The World of Sourcing, According to a Recruiter

(By iCIMS Blogger, Annie Hartman)

Sourcing can mean a few different things in an organization, depending on your function. For example, some may immediately think of procurement. However, to a corporate recruiter, a sourcer, or sometimes also called a researcher, is a strategic member of the recruitment team who partners with a full life-cycle recruiter and whose job is to proactively find passive candidates. If done right, creating an internal sourcing team can save a company millions of dollars. At least, that was my experience.

I was fortunate enough to be a part of a forward thinking organization that wanted to reduce the amount of money they spent working with third-party staffing companies and headhunters. As a result, they hired a virtual team of 4 and created a sourcing team. The team eventually grew to 7 and in the first year, saved the company over 2 million dollars in agency spending, reduced their time-to-fill, and cost-per-hire.

When attending sourcing conferences or recruiting events and talking with other corporate recruiters, I would usually get two immediate questions:

  1. Why can’t full life-cycle recruiters do their own sourcing?
  2. How do you find your candidates?

Starting with the first question, in my experience, recruiters have the ability to source candidates, but they just don’t have the time. They are typically working overtime managing the candidates that have applied, working with the hiring managers, managing the applicant flow process and the offers, and the list goes on and on.

To address the second question, the answer again goes back to time. While sourcers may be a little stronger at understanding how to do Boolean searches or point out niche professional organizations to network with, the only real reason they can find the candidates is because they have THE TIME. Having said that, and to put an end to the mystery, I’ve outlined a few of my favorite, and admittedly somewhat basic, resources below:

  1. Thorough Intake with Hiring Manager: Don’t just ask, “What qualities are you looking for?” but also ask if they want to target specific companies to recruit from and if they belong to any professional organizations that you can network with.
  2. Pay for Research: I highly recommend Corporate Navigators, Melissa Moreno, and TechTrak. Within 48 hours of providing them with a request, I would have the contact information of the requested titles and companies for a nominal fee.
  3. Power of Boolean Searches: My Boolean knowledge is basic and I’m here to tell you, I can find conference lists, employee directories, and just about anything I want on Alta Vista or Google. If you are new to it, just Google “Tips on Boolean Searches” and you’ll be directed to many resources.
  4. Traditional Methods: The websites that yielded the best results for me were a combination of LinkedIn and ZoomInfo. I would find my candidate’s profile on LinkedIn but I didn’t have a great response with the in-mails. Therefore, I would use ZoomInfo to get a contact number and email address.

In conclusion, I would like to add that sourcing teams will not replace third party staffing companies. It is still necessary to partner with these vendors. For example, there are certain types of positions, such as actuaries, where the contingent firms have the best candidates. Furthermore, sometimes a company needs the ability to conduct a confidential search, which of course is better served by a retained search firm.

Oh, and to bring everything full circle, if you believe your team would benefit from building out a sourcing function or if you are a full life-cycle recruiter who sources, make sure your current ATS supports this. If your ATS doesn’t give you the ability to upload your own candidates, attach them to a pipeline, mass communicate with them, and effectively search your database, then call iCIMS. That’s what I did!

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