Sourcers VS Recruiters: A Quick Survey on Sourcing from DBR

Sourcers VS Recruiters is an old argument, we all know the difference at the end of the day. Below, you can see a data-driven approach to understanding the differences between recruiters and sourcers and the challenges they all face!
In the next few weeks, everyone is going to be talking about sourcing in Europe ahead of SourceCon’s first visit. So to kick this little project off, I decided to do some research.

I need your help!

It’s anonymous and the results of the research are just below!
At the end of the Day, Sourcer vs Recruiter, I don’t really care! I am more interested in what are the challenges people face when sourcing! I’m imagining there will be plenty of both Recruiters and Sourcers attending SourceCon this time around. At the end of the day, we all do sourcing from time to time right?
To make sure we were “On Trend” for DBR live we decided to choose, Sourcing vs Recruiters as a Topic.
I want to find what is the difference between Sourcing and Recruiting.
Anyone who follows my blog and reads my stuff knows that Sourcers are not Baby Recruiters. In DBR and the surrounding community we differentiate a lot less, or maybe I blocked everyone that thinks that way?
I am keen to Understand what challenges people are facing when sourcing. I also asked is there really a difference in the roles, as far as I’m concerned we all hire people, so we all Source.
The data is all below and the more you share it, the more we can learn about Sourcing!

More details?

Sam and I caught up on DBR Live to discuss the results after hitting 70 odd respondants!


Have you filled out the survey? 

Have you sent it to all your recruiting friends?

The results are all below, first, let’s see who actually responded.

With more respondents, we will be able to share a more defined segment of the audience. Please share and respond and I will update soon!

I looked at what all the respondents largest challenges are in their day to day roles.

The real question here is “What is the difference between Sourcers and Recruiters?”

If you want to hear Glen Cathy’s answer, check it out here!

The real difference is where they spend their time, right?

I wanted to find out the difference in how Recruiters and Sourcer spend their time. So I asked all the respondents how much time they spend sourcing every week roughly.

The graph below shows pecentage of time people spend roughly per week, broken down by role segment, Recruiter vs Sourcer (as more people respond, we will be able to add more segments, considering the survey is capturing info as to what style of Recruiter is responding).

Maybe we will finally have proof of the above?

In terms of responses, there are some excellent ones to the final question.

What do you think is the real difference between Sourcers and Recruiters?


“Sourcers have a passion for finding people, recruiters have a passion for finding fees.”

“A sourcer is a native hunter… a recruiter could be only a fisher… and sometimes an hunter….”
and of course
“Loaded question! A great recruiter has elements of a great sourcer, and vice versa.”
As far as I’m concerned, teams of experts working together in an agile manner is going to lead to solving some of the worlds hardest hiring problems faster!

What do you think?

Why Sourcers are racing the machines

AI is changing the way the world works! Big who ha you might say, but the evidence is in front of us. We are helping the world evolve due to our warm embrace of technology into every part of our lives. Recruitment is the same! Some neigh-sayers fill us with fear that all of our jobs will disappear, others take the time to educate us on how to keep up with the changing landscape. You could believe the apocalyptic science fiction scenarios but my peers and I do not. We design, use and compete against more complex technology every day.

You may ask me why we would want to race against the machines but the reality is it is a way for us to embrace the technology as it evolves. Having competed in the SourceCon Grandmaster vs a Robot, I thought it would be fun to bundle together what losing to a robot taught me about my job and how Robots and AI are helping the world of recruiting evolve.

The problem presented to the SourceCon Grandmaster finalists this year was a simple one, we were given 3 anonymous jobs and a bunch of CV’s and asked; “who got the job?”

The machine finished 3rd and took about 3 seconds, I didn’t.

It’s the problem we face every day, minus all the real work a Sourcer and Recruiter does. I am not surprised that it was so easily and quickly completed by the machine, I was more surprised at its accuracy. It’s an input/output style question: Here is a bunch of CV’s please find me the best ones… yet the reality of what most Recruiters do is more than just throw a bunch of CV’s at a wall and hope that one sticks. Hiring is a subjective choice by both interviewer and interviewee, that’s why robots haven’t taken over.

No one wants to be hired by a Robot Recruiters!

– Hat tip to Matt Buckland who shared this idea with me some years ago.

