5 Tips for Making the Most of Your Candidate Sourcing Efforts

You probably already know that if you’re not sourcing candidates, you’re missing out on discovering top talent for your company. If you don’t supplement your inbound applicants with sourced candidates, you’re missing a huge chunk of the market that just never considered you in their job search process.

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A recent study of talent acquisition professionals by Entelo found that an overwhelming majority—87%—use outbound sourcing to build their talent pipeline. Even more, the study found that 73% of these professionals reported higher-quality candidates through sourcing compared with other sources (like inbound applicants).

Making the most of your sourcing efforts requires a clear, long-term strategy and five simple tips to enhance sourcing for your company:

1. Leverage Social Media to Find Active and Passive Candidates

The term “social recruiting” was coined in 2008, and almost 13 years later, over 80% of employers are using social media in their hiring practices.

Approximately 70% of the global workforce is passive talent, with only 30% actively looking for a new job. If your candidate searches only include looking for active jobseekers, you are drastically limiting your talent pool. Social media channels are a key tool to target both types of candidates through building connections and bolstering your company brand.

In the midst of 2020’s many challenges, how companies treat their employees will be remembered for years to come. Employer brand impacts both the short- and the long-term goals of any company: Attract quality talent to fill open positions now, and it can help retain employees in the future.

2. Assess Skills Early On

For recruiting and sourcing teams, managing applicants at the top of the funnel can be a daunting task. Google, for instance, receives over 3 million applications per year and has a hire rate of just 0.2%. By targeting candidates who don’t have the best résumés, you’re widening your candidate pool from the very start AND moving away from the hyper-competitive segment.

Objective skill assessment is an important part of eliminating bias in hiring, and employers should feel empowered to ask candidates to take a test at the very top of the recruiting funnel.

We should put away our old assumptions on what experience really is. Instead, think of top-of-the-line sourcing from a different perspective.

Think through each of the filters you’ve been using in your search, and ask yourself: Is it helping or hindering you from finding great potential candidates? Challenge your assumptions about the filters to see if there are other ways to focus on the candidates who are important to your organization. 

3. Hand Off to a Recruiter at the Right Time

Let’s say you’ve reached out to a passive candidate (once, maybe twice) and the person gets back to you. That’s great! As a sourcer, however, your job is not over yet. At the end of the day, the goal of the sourcing organization is to get hires, not just get a handful of people interested and then pass them off. Rather than handing off the interested candidate to a recruiter right away, communicate with him or her more to start building a relationship.

It’s important to keep in mind that in these early interactions, your candidate will be curious about your company and will want to learn more about the role. However, it’s likely the person is not yet committed. This is where a great sourcer will work to get the candidate more interested in your company and excited for the interview process before handing him or her off.

4. Follow Up, Follow Up, Follow Up

Many sourcers and recruiters worry that sending more than one message to a passive candidate will be poorly received and counterproductive. But when you look at the data, that’s just not true. A study conducted early this year found that 77% of recruiters send more than two e-mails before sourced candidates engage. In other words, follow up!

There are a million reasons, aside from not being interested, that someone might fail to get back to you—distraction and being busy at work, for instance. How many times have you meant to respond to an e-mail but it fell through the cracks? This happens for your sourced candidates, too.

Another reason? Timing. A sourced candidate might not have been interested a month ago when you first reached out but would be happy to hear from you now, a month later. You want to make sure that, if circumstances have changed, you’re the first opportunity these candidates are thinking about.

5. Build Long-Term Relationships

This last strategy asks you to rethink your overall approach to sourcing. At your company, is it just a numbers game—reaching out to X number of people and getting Y number of responses?

While numbers matter, the reality of effective sourcing is more complicated. Passive candidates who have a positive experience interacting with a sourcer will remember this experience and be impressed by how the sourcer presented your company. So even if you don’t reach out again at exactly the right time, you may not need to; your company will be top of mind the next time these candidates are looking for a job.

Instead, build long-term relationships with candidates that provide them with value without expecting anything back. This may mean, for instance, that you tell a sourced candidate you don’t think he or she is the best fit for a role but that you want to check back in a few months.

Tigran Sloyan oversees business and technology development as cofounder and CEO at CodeSignal, the first company to develop an objective, automated skills-based assessment platform used as a standard for technical recruiters and employers. As an active member of the Forbes Technology Council, Sloyan contributes regularly as a thought leader in the technical hiring industry, commenting on trends in software development, diversity, and innovation.

Prior to his role at CodeSignal, Sloyan worked in technology management at Google where he led projects such as Google Hangouts in the education sector as well as Google Login for the travel and publishing industry. Prior to Google, he was an applications engineer at Oracle.

Sloyan also founded Yvesta, a review website in Armenia similar to Yelp reviews. He received BS degrees in both Mathematics and Computer Science with a minor in Economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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