Why Sourcers and Researchers aren’t Specialists

Posted on November 25th, by Sourcing Ninja in Featured, Knowledge Base. No Comments

Fellow research and sourcing specialist, it has always bothered me that when working in recruitment agencies, we’ve always seemed to function in a generalist role rather than our purported specialist positions. Even if we were working with the ‘digital team’, we would invariably be providing candidates for front-end developer, backend developer, UI/UX designer, account manager and sales manager roles. It was “specialised” I guess… in the same way that being a pilot equates to you being able to fly any plane. Having revisited working in a recruitment agency, what I’ve found is that more often than not, it boils down to the money…
When you’ve decided to specialise, one factor to consider is calculating the business’ risk vs. reward or return on investment (ROI) for what you’re specialising in. When you embark on this path, you’re really banking on the fact that there is a steady pipeline of recruitment work from clients for that particular skill set. Keep in mind that most recruitment agencies employ 360 recruitment consultants who both find roles to fill and source for suitable candidates. So you’re really looking at an area of specialisation where the biggest roadblock is finding talent rather than finding roles. Recruiters practically need to be inundated with roles to be able to make the business case for additional support to help source for candidates. And that’s assuming that the business doesn’t want to get another recruiter to help support them rather than a sourcer. This is the reason why sources are invariably tied to recruiters but that’s a different article all together.

What you end up with is a significant amount of business to cater for a recruiter and sourcer which, if it’s so lucrative you can bet your competitors also have consultants focusing in that area. And that’s not even taking into account working on these roles on a contingent model.


 Contingent recruitment: you only get paid only if we don’t cancel the role, if we haven’t explored or if your competitors haven’t presented your candidate to us in the last 12 months.

With all this in mind, what tends to happen is that sourcers and researchers end up having to generalise to spread their risk and maximise their effectiveness. What’s interesting is that I think that this breadth of experience is what makes a good sourcer so effective at the start of their career and perhaps this is why they may be better suited to an internal Talent Acquisition role.

Share your experiences below, when’s the last time you as a sourcer or researcher was able to only focus on one type of role? And the same for internal Talent Acquisition specialists, do you tend to find you source for a broad range of skill sets across the entire business/group?


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