Sourcer or recruiter? It’s all about the intitle: via @derdiver

So yeah, I got to be one of the cool kids at Sourcecon in February. I was honored that Jeremy, Steve, and Ronnie invited me to speak. I have, over the years, joked about sourcing just being recruiting without actually having to speak to the actual candidate. However, I learned first hand how this has not always been the case. In fact, it’s my opinion that true sourcing has evolved out of what was recruiting. It’s an evolution of the title, not the job.

Years ago, when I first found myself in the world of agency recruiting, all I had was a database, a monster account, a phone, and a fax machine (if you don’t know what a fax machine is you are too young to get this). I was regaled with stories of how easy it was for us new recruiters. Back in the day, we would stare at the fax machine waiting on a fresh resume to be sent over. It was how it was done. Email was still new and Monster/Dice were the only real online databases other than the internal one we had. We mostly used them to post the jobs we were looking to fill. I learned about keyword searches with a little yellow box highlighting the word I was looking for within the database search engine of a tool called Magellan. It was DOS based. That was the extent of sourcing for me. Type in a key word or two and let the machine find the resume. Then it was off to the phone and “dialing for dollars.” This was recruiting. This was not sourcing. This is just what we did. It was not until a few years later that I learned by using Boolean phrases that there was so much out there to access and download. Not just from my own database but from job boards, websites, colleges, etc. All this was done with keywords and deductive reasoning. I mean a DBA is a DBA.

A few years later, I happened upon a blog called Boolean Black Belt by Glenn Cathey. I was intrigued in the use of Boolean operators such as intitle: or the use of a negative (-) sign in the searches that he wrote about. Like me, he was intrigued with internal databases. These beginning tools helped me narrow my searches and retrieve resumes even faster – both online and in our proprietary database. This then allowed me more time on the phone with the right candidates. Oh, and it allowed me to make more placements faster.

Let’s fast forward a few years. After a raucous good time being interviewed on the Recruiting Animal Show, I was contacted by Cathy Anderson. She wanted me to speak with another legend in the industry, Shally Stecklerl of the Sourcing Institute. After an hour-long conversation, he invited me to Atlanta to attend one of his courses. I was intrigued so I decided to attend. In that class, I met Ronnie Bratcher, Steve Rath, and Michael Gray. I’m happy to say they are now all good friends. I can unequivocally say I learned more in two days with Shally than I learned during any semester in college. His insight to use different websites that I had never even known existed was awesome.

There was a common string that I found interesting. Sourcers were going out to FIND candidates AND engage! Just like my days in the agency and corporate staffing, I was not waiting for a resume to come to me. I was going out to find the people. Wait, isn’t that recruiting? In my opinion, the old school sourcers who were called recruiters just got a name change. That and some cool tools. What I was learning was how to do my searches BETTER. Get it? I know there are companies that have set up teams that only source candidates and hand off the resumes to an internal recruiter. I know because I did this for three years at BAH. I engaged my candidates, did a write up on them, and then subbed them to the Client Facing Recruiter (CFR) like they were my client (which they sort of were). You see, I just cannot for the life of me see a recruiter NOT source.

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I reached the peak of the mountain when I found myself at Sourcecon Atlanta. I was there to speak on sourcing and compliance as a government contractor (the irony was not lost on me). There I was, sitting with my peers, listening to some of the best in the industry. I was going to Sourcecon After Dark and participating in sourcing challenges side by side with Ronnie Bratcher, Steve Rath, Nicole Greenberg, Jonathan Campbell, and the irrepressible Jim Stroud. I was sharing knowledge, tips, tricks, and all things sourcing with my peers. Not one of them told me that they did not engage both the client and the candidate. Some even looked at me like I was stupid for thinking that they would.

Fifteen years ago my title was a recruiter. Fifteen years later I still say I am a recruiter. So as to not upset sourcers, I think we should differentiate ourselves by saying we are Sourcing Recruiters. There, now we have a new title to fight over and blog about until Sourcecon in Denver. It’s not like there has ever been controversy about the title or what sourcers/recruiters do, right? #truestory

image credit: bigstock

Derek Zeller draws from over 20 years in the recruiting industry. The last 16 years he has been involved with federal government recruiting specializing in the cleared IT space under OFCCP compliance. Currently, he is the Director of Recruiting Solutions for Engage Talent. He has experience with both third-party agency and in-house recruiting for multiple disciplines. Using out-of-the-box tactics and strategies to identify and engage talent, he has had significant experience in building referral and social media programs, the implementation of Applicant Tracking Systems, technology evaluation, and the development of sourcing, employment branding, and military and college recruiting strategies. Derek currently lives in the Portland area. Now, he is the Director of Recruiting Solutions and Channels with Engage.

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