15 tips and sourcing strategies in recruitment

Published: Last updated:
15 tips and sourcing strategies in recruitment Blog

Attracting top talent is essential to the future of your organization. If you want to get ahead of your competition, you need to hire the best talent (and implement the best recruitment strategies) to help you get there. For this reason, creative sourcing strategies in recruitment are important to develop.

Candidate sourcing, or just sourcing, is the means of identifying candidates for a job opening. Talent sourcing is a proactive approach to candidate recruitment. It emphasizes searching for qualified people with some strategies focusing on those actively looking for a new job and others identifying as passive candidates. Being familiar with your organization’s sourcing strategies in recruitment is essential.

To help you improve candidate sourcing strategies in recruitment, our 15 tips will set you on your way to sourcing success.

1. Know the difference: sourcing vs recruiting

The duties for both sourcing and recruiting should be clearly and separately defined if you’re operating in a small team. If your organization has a bigger capacity, it can be more efficient to divide the positions. This allows for greater accountability for each specific role.

Candidate sourcing is the process of searching for, identifying, and contacting potential candidates. If you source the best people, you will generally end up with the best employees, so this part of the discovery phase is crucial. To give you an idea of how crucial, one in every 72 sourced candidates is hired, compared to one in every 152 non-sourced candidates.

Know the difference- sourcing vs recruiting- sourcing strategies in recruitmentImage credit: Lever Recruiting Benchmarks Report

The key responsibilities for the sourcers are to :

  • Collect valuable candidate information, like resumes and work samples, as well as the type of projects candidates typically work on (check GitHub and Stack Overflow)
  • Pre-screen candidates with skills that match the roles they’re recruiting for
  • Contact candidates to build relationships and inform them about job openings, and
  • Build long-term relationships with potential hires

Typically, sourcers are tasked to find, qualify, and contact new candidates. The process of recruiting kicks in after and includes the HR duties of screening, interviewing, and evaluating applicants.

2. Plan long-term sourcing strategies in recruitment

Creating and implementing a long-term plan to your sourcing strategy, as a part of a broader recruitment plan will be a key detail on your pathway to sourcing success. The best sourcing strategies in recruitment always begin with a clear and sustainable recruitment process. The next time you have a vacancy that arises, you won’t be frantically stressing out as to how you should go about it.

A few pointers on where to start:

2.1) Goal identification – It’s worth knowing what your company wants to achieve and when/how it plans to do so.

2.2) Establish specific sourcing and recruitment needs – Be sure to carefully define your strategy in a way that clearly sets out what is needed to get the desired result. One way to do this is competency mapping or skill mapping your organization. Present this to management early.

2.3) Define the target talent – Basing it off specific skill sets, personas, behaviors or academic backgrounds can help build a desired candidate profile before the position goes live.

2.4) Knowing how and where to source – What networks can be exploited? How is the best way to approach candidates? Knowing this will help you pinpoint the best ones.

2.5) Set checkpoints for review – Setting checkpoints (based on dates or events) can be constructive for your team to see what metrics can be measured to determine the effectiveness of your candidate sourcing strategy.

3. Build a strong employer brand to attract strong candidates

Make no mistake, reviewing and shaping your employer brand is super important. A company with a negative brand, or without a solidified reputation will struggle to convince a candidate to work for you.

On the contrary, a strong employer brand is an incredibly effective recruiting tool: ninety-two percent of candidates say they would consider leaving their current jobs if a company with an excellent corporate reputation offered them another role.

Some quick points on helping to build or repair your employer brand include:

3.1) Respond to reviews – Sixty-one percent of candidates check company reviews and ratings before they determine their interest in a job. Build a strong employer brand to attract strong candidates- sourcing strategies in recruitment

3.2) Tell your story – Engage your employees in storytelling and provide a platform for them to share their positive experiences about your company.

3.3) Partner with marketing –  The marketing teams creative skills and distribution ideas can help take the brand to the next level.

Image credit: Glassdoor Top HR Statistics

4. Know the role you’re hiring for

This tip should be self-explanatory but it is imperative it’s mentioned.

Prior to beginning the search, your familiarity of the role should be as if you’re looking for the job yourself. Here is a glossary of terms you can use to get you self acquainted with the technical aspects of the position.

