The ins and outs of candidate sourcing for recruiters

The ins and outs of candidate sourcing for recruiters

By Anna Benzaquen
Published: 3/17/23

In today’s highly competitive job market, recruiters are constantly seeking new and effective ways to source top talent. Candidate sourcing is the process of identifying and attracting qualified people for job openings. It’s an essential part of the recruitment process, and the success of any hiring strategy depends on effective candidate sourcing.

To attract top talent, recruiters must adopt a multi-faceted approach incorporating traditional (more passive) and modern candidate sourcing methods. Traditional methods include job postings, referrals, and career fairs

In contrast, modern methods include social media recruiting, candidate relationship management (CRM), and talent pipelines.

Whether you’re a seasoned recruiter or new to the field, here are valuable insights into candidate sourcing to help you develop a comprehensive sourcing strategy that meets your organization’s needs.

What is candidate sourcing?

Candidate sourcing is the process of identifying, attracting, and engaging potential job candidates for open positions within an organization. 

It is also an integral part of your company’s recruitment process. It allows your recruiters to find and connect with qualified candidates who may not have otherwise applied for the job.

This process can involve various methods, including job postings on job boards, career sites, and social media platforms and using search engines to identify potential candidates. Recruiters may also use referrals from current employees or industry connections, attend job fairs, or work with recruitment agencies to source candidates.

The ultimate goal of candidate sourcing is to build a pool of qualified candidates that can be considered for current or future job openings. By sourcing candidates proactively, recruiters can reduce the time and cost associated with the recruitment process and improve the chances of finding the best candidate for the job.

Effective candidate sourcing requires a combination of targeted sourcing techniques, a strong employer brand, and a positive candidate experience throughout the recruitment process.

An overview of sourcing stats

Here are some helpful candidate sourcing stats:

  • According to a LinkedIn report, 85% of all jobs are filled through networking and employee referrals.
  • Jobvite found that social media recruiting increased by 73% over the past four years.
  • The same study also found that employee referrals are the most effective source of hire, resulting in a 46% retention rate after one year, compared to 33% for job boards and 22% for career sites.
  • According to Glassdoor, the average job opening attracts 250 resumes. Still, only four to six candidates will be invited for an interview.
  • A study by CareerBuilder found that the average cost of a bad hire is nearly £15,000.
  • SmashFly found that candidates in a talent network are 3.5 times more likely to apply for a job opening and 50% more likely to be hired than non-network candidates.

These brief and certainly not comprehensive statistics show that effective candidate sourcing is critical for successful recruitment. A multi-faceted approach, including social media recruiting, employee referrals, and talent networks, can help your company attract and retain the best candidates.

Tips for successful candidate sourcing

Finding the right candidate isn’t always easy. That’s why understanding some fundamentals about candidate sourcing can make all the difference between hiring top talent and a revolving door of temporary staff. Here are some valuable tips to keep in mind during the candidate sourcing process: 

  • Align with your hiring manager early and regularly.
  • Start with candidate sourcing from your Applicant Tracking System (ATS).
  • Craft a candidate engagement strategy with your team.
  • Understand why previous candidates weren’t hired.
  • Diversify your candidate sourcing channels.
  • Tap into your employees’ networks.
  • Be proactive about sourcing roles you don’t have open yet.
  • Perfect your recruiting pitch.
  • Craft a cutting-edge employer band with the hiring manager.
  • Continue to follow up with candidates who don’t respond.
  • Find the tool that is suited to your needs.

Stay in constant contact with your team, understand your needs and employer brands, and continue to build relationships with candidates for the best candidate-sourcing results. 

6 candidate sourcing strategies

Recruiters can source candidates using a variety of methods, depending on their recruitment goals, target audience, and available resources. Here are some practical ways to source candidates:

1. Employee referrals

Employee referrals can be a valuable tool in the candidate sourcing process. By leveraging the networks of existing employees, companies can tap into a wider pool of potential candidates and increase their chances of finding the right fit for the job.

One of the main benefits of employee referrals is that they often lead to higher-quality hires. Because the referring employee already knows the candidate, they can vouch for their skills and experience, as well as their cultural fit within the company. 

This can save your hiring managers time and effort in the screening process, as they can trust that the referred candidate has already been vetted to some degree.

You may also consider employee referrals because they help improve employee engagement and retention. When employees are given the opportunity to refer their friends and acquaintances for open positions, it can make them feel more invested in your company’s success. 

When referred candidates are hired, they are more likely to stay with the company longer than those who were sourced through other channels.

2. Social media recruiting

Social media has become an increasingly popular strategy for recruiting candidates during the sourcing process. Platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter can help your company target specific audiences and connect with potential candidates more personally and engagingly.

Social media recruiting allows companies to reach a wider pool of potential candidates. By posting job openings on social media, your company is sure to tap into the networks of its followers and employees, as well as those of industry groups and influencers.

