The Roles of Recruiter and Sourcer are Merging


Like it or not, the distinct lines between recruiting and sourcing are becoming murky. According to Nupur Vilas who wrote a blog in early 2017:

A sourcer’s responsibility is to understand the organization and the details of the position, qualify candidates according to those details, and present the qualified candidates to the recruiter. Don’t forget the part about building talent pipelines.

The recruiter’s responsibility is to get the candidates interested, conduct effective interviews, negotiate hiring terms, and work jointly with hiring managers to close candidates.

I would say that today now more than ever, the shift to a hybrid role.  How do I know?  I see the change happening as I speak with hiring managers. Below are my theories on why:

Cost Savings: While unemployment is at an all-time low, and human capital growth is high, the goal for all organizations no matter the size is keep margins high.  Therefore, companies will ask recruiters to do both sourcing/recruiting. In fact, most small, medium, and even some large organizations do not have sourcing functions, so the recruiting teams are asked to do everything. If I am the CHRO, I could use the extra salary dollars on recruitment technology or marketing or hire an additional recruiter who has the experience in doing both roles.

Order Taker to Business Partner:  As Corporate TA Leader, my teams are required to be business partners. That is, the recruiters:

·       Understand the overall business strategy by meeting with department executives

·       Build relationships with the hiring managers by learning their assigned departments’ functions and how their positions fit into the overarching department and business strategy

·       Sourcing and selling candidates to obtain their interest

·       Closing the candidates to accept the offer

·       Building talent pipelines for commonly open positions and filling gaps in succession plans

From what I have seen on the vendor side, there are many companies still on the “order taker” side of the fence claiming the demands of the business and the administrative work do not allow them the time to source and recruit talent.  I call BS. My advice is to sharpen the saw around time management, sourcing candidates, and building your partnerships with hiring managers. Quit posting and praying for qualified candidates to apply to your posting.  It is a tight labor market.  You have to go out and find the candidates. Not comfortable with sourcing or don’t know where to start? Check out the ERE Sourcing Academy that will provide you with the tools to be successful.

Reality for a full desk recruiter/sourcer

Reality for a full desk recruiter/sourcer

The blurred line between both function’s responsibilities: I know that sourcers who read this will argue that their skills are an art. I would respectfully say that sourcing is a learned function through everyday practice.   Chrome extensions and added tools such as Seekout, Hiretual, and Zensourcer that help today's sourcing community along with an array of other savvy tools from the likes of Greg Hawkes, Dean De Costa, and Jeremy Langhans YouTube channels. I digress.

During conversations with Heads of Talent, I hear that sourcing and recruiting functions are rarely on the same page with each side pointing fingers. One leader told me, “While I see the value of both parties, it is just easier to combine the teams and retain those who provide possess both strong sourcing and recruiting skills.” I agree.  One role creates a more productive and accountable position, than two.  Furthermore, I firmly believe that having one role will improve your metrics over time.  The key has this position solely focus on sourcing and recruiting.  Have your Recruiting Coordinator managing the administrative side – posting, scheduling, writing offer letters, and answering candidate questions.

What role survives? Great question. It depends. Based on what we just covered; I would say those who can understand the business and organizational strategy, finds all squirrels (not just the purple ones), have solid relationship building skills and can build talent pipelines. In other words, a hybrid role that has the person working a full desk.  My teams have always been a hybrid of sourcers and recruiters. Their performance measured on their ability to source, build pipelines, delivery of candidates and hiring manager satisfaction.

As my friend Derek Zeller said in a blog post earlier this year, “there is a difference between the roles of sourcers and recruiters, but when the sun goes down, and the lights go off, we are all just humans trying to make a living. Let’s stop trying to define and label roles and pay it forward.”

Damn right Derek. I would also add “and deliver.”

I would love to hear your thoughts/opinions.  Let me know what you think!



About Michael Goldberg: Michael is an experienced Talent Acquisition Leader with 15 years of recruiting experience in Operations, Logistics, Distribution, Non-profit, Sales, and Event Management.  His organization, The Recruiting Concierge, provides executive search and talent acquisition advisory services to organizations.  Visit his website to learn more about his success in identifying top talent and turning underperforming recruiting departments to highly functioning recruiting teams.

Removing Your Addiction to Job NOT Easy but Possible

I cannot begin to tell you how upset I am about job board companies. I had a conversation with one of our job board vendors (ends in ER but can't say who) today where the salesperson just didn’t listen and wanted to charge me more money for brand wraps that have not changed in the last year. Furthermore this is the 5th account rep with that one company I have been given in the last 5 years.  I AM DONE!  I am at a turning point and need to make a tough decision about whether or not to keep them.

The is all about the money to them.  They say they care about driving candidates to your site, but I can use many a free resources versus paying serious money that yields poor ROI and a Source Ranking of 9th.

Our company has been very dependent on job boards for the last 10 years and we have spent a large chunk of money with below average results.  As we enter our new fiscal year in July, I have cut my job board spend with one vendor in particular by 65%.  My boss challenged me when I said I was cutting my job board spend.  “Be careful,” she said, “If you don’t have the candidates then our service levels go down.  “It is a source of candidate flow.”  My reply, “It is a source of candidate flow, but the candidate quality is poor.  We have many other options and we will not let the quality or service levels drop because we are cutting back on the number of postings purchased”.

That feeling.png

Too many companies still depend on job boards to bring candidates in through post and pray methodology.   Why?  Recruiting organizations can lean on the excuse that they have not presented candidates because not enough have applied and the ones who have applied are not qualified.  Surprised?  I am not.  I have seen the trend downward the last 5 years.

Bottom line...Recruiters are addicted to Job Boards as a source for candidates.

I am excited because I get to take that spend and push towards building Talent Networks, a CRM tool, training and development for my recruiters around sharpening their sourcing skills. Am I nervous?  Yes, but in a positive way as I take a chance to rely on the creation of microsites,, SimplyHired instead of using job boards to drive candidate flow.

Bad news job boards, I plan to cut another 20% by next fiscal year taking that money to invest in social, mobile and candidate engagement.  I am no longer addicted to the fix of candidate quantity.  Our focus is quality and my team knows how to find A-Level candidates.

Are you ready to cut back your job board spend?  You should be because your ROI on post and pray is very poor and your leaders are concerned because you are wasting the company’s money.

Let me know if you have cut back and how your company did!!

Michael Goldberg, the Recruiting Concierge, has 15 years of recruiting leadership and difference-making with $1B organizations across the United States. Reach out to Michael should your team need help in finding more economic ways to attract talent.