The Subtle Art of Making Recruiters & Sourcers Work Together
Recruitment, as a whole, is a (battle 🤼♂️) field that has always been essential to our society. It started with the roman army offering a reward for every new person brought by one of their legionary, which was called a recruit, and then it evolved with every passing decade, with the modern age and the rise of technology. Still, it remained a cornerstone in our society.
👉 Now, the definition of the very word recruitment (and all its tied actions), has changed over the years.
A recruiter, for example, is no longer an old militarian figure in charge of finding new recruits to fill the ranks of soldiers. Case in point : it’s not even called a recruiter anymore, for the role has been branded with the new and roaring title of Talent Acquisition Manager (Specialist works too). Some other examples : a resume doesn’t follow the same codes than ten years ago and the motivation letter has disappeared or has been replaced by something different, like the pitch.
Another illustration of the recruitment (r)evolution is the recent apparition of jobs that didn’t previously exist. Like, let’s say : Talent (Acquisition) Sourcer (Talent Acquisition Wizard or Talent Acquisition Researcher).
Before we get to the point of this article, let’s break out some vocabulary. As stated previously, the definition of a recruiter evolved so what exactly is a recruiter, in this modern age we live in?
🎯 Recruiter — “Identify, Attract, Engage”
In most companies, Talent Acquisition Managers (we will call them recruiters to ease your reading experience) are in charge of the full recruitment cycle: from the phone screen to the closing. The scope of their actions changes depending on how teams are organized and sized.
On a daily basis, recruiters are the first point of contact for candidates and help them through the recruitment process until (let’s be optimistic) the edition of the offer. Sometimes, in small companies, recruiters can also be part of the onboarding process.
Recruiters have a tough job: they are the link between the company and the candidates. They have to source, manage applications, be convincing during the phone screen, follow-up with candidates, share feedback ( ✅ or ⛔️) and extend offers. All those actions require excellent communication skills: they need to adapt the company’s speech depending on whom they are talking with. Recruiters are usually good at engaging candidates by using the right arguments. Recruiters also need to be heavily organized because of all the amount of small actions their daily activities imply. Last but not least, recruiters need to be resilient because, even if recruitment is becoming more and more of a data informing action, you can’t predict when you will hire candidates.
🔍 Sourcer — “Identify, Attract, Engage”
The difference between a recruiter and a sourcer is: the recruiter conducts the whole recruitment process while the sourcer is more of an expert in one, maybe two, steps of said process.
The role of a sourcer is to source, find and engage people that are susceptible to fit a job position, in order to hire them. So far, so good! That’s the short version though, because a sourcer’s role is a lot more complicated.
A sourcer is an intricate mixture of a salesperson, a detective 🕵️♀️ 🕵️♂️, a community manager, a psychologist, a geek and a data-driven analyst 👩💻 👨💻. Should we choose one skill to define a sourcer, it would be curiosity. A sourcer asks a lot (and I mean, A LOT) of questions and then finds most of the answers by himself/herself.
❓ Why does one need a sourcer ? (you may wonder)… Well, a sourcer is an expert, a specialist. Therefore, it’s particularly useful within an organization where recruiting is a top priority and in which a large number of positions needs to be filled as soon as possible. Sourcers can work an in house position, like at Criteo, or they can work in recruiting firms, like I did when I was at Edgar People. They can also be independent like Guillaume Alexandre, aka Mr Sourcing, who built his own Sourcing company, called Sourcing Gates.
Sourcers are specialists in the business of finding people and engaging with them. It’s what they do, all day long, and it generates a constant flux of talent in the pipeline, meaning the recruiters can focus on conducting more interviews and then, logically, hire more people.
Beside, a sourcer’s role includes the mapping out of their relevant markets. Then, they create sheets with data that allow them to act faster and be better at their job, to know where to look for 👁🗨 the right skills within the right companies, when to reach out, how to approach and more importantly: which buttons to push to convince passive people to start an interview process.
The sourcer has four main advantages, whether working in-house or within a recruiting firm:
- Time saving 🕔
- Recruiters focus on valuable tasks ☑️
- A boosted candidate experience ➕
- Hiring increase ↗️
Now, let’s state a very important fact :
The sourcer isn’t a recruiter, but the recruiter can be a sourcer.
