Recruitment versus Sourcing: What's the difference?

24 May 2024 3 min. read

Recruitment versus Sourcing: For many people, these two words might seem interchangeable, but there are real differences. So what are the differences? Quru Minds conducted research into the matter – we spoke with Quincy Burke, co-founder of Quru Minds, on the key similarities and differences.

Put very simply: Recruitment encompasses the entire process of attracting, selecting, and hiring suitable candidates for jobs within an organization. Sourcing, on the other hand, is a more proactive process of identifying ‘passive candidates’, or those who are not actively applying to positions.

Human resources professionals are responsible for carrying out both processes. Recruiters guide candidates through the interviewing and hiring steps, with the ultimate goal of filling their organization’s open positions.

Recruitment versus sourcing: Wat zijn de verschillen?

Sourcers, for their part, work alongside recruiters to compile groups of qualified prospective candidates for open roles. To facilitate the search for the perfect candidates, Sourcers make use of a variety of tools like social media and research into the competition.

“While recruitment and sourcing share common objectives, their methodologies, skill sets, and challenges set them apart as unique disciplines,” said Burke.

According to the research from Quru Minds, 58% of respondents affirmed that sourcing and recruitment are distinct professions. This significant majority acknowledged the special skills and expertise required for effective sourcing, which is a unique and important role in talent acquisition.

“Recruiters share similarities with Account Management in its focus on relationship-building and client-centric approach. Much like an Account Manager, a Recruiter serves as a strategic and trusted partner, nurturing relationships with both clients (or employers, in this case) and candidates,” said Burke.

Sourcers, on the other hand, function more like Lead Generation specialists, according to Burke. That is because they work to uncover hidden talent pools and spark connections.

“Sourcers employ data-driven and targeted strategies. They leverage advanced search techniques, data analysis, and networking to source top-notch candidates who may not be actively seeking employment,” said Burke.

The research indicates a growing acknowledgment of the importance of sourcing as a separate role from recruitment. However, the divide in opinion does raise questions about organizational structures and workflows. Should sourcing be a part of the existing recruitment team? Or a separate team? Perhaps even outsourced?

Investing in training and skill development for sourcing professionals will be a priority for some organizations. Indeed, boosting sourcing capabilities can do a lot to enhance the quality and effectiveness of an organization’s talent pipeline.

In order to reap the benefits from sourcing, talent teams should leverage technological advancements, analyze recruitment data, and employ innovative sourcing techniques. This can help boost competitiveness in talent acquisition, decrease hiring expenses, and ultimately fuel business growth.

“As organizations navigate the complex landscape of talent acquisition, recognizing these differences and leveraging specialized expertise is essential for driving successful outcomes and fostering organizational growth,” noted Burke.