The Differences Between Sourcing and Recruiting

Guest Blogger
The Differences Between Sourcing and Recruiting

For some organizations, the line between sourcing and recruiting is a gray one. This uncertainty leaves many companies questioning whether or not they should invest in a dedicated sourcing specialist or just leave all the work to their recruiters. 

If your recruiters are currently taking on the role of sourcing, it might be time to rethink your talent acquisition strategy. This is because sourcing has gradually turned into its own specialized field. It's vital that your organization understands the difference between sourcing and recruiting and why having separate positions for each function will lead to a more efficient talent acquisition process, leading to a quicker time-to-hire and cost savings over time.


Sourcing vs Recruiting 

According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), the primary difference between sourcing and 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."

In the past, recruiters did all of the initial candidate sourcing work themselves. 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, some candidates who search listings will apply. However, the widespread adoption of digital job boards has significantly increased the volume of resumes and applications companies receive, thus increasing the amount of labor required to assess the potential candidates. 

Technology has played a big part in shaping the role of sourcing specialist. Having instant access to newly posted jobs influenced the number of passive candidates who are now actively looking for work. As the economy fluctuated over the past few years, this also impacted the amount of people looking for new jobs. Many people who would not have been on the market found themselves checking job boards daily to prepare for unprecedented economical shifts or dips in unemployment rates. These instances have driven employers to be more proactive when it comes to recruiting. 

As these two factors evolved, a push towards technology-driven job searches and a fluctuating global economy, the typical recruiting model shifted. Today, candidates expect to move through your job application process quicker than ever while still finding open positions with ease.


Sourcing in the Recruitment Process 

So how do you know if your organization needs a dedicated sourcing specialist? If you use recruiters to drive your candidate sourcing, you should expect delays in your overall talent acquisition lifecycle. True recruiting functions, including candidate screening, interviews and so forth, can only start after the candidate pool is filled with interested, qualified and available candidates. Therefore, having a sourcing specialist prepare these candidate pools for recruiters will improve your time-to-fill.


Sourcing Specialist Job Duties

As such, sourcing is now considered an integral part of the recruiting process since so much more time and effort is needed to mine a larger passive candidate pool. A good sourcing specialist 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/niche job boards
  • Posting and engaging on social media platforms
  • 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 talent experts, like DZConneX, to assist with your sourcing and/or filling positions, you have to consider both internal costs and external supplier fees. Many talent suppliers now outsource pieces of the recruiting process as opposed to offering exclusive end-to-end services. This enables companies to maintain their existing workforce, while freeing up time for team members to focus on their respective skill sets rather than sourcing. 


At the end of the day, passive candidates expect to be sought out, and many will wait around for the right opportunity because they know someone will eventually find them. And with sourcing specialists actively looking for these candidates, finding the best talent should be easier than ever for organizations. 


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About the Author:  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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