How to Source Candidates for the Best Talent


Over half of all employers see their greatest challenge in finding skilled employees. The recruitment process is difficult as it is. It becomes even more challenging when you are looking for a specific skill set. Instead of recruiting, hiring managers are now looking to source candidates.

What is candidate sourcing?

Candidate sourcing is a proactive form of hiring employees to fill a specific position. This process is undertaken by companies looking to fill up current openings or potential openings in the future. Rather than candidates applying to a job opening, recruiters reach out to potential candidates they believe are suited to the role.

To source candidates, companies look to collect job-related information about potential hires. This is done using software and online databases. Recruiters will then screen these individuals based on their suitability for the job.

Once candidates deemed most suitable have been selected, they are contacted. Recruiters provide information about the job opening and attempt to build a relationship with the individual. This is especially useful if the position to be filled will open sometime later, giving candidates a chance to learn about the job and the company.

Sourcing vs recruiting: what’s the difference?

Sourcing candidates and recruiting them are not very different things. In fact, they can both be complementary to the hiring process. Sourcing involves identifying potential candidates and then reaching out to them regarding the job opportunity. In this case, the candidate did not already know about the open position- it may not even have been advertised. Recruiters or sourcers take it upon themselves to identify suitable candidates.

On the other hand, recruiting is what ordinarily follows sourcing. Once a candidate has been contacted and shows an interest in the job, they can be encouraged to apply. Thus follows the process of screening and interviews and the following onboarding process when a candidate is hired.

Sourcing does not necessarily have to precede recruitment. Many times, companies simply post a job opening and let potential candidates apply for the job. Only then does the hiring team screen resumes and arrange interviews.

How does sourcing affect recruiting?

Sourcing is an important factor in talent acquisition for companies. CEOs and company heads cite attracting qualified talent as their top priority in recruitment. That said, sourcing is a more effective way of finding candidates who are just the right fit for a role. Companies gain many benefits if they source candidates, including

Reducing hiring costs

The recruitment process between advertising, interviewing, and onboarding can be long and costly. When you source candidates, you have built up professional relationships long before the need for a new hire. As a result, when the time comes, you have a portfolio of qualified individuals you can reach out to immediately.

Quality of hire

Sourcing means you have already vetted candidates and know how well they suit your job criteria. Instead of going through an exhaustive recruitment process, you can reach out to qualified people who contribute much in the way of talent to your company. You can then be sure your final hire will be an asset to your company.

Diverse workforce

Starting the recruitment process when you need to fill a position- often immediately, limits your options. Many companies end up hiring the first suitable candidate they see. You can build up a more diverse workforce by using more creative ways to source candidates. Instead of settling for someone, you can be sure your hire is exactly who you wanted for the role.

How to source candidates for recruiters

Candidate sourcing is a process that is only effective if it is well thought out. It is not a one-step technique and requires some sustained effort from recruiters. Some of the best ways to source candidates include:

Outlining qualifications

Before the sourcing process can begin, recruiters need to know what they are looking for. Hiring managers and sourcers should work together to determine what a qualified candidate would look like. This can also include reviewing sample resumes to act as a benchmark.

Using various sourcing channels

There is no one best platform for candidate sourcing. Online databases, professional social networks, and online communities offer a great option for social sourcing. In addition, you can use various AI-powered sourcing platforms to identify and reach out to qualified candidates.

Reaching out to candidates

The way you phrase your message influences how candidates respond to it. You want them to be interested in what you have to say. Particularly, you want to get them interested in knowing about new opportunities regardless of their current employment situation. Including personal details regarding the candidate’s qualifications sends the message that you value the candidate. It shows them what they can look forward to if they even join your company.

Building a relationship

The focus of sourcing is to build relationships. Stay in touch with candidates and reach out to them periodically. This ensures they stay in the loop and are prepared for when a job opens. Even if a candidate is not going for a position, you should follow up to find out why sourcing failed. This is important for improving sourcing techniques in the future.

How to measure the effectiveness of sourcing

Sourcing candidates is only useful if it’s effective. Candidate sourcing metrics can help you determine your success in terms of how many sources led to conversions into interviews and hires. Some of the most significant metrics include:

  • The effectiveness of different sourcing channels: This can show you which channels lead to the greatest conversions and can help you decide where to divert most of your resources.
  • The candidate conversion rate: This refers to the success of the sourcing process. Source-to-interview conversion shows the number of sourced candidates who ended up interviewed. Source-to-hire conversion shows the number of sourced candidates who ended up being hired.
  • The effectiveness of candidate outreach: This measures the response rate of candidates to your initial sourcing effort. If responses are low right at the start, the entire process is quite useless and needs to be revamped to be effective.

Many companies choose to source candidates to supplement talent acquisition. It is a more reliable technique than traditional recruitment to ensure qualified candidates are hired. While it requires a greater investment of resources, it can also yield quality and reliable results in great hires.

Photo credit: The feature image has been done by Igor Vetushko.

This guest article has been submitted by Wasim Taqqali. While we appreciate guest contributions, it's important to note that the views expressed by the author are not necessarily reflective of those held by TechAcute.

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This article has been submitted to us by an external contributor to TechAcute. We appreciate all external contributions but the opinions expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect the views of TechAcute.
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