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finding peopleSourcing is the process of finding resumes within the recruitment process. Recruiters, both third party and corporate, need to find qualified candidates for their open job orders, oftentimes with very unique or niche work experience. Sourcing refers to the initial part of recruiting (actually finding the candidates through a variety of methods.) Some recruiters perform the sourcing function through to placement; other recruiting professionals specialize in only one aspect of the recruitment cycle. Professional recruiters who specialize only in the initial procurement of names and candidates are called sourcers. Many larger companies and specialist staffing firms employ teams of sourcing professionals that concentrate only on the initial procurement of candidates. The sourcers then “hand off” the candidates to a different department of team of recruiters which handle qualification, interview, and placement.

Sourcing is many times used to refer to highly specialized talent searches. For example, a company might be looking for an individual with a background in mechanical engineering who understands object oriented programming. Recruiting and sourcing professionals understand how to source this specialized talent through a variety of means. Sourcing professionals will often have a comprehensive understanding of Internet sourcing tactics. They will mine candidate lists from the Internet and also source talent from competing companies. To ascertain the best keywords and background to look for, a solid understanding of the job requirements are necessary. Effective sourcing, therefore, requires a much deeper understanding of the industry and job order that they are working on than simply looking at clusters of resume keywords. To source candidates productively, an experienced sourcing professional knows the best places to look for great talent and the kind of experience to look for in individual resumes.

However, sourcing is also more than specialized resume search and candidate name generation. Sourcing is also an integral part of any company’s overall hiring and talent acquisition strategy. Sourcing also refers to the strategy surrounding large portions of hiring effort. For example, it might be necessary to source the next generation of management talent through a comprehensive college recruiting program. A company might need to formulate a sourcing strategy for skilled machine operators in a certain city where they open a plant. Sourcing is therefore not relegated to unique searches, but the term can encompass deep organizational talent strategy issues and in general, the practice and need to acquire human talent for any source of business need.

With the trend of globalization, sourcing strategy is at the forefront of recruiting issues. Recruiting talent in different countries and in different languages presents a very difficult challenge for any talent acquisition team. You can imagine that recruiting professionals would not know where to begin to find talent overseas in a market that they do not understand. In many cases, the sourcing team might be local to the actual hiring effort, and then send qualified candidates to a centralized corporate recruiting team. Modern sourcing efforts are an incredibly complex aspect of the global talent supply chain. Effective sourcing strategies not only leverage effective employment brands and marketing efforts, but take into consideration hyperlocal factors of economy, education, and specialization of labor markets.

In the recruiting industry, therefore, sourcing when referred to as a tactic, often means the practice of finding specialized candidates on the Internet or through phone work. When referred to as a strategy, sourcing can mean a number of different broad hiring initiatives or approaches to particular labor markets. Because of factors contributing to increased complexity in sourcing, the trend of specialization within the recruiting function continues unabated. Sourcing as a separate function will most likely continue, and the sourcing role will continue to develop as a challenging and unique profession.