LinkedIn has a Question and Answers function and I found the following question posted:
I’m looking for benchmarking info on how companies (Fortune 500) look @ sourcing candidates.
Are they centralized?
Are they set up by function; region expertise?
How do companies source passive candidates? Do they outsource?
If they do, where and do they off-shore?
Metrics? How do you measure sourcer’s performace?
How have companies adapted/changed the sourcing function given the new internet applicant law?
What is the ratio of recruiters to sourcers?
Is Diversity sourcing a separate Dept/function?

~ MC, Team Leader and Strategic Account Manager, TMP Worldwide

I answered as follows and I thought some of you might find this subject interesting. I hope you do. You can view all the answers to the question above here.

Your question is a set of questions and I will attempt to answer some of them from my decade long experience as a telephone names sourcer and as a trainer who has recently entered that arena.

There are two types of sourcing: Internet and Telephone. They do not have to be centralized, but if I had to choose between the two I’d say Internet Sourcing is more easily centralized.

Both types of activity draw specific types of personalities. If I had to say one word that describes people who enjoy this type of activity I would say Introvert. Of course there will be exceptions, but overall, I’d say this rings true. Introverts work best away from madding crowds.

There are FAR MORE Internet Sourcers in this world than Telephone Sourcers.

As Telephone Sourcing is the model I best understand I will continue to direct the bulk of my answers as your question relates to Telephone Sourcing.

Recently there is great interest among companies to set up the function of “sourcing” onsite. Did you know this type of sourcing now enjoys its own Wikipedia definition? Here:

Companies nowadays recognize the urgent need that sourcing passive candidates represents. In my opine, telephone sourcing best sources the “truly” passive candidate – the guy sitting inside a company’s brick walls who has no representation on the Internet and therefore cannot be “sourced” using traditional Internet sourcing habits. It takes someone to CALL IN and ASK QUESTIONS in order to locate those people. To me, and to my customers, this virgin possible candidate represents the best of both worlds – the possible employee who is busy doing the work you need him to do for you, only he is busy doing it for someone else. Until you come along! Then, usually intrigued by your approach, will spend some of his time considering your opportunity presentation. It’s a highly effective technique that delivers wild value to a company’s bottom line!

I digress, I know, but I think you can see from my response how excited I get about the subject! As you can also probably tell, I’ve done a lot of writing on the subject.


Moving on, sourcing can be set up by function, region, expertise but I see this as more of a down-the-line evolution. It really depends on your own needs – what you require to be accomplished in your staffing organization. My advice is to just get the function started and manage it from there. Because it’s such “new” thinking for most staffing departments the hardest thing you’re probably facing is just getting others to understand what it is. Once they understand it, they might embrace it. I say “might”. It’s an extremely challenging space and though many will think it sounds intriguing very few will be able to answer its’ siren call. It’s very hard work!

Many companies hire sourcers like me to do it for them. Third parties have been doing it for years and then passing the fruit of our labors on to their clients along with respectable percentage fees. Telephone sourcing can cut a minimum of 75% of third party costs but there’s a caveat here – though telephone sourcers can deliver you “the goods” it still takes talented individuals to develop these possible candidates and bring them through your door. It takes a different approach to develop and then close a truly passive candidate like this.

There’s been discussion about outsourcing this function. In my experience, MAYBE some of the internet sourcing can be outsourced at this time but I believe it will be a long time before the language barriers and the hardware difficulties (no, VoIP doesn’t work for telephone sourcing!) are overcome to a point where this possibility exists. I could be wrong; I am always open to that, but I don’t think I am.

Telephone Metrics:
An excellent/great telephone names sourcer can do 200-300 names per week (the really really great, sometimes, even, per day!); a very good names sourcer can push out 100-200 names in a week, a good one, 100 names a week consistently, and a beginner should be able to do 25- 50 or so names per week for the first couple years.

I suggest one sourcer for three recruiters. Actually, I think what’s happening in the real estate industry could work well in corporate staffing departments: the team approach. It might look like this:
1 Sourcer
3 - 4 Candidate Developers
1 - 2 “Closers”
1 Administrative Assistant
I know it’s radical – just “consider” the possibility!

I will leave the diversity question and the new internet applicant law for others to address.

I hope this is helpful – if you’d like to learn more about the arcane subject, we discuss telephone sourcing all the time here on the Yahoo group “Sourcers Unleashed” and also on the Ask Maureen group on the Electronic Recruiting Exchange.
Like what you just read? MagicMethod is brimming with information like this and will show you the inside tips and techniques of true telephone names sourcers! Subscribe today here.
The Book of Sourcers is ready! Get your list of 200+ sourcers now here.
NameSourcer blog.
NEW Join the SourcersGuild Ning network here. Network for Names Soucers!
Join the MagicMethod telephone names sourcing group here on RecruitingBlogs here.

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