I was recently introducing myself to someone and as conversations usually go was asked: “What do you do?” I responded by saying: “I manage a team of sourcers.” As has happened almost every time I’ve had these types of conversations with those outside the recruitment profession, there was some explanation required. Sometimes people hear what I’ve said incorrectly. “You manage a team of sorcerers?” Or they think I’m in the purchasing and procurement profession. Or after I’ve begun to explain a bit will say: “Oh you’re a recruiter…” With my response being: “Well kind of, but it’s a little bit different.”
This got me thinking of all the different things a sourcer is today. Yes, a sourcer is like a sorcerer. Sometimes it does feel like we’ll need magic to find the perfect candidate. A sourcer also is a cyber sleuth. I often joke that I can find anything about anyone online. You can’t hide from me! Sourcers are also artists. The skill of engagement is an art form. How can I reach out to someone to get them to respond? How can my cold call get me past the gatekeeper? How can my voicemail entice someone to call me back? The correct combination of language and tone of voice requires the creativity and finesse of an artist.
We are also stalkers but in the most professional way. Our goal is often to find talent and then make a more personalized connection. Where did they go to school? What do they like to do in their spare time? What projects have they worked on? Or awards have they won? It can get a little creepy sometimes, it’s true. Once we’ve got the information we need, it’s time to call, text, email, InMail, over and over again until they answer us. Some might call that annoying; we call it persistent.
Sourcers are also influencers. Using our knowledge of the markets we search in to influence recruiters and hiring managers of compensation trends, typical experience of the talent needed, and the availability of that talent in the market place. Sourcers get to use this influence to champion diversity. And not just only diversity of gender, color, or sexual orientation, but also a diversity of thought. We often encourage hiring managers to think outside the box. “A purple squirrel isn’t the ONLY candidate that can fill your job successfully; a blue unicorn can be the right fit too.”
There is no denying that the sourcing profession is a complicated one. These descriptions barely skim the surface of what we do. It requires a diverse skill set that seems to be changing just a rapidly as technology always changes. But, I think that’s what makes it so exciting and fun. We get to be part geek, part salesperson, part diversity champion and so much more each day. No day is like the next, keeping things interesting and unique. There is certainly no other place I’d rather be, even if I have to explain what I do for a living every time I get the question: “So what do you do?”