Additionally, social media gives you the ability to target specific demographics, such as location, job title, and interests, to ensure that the most relevant candidates see your job postings.

Social media recruiting can also help to improve your company’s employer brand. By regularly posting about company culture, employee testimonials, and job openings, you can establish yourself as an attractive place to work and build a following of engaged followers.

3. Job boards and career sites

Job boards and career sites are two of the most traditional, yet highly effective tools for recruiters during the candidate sourcing process. They allow recruiters to reach a large pool of potential candidates quickly and easily, ultimately finding the right talent with more agility. 

Job boards and career sites offer a variety of filters and search options to help your recruiters narrow down their search to find the right candidate, including: 

  • Specific skills;
  • experience;
  • location;
  • education level;
  • goals.

When you use job boards and career sites, you gain access to a built-in applicant tracking system (ATS) that allows your recruiters to manage candidates, track progress, and communicate with them easily. This saves recruiters time and helps them keep their recruitment process organized.

Job boards and career sites also provide job seekers with the ability to post their resumes and apply for jobs quickly and easily. This increases the chances of finding the right fit for both the employer and the job seeker.

4. Talent pipelines

A talent pipeline refers to identifying and nurturing relationships with potential candidates who may not be actively looking for a job but who have the skills and experience that your company is looking for to fill any given position. 

By creating a talent pipeline during your candidate sourcing process, you can reduce your time-to-hire rate and improve the quality of your hires. When a job opening becomes available, you can quickly reach out to candidates who have already been vetted and pre-screened, ultimately filling the position more rapidly and with a higher-quality candidate.

Talent pipelines can also help your company build out its employer brand and reputation within the industry. You’re building relationships, which means that you can smoothly communicate your company values and culture, and become increasingly attractive in a candidate’s eye.

The more robust your talent pipeline, the more you can identify potential gaps in your company’s workforce, and, as such, proactively recruit candidates with the right set of skills to fill in those gaps. In doing so, you stay ahead of the curve and gain a competitive advantage in your field. 

5. Recruitment events

Recruitment events, such as job fairs, career fairs, and industry conferences, are valuable tools for recruiters during the candidate sourcing process because they provide them with a unique opportunity to connect with potential candidates face-to-face and build personal relationships with them.

At these events, recruiters can showcase your company and job openings to a captive audience of job seekers who are actively looking for new opportunities. By participating in recruitment events, you increase your recruiters’ visibility and attract top talent that they might not have found through traditional sourcing channels.

In addition, recruitment events offer a platform for recruiters to network with other professionals in their industry. This can help them stay up to date with industry trends, build relationships with potential clients, and gain insight into the competition’s hiring strategies.

Recruitment events also provide a way for recruiters to learn more about the needs and preferences of potential candidates. By speaking with job seekers directly, recruiters can gain insight into what motivates them, what they are looking for in a job, and how they prefer to be contacted.

6. Recruitment agencies

Recruiting agencies, also known as staffing agencies or headhunters, can be valuable resources for companies during the candidate sourcing process. These agencies specialize in identifying, attracting, and vetting potential candidates, allowing you to focus on other aspects of your business.

Recruiting agencies have extensive networks of contacts and access to a larger pool of potential candidates than many companies can access on their own. They also have experience and expertise in identifying the right fit for your company, taking into account not just the candidate’s skills and knowledge but also their personality, work style, and cultural fit.

Using a recruiting agency can also save your company time and money in the recruitment process. The agency handles all aspects of the recruitment process, including candidate sourcing, screening, and interviewing, which can be time-consuming and costly for you to do on your own.

You can also benefit from a recruiting agency because it gives you a flexible workforce solution if you need to fill roles quickly, or need seasonal staff, part-time workers, or contractors.

An effective candidate sourcing strategy should be multifaceted and incorporate a range of sourcing methods. It should also be tailored to your specific needs and the roles being filled. By leveraging a variety of sourcing methods, recruiters can ensure they reach a wider pool of qualified candidates and find the best fit for their organization.

Companies that want to speed up the process of finding candidates can also use recruitment tools like Greenhouse. These tools give you a single place to post jobs, communicate with candidates, and schedule interviews. Recruiters can save time and do a better job of finding the best people for the job by using recruitment tools.

What you should remember about candidate sourcing

  • Candidate sourcing is a vital aspect of the recruitment process that requires a strategic and proactive approach. 
  • By using a variety of tools and techniques, such as job boards, career sites, talent pipelines, recruitment events, and recruiting agencies, recruiters can identify and engage with potential candidates more efficiently and effectively. 
  • Successful candidate sourcing can lead to faster time-to-hire, higher-quality hires, and a stronger employer brand. 
  • As the job market becomes more competitive, it’s essential for recruiters to continuously refine their candidate sourcing strategies to ensure they are attracting the best possible talent for their organizations.

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