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Why Sourcing Isn’t Recruiting and the Impact on Hiring


For some organizations, the line between sourcing and recruiting is still a gray one. Leaving many companies uncertain about whether or not to invest in a dedicated sourcing specialitsts. 

If your recruiters are taking on the role of sourcing, you might want to rethink your recruiting strategy. Why? Sourcing has steadily turned into a specialized field. Understand the difference between sourcing and recruiting, and how by not optimizing each function, you are destined to add to the overall recruiting costs and time to hire.  


Sourcing vs Recruiting 

In the past, recruiters did the initial sourcing work. The traditional methods of recruiting, dating back to paper applications and phone call follow-ups, relied on the notion that if you post a job, the candidates will come. However, since the widespread adoption of digital job boards, the volume of resumes and applications has increased significantly, and with it, the numerous efforts devoted to mining through copious amounts data.

According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), the primary difference bewteen sourcing versus recruiting is as follows:


"Sourcing is the proactive search for qualified job candidates for current or planned open positions; it is not the reactive function of reviewing resumes and applications sent to the company in response to a job posting or pre-screening candidates."

Looking at a more recent trend, the economy has played a big part in shaping the role of sourcer. Having instant access to newly posted jobs influenced the number of passive candidates who now play a more active role looking for work. At the same time, many people who would not have been on the market found themselves once again checking job boards daily due to frequent dips in unemployment rates. Call it a hunter and gatherer methodology, but the increased use of technology has driven employers to be more proactive when it comes to recruiting. 

As these two factors evolved, a push towards technology-driven job applies and a fluctuating global economy, the recruiting model shifted. Today, candidates expect to move through your job application process more quickly, and at the same time, easily find open positions.

Furthermore, with 9 out of 10 job seekers are applying via mobile, if you aren't optimized to facilitate the digital job apply process on all platforms, then expect you're team to work double time to make up for candidate churn. 


For more insights on how you can measure ROI on your recruiting efforts, click here.


Sourcing in the Recruitment Process 

How do you know if your organization needs a dedicated sourcer? If you use recruiters to drive this function, you should expect delays in your overall recruiting process. True recruiting functions, including candidate screening, interviews and so forth, can only start after the candidate pool is filled with qualified, interested and available candidates. 


Sourcing Recruiters Job Duties

As such, sourcing is now considered an integral part of the recruiting process since so much more time and work is needed to mine a larger passive candidate pool. A good sourcer will not only spend time on the following tasks, but will know which outputs yield the highest inputs:  

  • Direct calls to candidates
  • Networking through business-related groups
  • Search specialty and/or niche job boards
  • Posting and engaging on social media sites 
  • Accessing corporate alumni associations 


How to Measure Impact on Recruiting Costs 

When looking at associated costs of recruiting versus sourcing, you have to consider which process you want to focus your efforts on. To calculate a true cost-per-hire in an internal recruiting model, you must look at your total recruiting, sourcing, marketing and administrative expenditures.

If you rely on outside staffing agencies to assist with your sourcing and/or filling positions, you have to consider both internal costs and external staffing agency fees. Many staffing agencies now outsource pieces of the recruiting process as opposed to offering exclusive end-to-end services. This enables companies to maintain its existing staff, but free up time for team members to focus on their respective skill sets. 

To help you calculate the cost per hire at your organization, we found this great downloable template from SHRM. 

At the end of the day, passive candidates expect to be sought out, and many will wait for the right opportunity because they know someone will eventually find them. With the increased use of social media recruiting and the ability to post jobs in real time, candidates are finding themselves in the driver’s seat. They have access to the same information as the recruiter would use to entice them, the only difference is, it isn't their job to fill the position. 


This post was written by Jessica Bacher. With extensive experience as a recruiting operations manager, Jessica has provided strategic planning and consultation to leading health care, call center, retail, telecommunications and government clients worldwide, and has led complex initiatives for Fortune 500 organizations. In 2010 and 2011, the Electronic Recruiting Exchange, the largest recruiting intelligence community, recognized her branding and digital solutions work, and Jessica was awarded the Creative Excellence Award for her work in employment branding for Latin America. Learn more about Jessica.

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