RPO Outsourcing: Difference Between Sourcing and Recruiting


To the person unfamiliar with the concept of RPO outsourcing, the difference between sourcing and recruiting is a thin line. It means they may seem like the same concept of the recruitment process. The concept can be easily confusing even to industry professionals. However, it is quite understandable given the fact both tasks require the same person. And sometimes, both tasks can be assigned to colleagues of the same team as well.

Nevertheless, there is a difference between sourcing and recruiting. In fact, there are few differences between the two. You will need a common understanding of how both concepts may create a positive impact on recruitment process outsourcing. Most importantly, it could influence overall efforts to recruit candidates successfully. However, knowing the difference between sourcing and recruiting may help you in the creative recruitment outsourcing process. 

Difference Between Sourcing and Recruiting: What Is Sourcing?

Sourcing is the visionary searching for qualified job candidates for current openings or intended open positions. Do not confuse sourcing with the reactive function of reviewing applications and resumes forwarded to the company in response to a job posting. That is why you need to understand the difference between sourcing and recruiting properly. Sourcing is known as the procedure of finding candidates suitable for the job role. And, yes, the role does not have to be available or even exist when the sourcing is being held. So, the “Sourcing” staff usually seeks passive candidates.

In addition, sourcing comes at the first stage of successful hiring. The process goes like this- first, a hiring department specifies the skills and qualifications they require. Then, they are actively advised to begin the search for the best candidates. The sourcing goes beyond posting on a job board, as it’s about looking for the talent you need. Also, it involves the procedure where the recruitment process outsourcing reaches out to the demanded candidate proactively.

Difference Between Sourcing and Recruiting: What Is Recruiting?

For a fact, we all know when it comes to RPO outsourcing, we assume that a recruiter defines the hiring process. Well, in other words, recruiting is the process of screening, attracting, and interviewing candidates for a role within the organization. Moreover, recruiting is defined as a broad term that includes the entire hiring process. The process of recruiting in RPO outsourcing involves hiring quality candidates to strengthen the talent pool in the organization.

In addition, recruiting involves reviewing applicants’ resumes, conducting interviews, and at last, onboarding them to the new firm. Well, in order to complete the mentioned steps, you will require a vast talent pool to select from. Therefore, sourcing comes as a crucial part of the recruiting approach. This is how the difference between sourcing and recruiting impacts RPO outsourcing.

Now that we know the difference between sourcing and recruiting let’s get to the key responsibilities. It will help you understand the roles of sourcing management and recruiters in a distinctive way. 

The Key Responsibilities of Sourcing Management

The key responsibilities of sourcing management require several skills to master in order to hire a deserving candidate. Let’s check them out to know the difference between sourcing and recruiting with a closer look.

  1. Finding candidates who are not actively looking for a job
  2. Understanding the future employment requirements of the firm
  3. Creating interest in the company as an employer
  4. Contacting potential candidates beforehand
  5. Networking of the firm among people
  6. Including diversity in hiring goals
  7. Ensuring that there is no kind of discrimination in the selection process

There are just a few of the responsibilities that a sourcing consultant would have to handle. However, a good sourcing consultant will know how to outgrow the competition of finding the best talent for the company role.

Now, let’s talk about the key responsibilities of recruiters as well that helps in aligning the difference between sourcing and recruiting

The Key Responsibilities of a Recruiter

A recruiter’s roles and responsibilities start once the sourcing consultants have found the perfect match for the job role. And it involves an extensive list of key responsibilities that are to perform on a daily basis. Also, these are the responsibilities that create a difference between sourcing and recruiting.

  1. Reviewing the sourced candidates
  2. Arranging interview times for the selected candidates 
  3. Connecting with the hiring manager
  4. Describing job details to potential candidates
  5. Carrying out negotiations (sharing benefits, salaries, etc.)
  6. Tending candidates in the company pipeline
  7. Managing ATS and CRM software
  8. Posting jobs on boards
  9. Publishing job vacancies/ ads on social media

After discussing the key responsibilities and the concepts between the two, the difference between sourcing and recruiting becomes clearer. Now, let’s get to understand where the two of these meets. 

Difference Between Sourcing and Recruiting

The major difference between sourcing and recruiting is stated in the strategic approach. While sourcing means a proactive search for qualified candidates, including passive and active candidates. And recruiting refers to the reactive process of pre-screening and reviewing applicants that are interested. 