Controlling the machines was the overarching subject for SourceCon and this will probably be the 100th blog post you read about AI in recruitment. While industry soothsayers continue to amuse us with the threat of replacement, ERE media amused us with presentations of new technology and how to embrace it. I believe that robots will never replace me in what I do. For now, that is because we are not yet comfortable interacting with nonsentient’s in our day to day lives, even though it is now cheap technology, not many people have an automated personal assistant running their lives, yet. As humans, we are still not sure how much we should trust the robots and I’m sure it’s true when we are talking about looking for a job. Personally, I would not be happy if you tried to recruit me with a robot.

That’s why, even with the advance’s technology is making, we are not ready to replace all of the elements it takes to hire people with robots. Sourcing is seen as one of the parts that it can optimise. A miss-understanding that Sourcers are just baby Recruiters is understandable if you have never done either role. From an outsiders perspective, a tool that gives someone who is hiring a list of people makes sense but finding people is easy, especially if you know how to look. A Sourcer and a Recruiters role is more, we all have to engage with potential candidates and have a conversation before we can hire them!

Glen Cathy’s blog was one of those that taught me that finding stuff on the internet is easy, and yet Glen has been working on building and testing these tools coming to replace himself for years. He concluded in his keynote this year that while machines are getting better at looking for people it is the “social engineering’ in recruitment that machines can’t get right. While social engineering is a bit of a scary concept, his slides highlight the humanity that helps us make hires and that what humans do, AI can’t… yet…

Flexing Robot Recruitment Muscles

We like to race against these machines to prove that we are still better. The race and embrace of robotics and AI in recruiting has created smarter Sourcers and Recruiters who flex both empathy and engineering muscles to fill jobs and make hiring people easier. The best Recruiters and Sourcers I know leverage data and automation to fill more jobs quicker. As our industry evolves we evolve with it, it’s not just by wielding the tools that makes us more effective but by also honing the skills we need to use them more effectively that ensures we can continue to bring value to our candidates and our clients.

The role of the Sourcer has moved, we don’t have piles of paper CV’s, we have millions of data touch points readily available. Jeremy Roberts highlighted the shift away from one Recruiter and many Sourcer model to the one Sourcer many Recruiters model and proposed in his talk that there were two archetypes of a Sourcer, Tech or Talker. The truth is that it is the tech that is allowing sourcing teams to be centralised units of experts leveraging data and machines instead of the Recruiters assistant who is ploughing through hundreds of dusty resumes. During the talk, I polled twitter and 69% of respondents felt they leverage technical skills to do their job, while only 8% were left behind with little knowledge on the matter.

I think the response is indicative of how sourcing has evolved, we feel more comfortable using more technical tools to make more hires.

Randy Baily, Sara Goldberg and Guillaume Alexandre BEAT THE ROBOT used in the SourceCon Grandmaster Challenge by using their human ingenuity and gut feelings. While the machine only took a few seconds to match the candidates to the roles. Randy won by leveraging his human ingenuity to take a deeper dive into the data provided. No robot could have done what he did as he went beyond what the challenge asked. The reason why he won is that he took a centaur approach (a phrase coined at the conference to refer to the half man half machine approach to sourcing) No machine can call and convince a human to tell them if they previously interviewed with a particular firm, only a Sourcer with an advanced understanding of all elements of recruitment can. Well Done Randy!

This is what I walked away from SourceCon with.

“Human AND AI” NOT “Human OR AI”

Me plus a machine is better than me on my own. I don’t feel scared by the technology I have seen, only empowered to do my job better.

LinkedIn flirted that 90% of professionals are open to new opportunities. The myth of passive-active candidate (which I never believed in) dies with this statistic as it proves that more people are open to having a conversation. Anecdotally, people are always going to be open to the right conversation if the message is delivered in the right way (Edited – Hat Tip for the comment RB.)

Facebook has 1.23 billion monthly active users, LinkedIn 467 million; with so many potential people to hire.. we need to get better at identifying the right time and the right people to be having those conversations with. We then need to spend time and energy to craft the best approach. Easier said than done. We all have a glut of data available at our fingertips and sifting through it is a painful process. That’s why we need tools to help us do this, that’s what the robots are for, to make us more effective.

I’m not scared of racing robots, they aren’t stealing my job, they here to make me better.

That’s why I raced robots at SourceCon and lost.

If you agree or disagree, please share your thoughts with myself and your friends.

If you want to flex your empathy muscle and learn how to enhance the rest of your sourcing muscles with cool tech. Come work on the bleeding edge of technical and human engineering with the sourcing team Inside Indeed, we are hiring Sourcers!