Sourcing (personnel)Sourcing in personnel management work refers to theidentification and uncovering of candidates (also knownas talent) through proactive recruiting techniques.Historical contextThe evolution of recruiting has changed significantly over thelast few decades. What started out as the responsibilityof office managers to place job advertisements innewspapers or help wanted signs to attract potentialemployees has now grown into a multibillion-dollar industry,where the identification of talent requires internal corporaterecruitment departments or employment agencies solelyfocused on this transaction through both proactive and Newreactive recruiting techniques.Today the actual act of identifying candidates has even beensplit into dedicated roles and job functions, whereashistorically sourcing was the sole and inclusive responsibilityof the recruiter along with other job responsibilities(examples): Screen and interview candidates against the position requirements Work closely with the hiring manager on hiring activities Help with the "offer letter" and interviewA third-party recruitment agency or corporate recruitingdepartment may be made up of individuals dedicated to justthe sourcing of candidates while recruiters can either focuson more account management responsibilities or leveragesourcing experts to supplement an additional volume ofpotential candidates. An increasing number of agencies and
corporate recruiting departments outsource this work toa Recruitment Process Outsourcing vendor.Detailed definitionThe actual act of sourcing for candidates is performed byeither a recruiter (be it an internal corporate recruiter oragency recruiter) or a dedicated recruiter just focused on thesourcing function. The definition of sourcing needs to beclearly defined by what it is, as much as what it is not.Candidate sourcing activity typically ends once the name,job title, job function and contact information for the potentialcandidate is determined by the candidate sourcer. To furtherdevelop a list of names that were sourced some companieshave a second person then reach out to the names on thelist to initiate a dialogue with them with the intention of pre-screening the candidate against the job requirements andgauging the interest level in hearing about new jobopportunities. This activity is called "candidate profiling" or"candidate pre-screening". The term candidate sourcingshould not be confused with candidate research.In some situations a person that "sources" candidates canand will perform both primary and secondary sourcingtechniques to identify candidates as well as the candidateprofiling to further pre-screen candidates but there is agrowing market for experts solely focused on "telephonesourcing", "internet sourcing/researching" and candidateprofiling. The actual act to source candidates can usually besplit out into two clearly defined techniques: primary sourcingand secondary sourcing.Primary sourcing/phone sourcingIn recruiting and sourcing, this means the leveraging oftechniques (primarily the phone) to identify candidates withlimited to no presence of these individuals in any easily
accessible public forum (the Internet, published list, etc.). Itrequires the uncovering of candidate information via aprimary means of calling directly into organizations touncover data on people, their role, title and responsibilities.The term "phone sourcers" or "phone name generator" or"telephone names sourcer" generally applies to theutilization of primary sourcing techniques.Secondary sourcing/Internet sourcingIn recruiting and sourcing, this means the using oftechniques (primarily the Internet and utilizingadvanced Boolean operators) to identify candidates.Individuals in the recruiting industry that have deep expertisein uncovering talent in the harder to reach places on theinternet (forums, blogs, alumni groups, conference attendeelists, personal home pages, etc.).The term "internet sourcer", "Internet name generator" or"internet researcher" generally applies to the use ofsecondary sourcing techniques.Examples of sourcing techniquesSourcing for candidates refers to proactively identifyingpeople who are either a) not actively looking for jobopportunities (passive candidates) or b) candidates who areactively searching for job opportunities (active candidates),though the industry also recognizes the existence of activecandidate sourcing using candidate databases, job boardsand the like.Though there has been much debate within the staffingcommunity as to how to accurately define an "activecandidate" versus a "passive candidate," typically either termis irrelevant to a candidate sourcer as the status of any
particular candidate can change from moment to moment orwith a simple phone call from a recruiter that happens topresent a job opportunity. The status of being an "active" or"passive" candidate is fluid and changes depending on thecircumstances, including the position being offered.Activities related to sourcing in recruiting can also becategorized into "push activities" and "pull activities." Pushactivities are activities undertaken to reach out to the targetaudience. This generally includes headhunting, HTMLmailers, referral follow-ups, etc.Pull activities are activities that result in applicants comingto know of an opportunity on their own. Pull activities mayinclude the following: advertising on a microsite with aregistration process (this makes search engines index thead), advertising (in newspapers, on cable TV, throughflyers/leaflets, etc.), posting a job in job portals, etc.In summary, a push activity is akin to a direct marketingactivity, whereas pull activities are more indirect marketing ofthe same concept. Both ideally result in applicants becominginterested and the interest triggering a response (applying,referring, calling, sending an SMS, etc.). These actiontriggers are also sometimes referred to as Call To Action(CTA) steps.Proactive techniques 1. Using Boolean operators on major search engine sites (Google, Live.com, Yahoo!, etc.) to identify potential candidates who might meet the criteria of the position to be filled based on targeted keywords. Example string in Google: "SAP consultant" (resume | CV | "curriculum vitae").
2. Searching for candidates in job board resume databases (e.g. Monster.com) using keywords related to the position requirements. 3. Looking in own recruitment database. 4. Networking with individuals to uncover candidates. This includes the use of social networking tools and sites such as LinkedIn. 5. "Phone sourcing" or cold calling into companies that might contain individuals that match the key requirements of the position that needs to be filled.Examples of what sourcing is notReactive techniques 1. Reviewing candidates who have applied to positions through the corporate/agency web site 2. Processing an employee referral 3. Corporate recruiter receiving candidates from employment agencies 4. Screening candidates at a career fairNatural habitatBy nature of the position, recruiters do not have the time toconduct primary research and initial candidate development.A typical recruiter is bombarded with calls all day fromvendors, busy processing candidates, meeting with hiringmanagers, and talking with employees. Those distractionscan throw off an otherwise excellent Internet search ortelephone sourcer. Sourcers must remain focused on thesearch and development of leads just as recruiters mustremain focused on maintaining communication withcandidates in process, enforcing HR policies, attending
meetings, negotiating, and handling the hiring from initialoffer to onboarding.Specialization: internet researcherInternet research is a highly specialized field that takes yearsto master. Many of the best sourcers started out asrecruiters who found they enjoy the “thrill of the hunt” morethan the rest of the process and became successful becauseof their heightened research skills and abilities. Anothercommon origin for strong sourcers is from professions whereresearch or investigative skills are an imperative (journalists,librarians, fact-checkers, academic researchers, etc.), whichis a common skillset within the field of competitiveintelligence.Several recruiters can rely on the same sourcer to generateleads and fill their pipelines with pre-screened or pre-qualified candidates. Sourcers are often the initial point ofcontact with a candidate, qualifying whether they are a realjob seeker or just a job shopper. As a result, sourcers areuniquely positioned to sell or “pre-close” candidates beforethe candidates enter the rest of the recruitment process.Specialization: diversity sourcingCorporate recruiters specializing in the sourcing ofcandidates for inclusion in a diverse candidate pool.Methods include searching for specific keywords  found onresumes, sourcing from affinity groups and researching othercommunities.