Librarians Make Great Sourcers

At an increasing rate, leaders connect with me to ask about the characteristics and skills that make up a great Sourcer. We are at a point in Sourcing maturity, especially in healthcare, where leaders are recognizing that the Recruiters they tried to train as Sourcers, are struggling to succeed.

There are exceptions of course.  Some Recruiters have really taken to the Sourcing role, using the same communication and marketing skills they learned as recruiters in a new Sourcing role. But the majority of new Sourcers are learning all too late of the prerequisites required to be successful in the job.

What then, does it take to be a savvy Sourcer? I confess this is arguable based upon the industry and leadership mentoring style. I can only tell you what life was like for me as a sourcing practitioner, and what life is like for my clients fraught with setting up thriving sourcing teams. The following list of traits is not all-inclusive, but a guide to help leaders understand the role requirements more thoroughly.



I note this characteristic first.  A Sourcer must have the inquisitiveness of a three-year-old to question, why, why, why? The Sourcing role is an independent position. A recruiter has structured workflows and boxes to check off in the ATS.  The Sourcer doesn’t have such a prescribed plan.

The Sourcer must be able to ask their own questions and follow up on their own hunches. Think about a bill collector skip tracer.  Their job is to find where a debtor lives and works so they can collect a debt.  They scour the internet, search for clues, and follow up on those clues without instruction.  The same could be said of police detectives.

This identical sort of prying interest is what solves a case. The Sourcer behaves in much the same way as the detective or skip tracer. Following sets of clues without instruction, but with initiative, is imperative to finding the right candidate fit.



I always tell people that I am a better curator of research than I am at sourcing.  An English major, librarian, or another individual with a background in custodian data will do well in a sourcing role. Sourcers are stewards of information.

No matter what position you are sourcing for, I can tap into my sourcing catalog and find the right inventory needed for the hunt. Individuals who don’t excel in this area will constantly be asking you the same questions repeatedly because they fail to keep this array of inventory at the ready.

I can not stress enough the frustration of a Sourcer who regularly forgets their tools.


Love for Repetition

The sourcing role is doing the same thing over and over again and loving every minute of it. Sure, there are different resources and candidates to talk to that help to break the day up.  But have you ever tried performing research for eight straight hours? It is exhausting. It takes time to train your eyes to the strain and your brain to the deluge of information.

The individual that masters this level of activity does well navigating the echo in the role of a Sourcer.



A common hesitation from Recruiters turned Sourcers is that they will miss the personal relationships with their candidates. I honestly do not know how this could be possible.  I am way more engaged in candidates’ lives, and for a much longer time frame as a Sourcer than I ever was as a Recruiter.

The wooing period for a Sourcer can last for months, and sometimes years. In that time frame, I have had countless calls and touchbases with a candidate on their needs for a new role and dream position. I have become passionate about their wants; I generally find out more about their family and background during this time as well.

It once took me twelve years to find one candidate their ideal new position.  I realize that is an exception.  But more ofttimes than not, when a Sourcer connects with a passive candidate, they have a checklist of items they need to be met before a job change can be made.

The Sourcer guides that checklist and advises on the best ways to achieve their goals faster. The Sourcer role remains intimate with the candidate and heightens the role of the counselor. At least it does if you are doing it right.

I realize this is all just empirical and anecdotal evidence and not at all scientific. I am sure there is a strength finder guide out there that will tally up all the desirable traits of a Sourcer on a more academically acceptable scale.  In the meantime, I hope this helps in choosing the right candidate for the role.  It truly is an inspiring and rewarding career. Happy Hunting.

Christine Hampton

Christine is a Doctor of Business Administration candidate researching talent sourcing strategies in healthcare. This is Christine's 29th year in Talent Acquisition, with the last 9 years focusing on sourcing and recruitment marketing.