HR Mavericks

Eddy’s HR Mavericks Encyclopedia

Is hiring a sourcer worth it? Is a sourcer a must-have on today’s talent acquisition team or just a nice luxury? Read more to understand what a sourcer can bring to your team.

What Is a Sourcer?

A sourcer, or talent sourcer or recruiting sourcer, is a specialist in the talent acquisition department responsible for finding new prospects for an organization. A sourcer brings in applicants for the recruiter to vet and move through the interview process. A sourcer can help an organization find both the right candidates for a job and enough candidates for a job.

Sourcer vs Recruiter

Recruiters are responsible for the full lifecycle of the recruiting process, including sourcing, interviewing, hiring, and onboarding. A sourcer is a role within the talent acquisition department that supports the first part of the recruiting process. A recruiter can be a sourcer, but a sourcer only focuses on the first part of recruiting. The line between sourcer and recruiter is not always clear because there is some overlap in what they do.

Should a Company Hire a Sourcer?

There are many benefits to having a sourcer, but there are also potential drawbacks. Hiring a sourcer can be a great competitive edge in the hiring market. Read further to know if hiring a sourcer is right for your organization.

Benefits of Hiring a Sourcer

In a standard or linear candidate journey, the job seeker applies to a job, and the recruiter reviews the application and interviews the applicant. The downside of that process is that your organization does not choose who applies. When a job is posted, you can enter requirements, but pretty anyone can choose to click on the application button. Sourcers proactively go out and bring talent to the organization.
  • Targeted applicants. One of the hardest parts of hiring in a competitive market is that the right person for your organization may already be working and not actively applying to jobs. However, just because someone is not actively interviewing does not mean they are not open to a new opportunity. In fact, 45% of the workforce is open to speaking with a recruiter. Sourcers are able to find, engage with and bring job seekers into your organization.
  • Greater applicant diversity. Relying on incoming applications alone may not bring in a diverse pipeline of applicants, which may not give you the qualified pool you need to make the right hire. Since a sourcer goes out and brings people in, they can proactively select a diverse pipeline of prospects.
  • Increased applicants. Your organization may be struggling to bring in enough applicants to fill the roles you need to fill. This is one area where a sourcer can provide direct, visible, and timely impact. Since a sourcer is an additional resource to posting a job, anything a sourcer brings in will be in addition to the incoming job application traffic.

Drawbacks of Hiring a Sourcer

While having a sourcer can bring great value to an organization and help an organization meet demanding hiring goals, there are some potential drawbacks.
  • Increased cost. In a tight economy, many companies may be reluctant to bring on a role that is seen as a supporting role. Technically, sourcing is also part of a recruiter’s responsibility. However, sourcers don’t take on the additional responsibilities that a recruiter does, so some organizations may see having a recruiter as unnecessary. If organizations are trying to cut back on budgets, the increased cost of additional team members may be seen as gratuitous.
  • Candidate experience. As your talent acquisition team interviews a candidate for the right fit for a role and the organization, the candidate is also interviewing your organization. In a candidate-centric market, job seekers may have more than one opportunity in front of them. They are in the process of determining which of the great opportunities they have in front of them is right for them. When you use a talent sourcer, you introduce one more person into the process. A recruiter brings value to the talent acquisition team by their ability to build rapport with a candidate, understand their decision-making criteria, and know what they are looking for. When the candidate's journey starts with someone other than the recruiter, it may be more difficult for an applicant to be open and genuine about what they are looking for or interested in.

Responsibilities of a Sourcer

A sourcer holds a supporting role within the talent acquisition team and has several key responsibilities that provide tremendous value. The end goal of a sourcer is to support an organization’s hiring needs. Sometimes these responsibilities spill over into what a recruiter does and that is fine because the end goal remains the same. The sourcer's role is to find the right job seekers.

