Nominations for the 2024 GTM Awards, sponsored by TrustRadius and Pavilion, are open! Now through July 19, nominate top go-to-market leaders, teams, and companies in the B2B tech sector.  Learn more.


Effective Sourcing Strategies for Successful Hires

Kelsey Taylor
March 16, 2018

Effective Sourcing Strategies for Successful Hires

There’s mounting pressure on companies to build a thriving workplace and culture in order to stay competitive, and the people you recruit are at the heart of this. Finding the right talent for your company can be an overwhelming task with an endless number of platforms and job boards at your fingertips. Understanding who to target in the pool of passive and active candidates is tricky, and figuring out how to successfully reach them can be even trickier. A five-star candidate sourcing program requires developing a cohesive strategy.

It can be tempting to dive into sourcing right away, but it’s important to first communicate with management and determine what skills align with your company goals. Make sure you’re also synced up on the timeline and resources available for the project. All of these factors will play a big role in not only who you target, but where you look and what tools you use.

You will also need to clearly develop a hiring pipeline and onboarding process with your team prior to sourcing candidates. Onboarding the best candidates takes strategic thought and implementation, beyond leaving it up to software alone to do the job for you. With the right balance of tools and techniques, your efforts will benefit all parties–you’ll find great people who are the right fit for the team, and your company will be able to grow confidently.

Studies done by Indeed show that 61% of employers expect to hire more people in 2018 than they did in 2017, and 42% of employers are worried they won’t be able to find the talent they need. This is why it’s more important than ever to discuss the candidate sourcing tactics you should be utilizing to stay on track and onboard the best-fit employees for your company. Read on for tips on how to collaborate with your team and leverage online resources to successfully source strong candidates.

What is Candidate Sourcing?

Sourcing is the act of finding passive candidates and identifying active candidates best suited for a role through various methods, typically assisted by job boards, professional networks like LinkedIn, boolean search strings, and applicant tracking systems. But sourcing candidates isn’t just about kicking back and relying on software programs to do the job for you. It’s about using them as a tool to mitigate the screening and research processes and track communication. Every recruiter has a different approach, but most use an integration of automated programs and manual networking to get the job done.

Tips for Executing the Most Effective Candidate Sourcing Plan in 2018

1. Align Strategy with Company Goals Before Sourcing

To ensure smooth sailing, you need a plan that incorporates your company’s philosophy and goals, both short and long-term. In order to define these goals, communication between departments is key. Determine how the company wants to grow, then define your ideal candidate based on that goal. What skill set should they have? What experience level is necessary? What is their academic background? Should they possess a certain personality or be interested in a particular kind of workplace culture? Another important factor is knowing the number of candidates your company hopes to onboard, and over what time period.

2. Set Checkpoints Based on Key Dates and Events

Once you’ve developed goals, a more specific timeline should be developed, with checkpoints along the way to help you meet those goals. Having a roadmap of the entire hiring process will allow you to save time and energy, more easily iterate on pieces of the process that aren’t quite working as planned, and contribute to an overall better experience for the candidates. Schedule regular checkpoint meetings with your team to review the successes and failures of your approach. This will allow you to adapt during the process with minimal disruption.

3. Research the position thoroughly so that you can search for candidates efficiently

Properly researching the position will streamline your process. Job titles often have many variations.  Glossary Tech is a great resource for researching job titles with 1500+ tech terms and a breakdown of industry terminology. It includes an easy-to-use search, CV scanner, and sourcing assistance. It lists essential skills, common educational background requirements, average time spent at a position, etc. It can also be helpful to spend time browsing popular resources like Indeed and Glassdoor, to get a sense of (1) the terminology used by other companies in your industry, and (2) what job seekers are likely to find when they consult these sites, since many will use the terms they find to inform their resumes, hoping for a match with recruiting search terms.  

