Sourcer OR Recruiter: A Classic Title Dilemma in India

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Oct 6, 2011

When I began my sourcing career, I was working in a recruitment setup where the sourcing team used to support the recruiters with resumes.

This means that whenever there was a new requirement raised, the sourcer had to understand the requirement and then accordingly write the job postings and get the right resume from the right source and ensure that a basic HR screening is done, which included getting a better understanding of candidates’ interest in a position, their reason for change, experience, education, CTC, notice period, and other details. After this, we would pass on the resume to the recruiter.

At this point, a recruiter would take the resume to the next level. When I say next level, it means the recruiter had to schedule the interviews with a technical panel and then based on the feedback, they would negotiate salary and notice period and release the offer.

After this, there was a conversion specialist team who would then collect the required documents from the offered candidates and follow up with them for their joining dates as well as take care of their travel and accommodation requirements.

While this is one way to run a recruiting process,  I have also worked in a recruitment setup where the recruiter is the one sourcing resumes and closing the requirement end-to-end. This process involved understanding the requirement, posting the job, and sourcing the right resume from the right source just like the above example.

However, sourcing was also responsible for scheduling the interview with the technical panel, getting feedback, and then negotiating with the candidate and releasing the offer. The responsibilities of the recruiter were only to follow up with the offered candidates and to ensure that the documents were in place as well as coordinate with Travel Management for their accommodation requirements.

Big, differences here in job scope, although the titles were the same.

I am sure that many organizations have different styles of working and might also have different teams assigned to perform the given task.

Let me ask you at this point: based on the above examples, where would you prefer to be working?

My guess is that your responses will be different based on whether you are currently a sourcer or a recruiter.

A title doesn’t necessarily dictate your actual job function – a lot depends on the organization’s needs, culture, and historical view of the divide between sourcing and recruiting.

Here in India however, there is more to the title.

As I was in the sourcing world for more than five years, when it was time for me to move on to my next job people would suggest that I should interview as a recruiter.

Although I was surprised to hear this, there is a reason for this advice.

Not all IT companies in India have the culture of a split sourcing and recruitment team. Most of them look for hard core recruiters with end-to-end recruitment life-cycle experience.

Hence, there is a tendency for sourcing professionals to portray themselves as recruiters during interviews.

I have a strong belief that a sourcing professional is the first face / voice to the candidate and also is the face of the company that s/he is representing. I am not trying to undermine any of the roles performed by the recruiter or hard core sourcing specialist. But perhaps what needs to be done is that we need to provide more information and education, at least here in India, as to the benefits of splitting out the sourcing and recruitment functions within a company. This way, true sourcers will not have to pretend to be something that in their hearts they know they are not.

In my opinion, the sourcing function has not received its due credit in India. Even if you ask a professional if he would choose sourcing as a career if he had an option between the two, the answer will likely be no. But times are changing and some companies are starting to develop dedicated sourcing functions and Centers for Excellence for sourcing as well. This is a major boost and this indeed will help to build confidence throughout the Indian sourcing community, and for those who want to take up sourcing as a career.

You might ask how did i get the second job above…. Well, I decided give an interview as a sourcer…

So I ask all of you — Would you give an interview as a recruiter or as a sourcer?

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