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8 Sourcing Strategies to Find Top Talent

8 Sourcing Strategies To Find Top Talent

For recruiters, placing excellent candidates is always a top priority. But it can be tough work, since top talent will always be in high demand. So how does a recruiter win over the best candidates?

To get an edge on the competition, it helps to have a variety of sourcing strategies in your toolkit. Even with a sourcing strategy already in place, you never know when a new scenario will force you to adapt.

We’ve taken some winning examples from our recruitment community and compiled them in this guide. Read on for an overview on how sourcing works in recruitment, and our top 8 recommended candidate sourcing strategies.

What is candidate sourcing?

Candidate sourcing is the process of finding potential candidates for current or future roles. At the sourcing stage, recruiters will search for active and passive candidates, pre-screen them, and contact talent to build relationships.

Recruiters can search for talent from sources like professional networking sites, employee referral programs, job fairs - and that’s just a few methods.

Successful candidate sourcing creates a solid talent pool of qualified candidates to contact when making placements.

Why should recruiters have a sourcing strategy?

A strong sourcing strategy leads to placing the best talent. Finding the right candidates is that much more efficient when you know which sourcing channels lead to the most placements. Or you might find that one strategy connects you with more high-quality candidates - now you know where to focus your efforts.

The right candidate sourcing plan leads to less wasted time and better results on all sides. When your agency gives a positive candidate experience, they'll be more likely to say "yes" to your offers. And one happy candidate can add to your pipeline thanks to the power of word-of-mouth referrals.

Besides finding great candidates, a good sourcing strategy simplifies things for consultants and helps them fix recruitment challenges as well. Having a set plan keeps your agency’s team organized and efficient. That’s not just better for business; it translates to less stress.

Candidate sourcing strategies to build a solid talent pipeline

After the “why” comes the “how.” If you’re a recruiter looking to build your talent pipeline, here are a few tips to get started:

1. Stay connected with your clients

One candidate sourcing strategy isn’t directly about candidates: aligning and staying in touch with your clients. When you’re on the same page throughout the recruitment process, finding the best candidates can be easier.

Plenty of client conversation gets you instant feedback from their side. You can recommend the right talent when you have all the details on the client’s requirements.

Here are a few tips on how to interact with clients as a staffing agency:

  • Hold a kickoff meeting ASAP | Make sure both parties understand the role’s requirements before starting the search
  • Map out a sourcing plan | Include channels and keywords to match target candidates’ search - this way your job posts are more likely to find the right audience
  • Analyze an ideal candidate profile together | Know exactly what makes a candidate a good fit or not
  • Compare with your talent pool | Be honest about your qualified candidates and whether the client’s requirements can be met

2. Review previous candidates

The appeal of new candidates can lead recruiters to lose opportunities that are already available. One key sourcing strategy: reach out to past candidates. Better to find a hidden gem than to spend too much on a new search.

Try mining your database to look for pre-vetted and pre-qualified candidates. Once you’ve mapped out some potential picks, you can plan to get them back on track.

3. Use social media

Social media is an invaluable tool for connecting with potential candidates - no major investment needed. It’s a heavy hitter: great for passive candidate attraction, branding, and for building client relationships as well.

When using social media for recruitment, don't forget to leverage your personal connections as a consultant. Make a habit of reaching out for referrals and tap into hidden reservoirs of talent.

Bonus: These hard-to-find referred candidates tend to have a higher response rate - since someone they trust recommended them - compared to the “cold calls.”

4. Look for more sourcing channels

While LinkedIn can be great for finding candidates, remember that not all potential talent are active there. First, try to use clever LinkedIn hacks to get the most out of the platform. Then look at diversifying your online sourcing channels.

As an example: both recent graduates and blue-collar Temp workers tend not to be active on LinkedIn. They might not even have profiles. If you’re a recruiter searching in either of these demographics, you have to go where they are.

Find the networks where your people are at. If you're looking for tech talent, you can use an advanced search on GitHub. With this site and similar platforms, you’ll also get the benefit of seeing a candidate’s portfolio and finding the real top-performing candidates.

There are always more niche and regional networking platforms out there, so it’s up to you as a recruiter to find and search them.

5. Source for roles that aren’t open yet

Good recruiting is all about being proactive. Don’t wait for a role to open up to start a conversation with your clients.

When you talk with clients about their roadmaps, you’ll get an idea of when new roles will open. You’ll also have a better insight into what the client is looking for, versus mind-reading via a job description.

With this in mind, you can prepare a pool of qualified candidates ahead of time. Be prepared and keep engaging with both clients and candidates until the right moment for the match.

6. Manage candidate communication

When you keep in touch with candidates, your talent pipeline should be healthy. Engaging with the people in your database is a key point to remember for your sourcing strategy.

There are creative ways to connect with talent, from sending a “happy birthday” message to automating check-ins before, during and after placements.

It might be a while before you find the right role for the best candidates. When you keep top-of-mind with them, they’ll be more likely to work with you (and later redeploy).

7. Don’t be afraid to experiment

There are many sourcing strategies out there, but not all of them will be helpful for your agency. Depending on a business's size, specialism, or even consultant personalities, several different approaches could work.

ROI is key. All candidate sourcing strategies take time and resources, so find ways to hone in on analytics and see what’s really working.

We recommend making time to test out different candidate sourcing techniques. Your industry could change, you could take on a new vertical, or a once-reliable source could just dry up. When you stay flexible as a recruiter, there’s always a new opportunity to find.

8. Invest in your recruiting toolkit

Keeping on top of your recruiting process can be overwhelming. There’s so many candidates to manage, keeping in touch with clients, and then coordinating between stakeholders.

When it comes to your candidate sourcing strategy - as well as the rest of your operations - simplification is the way to go. With the right staffing tools, workflows are streamlined and you won’t miss deadlines or data.

At Vincere, we pride ourselves on partnering with recruitment businesses for the long term. We’ve been putting intense R&D efforts into our staffing agency software for years to best address agencies’ pain points.

Our platform is designed to reduce candidate sourcing admin work. With features like a strong ATS and automated check-ins, consultants can nurture top talent while still staying free for other tasks. When streamlining is part of your strategy, it means less time and effort wasted.

If you want to find out how the Recruitment Operating System works for candidate sourcing, consider getting in touch.

Final thoughts

Competition in recruitment is fierce. To get ahead and win more business, sorting out the right candidate sourcing strategy should be your focus.

Finding top talent can’t be done in the “normal” ways - i.e. what all the other recruiters are doing. By being proactive and using creative sourcing strategies, you can get around the old tried-and-true methods to connect with just the right candidates.

It all comes down to strategy. With some of the above tips in mind, we hope you’ll feel ready to develop a detailed sourcing plan and get the most effective results - and the best candidates.