• Shally

How do I structure my sourcing team? It's all about the pods!

Updated: Sep 12, 2019

This very essential topic causes much confusion among recruitment leadership.

Since I first introduced it in the late nineties the "sourcing pod" has been one of the most successful sourcing models implemented by top recruitment organizations globally. In conceiving it I combined the batch process approach of in just‐in‐time production with the intelligence gathering model utilized by many national intelligence organizations.

Over the years others have adapted and contributed to it by including aspects of SCRUM and Kanban workflows but its core principles remain largely the same: highly leveraged small groups of people that are adequately equipped, well skilled and capable of operating autonomously. These teams know how to deal with massive amounts of information to rapidly produce actionable results.


Sourcing pods consist of two to six members sitting together either in person, or virtually. They:

  1. Have no formally appointed leaders

  2. Autonomously decide their own way of working

  3. Elect a single point of contact (PoC) responsible for setting priorities

Jointly the members of a pod possess all the skills and tools needed to identify and engage talent in their assigned sector such as:

  • Job family and professional specializations such as Sales, Manufacturing, Finance, Executive, Tech, etc.

  • Geography such as districts within a country, countries with a common language, or traditional regions such as EMEA and APAC

  • Industry verticals by business unit or sector such as Government, Healthcare, Software or Transportation.

Each pod takes on responsibility for a long-term objective or mission. For example:

  1. Mapping the talent landscape

  2. Increasing social media engagement

  3. Improving inbound traffic

  4. Generating recruitment intelligence

To illustrate, lets imagine that Sourcing Pod Zeta works on critical requisitions in Latin America that have been open more than 120 days with little activity. While doing that Zeta also specializes in Sales and Marketing and can support sourcing for those roles in other geographies when needed, or when hiring in Latin America is slow.


A team is a collection of Pods that work in related but not overlapping sectors such as job families, geographies, or industries. Each has a Team Lead responsible for providing the best possible habitat for all pods within the team. Teams are sized based on pod capacity, specialization and level of output needed.

The Latin America Team, for example, includes Sigma, Delta, Gamma and Zeta Pods. Coordination among the pods in a team is in the hands of Points of Contact. One PoC represents each pod. They plan together without interfering with each others' pod, or managing how individuals do their work.


Pod autonomy may result in reduction of economies of scale. Channels and Guilds prevent that. Channels are made up of a small family of people with similar skills, working in the same general area of competency, within the same team. For example, all sourcers who support sales and marketing as a primary or secondary objective conform one channel.


Where channels are limited to a Team, Guilds are a more organic group of people that cut across the entire organization. Guild members share knowledge and best practices in areas such as Social Media, Telephone Sourcing, Tools and Automation, and Deep Web Research with each other, then take their learning back to their Team.

How is YOUR sourcing team structured?

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