Sourcer or Recruiter – The Dividing Line

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Jun 25, 2010

The evolution of the modern-day recruiting model has totally confused the roles we play as sourcers in the life cycle of the recruiting process. If you have been in this business more than ten years you will probably feel comfortable with my opinion stated here. I have a few thoughts to share on what I believe are some differences between the functions of these pieces of the process and how the marketplace continues to interpret these titles.

As organizations continue to streamline the recruiting process, the challenges of technology and real time data provide a whirlwind of information hitting us in the face at warp speeds. We try to use tools to capture this data and hopefully take that opportunity to use additional technological resources to engage in finding the right candidate for our openings. But can a person truly deep-dive and chase all means of paths on a daily basis to engage with candidates to ‘woo’ them to your house? Not in my opinion; you have to sleep at some point, right?

Let’s start with the idea of sourcing. This role is designed for someone who is a true hunter of information. Once given the menu, this person steps into the market to find the valuable ingredients needed to give to the chef (aka recruiter). A true sourcer will go down many paths, and I mean many, to identify and establish true content to give to the recruiter. A sourcer will not engage with the candidate either verbally or electronically. They are the experts in understanding the scope of the role and will use many tools to identify the subject that would potentially be the fit. These people like to lurk, hide in interesting places and gather the intelligence and get all giggly when they turn the data over to the engager, aka the recruiter.

Now let’s talk about the recruiter role. This is the person who can take all the ingredients from the sourcer and create a compelling message to engage with the candidate. These folks qualify, sell, speak, and hand-hold the candidate until they say “YES”, and will even establish an on-going relationship with the person. The recruiter function is an art that is developed with experience over time. This person has to be able to flex their personality to adapt to other personalities, be positive, excitable, deal with up and down situations, and be goal-driven to meet the demand of the project. I think it takes a special person to be successful in the recruiting role.

Now that we have broken it down, there will always be this debate: do we divide these functions into separate roles or combine them into one role? I think there are three different types of people in our field: people who just want to research and hunt, people who want to talk/engage with the candidate, and then there are the types who like to do both.  You can set this up any way you want within your organization – all have been proven to work, it’s just a matter of what is executable, productive, and will bring value to your business.

What is your opinion in the difference? Should these job functions be divided, or can one person do both?  Share your experiences, thoughts, and comments below.