A good HR professional should understand that searching job titles and additional information on the internet isn’t as simple as navigating to Google and inputting the given title into the search bar. Job titles often have numerous variations and nuances, which can lead to limited or less relevant results, depending on how candidates list their experience on LinkedIn and/or their resumes.


Diagram depicting a Boolean search string
Image via Adobe


Once you are familiar with the range of different terms you might be looking for, Boolean strings are a useful formula to maximize your searches. Boolean strings allow for the combination of keywords with logical modifiers like AND, NOT, and OR, letting you search for multiple criteria, account for variations in terminology, and exclude results that aren’t what you are looking for.If you’re not comfortable building Boolean strings on your own, tools like Source Hub will create Boolean strings for you – just type in the job title, skills, and location. It breaks down complex searches into plain English so that you can utilize Boolean strings without spending time configuring the syntax of your search.

4. Keep Tabs on your Candidates

  • Track the emails you send out – Want to know what happens after you send an email to a candidate? Track your emails with Bananatag or any other email tracking tool. The emails look no different to recipients, but you will get notified when candidates open your email, and you will be able to see how they interacted with it. If your open rate, response rate, or click rate is low, it’s time to switch it up and find a new approach. You may need to test a different subject line, a different time of day or day of the week, or a different candidate profile. Don’t waste your time repeating a process that doesn’t work!
  • Track previous candidates – It’s easy to forget about the talent pool of past applicants. But rediscovering potential hires–and avoiding candidates that you already know won’t work out–through your ATS may save you time and resources. Tap into the talent pool you’ve already invested time in.
  • Track candidate behavior – Being informed about which companies are hiring, and tracking employment trends via Indeed Job Trends will bring you up to speed with candidate behavior, and can provide insight on how to best appeal to your target candidates. You can also learn about your competitors, and learn from them. Chances are they’ll be targeting similar candidates.

5. Prioritize Diversity in your Sourcing Process

Diversity means inclusion and variety across many different groups, based on ethnicity, gender, identity, sexual preference, experience level, education, age…the list goes on. The demographics in our population are constantly shifting and expanding–and your hiring pipeline should too! A diverse candidate roster will lead to new perspectives and ideas, diverse approaches to solving problems, and more dynamic solutions across your organization.

As a hiring professional, it’s your duty to diversify the workforce and create a culture of inclusion. Here are some key things to keep in mind when trying to source diverse candidates. Let’s break it down:

  • Integrate diversity into your company philosophy, and make it visible. From the careers page to the brand mission statement, making it clear to your candidates that you strive for an inclusive employee demographic will up the appeal of millennials looking to work with your organization. Studies have shown that eighty-three percent of millennials are actively engaged when they believe their organization fosters an inclusive culture.
  • Applicant Tracking Systems and Talent Management Software can help you track your diversity initiatives.
  • Join diverse groups on job boards and post jobs to a wide variety of them. If your candidates see that you’re active on Indeed, Glassdoor, Monster, and LinkedIn, they’ll see that you have a larger reach, but you’ll reach more candidates.

6. Minimize Human Bias

Human bias is unavoidable. But if you want to successfully onboard diverse candidates, you have to uncover your own biases and identify blind spots. Job descriptions are a great place to start when classifying words and phrases as positive or negative, feminine or masculine, inclusive or exclusive. And you don’t have to do it alone! Textio, co-founded by a linguistics Ph.D, offers employers feedback as they type their job descriptions, and tips on how to edit and perfect their language, such as eliminating cliches and jargon and ensuring you’re using language to attract diverse candidates.

Methodologies like Blind Recruitment also help eliminate demographic biases from your candidate pipeline. This methodology removes the name, gender, age, education, and years of experience from your pool of potential candidates, allowing your team to focus exclusively on your candidates’ performance variables. Tools like Blendoor can obscure the names and photos of your candidates, and Gapjumpers provides assessments and challenges to evaluate the candidate rather than a classic resume.

