Blurred Lines: Sourcing, Recruiting, and Firestorm by @Derdiver

I’ve attended a lot of conferences and nothing has confused me more than the argument that “I am a sourcer not a recruiter” or vice versa. Both are actions to the same end and the blurred line between them has always, well, been blurry to me. I have been relatively quiet on the subject up till now. Shocker, I know.

This is going to be one of those short but not so sweet posts to explain my feelings on the topic. I am quite sure you will disagree with me depending on where you are at this point in your career but some of us old-timers remember when sourcing and recruiting were just one in the same.

There is an interesting yet minor superhero in the DC universe that came about in the early 80’s called Firestorm. He shifted an interesting paradigm within the universe. Firestorm was formed from a nuclear accident in a lab, of course he was… The difference was that he was not a Bruce Banner accident, letting him turn into the Hulk. It was two men, well, one older man and one boy that formed a collective conscious within one body. Ok, let me explain this, There was an older Professor, Stein, conducting an experiment with nuclear fission that concluded in an accident while the young quarterback Raymond was visiting the lab. The accident ended up allowing the duo to combine into the super hero Firestorm. The physical body was that of the younger Raymond (we are selling comics here folks) but Stein was able to guide the young Raymond while they fought evil across the land. They, in turn, needed each other to accomplish this.

It’s becoming clearer that recruiters and sourcers need to start coming together in a clearer way in order to land and vet the best candidates for their clients. But only if it is done in a precise manner.

Usually (in my experience) a ratio of one full time sourcer to three recruiters is ideal. Since the sourcer will only be working on roles that are typically harder to find, the req load should be sufficient but not overwhelming. The sourcer should work on finding and qualifying candidates who have not applied or have been referred to the company and get them over to the recruiter for processing and closing. Recruiters should be responsible for applicants and referrals and communicating with the sourcers and managers on the status of open roles and allow the recruiter run the process. This would include setting interviews, making offers, and closing the candidate.

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The tighter and more process driven model would increase the work flow is more strategic increasing the likelihood of a not only a good candidate experience but also one for the managers and recruiting team overall.

Let’s keep this conversation going. How is your team structured? What sourcer/recruiter ratio has worked for your team?

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Derek Zeller draws from over 20 years in the recruiting industry. The last 16 years he has been involved with federal government recruiting specializing in the cleared IT space under OFCCP compliance. Currently, he is the Director of Recruiting Solutions for Engage Talent. He has experience with both third-party agency and in-house recruiting for multiple disciplines. Using out-of-the-box tactics and strategies to identify and engage talent, he has had significant experience in building referral and social media programs, the implementation of Applicant Tracking Systems, technology evaluation, and the development of sourcing, employment branding, and military and college recruiting strategies. Derek currently lives in the Portland area. Now, he is the Director of Recruiting Solutions and Channels with Engage.


2 Comments on “Blurred Lines: Sourcing, Recruiting, and Firestorm by @Derdiver

  1. Great article and I agree with you, the delineation between sourcer and recruiter is baffling to me as well. Not only does it sometimes have a negative impact on the candidate experience but there’s something to be said for first impressions. You build trust in the first conversation you have with a candidate and, as a recruiter, you can pick up on a lot of unspoken cues from the candidate based on how they answer your questions that will eventually set up how you present an offer to them. I’ve always found that you lose a lot of momentum with a candidate when there is a handoff from sourcer to recruiter and it ends up costing your company the hire. Don’t get me wrong, I think there’s a lot of value in the sourcing piece of recruiting, but there’s much more value in a recruiter that can source AND close a candidate- especially since you should be closing from the moment you get a candidate on the phone and some of the things (said or unsaid) you discover in your early call(s) will help you formulate a strategy and approach to negotiating with the candidate over an offer and coming in with a position of strength. Recruiting is sales, whether recruiters want to admit it or not, and the same principles apply. #ABC

  2. Great insight into both worlds blurring. I definitely have respect for Firestorm now too, great DC example to tie it all together!

    I’m seeing more and more of the lines crossing as emerging technologies make searching for candidates easier and more of a streamlined process. I think the business environment also comes into play here as well. On the agency side there may be a stronger focus on Sourcing, hence a definitive “Sourcer” title. I’m in a Coporate environment now, but the labels are more blurred between datamining/sourcing and outreach/engagement and full cycle recruiting….but I do a little bit of everything in my role as a Recruiter. Regardless, sourcing and the skills around head hunting have become a much bigger focus as our market has shifted to a more competitive and quality focused type of recruiting.

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