The Top 12 DNA Traits of a Good Sourcer

What does the three letter acronym of DNA stand for? I wish it stood for Dynamic Natural Abilities since that would have made this article easier.  We all kind of know what DNA is, but in researching for this blog post, I actually had to look up the definition.  According to Wikipedia (if you treat that as a reliable source), Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) is a molecule that encodes the genetic instructions used in the development and functioning of all known living organisms. These little things are encoded in our bodies and make us who we are….could they also guide and drive our personality, skills and behaviors?

DNA – Are these innate or learned behaviors? Do we naturally fall into more of a sourcing role, or recruiter / account management role, based on our DNA?   It could be said that recruiters and sourcers have the same DNA. There are some in our industry that may not be able to differentiate the two. I consider myself to be a sourcer first and a recruiter second.

I truly believe there are unique qualities that sourcers have… it is in their DNA. Here is my list of the top 12 traits good sourcers possess:

1) Competitive

Sourcers see recruiting as a War for Talent. Sourcers are ready and prepared for a battle because the talent that they seek are typically highly sought after and must be fought for.

2) Early Adopter

Sourcers tend to be early adopters of new recruiting techniques, cutting-edge technology and game-changing tactics. Curiosity drives their initiative to be an innovator.

3) Risk Taker

Sourcers are not afraid of rejection and willing to try something new. Nothing ventured, nothing gained…

4) Influencer

There is something unique in the DNA of a person that can convince a lead/prospect who is gainfully employed at one company to consider an opportunity elsewhere.

5) Operational Effectiveness

Sourcers have the ability to execute with near robotic and systematical efficiency. They tend to be skilled at their craft like a pro athlete.

6) Flexibility / Adaptability

Sourcers tend to be able to turn on a dime and adapt quickly. In college I learned about the Deming method of Adopt, Adapt, Adept. This is the concept of adopting a solid best practice, adapting it to be your own and then becoming more adept at it than where you learned it from. Sourcers learn to plagiarizengineer – a new word!

7) Minecraft

Not the popular computer game, but sourcers are excellent at the craft of talent mining. They know where to mine for the gold. Research, ATS searching, LinkedIn hunting, Boolean, whatever…Labor market expertise tends to help them with lead generation.

8) Teacher/Advisor

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Sourcers usually like to teach and share their skills. These “sourcerers” of talent would make horrible magicians because they usually tell how their tricks are done…

9) Trustworthy

The Sourcer is usually a voice over the phone. Integrity emitted in communication via their vocal intonations, mixed with good listening plus a bit of psychology makes a candidate trust the sourcer enough to be able to put their career in the hands.

10) Likeable

Sourcers are infectious in their passion.  They typically have never met a person they didn’t like.  They are knowledgeable, engaging and fun to talk to…especially at SourceCon after a few drinks!!

11) Intelligence Focused

While sourcers can influence people with their vocal skillz, they also have the ability to be able to quote nuggets of wisdom or stats pertinent to the situation at a moment’s notice.

12) Tenacity

Sourcers never ever, ever, ever, ever give up…sometimes to a fault!

The above items are not things typically learned in a book, they tend to be behaviors displayed naturally by sourcers. DNA – whether they are innate, Dynamic Natural Abilities or learned behavior in the school of hard knocks, these are the items that I believe separate the true sourcers in our industry.

DNA image from

Jim Schnyder is in Talent Acquisition with PepsiCo (Pepsi, Frito-Lay, Quaker, Tropicana, Gatorade) and is the 2011 & 2014 SourceCon Grand Master. With over 20 years of recruiting experience, Jim is a frequent speaker on recruiting industry best practices and strategies. Jim has worked on both the agency and corporate side of the staffing business for such companies as Management Recruiters and Perot Systems prior to starting with PepsiCo over fifteen years ago. Jim is the past DFW-Texas Recruiters’ Network “Corporate Recruiter of the Year”. He is also a recipient of the following PepsiCo corporate awards - “Inspire Well Being Award”, “Eagle Award” for HR Excellence and PepsiCo’s 2011 “HR Excellence Award”. Jim is a native of St. Louis and a graduate of the University of Missouri – Columbia. He and his wife Yadira live in Frisco with their children Jake and Isabella.