Why Sourcing Needs to be Key to Your Recruitment Strategy

By Paul Slezak - Jan. 28, 2016
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Editor’s Note: This post is by Paul Slezak, Cofounder and CEO of RecruitLoop – the World’s largest marketplace of expert Recruiters and Sourcers available on-demand.

Do you know the difference between sourcing and recruiting? Are you comfortable running automated outreach email sequences to passive candidates? Are you an expert in creating Boolean strings?

Why should a sourcing strategy be at the forefront of your recruiting efforts?

What is involved in an effective sourcing process?

What should you expect when working with an expert candidate sourcer?

While the concept of actually finding people has become much easier in recent years, finding the right people has become increasingly more challenging. Finding all of them is even harder. As such, knowing how to effectively source talent is now more important than ever before.

Today the recruiting landscape is fundamentally different and yet everyone still wants to find that needle in the haystack. There is a massive talent shortage which makes sourcing even more critical.

However sourcing is so much more than simply specialized resume search and candidate name generation. Sourcing has turned into a specialised field of its own, and if you don’t understand the difference between sourcing and recruiting, you will end up adding to your overall cost and time to hire.

Recruiting and sourcing are increasingly recognised as distinct activities with very different goals and outcomes, requiring very different skills and processes.

Some might say that recruiters can source but sourcers can’t recruit. A statement like that could surely ruffle some feathers in the world of talent and human capital. We like ruffling feathers. It’s in our DNA. That’s why we ran a webinar on Why Sourcing Needs to be Key to Your Recruitment Strategy.

The panel comprised of expert sourcers – Jonathan Buzelan, Rebecca Martinez and Danny Powell – and I played the role of moderator (except for a period of about 5 minutes when the wifi dropped out in the office. Yes it can even happen in the technology hub that is San Francisco. Who would have thought?!?).

In preparing for the webinar, our objective was to address the following 3 main questions:

  1. Why should a sourcing strategy be at the forefront of your recruiting efforts?
  2. What is involved in an effective sourcing process?
  3. What should you expect when working with an expert candidate sourcer?

If you watch the full webinar, you’ll certainly find the answers to these questions. You will also see that we experienced a tsunami of questions from our audience – all of which our panelists handled magnificently.

Learn Sourcing Tactics Check out the video recording from Danny, Jonathan, and Rebecca’s webinar with Paul! Learn their Sourcing Techniques

Here’s a snapshot of some of the questions that sparked some great conversation.

1. How do you define sourcing?

Sourcing is the act of identifying prospect candidates who fit a target profile. It’s the proactive search for qualified candidates; and not just the perusal of CVs and applications received in response to an online job posting. Rebecca took things further by saying that in addition to the identification of talent, for her sourcing also includes the assessment and candidate engagement piece.

Jonathan and Danny both talked about their experiences where clients had made it clear that they didn’t want them talking to candidates. Their task was simply to provide names.

Danny also stressed that sourcing is not just searching on LinkedIn. He then explained the concept of creating Boolean strings to help broaden the search. You’ll just have to watch the webinar to learn his secrets!

Without sourcing there is no recruiting. After all you can’t qualify candidates without the leads – Jonathan Buzelan

We’d be keen to hear what others think here. Is sourcing simply passive candidate generation or do you include the engagement piece?

2. Why would you want to source?

Danny was quick off the mark on this one. His reasons were: Either your team is too small and you don’t have the in-house expertise or you have too many open requisitions and can’t keep up filling the talent pipeline.

Rebecca stressed how sourcing is also a great way to help build your employer brand.

3. What kind of timeframe do you allow for candidates to get back to you?

Danny was happy to answer this one.

If he’s doing a straight cold email campaign, he does a series of 3 emails.  His 1st email is an introduction of who he is, a very brief description of the position and a question of their interest.  He tries to email on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday so his 2nd email generally is 5-7 days later. That email (to the non-responders) references the first email, contains a bit more information like income potential, and asks if there is any interest on their part.  He tries to get the final email out pretty quickly usually within 3 days, again always trying to email on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday.

Jonathan was quick to add on a strategy which has always worked very well for him:

When I source, I build my lists with my message pre-built and I reach out in batches

4. How do you keep candidates who turn down one opportunity warm as a possible fit for a future opportunity?

Over to Rebecca for this one.

Effectively, it comes down to whether you operate in a transactional manner (which would make this hard) or whether you’re a relationship focused individual. It would come down to whether they see you as knowledgable – are you an expert in that field? –  and your honesty and transparency, and obviously them believing that it’s useful for them to maintain a relationship with you.

It’s easier if you are focused on a niche (and therefore are likely to regularly have options for them to consider), but if that isn’t the case, I find that genuinely building on that relationship is the most successful approach.

Remember though: You have to go out and find candidates and not just let them come to you.

5. Could you share some of your sourcing tactics?

I really liked Jonathan’s response here:

Whatever source you want to be looking at is fine. However the ability to go in and mine that data set is the skill of the true sourcer.

Danny was happy to share his top 5 sourcing tactics:

  1. Social media
  2. Referrals
  3. Data.com
  4. About.me
  5. Boolean searching on Google

Rebecca’s top tip here was that when sourcing (or ‘researching’ as she also likes to call it),

it’s something that you can’t jump in and out of. You just need to shut yourself away and get it done

6. Candidate Express

Candidate.Express takes away the time-consuming portion of candidate list building and email validation – allowing you to spend more time talking with candidates, not looking for them. It’s a simple, cost-efficient, flexible solution for proactive recruitment to help you accelerate your short-listing process and reach more passive candidates faster.

50 verified candidate profiles for just $299, overnight: That’s the Candidate.Express promise.

Are you looking to fill your recruitment funnel with more quality candidates faster? You can get started with Candidate.Express any time.

Candidate.Express - Your Candidate Sourcing Accelerator
Cofounder and CEO at RecruitLoop. I've been a hands on recruiter, manager, trainer, coach, mentor, and regular speaker for the recruitment industry for nearly 25 years.


Paul Slezak

Cofounder and CEO at RecruitLoop. I've been a hands on recruiter, manager, trainer, coach, mentor, and regular speaker for the recruitment industry for nearly 25 years.

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