🔊 Caroline: Recruiter
As a Tech Recruiter, I’ve always considered myself as a candidate advocate / coach as well as a community builder. Indeed, being a recruiter is a chance. As such, you are exposed to many people: hiring managers, candidates, agencies…etc. We can build a significant network 🤝 out of those interactions and represent the company we work for, in the best way. Recruiters are the reflection of every single company.
Still, on a personal note, I go beyond sourcing, engaging and attracting candidates. I gather competitive intelligence information while doing my job in order to make it easier, faster and more relevant. Shally Steckerl, a prominent figure in the recruitment world, is one of the most vocal about how important it is to develop competitive intelligence data techniques in order to anticipate recruitment needs and be a more challenging recruitment partner while talking with managers.
When I started to recruit, I thought sourcers were useless. The sourcers I knew were reaching out to unrelevant candidates in a voluminous way. It was leading to decrease the company’s employer brand on the market. However, my point of view changed after I met sourcers like Morgane Dalbergue.
Excellent sourcers are using the right tech tools to gather critical data, automate while personalizing (#lapersonnalisationbordel) their email approaches and are excellent ambassadors of their company. Plus, sourcers enabled me to focus on other tasks because we split the work to be more performant!
🔊 Morgane: Sourcer
We explained that the sourcer is more of an expert while the recruiter holds a “full stack” position (meaning a recruiter can handle the whole recruitment process).
❓ So, how do they work together? This is a legit and very interesting question. As a sourcer, I encountered it a few times during meetups and events in which I was participating.
To be honest, the relationship between a sourcer and a recruiter is somehow hard to describe. I’ve only been through two companies as a sourcer and both times, the bond was different. I think it’s a unique setting and as such, there is no universal truth and no set-in-stone rule as to how it works.
For example, I was working with three or four different recruiters when I was at Edgar People (a recruitment firm) and each relationship was unique. One of them was asking weekly reportings with numbers and data 📊 so she could track the progress. She was very demanding and it shaped the way I was sourcing, sharpening my focus on quantity.
With her, I had two meetings per week. Each time, we would thoroughly discuss the mission, my work and her expectations.
Within that same company, another recruiter didn’t ask anything but result. I was free to do whatever I wanted as long as he had interviews with ️ A-player-candidates ⭐️ (it was for a CFO position).
Both examples are telling one thing : between a sourcer and a recruiter, trust is key. Well, I can already hear you say “It often is, yes” but let me emphasize on it :
A recruiter who doesn’t trust the sourcer is doomed to failure.
📈 Data is reassuring. I keep doing a lot of reporting but mostly because it’s incredibly useful to track progress and to pinpoint the recruitment difficulties, in order to learn from them and to fix them.
Most important ingredient for a sourcer/recruiter relationship : trust. What else?
It’s something I’ve learned the hard way : if the recruiter doesn’t know exactly what the sourcer does, they quickly step on each other’s toes. Otherwise, it can lead to a massive loss of time ⏱ and money 💸
For example : let’s say we ask a sourcer to source for a Business Developer (I’m making it easier by not choosing a tech position), with specific skills and sale techniques and whatnot.
Depending on the previously determined scope of the sourcer, the recruiters should only intervene when it’s their turn to step in. Not one or two steps before, otherwise both the sourcer and the recruiter will be working on the same task. It will reflect poorly in the candidate’s eyes and waste everybody’s time.
The recruiter and the sourcer (it goes both ways) need to respect the boundaries of their respective roles. A great way to avoid such misheap is to involve both of them in designing the recruitment process.
And then, the final unavoidable ingredient : communication 🗣
Like trust and boundaries, it’s essential for the sourcer/recruiter duo to thrive. A recruiter needs to communicate with the sourcer and vice versa. From the brief to the closing and even through the onboarding part, the recruiter needs to keep the sourcer in the loop. If one of them is withholding information regarding the recruitment process, the duo is set to fail 💣
From personal experience, I would recommend having weekly meetings between the sourcer and the recruiter. It allows both parts to review the ongoing missions, share informations and go over issues that could stand in their way. Beside, those meetings are also a great way to bond and build and/or further trust 🖤
📢 If you are in Paris on the 16th of April 2019, you can have a conversation with us at TruParis! Morgane Dalbergue will talk about “conversion rates while sourcing” alongside Paul Mouchet while Caroline Chavier will lead a discussion with Mathieu Derand on “the collaboration between recruiters and sourcers”.