Difference Between Sourcing and Recruiting: Where Do These Two Concepts Meet?

If you have worked in the recruitment industry for even a short period, then it is certain that you have carried out all of the tasks listed above. In addition, you know very well the difference between sourcing and recruiting to make your job worth it. Regardless of the different titles and concepts, recruiting and sourcing often overlap. And as we stated earlier that this is where the difference between recruiting and sourcing can get a little blurry.

In RPO outsourcing, it is very common for a recruiter to carry out the sourcing management’s job responsibilities and vice versa. It happens because many organizations believe that outsourcing is an integral part of the recruiter’s role. Given this fact, the hiring department gets reluctant to hire a candidate to fill a role that is unnecessary.

And this practice is usually carried out in smaller companies where a very small budget is set aside for the recruitment process. But in larger organizations, it is essential that the two roles are clearly defined with recruiting and sourcing management. It should be clearly stated to carry out their own job responsibilities and only their own. So, this is where the difference between sourcing and recruiting matters a lot. 

Difference Between Sourcing and Recruiting: 3 Key Benefits of Separating Them!

The art of finding the best talent required for the role and hiring them requires a long list of processes. Also, a maximum level of effort is required to convince the candidate as per the company norms described. So, before you assign the same task to the same hiring manager, let’s get to know the benefits of separating them. Understanding the difference between sourcing and recruiting will get you to create a positive outcome for your firm. 

#1 It Is Well-Organized

Suppose a situation where you have a recruiter or a small recruitment team assigned to carry out every single one of the vital responsibilities given above. Well, you have to imagine this situation while it is a reality for the RPO outsourcing team. But you know very well that overloading a team with the task listed in the key responsibilities will only create chaos. Moreover, it will create negative output on the efficiency of everyone involved in the team. As a result, you will receive tasks undone or worse; they are attempted poorly.

But when you assign roles separately by understanding the difference between sourcing and recruiting, you receive better results. With the roles differently assigned, both sourcing consultants and recruiters can work efficiently. And they will be able to carry out their respective roles to a higher standard. 

#2 It Is Cost-Effective

When a recruiter is carrying out each and every task in the recruitment range, it allows an employer to lower the additional salary costs; the lack of efficiency we just mentioned can create a negative impact on the overall cost of recruitment.

It is because a less efficient team defines a longer time to hire. Not only that, but it will take more time to hire leads, which will later create an increase in the cost per hire. According to the reports of SHRM Human Capital Benchmarking, the average cost per hire already stands at a higher level. And in the future, the cost will be significantly more as well.

However, a reliable sourcing professional on the recruitment team can help reduce the cost. It can happen by ensuring the ready-made pipeline is filled with suitable talent. It helps to accelerate the time to hire, which in turn decreases the costs. The more people you include in the team by keeping the difference between sourcing and recruiting in mind, the more you will be able to hire a deserving candidate. 

#3 It Offers Better Outcome

A to-do list of a recruiter to hire the perfect candidate is never-ending. So, like a professional, they will prioritize necessities over others. Engaging and interviewing candidates simply requires your whole attention. It cannot be undone or left in the mid-way. However, sourcing candidates who are not actively looking for a job is quite easy to fill a pipeline. On the contrary, it is not time-sensitive or critical and is often the job role that can be kept for later.

While you perform this, the majority of applicants will come through the vacant position. Once the applicants swarm up the vacant position, there will be fewer passive candidates to choose from. And we know passive candidates are the source of the best talent. 

This is the reason why a dedicated sourcing consultant or a contracted consultant is worth the investment. Not only do they offer immediate access to high-quality candidates, but they continue to fill up the firm with the most appreciated talent in the market. Also, when it comes to a busy recruiter, instant access to pre-qualified candidates is crucial to the recruitment team.

As you should know, it pays dividends to separate sourcing and recruiting tasks and to have people who are good at their job. Of course! Who would not be thrilled to work with a reduced time to hire, better candidates, and most importantly, cost-effectiveness?

Final Verdict

If the difference between sourcing and recruiting has offered you some word of advice, then it is to separate both concepts. Both concepts provide different types of benefits that lead you to a positive outcome. Is sourcing or recruiting taking too much of your time? Let your burden go with our RPO outsourcing experts at E Global Soft Solutions. Here, we are to the rescue with a variety of recruiting strategies. We will help you manage hiring time and better-quality candidates for your firm.