We Get No Respect: Why Sourcing Is the Rodney Dangerfield of the TA World

I’m going to say something that might get me into trouble later on. It’s something that many other fellow sourcing professionals have probably felt for a long time.

It’s this: A sourcing role is tougher than a recruiting role.

Sourcers can sometimes get overlooked completely. They handle all the grunt work of sourcing, and sometimes, get no credit from the leadership team at all.

As a Sourcer myself, I have always felt that my role was more of a challenge than being a full-cycle recruiter. Don’t get me wrong; the recruiter’s job is very important, but the ultimate challenge in recruiting is actually finding the applicants. That takes the most time and energy.

Separating sourcing from recruiting

Finding, screening, pre-qualifying applicants is the real grunt work of recruiting. It’s something that gets overlooked and undervalued. I’ve fortunate to be in both a Sourcer and Recruiter role. My passion is in sourcing. It’s the the hunt – ultimate challenge. It’s something that doesn’t even feel like work to me.

Fortunately, I’ve been in different sourcing models during my career. I know what works and what doesn’t work in order to be a good Sourcer. Creating a functioning recruiter vs. sourcing model really is important for your success as a sourcer.

Here’s the basic recruitment model:

  • The recruiter handle most of the relationship with the hiring manager. They handle the second phone screens, interview feedback, salary negotiations, offer letters, and onboarding. They do not handle much of the actual sourcing parts of recruiting. They may do a general search but the deep dive is meant for the sourcer.
  • The sourcers role is to seek out passive talent. They are invited to the initial intake meeting with the hiring manager. But, after that point the recruiter continues on working directly with the hiring manager.
  • The main goal of a sourcer is to hunt down the best possible talent based on the skill sets. After, the sourcer does a quick pre-phone screen and after that point they submit them to the direct recruiter.

However, there are problems with this model:

The biggest issue with this model is it’s a “reactive” approach to sourcing. The recruiters react to new position and ultimately the sourcers have to react to whenever the recruiter decides to include them in the process. If the recruiter is not good at communicating with the sourcer, this will cause a lot of issues later on.

This strategy basically creates an artificial hierarchy.

It creates the feelings of superiority by the recruiter because they get to dictate the flow of roles, how they’re prioritized, and how support is divided up. Without a clearly defined structure things can turn bad. Ultimately, this creates a bad experience for the candidates and for the sourcer.

Fixing the broken model

In order to fix the broken model I’ve included different scenarios and how to work through them:

  • Becoming the Guinea Pig — Are you the first sourcer on the team? This can be a good or bad scenario. Right away, you need to sit down with your manager and strategize a successful relationship with the recruiters. I’ve personally succeeded and failed at being the only sourcing resource for a team of recruiters. Remember, the sourcer really needs to set the course right off the bat.
  • Handling the Non Communicator —  Say you’re working with a recruiter who won’t loop you into the process. If you’re not getting good communication throughout, this will make you fail as a sourcer. You need to continuously remind the recruiter of certain things you need to know. Also, make sure you’ve worked out a game plan with your manager on handling this.
  • Dealing With a “Red” Recruiter — This means dealing with a red personality, that is, someone who takes all the credit and doesn’t include you in the process. I’ve had recruiters that won’t include me on on the intake calls and refuses to mention my name to the hiring manager. Basically, this type of recruiter needs sourcing help but takes all the credit. There are two ways to confront this:
    • You need to bring this sort of stuff up with your manager and get them involved; and,
    • You need to have a heart-to-heart with that recruiter. I’ve told recruiters my true feelings, and to combat the competition scenario, I’ve told them that, “I’m here to support you and we’re on the same team here. We need to be able to work together.” Some recruiters have difficulty working with a sourcing resource. If you’re patient and kind, eventually you will gain the respect and trust from a “red” recruiter.

Proactive vs. Reactive sourcing model

As the sourcer, you need to clearly set the overall guidelines and get your manager’s blessing. The sooner the sourcer gets looped into the communication over the position to be filled, the better things will be. This will help forecast the needs ahead of time and allow them to proactively source for talent.

jedi sourcing mind tricksThe more proactive you can be, the better you can be at building out a pipeline of candidates.

A sourcer’s job is really dependent on building a good communication’s channel with the recruiter, and a good recruiter is someone who is highly organized, efficient, good with candidates, and also good at giving credit to the whole team.

I recommended having some guidelines between the recruiter and sourcer to help smooth out their relationship. Keep this in mind:

  • A recruiter needs to continuously update the sourcer throughout the recruiting and hiring process.
  • The sourcer needs to get recognized for all their efforts in finding candidates for the recruiter to consider.

Since they generally do not have a direct relationship with the hiring manager, a good recruiter should include the sourcer in the final offer stages. Shoot them a thank note and CC the hiring manager.

Overall, recruiting teams need to recognize both attributes of a sourcer and recruiter relationship, because in the end, a recruiter and sourcer are all on the same team.

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Jonathan Kidder has over six years of full-cycle recruiting and research sourcing experience, and he currently works as a Senior Talent Acquisition Sourcer at Vista Outdoor Inc. He started his career in employer branding at one of the largest RPO staffing firms in the world, and he has managed several Fortune 500 brands with social media recruiting campaigns. He’s sourced and recruited for many different industries including Information Technology, Finance, Banking, Engineering, Healthcare, Biotechnology, Medical Device, CPG, Marketing, & Sales. He started WizardSourcer as a way to freelance his talent sourcing abilities. He offers everything from candidate leads to retained search services. Follow him on Twitter @WizardSourcer or connect with him on LinkedIn.




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Jonathan Kidder has over six years of full-cycle recruiting and research sourcing experience, and he currently works as a Senior Talent Acquisition Sourcer at Vista Outdoor Inc. He started his career in employer branding at one of the largest RPO staffing firms in the world, and he has managed several Fortune 500 brands with social media recruiting campaigns. He’s sourced and recruited for many different industries including Information Technology, Finance, Banking, Engineering, Healthcare, Biotechnology, Medical Device, CPG, Marketing, & Sales. He started WizardSourcer as a way to freelance his talent sourcing abilities. He offers everything from candidate leads to retained search services. Follow him on Twitter @WizardSourcer or connect with him on LinkedIn.

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