Talent Sourcer vs. Recruiter: What’s the Difference?

August 30, 2022

8 min read

The war for talent is increasingly competitive, and companies are under pressure to find the best candidates. With that in mind, it’s no surprise that the recruiter’s role has evolved. To meet the needs of their business, many organizations, especially recruitment agencies, now have both talent sourcers and recruiters working within their teams.

But is there really a big difference between these two roles? And which one is right for your business? In this article, you will find answers. We’ll also provide top tips on utilizing both roles to get the best results for your organization.

A few words about recruitment lifecycle

The lifecycle of the recruitment process consists of 6 main stages:

  1. Preparation: in this stage, the employer defines what kind of specialist they need to hire. They are creating an ideal candidate profile. A business analyst or HR specialists can help with it. After that job description and person specification are made.
  2. Sourcing: when an employer understands who they are looking for, the actual search for candidates begins. This is the stage where talent sourcer comes in. This specialist uses job boards, social media, and other platforms to find suitable active and passive prospects. The sourcer creates a talent pool of potential candidates for the organization to consider.
  3. Screening: the talent acquisition department members are trying to identify the most suitable candidates from the talent pool according to the job description and person specification. There are a lot of different screening methods: phone screening, video screening, tests, etc.
  4. Interviewing: the recruitment specialist and the employer get to know applicants better to learn more about their skills and experience.
  5. Offering: the stage when an offer is made to the applicant. If they accept the offer, they are hired.
  6. After hiring: the employer and HR are integrating the new employee into the company culture, helping them to get to know their colleagues, and feel comfortable in the new environment.

As you can see, sourcing is just one stage of the recruitment process, but it’s a critical one. And a talent sourcer’s job is to find suitable candidates.

The recruitment specialist’s job is to manage the whole recruitment process. It includes not only sourcing but also screening, interviewing, and offering stages. After-hiring is usually an HR responsibility. Both specialists are essential parts of the hiring process. And both of them have different but equally important roles.

Why have these two roles become so confusing?

There are several reasons why talent sourcer and recruiter roles are often confused.

First of all, these two roles are combined in many companies. Organizations with small budgets or small recruiting teams may have one person performing both functions. But in the case of large businesses, it’s more efficient to have two separate roles.

Second of all, the lines between these two roles are often blurred. For example, a talent sourcer may also be involved in screening and interviewing applicants. And a recruitment specialist may also be interested in sourcing candidates if they understand sourcing tools and techniques well.

What does a sourcer do: an overview of responsibilities

Creating a talent pool of suitable candidates is the main responsibility of this specialist. If they are interested in the position, these selected specialists will be contacted by the recruiter.

A talent sourcer might use job boards, job posting sites, social networks, LinkedIn, resume databases, etc. They also might need to contact candidates directly to persuade them to apply for the position.

Talent sourcer should have a good understanding of different sourcing channels and tools. They should also be able to assess candidates and identify the most suitable ones quickly.

The skills every sourcer needs

To perform their duties effectively, these specialists need some specific skills and qualities, like the following:

  • Knowing how to develop a sourcing strategy

It means identifying the most suitable sourcing channels and tools for each hiring campaign.

  • Sourcing

A sourcer must be able to find and contact suitable candidates using different sourcing channels and tools. 

  • Lead generation skills

They should know how to generate leads and interest candidates in the position.

  • Excellent communication skills

They should communicate with candidates effectively. Knowing how to persuade prospects to apply for the position is also essential.

  • Research skills

A sourcer should be able to find information about potential candidates quickly and efficiently.

  • Analytically minded

This specialist has to analyze a lot of data related to candidates, clients, and the labor market in order to be efficient and achieve results.

These are just some of the skills every talent sourcer needs. There might be other skills specific to the company or position they are sourcing for.

What does a recruiter do: an overview of responsibilities

A recruitment specialist is responsible for selecting and hiring suitable candidates. They participate in the development of the recruitment strategy and control the whole process. The process includes not only sourcing but also screening, interviewing, and offering stages. A recruitment specialist can be in-house or outsourced, and they are in close contact with both candidates and clients.

The skills every recruiter needs

As we have already mentioned, the primary responsibility of the recruiter is to manage the whole recruitment process. To do that, they need:

  • Excellent communications skills

Recruitment specialists work closely with clients and candidates. Therefore, they should have excellent communication skills. They should be able to build positive relationships and win the trust of others.

  • Tech-skills

Recruiters use tools like Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) to manage the recruitment process. So, they should be tech-savvy and use different tools effectively.

  • Analytical skills

Recruitment specialists should be able to analyze data, identify trends, and prepare recruitment strategies and reports.

  • Sales skills

Recruiters often need to sell the vacant position to potential candidates.

  • Overcome rejections

They deal with rejections almost every day, so they should be able to handle them well.

That is not all the skills, but these are enough to understand the job’s specifications.

As you can see, the talent sourcer’s job is less complex than the recruiter’s one. A talent sourcer focuses on finding candidates, while a recruitment specialist focuses on the whole recruitment process. However, both roles are essential for a successful hiring campaign.

How do sourcer and recruiter collaborate?

There are no universal rules on how these two specialists should work in a team. It depends on the company, its size, the hiring process, etc. However, some best practices can help you to build a successful collaboration between these two roles in your organization.

  • Set clear objectives and expectations

Both roles should know what is expected of them and the final goal. They should clearly understand who is responsible for what stage of the recruitment process.

  • Communicate regularly

Weekly meetings or check-ins can help ensure that both roles are on the same page.

  • Measure work effectiveness

Each specialist must be result-oriented, and their KPIs must be monitored. The effectiveness of collaboration depends on the efficacy of each team member. The most common KPIs for sourcers are a number of candidates sourced, a number of candidates progressed to screening, and a source of hire. In the case of a recruitment specialist, we count time-to-hire, cost-per-hire, and interview-for-offer-ratio.

Both roles have different responsibilities. But if they work together, they can build a powerful recruitment team that will help the company to attract top talent. Don’t want to deal with organizing the hiring process and building healthy relationships in the recruitment team? Let StaffingPartner do it for you! We are a team of professionals who can deliver high-quality candidates in the shortest time – just three business days. Contact us to learn more.

Prospective for sourcer and recruiter: where and how to move on

There are many ways for sourcers and recruiters to move on in their careers. It all depends on their skills, experience, and preferences. The difference is that sourcers first career leap is to become a recruitment specialist. Then they might want to specialize in one particular area, move into management positions or even start their own business.

Sourcers who want to become recruitment specialists must develop communication and interpersonal skills. They should also be familiar with different recruiting software and tools.

Recruiters who want to specialize in one area can become talent acquisition managers or recruiting operations managers.

Those who want to move into management positions can become HR managers or directors.

And finally, those who want to start their own business can become independent specialists.

The bottom line

Talent sourcer and recruiter are not interchangeable. Each of them has different skills and responsibilities, but the recruiter has more control of the whole hiring process. A sourcer can groove into a recruitment specialist. For the last one, the career leap will be the talent acquisition manager or recruiting operations manager. You don’t need both in-house specialists if you have a small budget or you don’t have many open vacancies continuously. The best way to collaborate with both specialists in an effective way without budget increase is to contact a trustworthy recruiting agency that has sourcers and recruiters on staff. So, drop us a message if you need help with your recruitment.

Read also: How to Become a Recruiter Without Experience? and Soft Skills Every Successful Recruiter Should Have

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