Doing some research and speaking to other members in a similar role will assist your chances greatly. Wrapping your head around what is expected of your potential colleague is exactly what’s needed by the person hiring them. Having a chat with the hiring manager about the standards of the role is the next rung of the ladder. Know the role you’re hiring for- sourcing strategies in recruitment

A clever recruiting tactic by Google, used to source engineers – Recruitainment Blog

5. Be in sync with the hiring manager

Collaborate with your hiring manager as early and often to ensure you’re on the same page as to what an ideal candidate looks like.

You might find a candidate whose experience is not on the same level as what you’re after, but their skills qualifications indicate a person who could step into the role. The process can broaden the spectrum of candidates you’re willing to consider. Distinguishing between must-have and nice-to-have skills or traits is an important factor here. According to LinkedIn, removing or altering two job criteria increases the talent pool over 6 times.

Be in sync with the hiring manager-sourcing strategies in recruitmentImage source: LinkedIn

Regularly reviewing the overall talent pool can help determine whether measures need to be tightened or relaxed to choose from the right number of candidates.

When working closely with your hiring managers, you should understand their priorities and the trends affecting their work. According to hiring managers worldwide, the top trends to shape the recruitment industry in the next few years are recruiting more diverse candidates (37%), soft skills assessment (35%), innovative interviewing tools (34%), company mission as a differentiator (33%), and using big data (29%).

6. Establish a referral program

Current employees can often be a sourcer’s best source of new talent. Internal referrals have long been a staple of sourcing strategies in recruitment, with good reason too.
Seventy-eight percent of recruiters say they’ve found their best candidates via referrals.

All employees in your company are adorned with their own network, colleagues, and personal and professional connections. Not taking advantage of that would seriously be a missed opportunity.

The more passive candidate might be hesitant to respond to a message from someone recruiting them. It’s no secret that they’re much more likely to consider an opportunity brought to them by a personal connection.

A referral program won’t just help you to find more passive candidates — they’re proven to lead to higher-quality candidates than other sourcing methods. In fact, studies show referred employees perform up to fifteen percent better than non-referred hires.

Image credit: Jobvite Recruiter Nation Survey

7. Perfect the organization’s outreach message

All your hard work sourcing candidates is wasted without the right introductory message. Now is not the time to be making elementary mistakes.

A few rules of thumb to aid your message:

7.1) Lead with a unique subject line that will make the candidate want to open and read your message.

7.2) Always personalize your message with the relevant information you found about them.

7.3) Paint a brief picture of the role and your organization.

7.4) Explain how you think they could contribute to the team.

8. Source from your ATS first

Almost all companies (ninety-nine percent) believe re-engaging with candidates will help them build their talent community and protect their employer brand. Still, only fewer than half of employers re-engage declined candidates. That is what you call a missed opportunity.

By leveraging the work your employer has already done, beginning the search with candidates in your ATS makes a lot of sense. A lot of times the candidate has been deemed qualified to work for your organization. Providing a great candidate re-engagement experience is imperative to this.

It’s worth remembering that talent is four times more likely to consider your company for a future opportunity when you offer them constructive feedback, yet only forty-one percent of candidates have received interview feedback before.

Source from your ATS first-sourcing strategies in recruitmentImage credit: LinkedIn Ultimate List of Hiring Stats

9. Exploit social media

Social media is one of the most popular tools for talent identification as it allows sourcers and recruiters to verify candidates quicker. Social media can also be an effective tool in company branding and corporate social responsibility, although that’s often left to the marketing department.

The use of social media is common in most companies’ sourcing strategies in recruitment. Some effective platforms used for the sourcing of candidates include: LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Meetup and Google+.

10. Diversify potential online sourcing channels

Fifty-two percent of recruiters say they first turn to their professional network to source for their next hire Another twenty-eight percent say they first turn to LinkedIn. It’s true that the tried and trusted methods are the ones that work best. But there’s no need to quit there.

Some candidates are more receptive on less traditional or conventional platforms or websites. Often, you can attain more diverse information about the candidate and the internet is brimming the possibilities. GitHub is an ideal place to look for software developers and DeviantArt is one for creatives. Indeed, the job board and resume database can be a crafty option if you’re aiming to be more direct.

Put yourself into the shoes of the ideal candidate and brainstorm what fronts they might be engaged with. Asking your colleagues or researching what they might be interested in can help identify the areas you should be trawling.

Top sourcing channels according to recruiters – Image credit: CV Library Recruiting 2018

Diversify potential online sourcing channels-sourcing strategies in recruitment11. Include offline sourcing channels

Attending industry-specific conferences or career fairs can be a productive exercise to add to your talent pool. Perhaps hosting an industry meetup could be an interesting tactic if your brand’s scope is wide enough.

