What is a Talent Sourcer? Explanation and Job Description

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What is a Talent Sourcer? Explanation and Job Description

A recruiting manager, a recruitment marketeer, a data analyst, a sourcer… as talent acquisition becomes more and more sophisticated, so does the configuration of recruitment teams. In this article, we take a good look at the talent sourcer. What do they do, what does their job description look like, how much do they earn, and what’s the difference between a sourcer and a recruiter? Here goes!

What is a sourcer? A definition
Sourcer vs recruiter: What’s the difference?
What does a sourcer do? 
Sourcer job description 
Sourcer salary  

What is a sourcer? A definition 

A talent sourcer searches and identifies suitable candidates. To do this, they use various proactive recruiting strategies. Sourcers look for both active and passive candidates. 

A sourcer generates interest in an organization’s vacancies and also builds and maintains the company’s talent pool.  

In larger organizations, a talent sourcer can be part of a recruitment team taking care of building a candidate pipeline for one or more job requisitions. In smaller companies, sourcing will usually be a task for the HR Generalist who can, of course, decide to outsource this part of the process to an external party. 

Sourcer vs. recruiter: What’s the difference?

Put simply, the sourcer takes care of the preliminary phase of the selection process. This means that they do the research in all the right places to find and identify potential candidates. They’re also the first ones to reach out to a candidate trying to get them interested in the vacancy. 

The recruiter comes in after this preliminary phase. It’s the recruiter who usually builds a relationship with the candidates, assesses their suitability for the role, and who guides them through the recruitment process. 

SmartRecruiters also has a nice way of putting it: the goal of talent sourcing, at its most basic, is to convert non-applicants into applicants. Recruitment, on the other hand, requires the conversion of applicants into employees.

The difference between a sourcer and a recruiter, however, isn’t always a clear one. Some recruiters also do candidate sourcing, either because the company they work for doesn’t have (budget for) a sourcer, or because they simply do both. 

The image below shows the various tasks of sourcers and recruiters – and the possible overlap between the two.

Sourcer vs Recruiter
Image source

What does a sourcer do?

A talent sourcer works closely together with recruiters, the hiring manager, the talent acquisition specialist, and other members of the talent acquisition department and HR. As we’ve seen above, their exact tasks and responsibilities may differ based on the size of the organization they work for. Here are some of the duties you will expect to see from a sourcer.

  • Sourcing strategy development. Together with their colleagues from the talent acquisition team and/or HR department, sourcers develop and implement a sourcing strategy that is in line with the company’s talent acquisition strategy.
  • Lead generation. This is arguably a sourcer’s most important task because without suitable candidates vacancies won’t be filled.  To find these candidates, talent sourcers need to know how and where to search for them. For example, software developers probably use different platforms to look for their next gig than marketeers. Knowledge of relevant job boards, platforms, social media, and other (online) channels is, therefore, indispensable.   
  • Use of tech & tools. Lead generation today goes hand in hand with the use of (recruitment) tech and tools. Knowing how to work with programmatic job advertising (to make sure your job ads get in front of the right people), how to use candidate sourcing software, and navigating the company’s ATS are just a few examples of how tech plays a role in sourcing.   
  • Sourcing. The two tasks mentioned above boil down to a sourcer’s core activity; sourcing candidates. This can take place in various ways, from Boolean and board sourcing to database, social media, phone, and mobile (via text messages) sourcing. 
  • Candidate outreach. Sourcers are often the first people who reach out to an active or passive candidate. The reason they reach out can differ, it can be regarding a vacancy or simply to add potential candidates to the company’s talent pool. In any case, the talent sourcer needs to be comfortable talking to and engaging with all sorts of people they don’t know.
  • Analytics and reporting. Sourcers need to keep track of metrics such as conversion rates (how many candidates that got in via what channel converted into hires, etc.), how many passive candidates turned into applicants, how many sourced candidates got to the interview stage, and so on. The aim is to keep optimizing the sourcing strategy and process based on this data. 
  • Employer Brand promotion. Part of the job consists of generating interest in the company’s vacancies and building a talent pool. This means that, on top of promoting the vacancies, sourcers need to promote – or even ‘sell’ if you like – the organization as an employer to potential candidates.
  • Build and maintain a talent pool. While sourcers look for candidates to fill current vacancies, they also try to build and maintain a talent pool for the organization’s future hiring needs.  
  • Referral follow-ups. Sourcing happens via multiple channels, one of them being a company’s current employees in the form of referrals. It’s up to the talent sourcer to follow up on the leads that come from the company’s employee referral program.

Talent sourcer job description

Based on the sourcer’s responsibilities and tasks as described above, we can create an example of what a talent sourcer job description could look like. 

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About the role

The Talent Sourcer will play a critical role in the day-to-day candidate sourcing activities and within the Talent Acquisition team. This role will coordinate all the sourcing activities but also closely work together with recruiters, hiring managers, other members of the Talent Acquisition department, and HR. 

Activities include managing the various sourcing channels and the company’s talent pool and regularly interacting with both active and passive candidates. You should be a friendly, proactive, and self-motivated team player with strong interpersonal skills. Excellent verbal and written communication skills are a must. 

Essential duties and responsibilities 

  • Co-develops and implements an effective sourcing strategy
  • Works together with the recruiter and hiring manager to define candidate personas
  • Sources suitable candidates through various sourcing channels
  • Drafts and sends out recruiting emails to potential candidates 
  • Has knowledge of how to use the various sourcing channels 
  • Knows how to use sourcing tools and technology 
  • Is able to reach out to different types of candidates and to engage with them 
  • Promotes our Employer Brand when they reach out to candidates on various platforms 
  • Is able to build and maintain a talent pool that can meet the company’s future hiring needs 
  • Keeps track of pre-defined sourcing metrics and reports on them 
  • Follows up on employee referrals  
Talent Sourcer


  • Bachelor degree in HRM, psychology, education, business, and/or related business
    experience; 1+ years experience as a Talent Sourcer or similar role in the HR department
  • Demonstrate affinity with candidate sourcing and recruitment techniques
  • Familiarity with sourcing tools, HR systems (including an ATS) and candidate management systems
  • Strong communication skills, both verbal and written
  • Computer literate
  • Strong sales skills
  • Ability to effectively present both roles and our company to candidates
  • Ability to quickly make decisions
  • Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions

Sourcer salary

This is a salary that can vary widely depending on industry, workload, location, and experience. According to Neuvoo, the average sourcer salary for a US-based talent sourcer is $56,063 per year, with entry-level positions starting at $30,169 per year and more experienced workers making up to $95,306 per year.

However, according to Salary.com, a technical recruiting sourcer in Austin, Texas (US) can expect an average sourcer salary of $73,444 with a salary range that goes from between $62,561 to $85,002.

In the UK, the average salary a talent sourcer can expect is £37,434 with a range between £17,680 and £66,560.

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What is a sourcer?

A talent sourcer searches and identifies suitable candidates. To do this, they use various proactive recruiting strategies. Sourcers look for both active and passive candidates. 

What does a sourcer do?

A sourcer’s activities include lead generation, candidate sourcing and outreach, analytics and reporting, employer brand promotion, building and maintaining a talent pool, and referral follow-ups.

How much does a recruiting sourcer make?

Salaries vary widely depending on the industry, workload, location, and experience. An average sourcer salary in the US is about $56,063 per year and in the UK the average salary a talent sourcer can expect is £37,434.

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