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An HR Glossary for HR Terms

Glossary of Human Resources Management and Employee Benefit Terms

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Sourcing

What is Sourcing (in HR)?

Sourcing is an activity under the umbrella of talent acquisition that involves proactively identifying, contacting, and engaging qualified candidates for an organization rather than waiting for candidates to apply on their own. General recruiters may handle sourcing as one of their responsibilities, but some organizations use dedicated sourcers who focus only on this task.

Many consider the primary goal of sourcing to be getting qualified candidates into the hiring funnel, especially passive candidates. A recruiter may use a variety of sourcing channels to accomplish this goal, such as phone calls, emails, and social networking. More and more, sourcing is becoming a digital activity, with talent acquisition professionals using Boolean search techniques on search engines or combing through profiles on LinkedIn to identify potential candidates.

An organization may not necessarily use sourcing for every job opening. For example, if a particular position always attracts a large number of qualified applications, there may be no need to source specific candidates. However, if a position is highly specialized, requires a rare skill set, or would attract too many unqualified applicants, an organization may opt to source some or even all of their candidates.

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