July 2, 2023

Recruiters and sourcers: what’s the difference?


I still don’t know what was the first to appear: the egg or the chicken, and nobody knows. However, I know for sure which position recruitment began with. It’s not a secret. It started with the position of the recruiter.

Looking back a decade or traveling back a decade with the help of a time machine, you’ll find it quite hard to see a sourcer in the staff of an average recruiting agency. 

Moreover, recruiting companies themselves still needed to be looked for. Such a field of business was at the beginning of its growth, and recruiters usually did sourcing. 

I am far from a newbie in recruiting, and I observe and know that more and more companies are hiring sourcers as part of their recruitment teams, and they do it right.

On the other hand, there is quite a lot of confusion around the recruiter's responsibilities and the sourcer’s ones in the recruitment process. 

That is why I am here to give you a hand with understanding the difference.

Recruiters and sourcers in the recruitment process

Before we continue talking about the difference between recruiters and sourcers, let me tell you about the recruitment process in a few words.

The recruiting process begins with meeting the head of the recruiting team with the client’s representative to truly understand their demands for the position. Afterward, the head recruiter presents the new recruitment project to the recruiting team. The team members create the job application.

The sourcer rules the next stage of the process. It is sourcing itself. At this stage, the sourcer uses various techniques to source candidates. There are often passive candidates who don't see the vacancy posting themselves. Unlike them, active candidates react to the vacancy posts on their initiative. In this case, they may deal directly with the recruiter. 

Now it is the turn of screening which is undoubtedly the sourcer’s duty. The sourcer qualifies the candidate through a brief interview. It is usually a Google meet or Skype call or, in other words, a call screen. The candidate’s direct engagement in the recruiting process starts. The sourcer confirms salary expectations, qualifications, work conditions, etc. 

From this moment, right after the screening, the recruiter copes with the candidate. The remaining two stages are connected with the candidate’s interviewing and the vacancy's closing. Having all the detailed information about the candidate received due to the sourcer’s call screening, the recruiter presents the candidate to the customer. 

Then, depending on the rules of the client’s company, the client’s manager interviews the candidate on their own or with the recruiter. 

That’s all, the recruitment project is over, as you can see. If the candidate is hired, they go on to the onboarding stage, but it is already the beginning of another project.

The stages of the recruitment process

Summarizing all the above, let me highlight the main stages of the recruitment process:

1. Introductory meeting. The participants: the head of the recruiting team, the sourcer, and the recruiter.

2. Sourcing. The participants: the sourcer.

3. Screening. The participants: the sourcer.

4. Interviewing. The participants: the recruiter.

5. Presenting the candidate to the client. The participants: the recruiter.

6. Closing the vacancy. The participants: the recruiter.

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The sourcer’s functions

Now I am ready to list the main sourcer’s operations as well:

  • searching for the candidates;
  • adding the candidate’s data to the ATS;
  • screening;
  • summarizing the detailed information about the candidate based on screening.

The recruiter’s functions

And let me not forget to enumerate the leading recruiter’s functions:

  • drafting the offer;
  • creating job description;
  • arranging, coordinating, and conducting interviews;
  • negotiating with the customer;
  • conducting the candidate’s background checks;
  • preparing job analytics;
  • conducting additional searching for the candidates.

Both are of the same importance

Yes, the recruiter manages the whole recruitment process, leading the candidate from the moment after the sourcer’s screening to the moment of hiring. 

Furthermore, besides the primary responsibility to interview and evaluate the candidate, the recruiter performs other tasks. For instance, they frequently create the job description, make sure the job is posted in the right places, arrange and coordinate interviews, conduct the candidate’s background checks, and draft the offer.

Nevertheless, it is the sourcer who shortens the recruiting process in many cases by searching for and attracting the so-called hard-to-find candidates that may appear to be a real treasure for the company, but they go past the vacancy posts.

The essential thing in the sourcing process and the recruiting one

I would say the essential thing in recruiting is the communication and well-built collaboration between the sourcer and the recruiter at all stages of the recruiting project. 

I’d also say that the recruiter’s functions are monitoring and controlling these stages, and the sorcerer's functions are to make each step shorter and smoother.

Having reached the final point of the recruiting process with me, you can see that all the project is based on the close cooperation between the recruiter and the sourcer. Moreover, the result is only then successful when they both work fruitfully. 

Therefore, I am convinced that every state-of-the-art company should have a sourcer and a recruiter in the staff if they want to succeed in what they do.

As for OnHires, it only benefits from such a tandem.