One day a candidate is perfectly happy in the job they're in, and the next they’re updating their resume and on the hunt for something new.
In order to stay ahead of the demand for top talent, it’s in your best interests to consistently source candidates within the job market.
What is candidate sourcing?
Candidate sourcing is the continued search for potential hires to fill current and future job openings. This is done by collecting resumes, pre-screening candidates, and building relationships with potential hires.
During the search for quality candidates to join your team, it’s important to understand that some may be considered a passive candidate. This is a common recruitment term to describe people who are employed and not actively job hunting, but still willing to hear about potential new opportunities.
Just because they’re passive doesn’t mean you won’t be able to sway them into accepting a new job and joining your company. It all depends on how you go about the sourcing and recruiting process.
Sourcing candidates vs. recruiting candidates
Sourcing is the process of actively searching for, identifying, and reaching out to potential candidates for open positions and positions that may open in the future.
Then, it’s time to switch to recruiting mode, which will loop in various HR processes, like conducting a phone screen, an in-person or video interview, and carrying out the actual evaluation of the candidate. Eventually, the hope is that the recruiter will also extend an offer.
It’s not uncommon for the recruiter or hiring managers within an HR department to handle both stages of finding the right candidate. However, some companies have members of the HR team that are sourcers, who handle that stage of hiring exclusively, and then hand the candidate over to the recruiter if they deem the individual a good fit.
At the end of the day, sourcing job candidates can be considered a small step in the recruiting strategy as it can speed up time-to-hire, build out your talent pipeline full of candidates that have already been pre-screened, and better set up the recruiting team to hit their long-term hiring goals.
9 methods for sourcing candidates
Once you have a complete understanding of the job you’re going to be sourcing for, its requirements, the salary range, and the necessary skills needed, you can roll up your sleeves and start sourcing candidates with these nine methods.
1. Utilize social media
As you start the process of sourcing candidates, one of the first places to start is on social media, which is called social sourcing.
The best platforms for scoping out candidates are:
LinkedIn: Consider joining professional groups and networking with candidates.
Indeed: As one of the largest job boards, it hosts roughly 90 million resumes for you to peruse.
Twitter: From Twitter Chats to Lists and trending hashtags, it’s in your best interest to be as active on Twitter as possible.
Facebook: Utilize the Jobs tab, as well as paid ads, to find potential applicants.
Because these platforms are so commonly used by people to share samples of their work, as well as personal work achievements, they’re a great place to browse profiles and get a good sense of who the candidate is before the initial touchpoint.
2. Post job descriptions to job boards
In addition to browsing candidates on job boards like LinkedIn and Indeed, take advantage of how many active job seekers are on these platforms by posting your company’s open job descriptions.
These platforms are often the first places people turn to when getting a better idea of the available jobs they may be qualified for. Being sure to post positions there will get your company on the radar of qualified talent.
It’s all about who you know, or – at least in this case – who your teammates know.
Referrals are an excellent way to source candidates, which is why so many organizations have their own referral programs with both monetary and nonmonetary incentives for their employees. If your business doesn’t have an employee referral program, consider asking passive candidates if they know anyone else who may be interested. Or seek out friends, family, and others within your network to see if they have anyone in mind.
Essentially, getting a referral from someone you already know and trust, and who has a strong work ethic, to point you in the direction of someone similar.
of businesses say that their top channel for quality hires is employee referrals.
Just because an applicant wasn’t interested or didn’t have the right qualifications in the past doesn’t mean they won’t become the perfect fit in the future.
Someone you sourced a few months prior that you didn’t move forward with could come back and have all of the skills your team is looking for. When you make the most of recruitment marketing software to keep these candidates organized, you can easily reach back out to someone within your talent pool and connect in a new way.
5. Consider a niche platform
While there are some obvious social media sites and job boards that you could look at to source candidates, it may be in your best interest to check out the places a little more niche.
For instance, websites like Github are great if you’re looking to source developers. Looking for a designer? Trying out Behance might be the place. You could browse Medium when looking for writers. You can also peruse Quora and Reddit, as you never know where you’ll find the perfect fit for an open role.
6. Give your employer brand a boost
A great way to persuade candidates to join your team? Be a standout company. One way to do this is have a killer employer brand.
You build a strong employee brand by:
Offering perks candidates actually want, like a 401k and paid time off
Updating your careers page with the most current information regarding open roles
Getting back to candidates in a prompt manner -- never ghosting
Having a strong presence on social media
Instilling a healthy and sustainable company culture
When qualified candidates see what your organization has to offer, they’ll be more inclined to eventually join your team.
7. Go offline
Whenever possible, consider closing the computer venturing offline by joining recruitment events. These can be great for helping you meet and source potential events in-person. Whether it be local job fairs, big-name conferences, or even hosting your very own open house, these can be an effective way for candidates to meet you and other members of the company to further see if they’d be qualified for the role.
To take this a step further, consider only joining events directly related to your industry so your pool of candidates to source is even stronger.
8. Add a personal touch
Whether you’re reaching out to a passive candidate or someone you believe may already be interested, they’re going to be able to recognize a cookie-cutter message that took 30 seconds to come up with and send. Instead, all of your outreach attempts should contain specific information regarding the candidate.
For instance, you could include a professional achievement you’ve noticed:
“Our design team noticed how impressive your work was on your latest campaign.”
Or even mention how their skills already align with the company’s goals:
“I’ve noticed how great you are at interacting with others in the industry on social media. We’re looking to bring someone on board with interpersonal skills just like yours”.
