For Best Sourcing Results, Blend the Old-School Approach With the New

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It can be difficult to keep up with all the new tools, technology, and trends entering the sourcing industry every day. However, rather than looking at these developments as challenges, recruiters may do well to view them as opportunities to become better, more effective professionals.

Here are a few ideas to help you supplement your sourcing strategies with new tools and tech:

Invest in Automation — But Don’t Automate Everything

Modern sourcing has been rocked by the arrival of artificial intelligence (AI), which makes it easier and more cost-effective than ever to identify and attract passive candidates.

AI-enabled sourcing tools can crawl the web, collecting and analyzing massive amounts of candidate data no human recruiter could process in the same time frame. Then, based on the data it collects about candidates from resumes, social media accounts, and other sources, an AI sourcing platform can predict which passive candidates are open to new career opportunities and which aren’t. This allows recruiters to prioritize the candidates who are likely to pay off.

But have no fear — AI isn’t going to make recruiters obsolete. Successful sourcing still requires that human touch. For example, AI can do many of the time-consuming and less personal aspects of sourcing, but candidates still want to connect with actual humans to move through the hiring process.

This is where a relatively low-tech tool still comes in handy: phone calls.

You’d be surprised to know how few recruiters still call candidates in this day and age — but that’s good news for you. It means you can use phone calls to easily stand out from your competitors. Many candidates respond positively to such personal communication, as it shows you are investing time and effort into building a relationship, rather than sending a canned email.

Be warned, however, that this isn’t a great approach for every candidate. Some candidates, especially younger ones, may find phone calls inconvenient and invasive. Moreover, young professionals who grew up texting have grown accustomed to having time to construct a message before sending it, so they may feel caught off guard when recruiters call them without warning. For younger candidates, try scheduling phone calls via text first. This way, the candidate will be more likely to actually pick up the phone and chat.

There’s a Fine Line Between Automation and Spam

While automated messages offer a convenient way to speed up communication and even the hiring process itself, you don’t want to push candidates away by sending too many automated messages.

Auto-responses are a convenient tool for recruiters to create immediate touchpoints with candidates. For example, you can send automated thank-you emails to every job seeker who submits an application, or you could even set up a chatbot to automatically engage applicants and screen them further. However, these automated communications should be followed up with personable messages to build genuine human connection.

Candidates don’t want to talk to machines and auto-responders throughout the entire hiring process. They want to communicate with real people who know the job and the company and can help them see how they meet the qualifications for the position. AI tools can certainly determine how well a candidate’s formal qualifications match a position, but culture fit and soft skills are traits that AI cannot analyze — at least, not yet. For these facets of the hiring process, human recruiters must step in.

Candidate engagement is often the missing link when it comes to deploying AI and automation within the sourcing process. To ensure your engagement efforts are up to snuff, simply ask your candidates and new hires how you’re doing.

Get honest feedback on your messaging efforts by asking recent hires whether or not your communication resonates. Ask for their input on your tone, style, and content. Your new hires have interacted with their fair share of recruiters — they know what makes for the best messaging.

New sourcing tools are disrupting the recruiting industry every day, and it can be challenging just to keep up. However, recruiters stand the best chance for success when they embrace AI and automation technologies as supplements to their existing strategies.

Don’t look at sourcing advances as problems to be solved — think of them as new techniques to improve your performance.

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.