Conduct Searches for Potential Prospects

Sourcers spend time searching for both active and passive job seekers. Not everyone may be aware of who your organization is or that you are hiring. Because of this, your organization may miss out on active job seekers who are qualified for your open positions but don’t apply because they never find you. Sourcers help minimize that gap because they are out there looking for the active job seekers and bringing them to your organization. Sourcers spend the majority of their time looking for passive job seekers. Finding passive job seekers can be tricky since they are not actively applying to jobs. Passive candidates’ presence may not be as visible in the usual places job seekers go. Sourcers research companies, understand their top people and then find valuable ways to get in front of them and engage with them.

Monitor Incoming Applications

Recruiters are responsible for monitoring incoming job applications. However, this is a responsibility that a sourcer can take on to add value to the process and support the recruiters. When recruiters have the time they would have spent monitoring incoming applications free, they can focus on engaging with the applicants and give them a great candidate experience. This can increase both their likelihood of getting a job offer and accepting that offer.

Schedule Initial Interviews With Recruiters

Once a sourcer successfully gets in contact with a potential applicant, they can schedule that person to meet with a recruiter so the recruiter can begin the vetting, interviewing, and overall recruiting process. This is one of the sourcer’s most important responsibilities because the more applicants a sourcer sends to a recruiter, the more time that recruiter can spend interviewing and hiring. This ultimately helps the organization as a whole.

Manage Applicant Pipeline

A sourcer provides great value in keeping an organized hiring pipeline. The hiring pipeline tracks how many candidates have applied for a given role, are currently interviewing, and what stage of the interview process they are in. Since the sourcer is involved at the beginning stages, it makes sense for the sourcer to keep track or be part of keeping track of the overall candidate interview journey.

How to Become a Sourcer

Since talent sourcer is a specialist role, there are varying levels to this role that an organization may be looking for. In many organizations, a sourcer is considered an entry-level role. As an entry-level role, there are not a lot of technical or experience requirements to be qualified. Other organizations are looking for highly experienced professionals with specific experience filling hard-to-fill roles like tech and IT.

Step 1: Pursue an Education

A bachelor’s degree is not always required to be a sourcer, but studies show that 77% of sourcers have a bachelor's degree.

Step 2: Learn Transferable Skills

Depending on the level of sourcer you are looking for, you can highlight the skills you have gained in other roles. For example, if you have worked in a role that required a great deal of research, you can explain how that will transfer into finding passive job seekers. Since many organizations are willing to bring in sourcers at the entry-level, they are more open to exploring transferable skills. Organizations wanting a higher-level role may require years of related experience.

Step 3: Develop Communication Skills

A talent sourcer may be the first person a potential applicant meets from your organization. They, therefore, become both the first impression and the face of your company. A passive job seeker may have many other companies reaching out to them at the same time, so this impression is important. Communication skills are what will make a sourcer stand out. Even if the communication experience you bring is not related to talent acquisition, highlighting strong communication skills can set you apart.
Tyler Fisher, PHR

Tyler Fisher, PHR

Tyler empowers Talent Acquisition professionals, HR business leaders, and key stake holders to develop and execute talent management strategies. He is igniting the talent acquisition process through: team building, accurate time to fill forecasting, driving creative talent sourcing, and fine-tuning recruiting team effectiveness.
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Frequently asked questions
Other Related Terms
Associate Professional in Human Resources (aPHR)
Benefits Manager
Campus Recruiter
Certified Payroll Professional (CPP)
Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO)
Compensation Analyst
Employee Relations Manager
Executive Recruiter
Global Mobility Specialist
Global Professional in Human Resources (GPHR)
HR Burnout
HR Business Partner
HR Careers
HR Certifications
HR Consulting
HR Department of One
HR for Owners
Hiring Manager
Hiring Team
Human Resources Assistant
Human Resources Generalist
In-House Recruiter
Professional in Human Resources (PHR)
Recruiting Coordinator
Recruiting Manager
Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR)
Talent Acquisition Partner
Technical Recruiter
Training & Development Manager
Vice President of Human Resources
Work-Life Coordinator
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