Sourcing vs. Recruiting: Differences and Benefits Between the Two

Connor Keppel

Sourcing vs Recruiting – What’s the Difference?‍

Both sourcing and recruiting work towards a single goal: finding the best-fit candidates for open positions. However, they’re not the same, and their shared goal can result in some confusion – particularly when it comes to their overlapping responsibilities. Sourcing and recruiting are a package deal; rather than interchangeable, they’re complementary practices with their own unique duties and tasks.

In this article, we’ll explore the differences between sourcing and recruiting, their required day-to-day tasks, and their points of intersection. We’ll also discuss the importance of keeping sourcing Vs recruiting separate and how to combine them successfully for ideal results.

If you’ve been using both terms interchangeably, here’s an eye-opener for you!

What is sourcing?

Sourcing refers to the initial stage of the recruiting process. It’s the crucial step where sourcers tap into various platforms to identify potential candidates for open positions.

The goal is to attract these candidates, engage with them, and create a robust talent pipeline for future hiring needs. To spot the best available talent, sourcers rely on social media, job boards, search engines, and networking events.

Responsibilities of a sourcer

Sourcers have several key responsibilities:

  1. Researching company needs: Sourcers gather information about their clients’ company requirements and the specific positions they need to fill. This helps them understand the skills and qualifications they should look for in potential candidates.
  2. Identifying suitable applicants: Sourcers determine the best candidates for available roles by conducting initial screenings and assessments. Then, they check candidates’ qualifications, experience, and compatibility with the company culture.
  3. Building a talent pipeline: Sourcers aim to create a strong pipeline of qualified candidates by continuously engaging with candidates and nurturing relationships, keeping them interested and informed about future opportunities. Plus, it ensures a steady supply of potential hires!

Day-to-day tasks in sourcing

Sourcers perform daily tasks to ensure effective sourcing. Some of them include:

  • Researching and identifying potential candidates through social media, job boards, search engines, and professional networking platforms.
  • Engaging with candidates through messaging, emails, and phone calls to establish rapport and evaluate their fit for open positions.
  • Conducting initial screenings to assess candidates’ qualifications, skills, and experience.
  • Using data mining tools and search techniques to identify high-quality candidates.
  • Collaborating with recruiters to provide them with a pool of qualified candidates for further evaluation.

What is recruiting?

Recruiting covers the entire hiring process, with the recruiter taking over from where the sourcer leaves off. Recruiters play a huge role in managing candidate-client relationships, ensuring a smooth hiring process and mutual satisfaction.

Responsibilities of a recruiter

Recruiters have a range of responsibilities throughout the hiring process:

  1. Job description writing and posting: Recruiters create compelling job descriptions that accurately reflect the requirements of the position. Then, they post them on the right channels.
  2. Application review: Recruiters review applications, assessing candidates’ qualifications and suitability.
  3. Screening and interviews: Recruiters conduct screenings and interviews with potential candidates to assess their skills, experience, and cultural fit within the organisation, so there’s less work to do for the client.
  4. Coordinating meetings: Recruiters coordinate meetings between candidates and hiring managers, ensuring a smooth and efficient interview process.
  5. Relationship management: Recruiters stay in touch with candidates, keeping them posted about the hiring process, answering their questions, and addressing any concerns.
  6. Job offers and onboarding: Recruiters extend job offers to ideal candidates and guide them through onboarding, ensuring a seamless transition.
  7. Retention efforts: Recruiters also actively strive for talent retention within the organisation, providing engagement and satisfaction in the new roles.

Day-to-day tasks in recruiting

Recruiters perform a variety of tasks to facilitate the hiring process:

  • Writing and posting job descriptions on relevant platforms.
  • Reviewing applications and resumes to identify qualified candidates.
  • Conducting screenings and interviews to assess candidates’ suitability for the position.
  • Coordinating interview schedules between candidates and hiring managers.
  • Managing relationships with applicants, and providing updates and feedback throughout the process.
  • Extending job offers and negotiating terms with selected candidates.
  • Assisting with the onboarding process and guaranteeing a smooth transition for new hires.
  • Developing and implementing retention strategies to keep valuable employees engaged and satisfied.

