What Is HR Sourcing? Definition, Metrics, and Importance

An HR department uses sourcing to find passive candidates for current or future roles in the company. These individuals aren't actively applying for open positions but are strong potential candidates. Understanding sourcing metrics helps assess the hiring process and sourcing performance. In this article, Recruitery defines HR sourcing, highlights sourcing metrics' significance, and discusses talent sourcer responsibilities and skills.

hr sourcing

What Is HR Sourcing?

HR sourcing is the process of identifying and engaging potential candidates for company positions, whether they are currently open or for future roles. Sourcers, working closely with recruiters, seek out qualified individuals through various methods like social media outreach and competitive research. There are three main types of HR sourcing:

  • Passive sourcing: Sourcers reach out to individuals who are not actively job hunting but could be interested in compelling career opportunities.

  • Active sourcing: Sourcers connect with candidates actively searching for job opportunities.

  • Direct sourcing: Sourcers select and recruit candidates for specific positions without using external job boards or third-party platforms.

What Is the Difference Between Sourcing and Recruiting?

Talent sourcing and recruitment are closely related but distinct. Sourcing precedes recruitment, involving the search and identification of talent, nurturing them into potential hires.

Recruitment teams manage candidates from various sources, overseeing screening, assessments, interviews, and onboarding for employment. Sourcing feeds the recruitment process with a pool of qualified applicants.

HR Sourcing Metrics

Metrics in HR sourcing play a pivotal role in measuring the effectiveness and efficiency of the sourcing process. They help recruiters and HR professionals quantify the impact of their efforts and make data-driven decisions. Here are some essential HR sourcing metrics:

  • Sourcing Channel Performance: This metric assesses the effectiveness of different sourcing channels, such as job boards, social media, and referrals. It helps determine which channels yield the best candidates.

  • Time-to-Fill: Time-to-fill measures the number of days it takes to fill a job position from the moment it's posted. A shorter time-to-fill is usually more desirable as it reduces the risk of losing top candidates to other opportunities.

  • Quality of Hire: This metric evaluates the overall quality of candidates sourced. It can include factors like job performance, retention rate, and cultural fit.

  • Candidate Conversion Rate: Candidate conversion rate tracks the percentage of sourced candidates who progress through each stage of the recruitment process. A high conversion rate indicates effective sourcing.

  • Cost-Per-Hire: This metric calculates the expenses associated with sourcing candidates for a particular role. Reducing the cost-per-hire can result in significant cost savings for the organization.

Importance Of Sourcing Metrics In HR

Sourcing Metrics In HR

Sourcing metrics are critical for several reasons:

  • Data-Driven Decision-Making: Sourcing metrics provide concrete data to assess the success of different sourcing strategies. This enables HR professionals to make informed decisions and allocate resources more effectively.

  • Continuous Improvement: By tracking metrics over time, HR teams can identify trends and make adjustments to their sourcing processes. This iterative approach leads to improved results.

  • Efficiency and Cost Savings: Metrics help identify inefficiencies in the sourcing process. When these issues are addressed, organizations can reduce time-to-fill and cost-per-hire.

  • Optimizing Candidate Quality: Quality of hire metrics help ensure that the candidates sourced are not only numerous but also a good fit for the organization. This results in higher employee retention and better job performance.

Talent Sourcer Responsibilities

Talent sourcers play a pivotal role in the HR sourcing process. Their responsibilities include:

  • Candidate Identification: Sourcers are responsible for identifying potential candidates through various channels. This may involve using job boards, social media platforms like LinkedIn, and professional networks.

  • Candidate Outreach: Once potential candidates are identified, sourcers engage with them. They reach out to gauge their interest in the organization and the specific job opening.

  • Building Talent Pools: Sourcers create and maintain talent pools or pipelines. These databases store information about potential candidates, ensuring a readily available source of qualified talent for future positions.

  • Networking: Building and maintaining a strong professional network is crucial for sourcers. Networking helps them access a broader pool of talent and tap into referrals.

  • Utilizing Technology: Sourcers use various tools and technologies to streamline the sourcing process. This may include applicant tracking systems, candidate relationship management (CRM) software, and AI-powered sourcing tools.

  • Candidate Assessment: While not typically responsible for conducting in-depth candidate assessments, sourcers may be involved in assessing candidates for basic qualifications and skills to ensure they meet the job's requirements.

Talent Sourcer Skills

skills In HR sourcing

To be effective in their roles, talent sourcers should possess a combination of technical and interpersonal skills. Some key skills for talent sourcers include:

  • Research Skills: Sourcers must be adept at online research to identify potential candidates and gather information about them.

  • Communication Skills: Strong communication skills are essential for outreach to potential candidates and for building relationships with them.

  • Networking Skills: Building and maintaining a professional network is vital. Sourcers should be skilled in networking within the industry and attending relevant events.

  • Data Analysis: Understanding and interpreting sourcing metrics and data is critical for making improvements to the sourcing process.

  • Technology Proficiency: Familiarity with sourcing tools and software, such as applicant tracking systems and CRM systems, is essential.

  • Adaptability: The talent sourcing landscape is constantly evolving. Sourcers should be adaptable and open to learning new strategies and tools.

  • Attention to Detail: Precision is crucial in identifying the right candidates and maintaining accurate records in talent pools.

6 key steps to sourcing candidates

Here are 6 key steps for effective candidate sourcing:

  • Define Qualifications: Understand the role's qualifications through discussions with the hiring manager and resume reviews to identify ideal candidate profiles.

  • Utilize Various Channels: Use a mix of sourcing channels, including online options like job boards, social networks, and in-person events such as meetups, conferences, and referrals.

  • Personalize Messaging: Craft personalized messages by mentioning at least two unique details about the candidate to increase response rates.

  • Follow an Outreach Cadence: Implement an outreach schedule, such as a personalized email, phone call, follow-up email, and text message, adjusting it as needed.

  • Nurture Candidates: Re-engage declined candidates for future opportunities, maintaining a talent pool and tracking reasons for non-selection.

  • Evaluate Metrics: Continuously track metrics like time to hire, conversion rates, and cost per hire by source to enhance your sourcing process.


HR sourcing, often referred to as talent sourcing, is a strategic process that plays a crucial role in the recruitment and talent acquisition efforts of organizations. It involves identifying and engaging potential candidates, building talent pipelines, and utilizing various sourcing channels and technologies. To measure the effectiveness of this process, HR sourcing metrics are essential, enabling data-driven decisions, continuous improvement, and cost savings.

Talent sourcers are the professionals responsible for executing HR sourcing, and they possess a range of skills, from research and networking to data analysis and adaptability. By mastering these skills and understanding the importance of metrics, they can contribute significantly to the success of their organizations in attracting top talent. As the talent landscape continues to evolve, HR sourcing will remain a vital element of strategic recruitment efforts. Recruitery hopes you find this blog helpful.