Are your current recruitment sourcing strategies working for you?
If you’re looking to improve your candidate sourcing skills, find new sources of hire and discover ways to proactively source candidates, you’re in the right place.
We’ve compiled 11 sourcing techniques to help you get better at finding, attracting, and engaging top talent.
But first, a quick word about what sourcing is, and how it’s different from recruiting.
Sourcing vs. Recruiting
The Society for Human Resource Management defines sourcing as “the proactive searching for qualified job candidates for current or planned open positions.”
Proactive searching means that sourcers go looking for quality candidates.
Current or planned means that they work to identify and engage talent even when there isn’t an immediate hiring need.
Sourcing and recruiting involve different tasks and abilities. Sourcing is all about finding qualified, interested and available candidates, whereas recruiting is all about moving candidates through job pipelines.
Because sourcing is so specialized and recruiting encompasses so many activities, some companies opt to hire a dedicated sourcer. This frees up the recruiter to focus on what they do best, which is to work on employer branding, build employee referral programs, use applicant tracking systems to organize recruiting processes, and conduct interviews.
Whether you’re working as a dedicated sourcer or wearing both hats at your organization, you’ll find some good sourcing ideas below.
Recruitment Sourcing Strategies
1. Use Google Like a Pro…
Google can be a sourcer’s best friend – if you use it well. Essentially, that means being precise about what you type into Google to get better results.
You can narrow down your searches by:
- Using operators, i.e. characters or commands, to tell Google what to include (AND, +, OR) and exclude (NOT, -) from results as well as where to look (site:, intitle:, etc.)
- Using Boolean search techniques, i.e., connecting keywords with operators, to increase the relevancy of results.
A sourcer’s advanced search string might look like this:
(“software engineer” OR “developer”) -job -jobs -sample -examples – ”resume services”
site:github.com “Java developer”
If you’re unfamiliar with operators and Boolean search techniques, then you’re probably not taking full advantage of Google as a sourcing tool. Consider learning how to do advanced searches on Google. You can start by getting to know the operators on this list.
2. … and LinkedIn, Too
Networking is crucial whether you’re a sourcer or a recruiter. As the ultimate professional networking tool, it’s the social media platform you want to be active in.
It’s also an indispensable tool for sourcing. Through LinkedIn, you have potential access to millions of professionals around the world. You can connect with them through groups, an intro from a shared connection or by directly reaching out.
LinkedIn’s sourcing and recruiting tools – Pipeline and LinkedIn Recruiter – have advanced features worth trying, including advanced search filters, pipeline management and analytics.
3. Search Social Media Sites
LinkedIn is probably where you’ll be spending most of your time – but don’t let this keep you from seeing other social media sites and apps as resources.
In most social media sites, you can participate in discussions, comment on posts, share job postings and tag people. Use the possibilities available in each platform to kickstart conversations with potential candidates.
When deciding which social website or app to use, consider their size, demographics, profile depth and accessibility.
Facebook offers limited profile depth – meaning, there’s little you can find out about a person’s professional life through their profile – but you might be able to source talent in work-related Facebook groups.
Twitter can be a source of great candidates, too. When you find one that meets your criteria, check who they’re following. You might discover other potential leads this way.
You might also want to try searching hashtags – #uxdesign, for example, will lead you to discussions around this topic.
4. Browse Meetup.com
Meetup.com is another site worth checking. It has become most people’s go-to website for finding local networking events around the world.
A meetup can be an excellent source of passive candidates with a specific skill set in a specific location. Although you won’t find much information about an event’s attendees on Meetup.com, you can see their names. Copy them so you can search for their LinkedIn profiles.
5. Discover Online Communities and Forums
Online communities and forums are also full of candidates waiting to be discovered.
When you join an online community, make sure you read the rules and spend some time observing how people interact before you start participating.
6. Try Paid Sourcing Tools and Services
Free resources such as Google are amazing, but they only take you so far. Consider exploring the possibility of purchasing software to help with your sourcing. There are infinite options out there, so you can – and should – be picky. When exploring new tools, it’s important to check: 1) the tool’s search capabilities; 2) the product stability; 3) the quality of the customer support they offer.
Before making a decision, ask for a free trial so you can get hands-on experience. Consider trying more than one product or service so you can compare the results.
And if you can, talk to people who are already using these tools to get their feedback.
7. Get Insights from Big Data…
Big data is a new resource for sourcers who want to go from reactively filling openings to proactively anticipating needs and pipelining talent in advance.
Recruiters and hiring managers are already using it for recruitment analytics. The coolest thing about big data, though, is predictive analyses. Big data can predict how difficult it will be to fill a specific position in a specific city; how many employees a company will need in the future; critical talent areas recruiting should focus on and more.
These insights help sourcers and recruiters anticipate needs so they can pipeline talent in advance.
8. … or Learn from Past Hires
If you can’t make use of big data predictive analyses, staffing and recruiting expert Barbara Bruno suggests reviewing the types of candidates you’ve placed in jobs in the past two years.
Review the titles of each position, their salary ranges, the skills and experience required, the time to hire, the retention rate, the company size, the industry, location and more.
Use what you learn to take a proactive approach to talent sourcing.
9. Consider Candidates Without Degrees/Credentials
Startups set this trend, and it proved very successful for many of them. Certificates and degrees matter less and less nowadays. What does matters is what people can do.
When sourcing, look beyond resumes. Explore portfolios. Areas such as communications, marketing, software development and design are filled with exceptional talent that may or may not have credentials.
10. Get Referrals
Proactive hiring works when everyone who impacts talent acquisition gets involved. Encourage hiring managers, company leadership and current employees to share your job ads within their networks and refer candidates to you. Work with recruiters, hiring managers or leadership to set up employee referral programs to help with that.
11. Establish a Nurturing Program or Strategy
Proactively sourcing will often lead you to perfect candidates for jobs that don’t exist yet. Whenever this happens, save these connections and build a relationship with them over time. You can send them periodical updates and follow them on social media so you know what they’re up.
When a job does become available, you’ll be ready to add these candidates to the recruiting process.