American Sourcers Are Too Reliant on InMails

Average response rate for Li Talent global surveyDespite inventing the job of sourcer, professionals in the U.S. are less technically skilled at it than their counterparts in the rest of the world.

They are more reliant on paid LinkedIn accounts and InMail introductions than are sourcers elsewhere, yet they are ahead in using Google+, Twitter, and especially Facebook, which is used by an average of 46 percent of American sourcers versus a global average of 37 percent.

And, regardless of region, sourcers who pick up the phone to reach candidates have a far better response rate than other contact methods.

At first glance, these findings from the Global Sourcing Survey produced by Alexander Mann and Social Talent would seem to suggest American sourcers are second rate. The wording of the report’s summary of sourcing in the Americas in part does conclude, “It would appear that all American Sourcers have become too reliant on InMails and too few are properly leveraging other social channels.”

However, compared to sourcers in the EMEA (Europe, Middle East, and Africa) and those in Asia Pacific, fewer sourcers in the Americas are to be found in the middle of the pack. Most are clustered at the extremes in many of the skills and tools areas the survey examined. The report says there’s a “bipolar nature” to sourcers here. For instance, sourcers in the Americas have both a high candidate response rate (nearly tied with the EMEA) and the lowest (tied with Asia Pacific). Likewise one in five sourcers here have fewer than 500 LinkedIn connections, making them far less connected than their EMEA counterparts. On the other hand, they are well ahead of them when it comes to having more than 2,000 connections.

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However, the report says the search skills and technical search proficiency of sourcers here falls far behind those in Asia Pacific. Sourcers there scored 9 percent higher than the global average on a multiple-choice test of their search prowess with tools such as LinkedIn and Google. EMEA sourcers were a mere one point behind. The Americas sourcers came in 6 percent below the global average.

(There is some unclarity in the report on just what the percentages are, but either way, sourcers in the Americas were well-below average.)

Other parts of the report provide a look at how sourcers worldwide use social media, and the kind of response rates they get. The report notes that when using LinkedIn (the most popular sourcing site), “Most sourcers either send an InMail or add a passive candidate as a connection in order to first engage with them. 21 percent find an email address, while only 6 percent pick up the phone to try and reach them.” Yet the most successful method of contacting a candidate is by phone. Half the sourcers who reach out by phone have a response rate of better than 40 percent. By comparison, only 22 percent of InMails get a similar response rate.

Sourcing response rates global survey

John Zappe is the editor of and a contributing editor of John was a newspaper reporter and editor until his geek gene lead him to launch his first website in 1994. He developed and managed online newspaper employment sites and sold advertising services to recruiters and employers. Before joining ERE Media in 2006, John was a senior consultant and analyst with Advanced Interactive Media and previously was Vice President of Digital Media for the Los Angeles Newspaper Group.

Besides writing for ERE, John consults with staffing firms and employment agencies, providing content and managing their social media programs. He also works with organizations and businesses to assist with audience development and marketing. In his spare time  he can be found hiking in the California mountains or competing in canine agility and obedience competitions.

You can contact him here.


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