Sourcing vs Recruiting

Do you understand the differences between sourcing and recruiting? Should recruiters be expected to do sourcing as well as recruiting, or do these areas of responsibility require different skill sets? These are questions that need to be answered.

Sourcing has actually become a specialized field and is very different from the functions of recruiting. When you combine the two roles, you are often not optimizing the functions of each role, and can actually increase recruiting costs and the time to hire. The differences between sourcing and recruiting can be vague, and many companies are not willing to invest in a dedicated sourcer because they don’t understand the return on their investment.

According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), sourcing is the proactive search for qualified job candidates for current or planned open positions. It is not the reactive function of reviewing resumes or applications sent to a company in response to a job posting or pre-screening candidates.

When I first entered the recruiting profession, we did everything. Recruiters did the initial sourcing, but this dates back to a time where we used paper applications and communicated using the telephone, and we could attract candidates by posting a job in a classified ad.

Technology has changed the landscape of recruiting forever, and the challenge is to surface the best talent faster than your competition. Job boards, social media, and website postings have significantly increased the volume of resumes submitted. The task of reviewing thousands of resumes has led to the use of automated systems, which are used to initially screen resumes for keywords. The recruiting model has also shifted due to:

  • technology-driven job application processes
  • fluctuating global economy
  • the majority of job seekers applying via their mobile devices
  • candidates wanting to find open positions more easily
  • candidates expecting to navigate your application process more quickly.

The increased use of technology and the competition for top talent has driven employers to be much more proactive when it comes to their recruiting efforts. Many passive candidates will apply when they have instant access to newly posted jobs online. But if your recruiters drive the sourcing efforts, you should expect delays in your overall recruiting process.


Primary recruiting functions include networking efforts, candidate screening, interviewing, presenting opportunities to candidates, scheduling interviews with hiring authorities, checking references, and many other related tasks. But these can only be started after the candidate pool is filled with qualified, interested, and available candidates. Sourcing is now considered an important part of the overall recruiting process.


Filling pipelines with a larger pool of passive candidates takes a tremendous amount of time and effort. An effective sourcer also learns which resources provide them with the highest calibre of candidates who result in a hire. Primary functions of a sourcer include identifying resources for top talent, direct calls to prospective candidates, networking through business-related groups, search speciality and/or niche job boards, utilizing LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+, and Twitter, going beyond the top four social sites, searches using Boolean logic, understand and utilize sourcing tools.

Most recruiters have a sales personality. They enjoy the interviewing and closing process and are driven by results. On the other hand, sourcers enjoy the research. They’re detail-oriented, and they’re very meticulous, and it is difficult to find someone who is great at all these functions. To calculate your true cost per hire in an internal recruiting model, you must include your total recruiting, sourcing, marketing, and administrative expenses.
If you utilize outside recruiting and staffing firms to assist you, you must also include their fees.

With the emphasis on finding the best talent faster than your competition, the sourcing professional can enhance the result of the recruiter, who can now focus on what they do best, and that is, fill open requisitions.

Author: Yudhvir CV

Hi, my name is Yudhvir. I've been lucky to have lived an interesting life with many interesting experiences. I have an army background to boast of and grew up across several places in India. My corporate life started with ONGC and from there on it's been a journey of 19 years in the corporate business arena. I have worked across functions, including administration, sales, marketing, branding and PR (I've tried my hand at running a business too) before finally moving into HR. Today I work with the Krissco group of companies as the Director - HR. I hold the title of EVP - HR with CloudNow Technologies. Outside of work, I was a professional cricketer when I was younger and later took to golf. I have played golf at a national level as an amateur, and later as a professional as well, all the while teaching golf to the who's who of south India - experiences that I truly cherish!