The Sourcing/Recruiting Mesh

If you’re in this industry you’ve probably been asked a dozen times what the difference is between a sourcer and a recruiter. If you’re like me, and have been in this business for quite some time, that answer has become a whole lot blurrier lately. Traditional sourcing and recruiting roles have started to overlap, and there are different sets of expectations for each.

The Sourcing/Recruiting Mesh

As a marketing professional in the HR niche, I have witnessed the evolution of the sourcing/recruiting mesh over the last decade. The old-school job of a sourcer was to comb through resumes, databases, rolodexes and applicant tracking systems to find those keywords that fit the client’s needs. Once these matches were established, those relevant resumes were then passed on to the sourcers partner in crime, the recruiter. These traditional sourcers didn’t make the calls. They didn’t recruit. Makes sense right? Recruiters recruit.

As I have watched the evolution of sourcers they have slowly started taking on the next steps of the hiring process. In addition to sourcing, they are now usually in charge of reaching out to the prospect. Sourcers are expected to engage with prospects more and more. Sourcers don’t only gauge interest, they are often expected to peak interest, conduct first-round screening and even prepare a submission for the recruiter before passing the contact on to them.

Sourcers are starting to sound like recruiters. So then what are recruiters doing? As sourcers have taken over some of the traditional roles of recruiters, recruiters are now taking on the responsibility of internal candidate movement and client management, which were traditionally not part of the recruiting role. Even the word “recruiting” excludes internal movement from the recruiter’s repertoire. How can someone who is already with the company be recruited? It’s all part of the evolution of our industry.

The roles haven’t changed across the board though. According to Amybeth Hale, a recruiting professional, “The only place where I think recruiting has remained more focused on actual recruiting activities is in the agency setting. Those folks still know how to smile-and-dial and vigorously pursue non-active prospects.”

For those of us who have been in the industry for a while now, we have learned to evolve and take on different roles. For those coming into the industry, it can be a little more involved. There are big differences between sourcing today and what traditional sourcing involves. There are also big differences between what is expected of an agency recruiter and non-agency recruiters.

As tech and social media make everyone more visible through each virtual footprint we make, the traditional roles of sourcers have changed. As the first step in the hiring process, this changes all of the rest that follow, namely recruiting.

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