March 13, 2019

Don’t Wait for Applications: Why Active Sourcing Is Better Recruiting

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According to research from Lever, one in every 72 sourced candidates is hired, compared to one in every 152 applicants. That makes sourcing more than twice as efficient as “organic recruiting,” by which we mean posting an ad and focusing your recruiting efforts only on the candidates who apply directly to the role.

Of course, sourcing requires a more active approach to recruiting. If you want a more efficient hiring process, you need to find ways to connect with candidates and engage them in your talent pipeline. Here are some approaches to consider:

1. Connect in Person

The human touch is a vital part of sourcing. Chatbots and autoresponders can make your life easier, but you can’t turn an unengaged candidate into a top prospect in your talent pipeline without first establishing a real, human connection.

Hold open houses to meet candidates and introduce them to your team in person. Be sure to create a comfortable, safe environment in which candidates can be themselves and let their inner passions shine. Overly formal atmospheres only encourage candidates to hide their personalities behind professionalism.

On the other side of the coin, not everyone is going to fit into your company culture, no matter how talented they may be. We’ve had people come to our open house events, see our open offices, and decide right away the culture is not for them. Open houses give both the candidate and the company a chance to gauge one another, which helps ensure only the most fruitful candidate-company relationships continue.

“Eat ‘n’ meets” are another great way to get to know candidates in a relaxed, less intimidating environment. I’m a lover of food, so this could be my own bias, but I think there’s no better way to get to know someone than to share a delicious meal together.

2. Create More Social Media Touchpoints

Depending on the demographics of your target candidates, social media can be a sourcing gold mine. Recruiters tend to focus heavily on LinkedIn when it comes to social recruiting, but the truth is it is not always the best option for sourcing and engaging new candidates. In fact, only about a third of all candidates are even on LinkedIn, according to one estimate. Given that 94 percent of recruiters are on the platform, this means there is a lot of competition over a relatively limited number of candidates.

Don’t rely too heavily on LinkedIn. Instead, find ways to incorporate other social media platforms into your sourcing strategy as well:


Twitter is great for communicating with candidates. In fact, I’ve used it before to get in touch with target prospects who wouldn’t respond to email or other forms of communication, and it almost always works. Aside from communicating directly with candidates, Twitter is also a great platform for sharing updates about the company, customer service exchanges, and the occasional funny meme.

If you’re looking for marketing talent, Twitter is chock-full of it. It’s also a great source of millennial candidates, given that 80 percent of its users are of this generation. Considering that millennials will account for 75 percent of the workforce by 2025, Twitter should really be on every recruiter’s radar.


Even though Facebook has received a lot of negative press lately, it remains the largest social media platform. With more than 2 billion active users, the site has an undeniable reach. Chances are your candidates are on Facebook, which makes this site a particularly effective way to establish or strengthen connections with them.

Groups are usually the best place to engage with communities and talent pools on Facebook. These collectives of likeminded individuals form around various topics, from marketing and finance to engineering and manufacturing and so on. Joining groups that are relevant to your industry and the types of roles you need to fill is a great way to expand your network and source new candidates.


Instagram is all about pictures, so use this platform to showcase your company culture. Your Instagram account should be a window into life at your company. Share images of events, activities, employee teams, and other exciting glimpses inside your organization.

The trick to posting on Instagram is to avoid oversharing. By the same token, you don’t want to post too infrequently. Waiting only for photogenic moments like company parties or recruiting events leaves you with a lot of missed opportunities. Instead, get into the habit of regularly sharing a piece of your company culture once a day. Also, be sure to use the right hashtags to broadcast your photos to the right audience. Choose hashtags that are relevant to your industry, desired skill set, and so on.

3. Encourage Referrals

Your employees and coworkers all have their own networks and personal connections. These networks often contain a number of high-quality candidates who might be a good fit for your company, and you can access them through referrals.

Seventy-eight percent of recruiters say referrals yield the best candidates of all sourcing strategies. But that’s not all. According to LinkedIn, companies can expand their talent pools by a magnitude of 1o by recruiting through employees’ internal networks — i.e., referrals. Similarly, candidates are 46 percent more likely to accept messages on LinkedIn when they are already connected to your employees on the platform.

In short: There’s really no reason why your company shouldn’t be leveraging referrals.

People want to feel valued, and they want to be heard. This rings true for the sourcing process as well. If you build relationships with candidates based on trust, mutual respect, and real human connections, you’ll gain access to a more powerful talent pipeline.

Don’t let your job ads do all the work. Streamline your recruiting process by adopting smart sourcing strategies today.

A version of this article originally appeared on the IQTalent Partners blog.

Chris Murdock is the cofounder and senior partner of IQTalent Partners.

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Chris Murdock is the cofounder and senior partner of IQTalent Partners. Chris has more than 12 years of executive recruiting experience and leads search execution and client relationships while supporting searches across the firm. Prior to founding IQTalent Partners, Chris was a sourcer with Yahoo!’s internal executive recruiting team in the corporate offices in Sunnyvale, California. Previous to Yahoo!, Chris was an associate in the Menlo Park, California, office of Heidrick & Struggles, where he recruited for software, hardware, professional services, and semiconductor clients. Before Heidrick & Struggles, Chris worked in the retail practice of TMP Worldwide in Atlanta, Georgia. While with TMP Worldwide, he worked on CEO, general merchandise manager, and various VP- and buyer-level searches. Chris earned a bachelor's degree from Vanderbilt University.