Sourcing vs recruiting

Sourcing is the starting point of the recruiting process, which focuses on identifying and engaging potential candidates. On the other hand, recruiting encompasses the entire hiring process (from screening to onboarding).

Sourcing connects recruiters with a qualified candidate “pool”, which they can later refer to for further consideration. Often, sourcers prioritise finding passive candidates and creating interest in open positions.

Then, recruiters focus on managing relationships, coordinating the hiring process, and making final hiring decisions. They handle administrative tasks such as reviewing applications, reformatting resumes, and managing interviews.

Where do sourcing and recruiting meet?

In some cases, sourcing and recruiting can overlap, with one person or team performing both roles.

This is often the case in smaller organisations or within specialist staffing firms. In these situations, the responsible individual or team may be referred to simply as “recruiters”.

But in larger organisations, there are enough resources to keep sourcing and recruiting as their separate functions within their respective individuals/teams.

Again, sourcers focus on identifying and engaging potential candidates, while recruiters handle the later stages of the hiring process, including screening, interviewing, and making final hiring decisions. This division allows for specialisation, empowering each role to use their unique skills so no one’s talents go wasted.

Why is it important to keep sourcing and recruiting separate?

While there can be plenty of overlap between sourcing and recruiting, it’s important to keep these functions separate for several reasons:

  1. Specialisation: Sourcers and recruiters require different skill sets and focus areas. By keeping these roles separate, you can leverage the expertise of each role to match candidates to the right positions.
  2. Efficiency: Dividing the workload between sourcers and recruiters allows for increased efficiency. Sourcers can dedicate their time to identifying and engaging potential candidates, while recruiters can focus on pinpointing the most qualified individuals.
  3. Scalability: As organisations grow, distinguishing sourcing from recruiting enables scalability. Teams can bring in more sourcers to boost acquisition, while recruiters can focus on building relationships and closing hiring decisions.
  4. Quality of hires: Organisations can better match candidates to the right positions by separating sourcing and recruiting. You’ll see higher-quality hires and tremendous talent acquisition success.

How can you successfully combine sourcing and recruiting?

The effectiveness of the sourcer-recruiter communication will ultimately shape the success of your hiring process.

Here are some tips to ensure a smooth integration of these practices:

  1. Clear communication: Keep communication lines open between sourcers and recruiters! This will ensure a smooth handoff of candidates and better alignment on hiring requirements. Regular check-ins (as we’ll discuss below), shared communication tools, and adopting an open-communication culture are great ways to achieve that.
  2. Regular meetings: Schedule regular meetings to discuss candidate progress, share insights, and address any challenges or concerns. While the frequency of meetings will vary depending on the size of your team, an ideal timeframe would be weekly or bi-weekly.
  3. Shared technology: Invest in recruitment software or applicant tracking systems (ATS) that allow both sourcers and recruiters to access and update the candidate information. This will ease collaboration and ensure a seamless transition between the two roles.
  4. Defined handoff process: Set a clear process for sourcers to hand off qualified candidates to recruiters, sharing all relevant information and effectively communicating candidates’ needs.
  5. Ongoing feedback: Always provide feedback on candidate quality and fit. This process could be as simple as keeping an eye on performance metrics and setting regular feedback sessions. The goal is to help both sourcers and recruiters refine their strategies and optimise outcomes.

For ideal results, keep sourcing and recruiting shoulder-to-shoulder!

To wrap it up, sourcing and recruiting are distinct practices within the hiring process, with each playing a crucial role.

Sourcing focuses on identifying and engaging potential candidates, while recruiting encompasses the entire hiring process, from screening to onboarding.

If you combine them properly, you’ll enhance your talent acquisition process and make your clients happier with the talent quality. However, we recommend keeping a degree of separation so your agency can make the most of each role, achieve scalability, and ultimately boost your talent acquisition strategy.