There’s a difference between sourcing and recruiting, no doubt. And when the two work together in partnership to find the top talent, it’s a beautiful thing. When they don’t – your company could lose out on filling its roles with the best candidates.
Sourcing expert Kay Kelison—writer, speaker and Principal Researcher and Trainer for Zillow Group—talked with us recently about the roles each position play in talent acquisition – and why they should be harmonious. Kay trains leaders, sourcers, and recruitment professionals around the globe how to optimize their use of social media, and sourcing tools and approaches more effectively.
According to Kay, sourcers and recruiters are equally important, yet many companies attempt to lump the two together. “Sourcing is a behind the scenes job,” she said. “It requires a lot of patience since you are focused on passive candidates. Many companies want to do centralized sourcing, but I’m not a fan.”
“Sourcing is a behind the scenes job. While recruiters list job positions, coordinate openings with hiring managers, and work with them on offers, sourcers are combing through social media profiles, reviewing competitors’ org charts and job descriptions, and even picking up the phone to call potential candidates.” - writer, speaker and sourcing expert Kay Kelison
When asked why she told us that “passive sourcing is about nurturing relationships. There are some personalities that fit recruiting while others fit sourcing. I’m not sure if people understand the strategy. It takes time as a sourcer to go out and find the right talent.”
Sourcing takes ingenuity and knowing where to look.
Kay warns that companies shouldn’t put a sourcer in a box. “There are so many different ways now to engage with candidates and why not maximize the passion that a sourcer has for how they find talent?” she said.
While recruiters list job positions, coordinate openings with hiring managers, and work with them on offers, sourcers are combing through social media profiles, reviewing competitors’ org charts and job descriptions, and even picking up the phone to call potential candidates.
When recruiters leave sourcers out of the loop, companies pay.
Companies need to be prepared when the right candidates are presented. And that’s why it’s so critical for the recruiters and sourcers to work together as partners.
Kay recalls an instance while working for another company, where the disconnect between her and the recruiter cost them a top candidate.
She found a strong, well qualified female engineer to fill a position. The woman was very interested in the job, but when she went for the interview, she “stepped into a room full of white guys who weren’t sure how to treat her.”
When it was over, she told Kay that she didn’t want the job because she didn’t want to be their token female. Kay was stunned because she didn’t know how non-diverse the team was. The recruiter didn’t share any of the details with her.
Had she known the dynamics of the situation in advance, Kay could have prepared the team better on how to appeal to the female engineer. And she could have prepped her candidate for the encounter. Fortunately, because she’d built a relationship of trust and authenticity with the woman, Kay was able to place her elsewhere. But the team that she originally sourced the candidate for missed the opportunity to have this “kick-ass female engineer” on their team.
Finding diverse candidates isn’t about checking off a box.
“They think they can bring their name to a conference, set up a booth, and say ‘let’s hire a bunch of lesbians’ so they can call it good. That’s crazy!” she said. “At conferences, the diverse candidates aren’t always there to be hired. They want to be listened to.”
Sourcing takes patience, and when companies request the slate be filled with diverse candidates it can extend the time to fill. Kay goes on to say that companies can help their sourcers by first looking inside. “What does the company look like as a whole,” she said. “It’s not just about color or gender.”
Sourcers Play a Valuable Role in the Recruiting Dynamic
Despite these occasional challenges, Kay loves her role as a sourcer. “My passion, my love is understanding how to find people, how they behave online and building a brand on social media. I feel more valued at Zillow than I ever have at any of the other companies I’ve worked for,” she said.
What Kay wants people to know and understand about sourcing and recruiting is that they are different, yet equally important. “We can all improve and learn from each other,” she said.