Difference between sourcing and recruitment

Difference between sourcing and recruitment

Employment & HR

Tanima Sarkar

Tanima Sarkar

308 week ago — 8 min read

Summary: Sourcing and recruiting are different things. Recruitment is a complex process and requires expertise to undertake. Here are the basics.


My organisation mostly helps small and mid-level organisations by becoming their extended HR (Human Resource) arm. Hence, we need to speak to a lot of SME owners as we do our work. To my amazement, most often the understanding of HR in the market today means recruitment.


I decided to take the opportunity here to explain the difference between sourcing and recruitment.


Any recruitment consultant today focuses on sourcing on profiles for the positions shared as per the Job Description (JD) as shared by the client. Recruitment is most often explained as sourcing. However, recruitment is a complex subject and requires in-depth knowledge and expertise.


What does sourcing mean?

Sourcing is the process of shortlisting probable candidates as per the requirement of the organization, through various sources. The sources could be many, starting from job portals, colleges, alumni data, open drives, job fairs, various institutes etc.


Sourcing through the above mentioned options gives a pool of candidates who would be interested in the position as shared by the client. Maintaining the relationship with the candidate as well as taking care of the needs of the client is the basics of sourcing.


However, most often the above mentioned tasks are considered as recruitment.


What does recruitment mean?

Recruitment is a step by step process which is utilised to identify the best candidate for the organisation. Below mentioned is the process of recruitment, which can be followed for hiring the right candidate:

Understanding the requirement

To source the right kind of candidate, it is important to understand what is the kind of position that the person is supposed to fulfil. Here are some factors for consideration:


  • Designation and contribution of the position
  • Type of project which must be handled by the candidate
  • A brief understanding of the project
  • The behavioural aspects which needs to be there in the candidate
  • Usual operations process flow in the organisation

By spending some time with the hiring manager to understand the job role, project, and process flow, the recruiter can ask the right questions to the candidate.

Determine the modes of sourcing of profiles 

Sourcing of candidates is very critical, since that determines how soon you will be able to close the position:

  • Understand what type of industry is the profile for, like if you are hiring for BPO / KPO, the sourcing method would be different, where as if you are hiring for IT software, sourcing with be different as per the profile required, whether basic technical skills or niche skills, similarly if you are sourcing for a manufacturing unit, the sourcing will be different based on the type of manufacturing unit it is.

  • Make a list of modes of sourcing candidates. There can be various innovative ideas to resource candidates however, below mentioned are a few regular and popular ones that you can refer to:

    • Job portals

    • Walk in interviews

    • Sourcing through colleges

    • Sourcing through institutes

    • Alumni hiring

    • Job fair

    • Online free portals

    • Social media

    • Candidate referrals

    • Own database

Match JD with the candidate profile –This is basic, create the key words/phrases in the JD, match them with the candidate profile as mentioned, so that you are able to identify whether the candidate is suitable for the profile.

Create a set of questions – The time that you have spent with the hiring manager to understand the project and the process flow in the organisation, will help you understand what type of questions you need to ask the candidate and what would be the right answers for the candidate to answer. While you are conducting the first level screening ensure that other than basic questions like current STS, expected CTC, notice period etc, you give some time on understanding the candidate on the below mentioned perspective –

  • Behavioural aspects of the candidate – Ask situation-based questions which will help you understand  the attitude of the candidate.

  • Aptitude of the candidate – Any and every position requires basic logical sense. Hence any candidate that you think fits the profile of the client requirement, check on the logical reasoning of the individual. For example, any software developer who wants to write a wonderful code, needs to understand the logical flow for program, or else s/he will not be able to create unique and excellent codes. Similarly, anyone who is applying for an accountant position, other than data entry to tally or quick books or SAP or ERP, s/he needs to understand how he could create savings for the organisation, at the same time needs to have basic aptitude to do problem solving.

  • Technical aspects – It is always nice to get a set of technical questions from the hiring manager, so that you can identify if the candidate is technically sound before you shortlist the candidate.

Profiles with ratings and feedback- It is always nice to share feedback about the candidate on the questions you have asked along with the answers given by the candidate. This gives a thorough idea to the next level interviewer as to why the candidate was selected and what can be expected from the candidate.

Types of interview rounds – The interview rounds vary from industry to industry however there are few rounds which remain constant like Technical round (profile specific), Hygiene Check, HR round basically checking the fitment of the candidate in the organization. As a recruiter, it is very important to conduct the HR round concentrating on the below mentioned aspects –

    • Profile required behavioural skills

    • Willingness of the candidate

    • Stability of the candidate

    • Motivation for the candidate

    • Cultural fitment of the candidate

Negotiations – While a candidate clears on all the aspects of the need of the position, then starts the offer and the negotiation. It is very important as a recruiter, you are able to give the best offer to the candidate as per the budget for the position, at the same time also ensure that you are able to negotiate terms of employment which also favours the need of the organisation.


These are the basic processes which a recruiter should follow. Just sourcing profiles from Job portals is not recruitment. Recruitment is going through a complete process of scanning and screening a candidate to ensure that they are hireable in the organisation.


There is a high level of misunderstanding in the industry today, that sourcing is recruitment and recruitment is HR. It is very important for the industry to understand that sourcing is part of recruitment and recruitment is the initial phase of HR. HR is a vast subject which can be utilised to grow an organisation to the next level.


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Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views, official policy or position of GlobalLinker. 


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