14 Active Candidate Sourcing Strategies to Build Your Talent Pipeline

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Are you looking to fill your talent pipeline by sourcing qualified candidates – both active job seekers and passive candidates? If so, you’re in luck! Below are 14 candidate sourcing strategies that will help you find top talent. Best of all, most of these strategies are free or low-cost. So get started today and watch your candidate pipeline fill up fast!

In this competitive hiring landscape, waiting for candidates to come to you won’t get the recruiting results your business needs to succeed. Instead, follow these best practices for sourcing candidates to build powerhouse teams that help your company thrive:

1. Encourage Communication Between Recruiters and Hiring Managers

Communication between recruiters and hiring managers is important throughout the entire hiring process, but doubly so during the early stages of sourcing. The hiring manager and recruiters need to be on the same page when it comes to what a strong candidate looks like. Not only will mutual understanding ensure your team is sourcing quality, qualified talent, but regular communication also allows you to fine-tune your search criteria based on the hiring manager’s feedback.

Special tip: you can use the reputation of your hiring managers to source candidates in particular if they have led highly interesting or engaging projects and businesses. Is your CTO known for developing new technology? Does your CMO regularly attend marketing trade shows and have a good personal brand on social media? Use your hiring managers early in the sourcing process to engage candidates by referencing their work and experience.

2. Source Candidates From Your ATS First

Even though nearly 99 percent of companies believe re-engaging previously declined candidates can be a valuable recruiting tactic, fewer than half of employers actually do it, according to a 2016 study.

Leverage your team’s past candidate sourcing efforts by beginning every search with the candidates already in your ATS. Your team has already deemed these candidates qualified to work at your organization, so you’ll save time on screening. Use AI platforms like Atipica to reduce the time spent manually sifting through your database for qualified candidates.

3. Diversify Your Online Candidate Sourcing Channels

Many recruiters and hiring managers turn first to LinkedIn while sourcing. While LinkedIn is certainly great, it’s not the only online sourcing channel. Adding some other, less frequently fished channels to your recruiting process can help your team reach untapped talent.

The key is to understand your target candidates so you can better predict where to find them online. For instance, GitHub is a great place to find talented developers. You can manually visit each channel to scout for talent, or you can leverage candidate sourcing software like Hiretual and Entelo, which use AI to help surface candidates across a variety of channels at once.

4. Utilize Your Employees’ Networks for Sourcing

Organizations can expand their talent pools by tenfold by leveraging employees’ networks. Simply invite employees to talent sourcing sessions and ask them if they know of anyone in their personal or professional networks who could be a good fit for an open position at the company.

Not only does tapping your employees’ networks increase your reach, but it also brings in some of the best candidates: 88 percent of employers  say employee referrals are the top source for above-average applicants.

5. Perfect Your Outreach Messages for Sourcing Candidates

You’ve worked hard to source candidates that are well-qualified and targeted, but that doesn’t matter if they won’t engage with you. Here are a few rules to follow:

– Lead with a subject line that makes the candidate want to open and read your message. Make it about the candidate, not the role.
– Keep the message focused on the candidate. Something like “Tell me about what you’re looking for in order to make a move” can go a long way.
– Personalize your message with the relevant information you uncovered about the candidate online.
– Paint a brief picture of the role and your organization.
– Explain how you think the candidate could add value to the team.

6. Build a Strong Employer Brand

A strong employer brand is an incredibly effective recruiting tool. “Organizations that invest in employer branding are three times more likely to make a quality hire,” according to a Glassdoor report. Meanwhile, a study by Corporate Responsibility Magazine found that more than 80 percent of candidates would consider leaving their job for a role with a company that had an “excellent reputation.” Additionally, investing in employer branding can cut turnover by 28 percent !

7. Follow Up With Candidates — Even Those Who Don’t Respond

Follow-ups can actually be even more effective than your first email outreach. Send candidates company news, congratulate them on professional milestones, wish them a happy birthday, or ask them how a big project went. Even if these check-ins don’t yield immediate results, they will keep you at the top of the best candidates’ minds. That way, you’ll be the first person they think of when they’re ready to make a move. Plus, even if the candidate is not interested in your company, they may refer someone else who would be a great fit.

Polite persistence is an effective way to keep candidates in the loop while staying on their radar. Remember: You’re not spamming the candidate; you’re building a healthy relationship that can be leveraged for future hiring opportunities.

8. Optimize the Application Experience

Two things for your company to consider:

– How long does it take a candidate to apply to any given open position at your company?
– How many clicks does it take a candidate to fill out an application?

Your application process should be as smooth as possible, and candidates should not have to spend hours on an application just to let you know they’re interested. Cut unnecessary questions and only ask candidates for the information you really need to determine their fitness for the role. Similarly, your career site should display well on both mobile and desktop.

9. Utilize Social Media for Candidate Sourcing

As mentioned earlier, tapping into your employees’ networks dramatically increases the reach and depth of your recruitment process. To build a strong social sourcing process and program, recruiters should invite employees to share company news and job openings across their personal social media accounts. Consider investing in tools that allow employees to automate the process.

10. Don’t Overanalyze Resumes

Resumes are by nature imperfect representations of a person’s experience and abilities. Don’t read resumes. Instead, scan them. If you can’t absolutely disqualify a candidate within 10 seconds, pick up the phone and call them — you might be surprised. You’ll call people you would not likely have called before, and some of those candidates will actually have the skills and experience you need.

11. Run Multiple Searches Across Multiple Sources

Leverage every resource you have available to you. It’s impossible for one Boolean search to find every qualified candidate. You may always rely on LinkedIn, but the best candidates for the position could be hiding in your ATS.

That said, it can be easy to lose yourself down the rabbit hole when searching across multiple platforms. Keep a list of what stands out to you across your searches to keep yourself focused and organized.

12. Don’t be a Candidate Sourcing Snob – Use Job Boards Selectively

Despite popular opinion, job board resume databases are not filled with desperate, low-quality candidates and can be a great source of candidate data. If your experience suggests otherwise, perhaps it’s your search strategy that needs work. Use job boards and resume databases to comb through active candidates. You may not find many candidates with extremely niche, sought-after skillsets, but job boards really have their place in any recruiter’s candidate sourcing strategy.

13. Update Your Online Presence

Since the majority of candidates apply for jobs online, it is important to ensure your online presence is up to date across all channels on which talent might be researching you. Have you Googled your own brand to see what pops up? Optimizing your online presence, especially on LinkedIn is essential to sourcing top-tier candidates. Candidates will both reach out and respond to sourcing outreach at a greater rate if you maintain a high-quality online profile.

14. Attend Networking Events with Potential Candidates

Networking allows you to discover people you wouldn’t necessarily find in your online sourcing efforts for one reason or another. Since many of the best candidates are highly involved in their industries, networking events are ideal places to meet the cream of the crop in your field. Consider sourcing candidates at both job fairs (for active candidates) and non-career-related events, such as industry conferences (focused on passive candidates.

The good news is that there are many different ways to find top talent. You just need to be creative and willing to experiment with your sourcing strategy! Which of these candidate sourcing strategies will you try first to improve your flow of candidates?

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

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

By Chris Murdock