Source Quality Candidates

8 Effective Ways to Source Quality Candidates in 2024

Zoe Brankin
Zoe Brankin
March 15, 2023
8 min read

Picture this: you’re living in a world where you have all the time you need to find the perfect candidate for each role, someone who will hit the ground running and bring the exact skillset and experience required to drive the company forward. 

The reality? Roles need to be filled as soon as possible, whether that means hiring enough customer service representatives to handle call and email volumes, replacing the short-staffed marketing team who are under a lot of pressure or even filling a more critical executive position within a company. 

Attracting top talent is essential for every organisation – the right candidates will mean lower turnover and greater productivity. On the other side of that equation, hiring the wrong candidates can harm company culture and waste resources in training employees who are only there to collect a paycheck. 

In this article, we will answer a few frequently asked questions about candidate sourcing and offer some tips to help you build a sourcing strategy to attract quality candidates.

What is candidate sourcing?

Candidate sourcing is when you proactively look for potential hires to fill future job vacancies and current vacant roles. To source candidates effectively, recruiters will typically collect valuable information from the candidate, such as CVs/resumes and portfolios and get an idea of what the candidate is looking for. 

At this stage, recruiters will also pre-screen candidates with skills that match any roles they’re currently hiring for and start building relationships. Building an employer brand so candidates can understand the benefits of working with your company is essential for the sourcing process. 

Sourcing vs recruiting: what’s the difference?

On the surface, it might seem like sourcing and recruiting are the same thing, but the two have some important differences.

Candidate sourcing is a distinct aspect of the broader recruitment function that involves searching for suitable candidates to fill current or future roles within an organisation. 

Recruitment then encompasses the various tasks and activities, such as the initial candidate sourcing process right through to hiring a candidate. The recruitment process can sometimes be reactive – like when you need to fill a role quickly. On the other hand, sourcing is proactive, as it helps you focus on your talent pipeline and ensure you have the top talent and skills in your workforce.

Why is candidate sourcing important?

If candidate sourcing is done well, it can help set you off on the right foot to hiring great people compatible with your vacant positions, the team they will be joining and the company. Building a solid talent pipeline can help create focus on the company’s future and current hiring needs. 

One of the worst mistakes any recruiter can make is underestimating the power of a passive candidate. Passive candidates are currently employed and not actively looking for a new job – but did you know that 73% of all candidates are passive job seekers? Without a candidate sourcing strategy, you could lose out on a significant chunk of the candidate pool.

Candidate sourcing strategies also significantly improve your time-to-hire rates. In most cases, the talent is already pre-screened, and this step alone can save your company time and resources when it comes to filling open positions across teams.

8 ways to source quality candidates

So, how do you find top talent? Here are the top eight ways to source quality candidates! 

1. What does the right candidate look like?

The best place to start is by developing a clear understanding of what the right candidate looks like for the company in terms of their skillset, experience and personality. 

If you want your new hire to be successful in their new role, then it’s essential to have a good understanding of the key characteristics they need and the traits that will make them a suitable culture fit. 

Speak with your team and review current employees or candidates in similar roles performing well to help you source candidates who are a good fit. Run a few searches together and discuss why certain candidates may or may not be a good fit, review the overall talent pool and determine whether the requirements need to be tightened or relaxed to find the right candidates. 

2. Strengthen your job descriptions

When job descriptions are inaccurate, unclear or hard to follow, they will delay your sourcing process. Applicants may need you to clarify the role’s requirements or some of the details, as well as that some unqualified candidates may apply due to the lack of information in the job description.

Job postings are excellent ways to source quality candidates if they’re done correctly. Active and passive candidates regularly visit job boards to check out opportunities. To make the most out of them, descriptions should be comprehensive enough to itemise every characteristic you want from a candidate. 

Job postings also allow you to flaunt the brand, showcase the different benefits of working for your organisation, and highlight why your organisation stands out from the crowd in the increasingly competitive job market. 

3. Switch up your candidate-sourcing channels 

Unsurprisingly, recruiters have their go-to channels for finding the right candidates – starting with their professional network or LinkedIn, but why stop there? 

Ask your employees. Studies have shown that 30% of all new hires come from employee referrals. No one knows your business better than your employees, so it makes sense that they can help you find the right candidate who is a perfect culture fit. 

Don’t miss out on the talent already working at the company. Chat with leaders and managers to determine if anyone within the team would be willing to move into vacant roles. Using in-house referrals is a great way to boost morale and job satisfaction and help fill positions faster. 

Looking at other online sources from the usual job sites could be worthwhile. For instance, you might use Otta to find candidates wanting to start or continue their start-up journey or Hired for tech and sales talent actively seeking new roles. Ask current employees for feedback on where they would start their job search or where they think people in the same job community would congregate. 

4. Build a solid employer brand

Company reputation is important, with 72% of recruiting leaders worldwide agreeing that employer brand significantly impacts hiring. 

Candidates want to get a feel for what it’s like to work in a company – so what are your previous and current employees saying about working there? If it’s not as good as you would have hoped, then work must be done. 

Your employer brand could be the difference between a candidate responding to outreach or ignoring it. 92% of candidates would consider leaving their current jobs if offered another role in a company with an excellent corporate reputation. 

An employer brand demonstrates your values and how your workforce is treated. Some methods to help enhance your employer brand would be responding to reviews on sites such as Glassdoor, creating more career growth and development opportunities or prioritising diversity and inclusion

If your reputation and brand fall flat with job seekers and employees, you’ll lose them to your competition. 

5. Perfect your outreach message 

So you’ve worked hard to source the right candidate, but they aren’t engaging with you. This is where your outreach message can help you in your talent-sourcing process – the right message can snag the interest of top talent who rarely sets out to hunt for a new role. 

For this to work effectively, you must focus on their needs and wants and try to hit their goals rather than your company’s. Share details of the role you’re recruiting for, give a flavour of the company and culture, highlight any perks (think bigger than X amount of holidays), and don’t forget to personalise the message with relevant information about the candidate!

Are you reaching out on LinkedIn? Check out this article on 10 LinkedIn Outreach Recruiting Examples!

6. Use video interviews 

The process of arranging times for interviews, candidates booking time off work and scheduling the interview can be a challenge – and one way to overcome this is by incorporating video interviews into your sourcing process. 

Whether live or pre-recorded by the candidate from the comfort of their home, video can help cut down the time needed to complete the interview process. Using video interviews also allows for greater scheduling flexibility for the candidate. 

7. Follow up with candidates

Some candidates might respond to your first cold outreach but ignore the rest. Because you spend so much time doing research and curating lists, don’t let it stop at just one email. If the sales team were to reach out to leads only once, they’d never close any deals. 

Make an effort to continue reaching out to candidates who maybe weren’t ready to make a move when you first approached them and strong candidates who you sourced but didn’t hire for previous vacancies. 

Six months is generally the rule for reaching out to a candidate again. Even if the check-in doesn’t yield immediate results, it can help you stay top of mind when they decide to look for a new role. 

8. Candidate surveys

Candidate surveys are essential to the recruitment process as they allow you to collect vital information from potential employees. They can be used to gauge a candidate’s qualifications, interests, career aspirations and even uncover any weaknesses or areas for improvement. Asking relevant questions can help employers understand what makes a good employee and whether or not they are a suitable fit for the culture. 

Candidate surveys don’t just gather information on individual candidates – they also help assess the hiring process. The information provided in candidate surveys can indicate how successful the current recruitment process is and how it might need improvement.  

Top candidates are in high demand, so you need to be prepared and positioned to snatch them off the market the moment they’re available! 

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