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Jan 24, 2018
This article is part of a series called Editor's Pick.

“So, what do you do?” is one of the first questions you will hear in every conversation with your relatives, friends you haven’t seen for a long time or people you just recently met.

The question seems simple, but sometimes the answer is not easy to answer. Many jobs that require little explanation. If you are going to say that you are a police officer, doctor or teacher, there is no need to add more information, but saying that you’re working as a sourcer very often requires much follow-up information.

Most people don’t know what a sourcer does, so the first question usually is, “You mean, sorcerer like a magician?” Also, if you’re passionate about your work, it could be irritating to explain over and over again to people what you are doing.

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I always tried to answer questions about my job with a straightforward answer: “A Sourcer creates interest and chases passive candidates.” At least I thought that was the simple answer, but we all have friends who don’t have a clue about recruitment or don’t know what recruiters are doing, so very often the next question was, “What are passive candidates?”

And more answers generated more questions, which would lead to a few options: “Well, I am between jobs right now,” or, “I am working in human resources.” Usually, the answer that mentioned human resources ended the constant stream of questions.

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I am proud of the work I am doing, but don’t like labels like, “I am a sourcer,” “I am a recruiter,” etc. I am doing lots of things in various fields as every sourcer does. However, most people need to put you into some box-like, “He is a recruiter.” But every time I hear, “So, what do you do?” I remember one discussion that I had with a small child.


My chat with a small child

Child: What do you do for a living?

Me: I work as sourcer.

Child: Oh, that is cool, so you are like Harry Potter and doing magic.

Me: No I am not a sorcerer, and I am not Harry Potter (well I am in Voldemort team – don’t worry, I didn’t tell him this) and the only magic that I am doing is with the Boolean search strings.

Child: Boolean?

Me: A Boolean search is a type of search allowing users to combine keywords with operators (or modifiers) such as AND, NOT and OR to further produce more relevant results. And I am using them on the Internet.

Child: So you are a developer?

Me: No I am not, but I am looking for various types of people, and some of them are considered to be unicorns.

Child: Wow. You have a unicorn? Can I see it, please?

Me: No, I am looking for people who are really hard to find, and they are “hiding,” and my goal is to find them.

Child: So you are a bounty hunter? That‘s cool, so did you find some famous villain?

Me: Well, I am … hell yeah, I am a bounty hunter, and I am looking only for famous villains and people. 🙂

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The next time you hear the question, “What do you do?” just answer “I am a bounty hunter.” When you use this answer, children will understand it, and you will look cool. And you also don’t have to try to explain this job to adults.

If you try to explain what it is a sourcer does, you will give up after few answers, and you will say that you are working as a recruiter. And if you do that, more questions will come, questions like, “I have a friend who has a sister, who has a boyfriend and her boyfriend’s mother has a friend at work, and he is looking for a job, can you help him to find a job?

And we all know that these questions will always come after you say, “I work as a recruiter.” If you are a sourcer just be proud of it, I consider sourcing an art. Everybody could create simple Boolean strings if they knew how, but to create complex strings that can find for you very quickly the exact information you are looking for, you need to turn into a Boolean string artist. Maybe telling your friends that you are an artist is better than telling them you are a sourcer.

And maybe the statement, “If you can’t explain it to a six-year-old, you don’t understand it yourself,” is correct and sometimes we don’t know what the hell we are doing.

Explaining what you do can be a challenge given the complex nature of our work today. And sometimes explaining what we do can be a losing battle. If you are patient enough, just try to explain and educate people who ask you, “So, what do you do?” Or just become a bounty hunter like me 🙂

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This article is part of a series called Editor's Pick.
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