9. Use the right software
Once you have all of the above perfected, make it all that much easier with the right recruiting automation software. From hiring managers to recruiters, these tools assist in creating qualified applicant pools for current and future openings.
Plus, with upgraded features that consist of artificial intelligence, you will be able to identify qualified candidates, verify their email addresses and social profiles, and even export a complete candidate profile on each individual to the corresponding file.
In addition, to speed up the sourcing, and recruiting, process, you could use a resume parser to pinpoint specific keywords and phrases within a resume and cover letter to help you narrow down specific candidates.
of recruiting professionals say that the best way to improve recruiting performance over the next 5 years is by investing in new recruiting technology.
Recruiting automation software allows companies to automate the process of manually sourcing qualified candidates. Solutions within this category include features that help organizations of all sizes manage their candidate pipelines, while also providing insight into the qualities that make a candidate a good fit for a particular position.
In order to be included in this category, a product must:
Streamline the recruiting process
Incorporate automated AI sourcing as a way to identify passive qualified talent
Create an up to date pool of talent for open roles, and roles that will open in the future
Create and track all candidate engagement
*Below are the top five recruiting automation software from G2’s Winter 2021 Grid® Report. Some reviews may be edited for clarity.
1. Linkedin Recruiter
Looking for an all-in-one hiring platform? Look no further than LinkedIn Recruiter. This tool assists all talent professionals as they find, connect with, and manage the people you want to join your team. Users enjoy up-to-date insights on more than 690 million members, advanced search filters, and recommended matches to prioritize based on which candidates are most interested in hearing from you.
What users like:
“The two things I like best are the effectiveness of their job ads and the individualized support they provide. It's simply outstanding. The job posting response rate is phenomenal. Honestly, I've never seen anything like it. We've tried a bunch of others and LinkedIn Recruiter has been, by far, the absolute best.”
“I wish you could choose how many results appeared, it only allows for 25 results per page vs. having the ability to see more without having to move to the next page. Also, I wish on the home screen you could add more filters when in a project.”
Zoho Recruit is an applicant tracking system (ATS) that is ideal for both in-house recruiters and staffing agencies. This software can source, track, and hire the best candidates without having to switch between an abundance of applications.
What users like:
“I like the fact the product is cloud based which allows me maximum flexibility to access anywhere and anytime. I also have the app on my phone which allows me to use while out and about. The product has all the features you need and I especially like the CV parsing which was easy to set up and very effective. The technical support was excellent and any questions I had were answered via email very quickly and sorted out my query whenever I had a question.”
Interested in making only the best hires? Check out SmartRecruiters. This talent acquisition suite offers users full functionality for recruitment marketing and collaborative hiring all within a modern cloud platform that also supports third-party recruitment services. Thanks to an amazing candidate experience, SmartRecruiters makes the job of hiring managers and recruiters easier than ever.
What users like:
“It connects you to a pool of candidates easily, has all the needed functions for the full recruitment process, and the preset templates are so helpful to make your job quicker and make sure that you share a reply for every candidate. Love the fact that it links directly to your email! The notes section is really helpful especially that you are able to write notes for yourself, while reviewing applications you tend to forget what makes the candidate special. The selection menus are awesome as they help in finding valid reasons for refusing or accepting candidates'.”
“Sometimes the layout is confusing compared to others, but it’s still fairly easy to use. Also, the single sign-on for a new manager doesn't flow and may be a challenge on our company's end, rather than SmartRecruiters. Our company is still playing with all of the features, like building the filters for who can see what as far as interview scores, reviews, etc., but if we used the full functionality or customized it more, that may be better.”
If your team needs a fully scalable and completely integrated ATS, check out CEIPAL TalentHire. Its aim is to assist staffing and recruiting firms in automating various workflows and allowing them to close more placements.
What users like:
“It is one of the most efficient applicant tracking platforms. With the invention of this our workload has greatly decreased. I love the smoothness of this software the most. The biggest advantage is that it’s found to be a blessing to us by saving our precious time as well as other investments that need to be spent on job boards and postings. I strongly appreciate its ability of rapidly tracking the recruitment process. It’s a good source that lets us monitor the status as well as knowing about the detailed profiles of applicants.”
“For CEIPAL TalentHire, I think because of being an integrated resource, it tends to be slower than usual while performing multiple tasks at the same time. The other thing is that it logs a user out if it’s kept open for a few minutes.”
When you’re ready to start a conversation with your next hire, turn to Indeed Resume. It’s easier than ever to search millions of quality candidates and connect with responsive talent that you’ll want to hire. Users can also reach out and send a message directly from Indeed Resume.
What users like:
“From a recruiter perspective, I’m able to find excellent candidates that you will not find on other job boards. Great skill sets from great companies. From a personal perspective, Indeed does a great job monitoring and helping get your resume out there. They keep in touch with you, but not to the point where it is annoying or time consuming.”
When you perfect your sourcing strategy, not only is finding the right candidate made easy, but moving them through the hiring process is quick and painless for everyone involved. When done correctly, you’ll be surprised that even the most passive of candidates will be eager to join your team.
Now that you know the ins and outs of sourcing candidates, and how it differs from recruiting, learn more about the difference between talent acquisition vs. recruitment.
Mara is a Senior Content Marketing Specialist at G2. In her spare time, she's either at the gym, reading a book from her overcrowded bookshelf, enjoying the great outdoors with her rescue dog Zeke, or right in the middle of a Netflix binge. Obsessions include the Chicago Cubs, Harry Potter, and all of the Italian food imaginable. (she/her/hers)
A smarter way to source candidates
Discover recruiting automation software to help source qualified candidates.