According to Nice (formerly Mattersight), eighty percent of candidates would take one job over another based on personal relationships formed during the interview process. A candidate is certainly more likely to be receptive to an outreach message once you’ve had a conversation in person.

A great tip is to combine offline and online sourcing, i.e. when looking for conference attendees. You can search Instagram with event-specific hashtags to find people to network with:

Include offline sourcing channels-sourcing strategies in recruitmentImage source: Instagram

12. Get familiar with Boolean search-engine sourcing

Recruiters customize Boolean searches to scour the web for relevant profiles of niche candidates.

Boolean search is a type of search that combines desired keywords with operators such as AND, NOT and OR to produce relevant results. It’s based on George Boole’s mathematical theory in which all variables are either true or false. You can run Boolean searches on many search engines, including Google.

Familiarizing yourself with Boolean search can be an alternative tactic for candidate sourcing.

13. Source for future (unopen) roles

The most productive sourcers are so advanced at sourcing talent that they are already scouring for roles that aren’t yet open. Such is their enthusiasm for their employee recruitment strategy.

It pays off to enquire about your employer’s business growth plans within the next two years. One of the best practices for sourcing strategies in recruitment is to research the latest IT skills trends to see where the market is heading.

Establishing roughly when, in what department, and how many extra roles are necessary is vital in planning for your strategy. Once you have an idea where growth is needed, agreeing with HR and Finance on the level and skillsets required – you can begin to build your ideal personas for the roles you’re trying to fill.

14. Learn to communicate with passive candidates (and learn to let go)

It’s best not to put all your eggs in one basket when considering passive candidates. If candidates are receptive to your outreach procedures then great, but if not, the line between reaching out and pestering is a thin one. As an example, one of the biggest selling points of Stack Overflow Jobs is that “Stack Overflow Jobs puts developers first. No recruiter spam or fake job listings.”

Some of the facts we’ve talked about in this post indicate that sourced candidates are more efficient and generally turn out to be better hires over time. You should carefully gauge their responses, to discover whether there is a potential hire in there somewhere. Or if it’s just a waste of your time.

That said, with most developers being passive candidates, you can’t just give up on reaching out to those who aren’t actively looking for a job. You’d be missing out on the biggest part of the talent pool as over 90% of developers are employed at least part-time. Personalizing your messages and choosing the right way to contact developers is definitely a good idea.

Learn to communicate with passive candidates (and learn to let go)- sourcing strategies in recruitmentImage source: Stack Overflow

15. Keep track of your sourcing and recruiting metrics

Under the same umbrella as tracking hiring velocity, having an overall measurement scheme in place will keep your employment recruitment strategy accountable. Implementing a system for tracking candidate sourcing will help you identify what particular areas need improving. Being able to justify the means to an end is one of our key tips for sourcing strategy in recruitment. Some questions you can use to begin to include:

  • Where are the best candidates sourced from?
  • What approach to candidate engagement has been most effective in convincing them to apply for a role?
  • Which area of the recruitment strategy takes the longest time? Is it abnormal?
  • What is your Time to Fill and Time to Hire?
  • How many contact attempts does it normally take to garner a candidate response?

Keep track of your sourcing and recruiting metrics-sourcing strategies in recruitmentImage credit: LinkedIn

Closing thoughts

What’s true is that an employee recruitment strategy is only as good as the most recent person hired. Being on top of your metrics will be one of the most effective tools for any person involved in recruitment going forward.

Sourcing talent is possible from a variety of diverse areas and no plan is ever perfect. You will find some employers prefer the instantaneous, quantity driven online approach, and others prefer a direct, more personable and loyalty based tactic. Regardless of where you find yourself, embrace the possibilities around you and leave no stone unturned.

Keep your 15 tips for sourcing strategies in this recruitment guide handy and show it to your colleagues if they need a helping hand.

Closing thoughts-sourcing strategies in recruitment  Image credit: ApplicantStack

Image creadit: John Schnobrich on Unsplash

Share post

Learn more about tech hiring

Subscribe to our Learning Hub to get useful insights right into your inbox.

Verify & develop coding skills seamlessly.

See DevSkiller products in action.

Security certifications & compliance. We make sure your data is safe and secure.

DevSkiller logo TalentBoost logo TalentScore logo