7. Network On and Offline

Being active on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn can expose you to new connections, and help you foster relationships with potential candidates. Here’s what to remember:

  • 22% of the world’s total population and 79% of Americans use Facebook, so communicating with the social media team at your company is important to ensure your company’s presence is top notch. However, this may not be the right platform for reaching out to candidates directly, since many prefer to receive professional communications via other channels.
  • With a community of 313 million monthly active users, Twitter is a hot spot for rapid fire networking. Reach out to those on Twitter who use your company’s hashtag and participate in conversations about your company and your industry. You can use Twitter’s advanced search to find specific hashtags and people. You’re likely to engage with at least one person by retweeting or replying.
  • Linkedin is the largest networking website for professionals. Having a presence on Linkedin is vital for recruiters. It is a fast and easy way to connect with candidates looking for jobs, and an easy way to find passive candidates.

Actually attending networking events will put a face to your name, and increase the likelihood of establishing a rapport with potential candidates. Personability and trust pave the way to successful hires. If you’re unsure where to start, Meetup is an event board where you can browse a calendar of local events by category. You can choose to browse popular meetups, or take it a step further and create your own. Make candidate sourcing fun! Meet like-minded individuals in your industry and learn from other skilled recruiters.

The bottom line is that networking face-to-face and being active on social media are both critical as a recruiter. Everyone (HR professionals and candidates alike) has their personal preference, but finding a balance that works for you will further establish your company as a relevant employer that should be on your candidates’ radar.

8. Allure Passive Candidates via Social Media

What makes passive candidates so alluring is that they’re skilled and experienced–and likely not being interviewed by anyone else right now. Attracting these candidates will give you the leverage you need over your candidate as an HR professional. Before taking action, make sure they’ve been recently active and their profiles are not out of date. Here are some key things to keep in mind when communicating with already employed candidates on your company’s social platforms:

  • Keep content flowing that’s relevant to your desired candidates. This may catch the wandering eye of employed candidates.  
  • Implement SEO best practices to get your job postings noticed. That way, once you do reach out to connect and start a conversation, they will be able to easily find out that you’re hiring.

9. Utilize Employer Branding as a Sourcing Strategy

Content Marketing raises awareness of your company’s brand which attracts not only customers but job candidates, too. Having a broad brand presence across different platforms will help you stay relevant to your candidates. Here are some tips to amping up your content game:

  • Write a short article on your company blog to give your candidates a personable understanding of what you believe in, and what it’s like to work on your teams.
  • Emphasize company culture through visual tidbits on your Instagram story, and regular postings. Use Facebook’s live broadcasting feature to actively engage your followers and ask them questions, or post videos of happenings in the office on LinkedIn.
  • Try newer platforms like Snapchat to use a dual image, video, and doodling features to showcase a colorful identity for your company.
  • Check reviews on Glassdoor, and make sure you have a presence. Any serious candidate will be reading those reviews.

10. Make Job Boards Your New Hangout

You need to be where your active candidates are! Access to contact information, work history, resumes, personal websites, interests will paint a better picture of your candidate. Remember to:

  • Expand your network by exploring multiple job boards. Free ones to keep in mind are FlexJobs and Jora, while Careerbuilder, MasonFrank International, and Ziprecruiter are great paid ones. Dice is a lead site for tech job seekers.
  • Juggle between them so that you can cast a broad net and find plenty of candidates. Look out for emerging ones too.
  • Use Chrome Plugins like Glossary Tech as a sourcing assistant on universal job boards like Linkedin. Chrome Plugins help recruiters extract profile data like emails and social profiles and contact information from their job boards

Once you’ve catalyzed all these techniques in your candidate sourcing process, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a recruiting all-star at your company. Your efforts will lay the groundwork for important company goals, like diversifying the workforce and increasing employee retention, productivity, and job satisfaction.

About the Author

Kelsey Taylor

Sign up to receive more buyer resources and tips.