Recruiting is Dead. You’re Either Sourcing or You’re Not Doing Your Job.

Don’t worry, your company does need you, and for very important reasons. But you must understand how and why they believe your role is worthless.

Your employer has a very good reason for thinking recruiters no longer provide sustainable value. Senior leadership sees recruiting as a necessary evil. To many of them it is a cost center at best, or at worst a bottomless money sinkhole that overpromising and under delivers.  The sooner you realize this the better you will get at connecting the best talent to the top jobs.

Go ahead. Get angry. Throw stones at me for making such a heretical statement, I won’t mind. So long as you awake from your slumber and realize the truth in this: “Recruiting is Dead.”

Let me explain…


It’s not that you’re not important.

You are, it’s just that you’re not doing your job properly.

Technological dependence in the hiring process has marginalized the Recruiter role, which had evolved very little since the industrial revolution. Technologies like LinkedIn have become an equalizer by providing large volumes of information to both employer and job seeker. And the transparency of social media has removed the blinders disintermediation middle-man.

Now, don’t get me wrong, the overall goal you’re trying to reach in your role at a company is important to business operations and is not moot. But you’re not Recruiting – plain and simple, you’re Sourcing.

I guess it would be better to say rather than recruiting is dead, that the title of “Recruiter” has (or at least should be) redefined as Sourcer.

With the ever-shifting dynamics of your roles, you’re really a Sourcer, not a Recruiter, and the role of the Recruiter is no longer what it was.

Let me lay it out this way…


Your position within your company has you conducting the following:

  • Job Analysis and Definition of Candidate Specifications/Requirements
  • Job Advertising
  • Candidate Sourcing and Networking
  • Finally Matching and Screening Candidates to the Job and Company


To summarize this entire argument and to put it bluntly:

Your role and responsibilities really belong under the umbrella of two individuals already involved in the hiring process – and if they weren’t being lazy, everything would be running a lot smoother and companies would recognize the benefits of having individuals like yourself (Sourcers) as a part of their hiring team.


Now let me tell you why…

Above I outlined the essentials of your role – but let me reiterate again, this time in steps:

  1. Job Analysis and Definition of Candidate Specifications/Requirements
  2. Job Advertising
  3. Candidate Sourcing and Networking
  4. Finally Matching and Screening Candidates to the Job and Company


Step one is completely at the hands of the Hiring Manager 

And we all know it should be. They know everything about the role they’re hiring for. They know what’s required, what they want, what they need, and who they’re looking for to fit the position. (i.e. personality, culturally, educationally, and experience – the definitive fit candidate)


Step 2 is the responsibility of both parties. 

However; with the technology at hand today it falls in the lap of the Sourcer – they know (at least they should) where to find and how to find and connect with the right talent – hence they know where to advertise the job.


Step 3 is in the hands of Sourcers – obviously. 


Now to the final step…Step 4 falls in the hands of both the Hiring Manager and Sourcer. 

As a Sourcer you’re matching the candidates to the advertised role and screening the information before you hand it over to the Hiring Manager. At least if you were doing your job properly you would and you would have already found talent you believe is a fit based on the job description/requirements the hiring manager provided to you.


Cultural fit may not really be a thing

On a cultural level, you would have already screened the candidate to see if they’d be a fit for the company structure. And you would have because you actually are a part of that culture, so you understand it.

Now, when you finally present this information over to the hiring manager it’s part of your duty to initiate contact between the two – then your job as a Sourcer is done.

By providing the Hiring Manager with enough quality leads you will be better at finding the talent needed and initiating the new hire – and if you do it properly you’ll be able to have the entire process done within a matter of days not weeks.


Are you still with us?

If I’ve lost you as a reader you’re probably not ready to hear this, you’ve already heard it, or you’re too scared to listen and are not absorbing any of this.

Now there are those who believe that sourcing and recruiting professionals have different responsibilities. That as a Sourcer it’s your responsibility to identify the key talent needs and build pipelines and communities. Essentially mapping a workforce plan.

Is this not a company-wide project? Not just the responsibility of the Sourcer, but the entire company, from the low-level HR member to the President?

In reality, the role of the Sourcer is to find the talent they are told to find, and talent they recognize the company will need. But more importantly, the role of a Sourcer encompasses that of a Recruiter.

They have to understand the landscapes in which they’re sourcing talent, in order to build an action plan, to properly map their workforce plan, and to successfully achieve its objectives. And the keys to that success are finding a level at which you can work effectively with your hiring managers.

They must work with them to build an understanding of what obstacles you’ll both face in finding your perfect hire.


The Final Run Down

Recruiting talent is important for organizations, but what is more important is finding the right talent. And if you were doing your job properly you wouldn’t be exasperating the people who determine whether or not you’re essential to the business – and the industry wouldn’t have to keep trying to convince the business world you are.

Recruiting is Dead. A harsh statement yes, but what you need to understand is that your role is not entirely dead – it has just been redefined.

Shally Steckerl

One of the pioneers of the sourcing discipline, Shally is the Founder and former President of The Sourcing Institute, where he has helped numerous F500 and mid-market organizations train and develop their talent sourcing capabilities for nearly 20 years. When it comes to innovative approaches to candidate search, Shally literally wrote the book. He is the author of the industry-standard textbook “The Talent Sourcing and Recruitment Handbook” as well as “The Sourcing Method: Tactics to Find Unfindable Talent.”


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