What is sourcing in recruitment?

In recruiting, ‘sourcing’ refers to the process of identifying and attracting elite candidates for current and future roles.

An essential early step in the overall recruitment process, sourcing is defined by extensive research, hiring market analysis, and creative outreach to top-tier talent.


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Sourcing in recruitment benefits from multilingual talent acquisition skills.

Talent sourcing as a recruitment service evolved in response to today’s talent-driven hiring market and emerging technologies.

Where once recruiters managed early-stage talent sourcing, discovering exceptional candidates now requires strategic research. Sourcers must be able to parse through mountains of information available through job boards, social media, and professional groups.

After pinpointing promising talent, sourcers shift to networking and relationship building. Extensive career platforms and social networks give professionals at every level an unprecedented understanding of the job market and new opportunities in their field—even when they aren’t actively looking to change roles.

Through authentic communication and sustained engagement, sourcers build pools of skilled talent who would consider the right opportunity offered by the right enterprise. These deeply established connections give companies the edge in attracting the best and brightest in their industry when mission-critical roles open, or hiring needs accelerate.


The benefits of sourcing in recruitment

Sourcing is a foundational, proactive hiring strategy. As a result, the process reduces the high recruitment costs and poor hires associated with reactive hiring.

Other sourcing benefits include:

  • Faster, streamlined hiring
  • Access to niche, industry-specific talent
  • Lowered need for agencies
  • Higher volume of quality, at-the-ready talent

Finally, sourcing is a flexible function that can accelerate or slow down based on hiring requirements and market changes.


What are sourcing strategies in recruitment?

Today’s most innovative sourcing strategies include:

  • Talent mapping: identifying and mapping skilled talent by role and industry
  • Active talent pooling: developing at-the-ready talent pools through professional network building and timely communication
  • Compensation analysis: researching competitor compensation and perks, and talent expectations to improve candidate engagement rates
  • Sourcing technology: using research and candidate management tools to discover and engage quality candidates
  • Predictive analytics:  tracking candidate behaviors that signal interest in changing roles to for greater outreach and candidate engagement
  • Global sourcing: language and local cultural fluency is a must when sourcing regional talent for a global workforce

The sourcing toolbox is ever evolving. Highly effective sourcers adapt their strategies and harness technology creatively to match the shifting demands of specific companies and the global hiring market.

What is the difference between sourcing and recruiting?

Sourcing and recruiting are both essential talent acquisition services leveraged at different stages of the hiring process. Sourcing focuses on the top of the hiring funnel and recruiting takes over once candidates are sourced for specific roles.

Strategic sourcers create talent pipelines, research competitor workforces and industry-specific compensation packages, and communicate skillfully with professionals who have limited bandwidth and are not actively seeking other opportunities.

In the past, there was significant overlap between sourcing and recruiting, and in many instances the recruiter managed sourcing. Today, however, sourcing has evolved into a specialty that requires a distinct blend of interpersonal, technical, and research skills.


Want to learn more about sourcing?

Click through for more information about:

Sourcing services in the Americas

Sourcing services in Asia Pacific

Sourcing services in EMEA

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