I am a Sourcer and do hourly sourcing (as well as full-cycle recruiting); I also write about sourcing and give lectures on sourcing. However, I keep being unsatisfied about the terminology.

  • We call a Sourcer a person that mines the Internet for "talent" (and perhaps uses the phone, email, and other ways of communication). However, the word sourcing has so many other meanings! There's crowdsourcing, sourcing in procurement, and "open source" that Google will bring in as well if you search for sourcing.
  • Sales, Business Development people, and other professionals do very similar research that Recruiters and Sourcers do: they look for the right professionals online. In their case they may be looking for potential buyers for their product, but the search technology can be pretty similar to ours. Those folks usually don't even know what a "sourcer" is.

There's a term "online lead generation" - but it is not at all like sourcing; by definition it's a marketing term that refers to attracting potential buyers, i.e. usually it's about being found than proactively searching.

I've seen other terms as "Internet Researcher" or just "researcher", but that would be too broad if we take it out of recruiting context. I've seen "resourcer" but that doesn't sound right either and is not common in the US.

"Talent Mining" sounds good but wouldn't apply to sales.

"Data Mining" is too broad and somewhat academic; what we do is very specific data mining.

So what should searching for professional profiles be called?


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