The Roles of Recruiter and Sourcer are Merging

Like it or not, the distinct lines between recruiting and sourcing are becoming murky. According to Nupur Vilas who wrote a blog in early 2017:

A sourcer’s responsibility is to understand the organization and the details of the position, qualify candidates according to those details, and present the qualified candidates to the recruiter. Don’t forget the part about building talent pipelines.

The recruiter’s responsibility is to get the candidates interested, conduct effective interviews, negotiate hiring terms, and work jointly with hiring managers to close candidates.

I would say that today now more than ever, the shift to a hybrid role.  How do I know?  I see the change happening as I speak with hiring managers. Below are my theories on why:

Cost Savings: While unemployment is at an all-time low, and human capital growth is high, the goal for all organizations no matter the size is keep margins high.  Therefore, companies will ask recruiters to do both sourcing/recruiting. In fact, most small, medium, and even some large organizations do not have sourcing functions, so the recruiting teams are asked to do everything. If I am the CHRO, I could use the extra salary dollars on recruitment technology or marketing or hire an additional recruiter who has the experience in doing both roles.

Order Taker to Business Partner:  As Corporate TA Leader, my teams are required to be business partners. That is, the recruiters:

·       Understand the overall business strategy by meeting with department executives

·       Build relationships with the hiring managers by learning their assigned departments’ functions and how their positions fit into the overarching department and business strategy

·       Sourcing and selling candidates to obtain their interest

·       Closing the candidates to accept the offer

·       Building talent pipelines for commonly open positions and filling gaps in succession plans

From what I have seen on the vendor side, there are many companies still on the “order taker” side of the fence claiming the demands of the business and the administrative work do not allow them the time to source and recruit talent.  I call BS. My advice is to sharpen the saw around time management, sourcing candidates, and building your partnerships with hiring managers. Quit posting and praying for qualified candidates to apply to your posting.  It is a tight labor market.  You have to go out and find the candidates. Not comfortable with sourcing or don’t know where to start? Check out the ERE Sourcing Academy that will provide you with the tools to be successful.

The blurred line between both function’s responsibilities: I know that sourcers who read this will argue that their skills are an art. I would respectfully say that sourcing is a learned function through everyday practice.   Chrome extensions and added tools such as Seekout, Hiretual, and Zensourcer that help today’s sourcing community along with an array of other savvy tools from the likes of Greg Hawkes, Dean De Costa, and Jeremy Langhans YouTube channels. I digress.

During conversations with Heads of Talent, I hear that sourcing and recruiting functions are rarely on the same page with each side pointing fingers. One leader told me, “While I see the value of both parties, it is just easier to combine the teams and retain those who provide possess both strong sourcing and recruiting skills.” I agree.  One role creates a more productive and accountable position, than two.  Furthermore, I firmly believe that having one role will improve your metrics over time.  The key has this position solely focus on sourcing and recruiting.  Have your Recruiting Coordinator managing the administrative side – posting, scheduling, writing offer letters, and answering candidate questions.

What role survives? Great question. It depends. Based on what we just covered; I would say those who can understand the business and organizational strategy, finds all squirrels (not just the purple ones), have solid relationship building skills and can build talent pipelines. In other words, a hybrid role that has the person working a full desk.  My teams have always been a hybrid of sourcers and recruiters. Their performance measured on their ability to source, build pipelines, delivery of candidates and hiring manager satisfaction.

As my friend Derek Zeller said in a blog post earlier this year, “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.”

Damn right Derek. I would also add “and deliver.”

I would love to hear your thoughts/opinions.  Let me know what you think!

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