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Candidate Sourcing

Hiring qualified candidates for your company is an intense process that begins well before you see resumes and conduct interviews. Every hiring process begins with candidate sourcing, a stage at which recruiters search and identify top talent that matches their requirements for the open jobs. 

Candidate sourcing is one of the most efficient ways to hire as it helps proactively find and attract qualified people. On average, one in every 72 sourced candidates is hired compared to one in every 152 applicants. Talent acquisition specialists who master candidate sourcing are clearly going to have an advantage in today’s extremely competitive talent marketplace. 

There are many aspects to sourcing candidates, so by understanding the process and strategies, you can tap into the best possible candidates for your open jobs. 

Sourcing vs. Recruiting

Some inexperienced talent acquisition specialists can conflate the distinct sourcing and recruiting practices. In fact, even to many seasoned professionals in the recruitment industry, the difference between sourcing and recruiting is somewhat unclear. This is understandable since both tasks are often carried out by the same person. However, while these two processes are indeed symbiotic in nature, they are not interchangeable. 

Talent sourcing is the process of researching, identifying, and networking with potential candidates. It’s about finding suitable people for a specific job. In general terms, the main job of candidate sourcing is to create and maintain a steady stream of qualified leads for the recruiting team. 

Talent recruiting is the collection of activities that converts potential candidates into hired employees from beginning to end. It encompasses the entire hiring process, but candidate sourcing only represents one part of it.

As you can see in the definitions above, recruiting is not the same as talent sourcing. While sourcing involves actively looking for qualified candidates at the beginning of a recruiting cycle, recruiting can be thought of as a subsequent process of hiring the sourced candidates from that talent pool who meet job requirements.

Candidate Sourcing Strategies 

Multiple studies indicate that identifying and attracting top-quality talent is one of the biggest challenges recruiters face. The following strategies will help you overcome the candidate sourcing challenges and fill your funnel with qualified talent. 

Source candidate from your ATS

For most companies, sourcing candidates from their ATS is the best place to start. You may have already sourced the perfect candidate for this position, but since it’s been a while, you need to refresh yourself. Leverage your team’s past efforts by beginning every search with the candidates you have already invested time in and deemed suitable to work at your company. Your ATS will most likely allow you to search for keywords related to hiring expectations and the necessary skills. 

Think creatively about your online sourcing channels 

Most recruiters often turn to their online channels to find potential candidates. Around 52% of recruiters say they first turn to their professional network, and another 28% first turn to LinkedIn. You should not limit yourself to one or two channels; consider adding some other, less frequently used sources. Candidates are usually more receptive to outreach messages on less conventional websites.

Build a strong employer brand 

Candidates are not likely to respond to your outreach if you have a negative employer brand image, and an unknown employer brand can lower your chances of attracting talent as well. In contrast, a strong employer brand is an incredibly efficient tool in sourcing: 92% of candidates say they would consider leaving their current jobs if a company with an excellent reputation offered them a role. Responding to reviews, sharing your corporate culture online, and engaging your employees in storytelling can help build a strong employer brand and increase your sourcing success. 

Candidate Sourcing Tools

As we previously mentioned, sourcing your ATS should always be an early step in your candidate sourcing process. An ATS is a central hub for organizing all processes related to recruitment. However, most ATSs lack efficient candidate sourcing tools that could significantly minimize the time spent on sourcing and improve the quality of hire. Therefore, recruiters may find it helpful to use additional sourcing tools that can easily be integrated with their current ATS. 

Some candidate sourcing tools make use of artificial intelligence. Such processes as keyword searches can be automated, which saves a significant amount of time for hiring managers. For instance, Employa offers an AI-powered ATS add-on that allows users to set unlimited search criteria for more accurate search results. It also allows assigning different levels of importance to each criterion to prioritize job requirements and narrow down candidate searches. The software automatically asks candidates questions to fill in the information gaps in resumes, allows them to send personalized messages, and shares feedback with candidates to leave a positive impression. Using the right candidate sourcing tools, such as Employa, helps you streamline your recruiting process and successfully source the top talent. 

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