Sourcers, Recruiters, and Hybrids

Over the years been to many conferences, meetups, and happy hours to count on the people who I have called my tribe. The people that I have touched and have touched me both emotionally and educationally are astonishing to me yet soul-filling. After yet another successful SourceCon at the end of February in Las Vegas and the fact that I did, in fact not disrupt the conference by a poor performance speaking, I had, shall we say, an epiphany. I shall digress to the heart of this article shortly but let me tell you just a short tale if you will. That is what I do best, so I ask for your patience.

I am old enough to say that I have been in this industry for long enough to know that yes there is a difference between sourcers and recruiters and it is not what you think. I hate lists so I am not doing that, no lists, nope, well, ok a variant of such shall we say.

Let’s start:

Recruiter Role (The nurturer):

  • Poster of jobs
  • Controller of managers
  • Intake meetings
  • Job seller/closer
  • Metrics owner
  • ATS controller
  • Candidate experience owner OR not

Sourcers Role (The Hunter):

  • Finder of information
  • Candidate finder
  • BI owner
  • Planner
  • Builder
  • Knowledge owner
  • Boolean operator

The Hybrid (The full Desk):

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  • See all of the above

There are differences; sure, if it is a true role but that is becoming rarer, and we are in a way forming our squad of purple squirrels since no one outside of our industry understand what it is what we do. Especially in the corporate world and I see this more and more in the industry. There is a difference you know, there is. I have seen it over the years, and it is sad. There are two groups from an anthropological thought process, the Hunter-Gatherers, and the Nurturers. Now this is more an idea behind the thought process of men vs. women but I wish to use this thought process for my hypothesis here. I am going to anger the purists out there, but hey, this is my article so deal with it.

My opinion, my mantra if you will, is the that sourcers are the hunters, the people that seek the talent and have not only the knowledge of what they are looking for but the intelligence to back up the claim that what they bring to the table is that what you want to hire. The Nurturer is the client whisperer, the manager consoler, the keeper of metrics. Both noble roles within our profession and needed within today’s world of confusion when the labor pool becomes more constrained and executives, who become complacent and never learned anything in college, other than the art of drinking, learn the hard way of the realities of the world. Which brings me to the Hybrid.

The most common person in our profession is a person that wears many hats. The reality of the world is that it’s cheap to have a Hybrid and most companies only see one thing; a person who can and will do it all for limited pay and benefits expecting results on mostly unfillable reqs in the time required. The smaller to midsize companies usually have this type of line up, and most Hybrids are post and pray players because they are too busy doing back office work then taking time to do the actual hunts they need to do. A role I have done many times with little to any fanfare within my offices.

So, yes my friends there is a difference between the roles of sourcers and recruiters, but when the sun goes down, and the lights go off, we are all just humans trying to make a living. Let’s stop trying to define and label roles and pay it forward. That is why SourceCon and ERE exist, and I think we are all, at some point some mixed up Hybrid.

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.


4 Comments on “Sourcers, Recruiters, and Hybrids

  1. Enjoyed the article and agree fully (as a hybrid). That said, I hate to move beyond the content, but I love the image to the right of the article. Is that open source? If not, who owns the image? It made my day!

  2. I like what you did there— I still feel what is a “sourcer”, let alone who, is undefined. I have had the title “Sourcer” or some variation at a few big tech firms in the last few years. The expectations for the role, the KPIs— shoot, everything is different… I just don’t know anymore. I wrote this post a few years ago: (Sorry for the self promotion) and I think it applies to role definitions as well. When I talk about being a dad, I never say I am raising a kid— I am raising Max. He’s unique, special and, for lack of a better word, INTENSE. As a professional, am I a sourcer? Am I a recruiter? Am I a Talent Professional? Nope— I am a “Just” Jeff Newman, However, I have yet to see that as a Job Title, though….

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