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Why Sourcing Isn’t Recruiting – and its Impact on the Hiring Process

Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Lucy Benton – marketing specialist and business consultant. Her opinions are her own. 

The success of any business or organization, regardless of how big or small, depends on a well-crafted marketing strategy and a robust hiring process.

Employers have to pay special attention to the people they hire and for the most part these days the hiring process involves both sourcing and recruiting.

It’s not uncommon for organizations to identify these two distinctly different processes (sourcing and recruiting) as the same thing. Sourcing and recruiting aren’t simply two words that refer to the same process; understanding (and accepting!) their differences will help organizations find the best match for a certain position.

Sourcing vs. recruiting

How did sourcing and recruiting become a symbol for the same process?

Numerous theories could explain this phenomenon but the main culprit is the increasingly global nature of talent acquisition where for many, the roles of the recruiter and sourcer have become synonymous.

Social media also plays a role in diminishing the line between sourcing and recruiting primarily because two processes overlap and morph into a single action.

What is the difference between sourcing and recruiting? Sourcing has been defined as a practice of locating and selecting individuals or businesses according to specific criteria. Sourcing is a subset of recruitment or the process that involves searching proactively for the most talented individuals for some job position.

On the other hand, the Business Dictionary defines recruitment as a process of finding and hiring the best-qualified candidate for a job opening in a timely and cost-effective fashion.

Therefore, sourcing and recruiting are two distinctive parts of the hiring process. Sourcing is not the same as recruiting; it is a part of it. Sourcing can be described as the proactive search for qualified candidates, which is contrary to the common belief that sourcing is the reactive action of going through resumes and CVs that a company receives either directly or as a result of posting an advertisement on an online job board.

What does a sourcer do?

LinkedIn published an interesting article which perfectly summed up the roles of both sourcer and recruiter.

The author worked as a recruiter for 17 years and decided to start sourcing. He has been on both sides of the process which is why his experience serves as one of the best explanations for sourcing and recruiting one can find.

Quite simply put, the sourcer is a hunter for passive candidates, the ones who don’t apply for a position through a corporate website or a job board.

A person who performs sourcing creates interest and drives talent to the company. Sourcing involves a great deal of research, going through search engines, browsing social media profiles, and checking the competition, among other things. A sourcer also engages potential candidates and communicates with them. The search for suitable candidates requires repeating this same process all over again.

According to marketing consultant Marion B. Durbin from Assignmenthelper, using professionally written content while reaching out to and engaging with a potential candidate is the best way to make a positive impact and increase the likelihood of gaining their interest.

What does a recruiter do?

The role of a recruiter is to manage relationships, guide both the hiring manager and the candidates through the entire hiring process. This is a demanding role that involves making a multitude of calls, interviews, going to meetings and all these things require great organizational skills. The recruiter also coordinates schedules, extends offers, and ensures the successful completion of the hiring process where ultimately the best candidate lands the job.

Since technology allows us to perform a great portion of these processes online, the line between sourcing and recruiting becomes less visible, but is still significant. Failing to treat sourcing and recruiting as two different functions makes the entire hiring process a lot more difficult.

Strategies to improve sourcing

Sourcing is a fundamental part of recruiting. If you do it right, it makes it easier to recruit. Yes, the internet makes everything easier but you still need to employ certain sourcing strategies to find suitable candidates. Here are some examples:

  • Define the job, not the candidate
  • Start with a strong, attractive pitch
  • Keep your messages short, but informative
  • Don’t focus on the monetary difference between a potential candidate’s current job and the new opportunity. Emphasize why the new opportunity is the best move for a candidate’s career
  • Socialize, network, connect with potential candidates on- and offline

Sourcing and recruiting statistics to know

  • 40 percent of global employers report talent shortages
  • 90 percent of global professionals are interested in hearing about new job opportunities, but only one-third of them are actively searching
  • Sourced candidates are more than two times as efficient to hire
  • 31 percent of all hires are proactively sourced
  • 92 percent of candidates would consider quitting their current jobs if a more reputable company offered them another role
  • 60 percent of job seekers quit an application due to complexity and length
  • 51 percent of US employees are considering a new job
  • 65 percent millennials cite personal development as the most important factor in accepting a job offer

Bottom line

Sourcing and recruiting are two different parts of a hiring process.

In fact, sourcing is a subset of recruiting, it is a process of hunting or looking for potential candidates. When finding the talent is over, the recruiting can begin. Even though sourcing and recruiting overlap, learning their differences makes it easier for organizations to find candidates who will help them reach their goals.

Lucy Benton

Lucy Benton is a vivid marketing blogger and a goal-oriented leader who enjoys sharing tips and stories. She currently works at Admission Service as a Chief Editor. She studied Creative and Professional Writing at Maharishi University of Management. She attends different self-development courses.

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