sourcing recruiting

How Should We Break Up Sourcing and Recruiting?

Tim Sackett Recruiting, Smashfly, Sourcing, Tim Sackett

We suck as talent acquisition leaders. We suck because we don’t share with each other all of our failures! One of the biggest TA failures over the past decade has been this concept of how to break up Sourcing and Recruiting. It’s still one of the hottest topics in recruiting process!

Yes, we definitely need sourcing! Now more than ever.

Yes, it makes sense to have individuals specialized in sourcing on your TA team.

Yes, you still also need people on the recruiting side.

So, what the hell should we be doing?

Currently, most corporate TA leaders, at all size levels, still struggle with how to break up the process of recruiting between Sourcers and Recruiters. We struggle because we continue to look at the recruiting process linearly. We put the entire recruiting process down on a single line and we look for a ‘natural’ break along that line where Sourcing starts, then stops, Recruiting starts, then stops.

When it’s described like that you see how silly it actually seems. In no way could we ever just chop the process in ‘half’ and give half to the Sourcer and give half to the Recruiter. It just never works! Believe me, most TA leaders have tried this, or will try this, and fail.

I love to blame Steven Covey and his stupid 7 habits for all of this thinking! Remember, Synergy? Leadership theory through Covey taught us that if we can get people to specialize in one thing really well, while someone else specializes on another piece really well when we bring these two separate pieces together, we’ll actually have more!

That’s great, but recruiting talent doesn’t work this way.

In most organizations, you have around three levels of positions. The first level of position is one you can fill every day without much trouble. You post an ad, one million people want that job, you never lack for talent or candidates. The second level of position is your mid-level jobs, you post, you’ll get some candidates, not a ton, but some, you might have to make some calls and ask for referrals, it takes work, but it’s not overly difficult to fill the job, usually. The third level of position is the one you post and you get zero candidates, these are the super tough ones.

The problem with chopping the process in half and having sourcing do one side and recruiting do the other is you don’t really address the real problem, the third level positions! If the Sourcer’s performance is measured on getting candidates, they’ll spend all day giving you candidates you could probably get on your own without much effort. Level one and two positions. They’ll look like rock stars at sourcing, you still have a major recruiting problem.

The best organizations don’t chop up the process of recruiting. They look for the problems within the process, then hire talent to solve those specific problems. So, the better answer is you use your sourcers to find your level three candidates, contact those candidates, screen those candidates, pre-close those candidates, then pass them along at that point in the process to the hiring manager or recruiter, whoever takes over in your process.

Today’s sourcers are almost like hired guns. They’re fixers, just as valuable as recruiters, if not more, they get brought in when there’s a problem. You plug them into the hot spot in your process, and it might be that hot spot doesn’t go away for months or years. The fact being, they can do everything a recruiter can do, but they only come in when extra help is needed.

I don’t need my sourcers working Administrative Assistant jobs. My generalist recruiter can handle the sourcing it takes for that job. I need my sourcers to focus in on the tough stuff, and then follow it all the way to the end!

FOT Note:  We here at FOT like to think we get talent and HR at a different level. At the very least, we are probably going to have a different take than the norm. So it made perfect sense to ask SmashFly to be an annual sponsor at FOT, where they’ll sponsor posts like this one, allowing FOT contributors to write, without restriction, on all things related to recruitment marketing and how it helps organizations find, attract, engage, nurture and convert talent. To learn more about SmashFly’s Recruitment Marketing Automation Software for modern recruiting organizations, please visit the SmashFly website.