The difference between Sourcers and Resourcers

Andy Headworth featured Julia Stone’s prezi from Sourcecon on his blog Sirona Says today. In the UK, we often get confused by the term Sourcer and Resourcer. When I first started going to the states, it was something that confused me.
Whilst it’s changing, most European recruiters still employ resourcers rather than sourcers. Having spent quite a lot of time with a few exponents of the art of sourcing(and I think it is an art!), the difference is fundamental, but quite simple.

Sourcers search for “people” who could do a job.

Resourcers search for “C.V.’s/Resumes” that list job titles or experience that match a job spec.







To develop a sourcing approach (and Katharine Robinson leads the way in this in the UK), you need to understand the difference between searching for C.V.’s and searching for people. It is a very different approach and methodology.

What do you think?


11 comments on “The difference between Sourcers and Resourcers

  1. Right on….

  2. What Bill said!

    I think there is also the perception that a sourcer is some kind of Junior Recruiter, which should never be the case. When I grow up I want to be a bigger, badder, better sourcer – not a recruiter.

    Sourcing should be seen as a skill in its own right. Leaving those with the skills to manage candadates and hiring managers free to be the best recruiters they can be.


    • Thanks Katharine,
      I’ve never really understood the principle of getting a resourcer to be really good, then move them to a new role. I admire how you have been able to develop as a sourcer by being single minded. Well done!

  3. This simply means – sourcer is an advance version of resourcer. Typically resourcer do active searching on job boards where for sourcer it is nothing more than one of 1000 tools in his / her tool-box.

    A real sourcing is all about hunting, creative and scientific way to find hidden nuggets.

    I’m proud to be a sourcer…

    • With respect, i’m not sure I agree Sarang. The sourcer is a unique position and skill set. Very different to a resourcer, who really farms CV’s and databases. Don’t underestimate what you do.

      • I totally agree with Bill. Sourcer has different mindset and sourcing skills than that of a resourcer. I guess what I am saying is that some Sourcers may start as a resourcer in beginning of their career. They starts of with job boards, basic boolean operators; however to transform from resourcer to a sourcer they need to take a big leap. It’s a very specialist skill from a job board resourcer…

  4. The distinction is fundamental, but completely over the heads of the recruiters in the UK. I didn’t realise this myself until I got exposed to the sourcing techniques of the likes of Glen Cathey, Irina Shamaeva and Maureen Sharib. When I picked my jaw off the floor, I realised that I knew next to nothing about finding people – and I was considered a pretty good recruiter in my day.

    Why? Is an interesting question.

    It must be because of the extreme sales edge of the industry in the UK. Resourcing is considered a stepping stone towards becoming a Consultant, rather than a career path in its own right. This has impact at the entry point of the industry in the UK – we hire for sales people, and sales skills, not the investigative, methodical or scientific skills required to be a true Sourcer.

    It’s rather like that football cliche that suggests that if Cesc Fabregas was English, he would have been deemed too small to play to the game and told to do one at the age of 14. I rather suspect we’re screening out our Glenn Cathey’s (with the honourable exception of Katharine, who is remarkable by her exception, I would say) at i/v stage because they are deemed ‘not salesey’ enough.

    More fool us

    Best wishes


    • I think you have something here with the pure sales edge. Katharine learnt sourcing by default, because she wanted to rather than being developed in that area. Hats off to katharine for this. There are others following her, although you are far more likely to see sourcers operating within companies or RPO’s than in agencies. It is an area I hope to push through #tru, bringing the likes of Glen, Geoff, irina etc to the UK in order to share.

  5. I think you’re splitting hairs here.

    Sourcers find both CVs and stuff online – the real difference is the one between Internet sourcing and phone sourcing.

    THAT is the conundrum.

  6. I think you’re splitting hairs here.

    Sourcers find both CVs and stuff online – the real difference is the one between Internet sourcing and phone sourcing.

    THAT is the conundrum.

    Here’s something I wrote last year on the subject.

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