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Feb 25, 2019
This article is part of a series called Editor's Pick.

What is the difference between a resourcer or researcher and a sourcer, and which of the two do you need for your organization?

You might be thinking to yourself that you know the difference between the two terms. Unfortunately, there are just as many people who don’t know. For example, the following was said to me in an interview over a year ago in an interview for a Sourcing position:

“If you do well as a sourcer, we could even look at promoting you into a recruitment role!”

There is a segment of the Irish market that will perceive sourcing and resourcing to be a “junior recruiter” position. So we’ll have a look at the breakdown of the roles in a bit. If you’re reading this article, you know about SourceCon. You know what sourcing can bring to the table, and you have likely interacted with a few people that have made careers out of it.

To start this off though, I’ll give you a bit of information about myself. I’m an Irish Sourcer, and I work in Dublin for a Scandinavian CRM SaaS company. I previously worked as a 360 Agency Recruiter, and later as an In-House Recruiter in both the Technology and Financial Services sectors. After those roles, I went into an RPO model (Recruitment Process Outsourcer), and it opened my eyes. Why did I move from recruitment into sourcing?

I came to feel as though I had become a glorified administrator that was conducting transactional exchanges between clients and candidates. It had become a chore where I was reading a script, going through the motions and repeating the process again and again. You may be shaking your head. I was probably just in the wrong company or had the wrong perspective on the industry? You’d be completely right. I needed a change. Sourcing was that change.

When I first started in an agency, I had the fancy title of “Associate Recruiter.” It was a resourcing role where I began to learn the recruitment trade from the ground up. Each senior recruiter would take me under their wing and teach me about their market specialization. I was junior, and I was lucky enough to get a great foundation from them. They gave me the keywords to look for from all their hiring manager intake calls. They gave me archaic job-postings that had a one-size fit all approach. I posted them and handled all the responses. I acted as a feeder to all the different recruiters in the financial services team. Hundreds of CVs from all types of professionals in HR, legal, insurance or banking. It was a lesson in volume. It was a lesson in resourcing.

Social Talent appeared on the horizon, and they were a game changer for me. I did my Black Belt with them and learned that the old-school way that I had been using as my bible was wrong! There were more compelling ways to find candidates. There were ways to optimize searches and use search language to discover or unearth hidden talent. I was addicted.

In RPO, I learned a lot of things. The first one was that I was given full transparency over the process. I knew how much the client charged us for the service, and I knew which roles were in our best interests to fill. Better than that, I was the main deterrent to agencies! I was now on the other side of the fence, and I was up against the very people that had trained me. I never used to think I was a competitive person but working in an RPO changed that. When I wasn’t actively sourcing candidates, I was doing research projects. This was where my eyes were opened to the real usefulness of sourcing skills. I created market maps and analysis of each competitor in our space. I profiled candidates and built decks to show how we could headhunt, recruit and train up a function for the business. Then I saw how much they paid for that information. Publicly available information. I wanted to get better at finding it, and faster.

I hope you’re ready for the broadest generalization of all time. Just remember though, that I’ve worked in both capacities and I have good things to say about both positions. This is my personal opinion and my findings in the marketplace in Dublin. This was your warning to take my words with a pinch of salt.


What is Sourcing:

●       The process of finding out where something can be obtained.


Do you need a Sourcer?

●       Sourcers can create informed market maps, create comprehensive competitor analysis and use best practice when approaching candidates.

●       A good Sourcer can build your candidate funnel and pipeline; they can speak at a C-Level and predict future hiring pains with market insights.

●       Most importantly, Sourcers tend to be highly networked with the people that can answer any questions which they don’t know the answer to.


Potential questions at Interview:

●       Can they search outside of Job Boards and LinkedIn?

●       Who do they follow in the Industry or which Communities are they a part of?

●       What tool or process has been the most transformative for them this year?

●       Can they create a measurable sourcing strategy or branding campaign for a hard to fill the role?



What is Resourcing:

●       Supplying a commodity that can be drawn upon by a person or organization to function effectively.


Do you need a Resourcer?

●       They can take care of your inbound applications and review all CVs.

●       They will provide a candidate funnel from all your licensed candidate databases and channels

●       They’ll screen the candidate, ask predetermined qualifying questions and provide you with a warm introduction.

●       They’re very good at adding to the candidate experience, especially when they know what they’re talking about and they’re keeping the candidate informed.


Potential questions at Interview:

●       How comfortable are you talking to strangers on the phone? (Mock call)

●       Give me an example of how you deal with high volumes and multiple stakeholders.

●       What information can you tell me about these candidates? (Show example CVs)


The difference between those two roles isn’t always seniority; it can be the structure of your business. If you have good branding and enjoy a high volume of inbound relevant applications, a resourcer is the perfect person for that job. If you are in a more boutique role where you’re finding it increasingly difficult to find the suitable candidate or are a bit lost on where to begin, then a sourcer would be a much better choice.

I’ve learned a lot over the last few years of sourcing. SourceCon, Growth Hacking Recruiters, DBR… numerous communities foster imaginative thought and show you an alternative sourcing method. Step out of your comfort zone and try something new!

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