Spotlight on Sourcers

Airbnb Recruiting
3 min readMar 16, 2016
Our amazing SF Sourcing Team (and friends) at a bowling offsite.

If you’re outside the recruiting world, it might seem that finding the right candidate is simple enough. First, look at the applications that come in through channels, such as our Jobs page, LinkedIn, Glassdoor, or Indeed. Then, interview a candidate. Bingo. There’s your next hire.


Well, this is partially true. Inbound applicants and employee referrals are certainly a large portion of our hires, but that’s not the full story. Passive candidates also make up a critical sector of our hires.This is why we employ a team of creative sourcers to find the passive talent who don’t apply. Sourcers — not to be confused with sorcerers, though we do aim to sprinkle some magic in the recruitment process — are our creative and resourceful team members whose job it is to creatively find, engage, and activate candidates who perhaps don’t know about openings here, or are not actively looking to make a career move.

Our awesome sourcers are the bloodhounds of recruiting — they sniff out talent through various channels and networks. They use traditional platforms, but in keeping with our Core Value of “Embrace the Adventure,” we also aim to use creative ways to build connections with potential future hires.

Sourcing is more than just Boolean searches in LinkedIn. We’ve sourced hires from Lyft Lines, chance encounters at house parties, or by re-Tweeting a candidate’s intelligent musings. Sourcing isn’t just headhunting — it’s about keeping eyes and ears open for that person who we’re looking for, and building an authentic connection, even if it’s outside business hours.

Sourcers also negotiate the relationship with Hiring Managers, who can be exacting and precise — unrealistic — in the person they ask us to find. We love their high bar, but sometimes the profile they have in mind is the equivalent of a Nobel Prize winner who also plays the oboe and knows the full catalogue of Taylor Swift hits. In other words, there are very few of this person — if any — in existence, and the qualifications might not be necessary in the first place. We help Hiring Managers understand a more realistic landscape of who’s out there, and get them to think about ways we might relax some of the requirements if they’re not essential.

Sourcers here also take pride in being “sharpshooters.” This means that instead of high volume, impersonal outreach, we tailor our messaging to let you know we sought you out for a particular reason. For anyone who has ever received a boilerplate message from a recruiter, you know it’s not always pleasant to be recruited. We get that — so we’ll be respectful of your time by sending you a concise and personalized message explaining what we like about you, and the role we have in mind.

So, the next time you’re waiting for the bus and strike up a conversation with someone in an Airbnb hoodie, keep an open mind. You never know where the chat may take you.

Maybe we’ll even see you here soon.



Airbnb Recruiting

The Candidate Journey — Airbnb’s Recruiting Team Blog