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Difference between Headhunters, Recruiters and Sourcers
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Difference between Headhunters, Recruiters and Sourcers

Being in the recruiting industry you’ve heard these terms a thousand times but how often have you stopped to wonder whether there is a difference between them or are the same. And if they are same why do we have so many different terms for the same reason? Well I’m not sure about you but I for one would like to know if there is any, Difference between Headhunters, Recruiters and Sourcers. Therefore, I’ve taken the liberty to answer these similar questions that most of us are also wondering. So let’s take it step by step and begin with how they are defined.


If you wish to get a clear understanding of these terms it is important for you to understand the terms first.


These are individuals that are hired by a third party corporation or company in order to locate suitable candidates possessing certain skills sets that aren’t easy to come by. These skill sets are harder to find and requires a certain background.


On the other hand a recruiter is an individual that is hired by a corporation or company to fill positions that crop up on regular bases within the organisation. The recruiter may be either employed at the organisation and work solely for that company or a third party recruiting organisation. These individuals may work within their own business or are usually a part of a larger staffing organisation.


These are individuals that are tasked with finding candidate details such as a specific name, title and or contact information of that particular person.

Now that we have a clear understanding of the terms we’ll be able to understand what the tasks these individuals are involved in are and this too might help you get a clear understanding.

How do they work?



For Headhunters, as mentioned earlier, these individuals usually take a proactive and an aggressive role in finding candidates and reach out to the ones directly if they find them suitable for the post. Such candidates are reached out and searched by headhunters. Their task usually consists of actively sourcing candidates and is completed once they get the candidate but these individuals aren’t involved in the recruiting process apart from locating candidates.


Recruiters on the other hand are involved throughout the recruiting process beginning from advertising job specs, scouting the desired talent, recruiting the right talent and introducing the new recruit’s to the company staff. 


Sourcers have a relatively similar role to the ones mentioned earlier but they are tasked to only source candidate details that are forwarded to recruiters to take the recruiting process to the other level. These individuals are present for a brief period of time i.e. they need only source candidates with the requirements and then recruiters handle it from there.

Difference between Headhunters, Recruiters and Sourcers

In a nutshell, a Sourcers role ends after a candidate has been sourced and shows an interest in the job offerings. Similarly a Headhunters role comes to a halt after a particular prospect has been located. While a Recruiters role begins at the application stage and only ends after an offer has been extended and /or accepted.

Hope this information was as useful as it was for me. Well I think it’s safe to say that, the difference between headhunters, recruiters and sourcers is clear now. If you have any suggestions or pointers that you’d like to add, do let us know via the comments sections.