Whether you’re seeking candidates with a highly specific set of skills or dedicated to diversifying your talent pipeline, sourcing is a critical skill for talent acquisition professionals today. You can’t sit around waiting for candidates to knock down your door – you need to put in time and effort to find them.
There’s an art and a science to sourcing, which means there’s no single way to approach it. You have to be willing to experiment and learn from what you observe.
Starcircle recently gathered a group of talent professionals to share sourcing strategies and stories from the field. Read on for an overview of the discussion and some tips you can apply within your own talent team.
Strategic Talent Acquisition
Quality over quantity and an adaptable approach
Recruiters who have been in the game for a while remember that sourcing used to be all about getting on the phone and making as many calls as you could. This is no longer the case. Sourcing today relies on being curious and research-oriented. The most successful sourcers aren’t afraid to try different things. They also depend on data to decide what’s working and worth investing in more.
The sourcers at the top of their game aren’t simply looking at people as numbers. They’re taking the time to get to know candidates, to understand their motivations and priorities, and sending highly personalized and targeted outreach. They’re networking and finding connections to the candidates they want to speak with so their outreach is warm. Yes, this approach takes more time, but it pays off with higher response rates, more referrals to other qualified candidates, and real relationships rather than one-off business transactions.
When it comes to sourcing, talent professionals agree that time is a top concern. You probably can’t escape the fact that some roles simply require time for research and outreach. But you can also be strategic about maximizing your efforts. For example, you might build a strong referral program and teach your hiring managers and other coworkers how to tap into their networks. Some talent professionals have had great success by hosting networking events – both in person and virtually – that allowed them to connect with a large volume of people within a short timeframe.
New Sourcing Tools for Recruiters
Long term success over immediate gains
It can be easy to get caught up in all of the urgent roles that need to be filled right away. But whenever you can, try to plant the seeds for tomorrow. Build talent communities, send updates to people who have engaged with you in the past, and nurture these pipelines. Making the switch from being reactive to proactive isn’t easy, but it will set you up for success in the long run.
Being effective as a sourcer means learning to speak in terms that are meaningful to your candidates. You’re often dealing with people who have a decade or more of experience, so you’ll be more effective at tailoring your message if you understand what makes this role or company unique. This might involve developing your own technical knowledge through courses on LinkedIn Learning or Coursera or becoming familiar with new social media platforms like GitHub or Discord. Make sure you prioritize learning and sharing knowledge with your peers. If you’re a leader, you might consider creating internal webinars or blog posts so sourcers can share knowledge across teams.
Talent Acquisition Recruiter Tips
Thinking outside the box
Eliza Molina, a Talent Advisory Consultant at Starcircle, shared her story of looking for sound engineers with highly specialized skill sets based in London. “LinkedIn doesn’t always tell the whole story,” says Eliza. By looking to unconventional sources like Reddit, Discord and Twitter, she unearthed a goldmine. Not only did she identify promising candidates, but she found professors and experienced professionals who were willing to tap their networks and make referrals.
Eliza says personalization played the biggest role in her success. After she had spent time sourcing candidates, she got the sense that she actually knew them. By mentioning specific patents they’d filed or publications they’d contributed to, she could quickly grab their attention. She wasn’t afraid to wield the power of FOMO (the fear of missing out), either, using phrases like “ground-breaking” and “don’t miss out on this amazing opportunity.”
Eliza’s story is a great reminder to think outside the box and experiment as a sourcer – you just might end up uncovering those hidden gems!
To hear even more from Eliza, check out her detailed blog post on how she recruits on unconventional channels.