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May 19, 2017
This article is part of a series called Editor's Pick.

Interviewing sourcers is tricky, we’re all people, people. We made great first dates and knew how to engage in easy conversation. We have a sales outlook, so we sell ourselves well. And therefore we can bond, engage and like each other at first meeting.

So, it’s important to look under the hood when hiring a sourcer. Believe me; I’ve been sold and burned. I’ve hired people who promised me they could find anyone and, after billing our client hundreds of hours, came up with nothing (and blamed our systems).

With experience, I’ve learned some key things to look for when hiring a sourcer who is going to complement my skills.

  1. A similar mindset about recruiting. I believe that recruiting is all about the candidate and their fit for the role, seconded by the fit for the company. I think that if it doesn’t work for the candidate, the long term fit isn’t there. I need a sourcer who feels the same way.
  2. Excellent writing skills. I tend to be a member of the grammar police. I do not want work going out representing me, or my clients that are poorly written has mis-spellings or hasn’t been proofread. I had a sourcer spell our company’s website wrong to multiple candidates. Not. Ok.
  3. A Quality over quantity mindset. I don’t care if you reach out to 20 or 2000 people, as long as you write tailored reach outs, personalize things and don’t reach out to a person’s work email address. If you’ve reached out to 2000 people and still aren’t producing any candidates, you’re still not getting the job done.
  4. Find someone who reaches out for help when they need it. We all get stuck. I call it “recruiter’s block.” I hire sourcers that will talk to me when they are stuck so that we can go over approaches together.


Some of the questions I ask when I’m interviewing sourcers are:

Tell me, how would you approach this req that I’m working on?

With this question, I’m looking for their first approach to a req, what tools they rely on most, how they organize themselves on a new req. I see how many questions they ask and how they get informed about a new role.

What are your favorite sourcing tools?

Here I see how “modern” they are. The “I rely on Monster and Dice” approach tells me that this person hasn’t shifted their strategy at all in at least 15 years. I listen for diversity, what tools people use for what types of roles and hope to find versatility and adaptability, as well as a desire to stay at the top of our craft.

Tell me about a hard req that you worked on in the last three months? What made it hard? Were you successful? Did you get stuck? What did you do?

Here I am looking for resourcefulness, persistence, and attitude. I want to see if the person has an “everyone else’s fault” or a “let’s gather around and tackle this” approach. I want to see how they pivoted and how they knew when something wasn’t working.

How do you make sure you understand the requirements of a role you are working on?

Recruiting 101- what questions do they ask, and how specific will their work be?

What are your expectations of me and our working relationship?

Again, I want to know what this person is like to work with, and what they expect from me. Here I am setting the stage for our relationship so that we can start to build our team.


In talking through these questions, I begin to understand the person, their approach to recruiting and how they will be on the phone with candidates. Once I know this, I know if I want them on my team.

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