term isn’t sufficient. My advice? Either have more dedicated sourcing time for the recruiter – building pipelines – or hire a dedicated sourcer for the long run.

And there’s an additional part … this comes from social recruiting strategist and author Jim Stroud, who tweeted:

Having recruiters and/or sourcers who understand your industry’s, jargon, buzzwords and keywords is just as helpful as, if not more-so, than knowing how to build boolean search strings.

How have the two roles evolved over the last few years?

Charlie McClaskie, technical recruiter, talent acquisition consultant and founder of OpenPros shared his insights with me:

“Talent acquisition pros need to be great sourcers as well as full life cycle recruiters to take candidates from prospects to hires. There is no separation for us unless our directive is to solely pipeline relevant talent. Recruiters and sourcers today should have experience in online marketing. Things like A/B testing emails to candidates, paid advertising, and having good understanding of analytics help me to keep track of what’s effective and what’s not.”

So should recruiting be split between recruiters and sourcers with separate titles and responsibilities?

It depends. Do an audit of what your company’s specific recruitment and sourcing issues are and ask if you have the right people in those right roles.

Interested in this topic? Charlie and I will be guests on the Recruiting Animal radio show to talk more about recruiters vs. sourcers. Listen live this Wednesday, July 15th at 12pm EST / 9am PST.

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About the author

Angela Bortolussi, HR Specialist and Recruiter for Recruiting Social in Vancouver.

Angela Bortolussi is an HR Specialist and Recruiter with Recruiting Social’s Vancouver office. Connect with her on LinkedIn or follow her on Twitter at @ABortolusssi.

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