<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none;" alt="" src="https://px.ads.linkedin.com/collect/?pid=5163340&amp;fmt=gif">

candidates Sourcing

Develop A Candidate Sourcing Strategy in Recruiting

January 26, 2021

By: IQTalent

Developing a sourcing strategy not only helps you fill your open requisitions faster, it also broadens your talent pool by planning for the future, populating your CRM or ATS with passive candidates. Other benefits include leveraging sourcing and recruiting work already done, relationship building which often results in a better candidate experience (and in turn employer brand) and building an internal recruiting and sourcing pipeline.


Candidate sourcing is the term we use for:

  • Searching for potential candidates, including passive candidates
  • identifying potential candidates
  • contacting potential candidates


These can be for roles you are recruiting for today or that are in your talent pipeline for the future.

DYK? LinkedIn reports 90% of people (often called passive candidates) are open to learning more about new opportunities, but only 36% of candidates (active candidates) are actively searching for a new job. Click to Tweet

A well-mapped out candidate sourcing strategy offers increased candidate engagement and enhances the applicant experience. Despite industry trends or seasonal changes, a proactive sourcing strategy trains your team to collaborate across open roles and “always be sourcing.”


Typically, recruiting happens after sourcing and includes:

  • Screening
  • Interviewing 
  • Assessments
  • Scheduling
  • Offer Process
  • Onboarding


However, depending on the size of your team and breadth of your roles, one person or team may find themselves doing all of the above at different times in the process. Sourcing is often tasked with providing the pool that results in a great hire, with the goal of reducing the time and money spent in the recruiting process.


Sourcing is the Cornerstone of Any Great Recruiting Strategy 

When a great hire is made, it’s usually because someone has done their research and produced a talent pipeline for recruiting and talent acquisition to pull from. At IQTalent Partners, we focus on ensuring recruiters and talent acquisition professionals are equipped with a greater pool of potential and passive candidates, complete with total contact details to further impact the recruiting process. 

Candidate Research: 

This begins as broadly demographic in nature and generally produces reports that detail the entire available talent pool (including passive candidates) for a given position in a given area. This can include those who are currently working in the desired position elsewhere but can also include information about the educational pipeline that exists in the region, as well as mapping positions that may lead to a qualified active or passive candidate in 6-18 months. 

Candidate Sourcing:

Candidate sourcing gets even more granular. When armed with passive candidate research reports, a talented sourcing team can pull up specific lists of active and passive candidates for the recruiting team to follow up with. Sourcing works hand in hand with both candidate research and candidate recruiting, by preparing the next stage of the candidate or talent pipeline.


There is often a significant overlap between research and sourcing. In fact, many sourcing teams and outsourced sourcing solutions companies or firms operate in both areas of expertise. Companies use these two disciplines in concert to:


  • Leverage an in-house sourcing team during a period of growth.
  • Ensure internal recruiters have an always-fresh pipeline of talent.
  • Create a sourcing presence in a new industry or location.
  • Assist with seasonal hiring issues.
  • Assemble comprehensive contact details.
  • Vetting early-stage passive candidates. 


Effective sourcing strategy in recruitment is paramount. Proactive sourcing is practiced in over 80% of companies. 


Struggles to Developing a Sourcing Strategy

Recruiters may feel they can easily source, and many can. However, a candidate sourcing strategy requires one to look at all the possible hurdles that could prevent a strategy from being implemented. Removing these obstacles from your talent acquisition path is the first step toward a successful sourcing strategy:


  • Misinformation about the job and its requirements/responsibilities
  • Not including passive candidates resulting in a low number of candidates
  • Poor quality of sourced candidates
  • Lack of contact information/Difficulty getting in touch with passive candidates
  • The competitive landscape in passive or active candidate field
  • Not including niche or local job boards or sourcing channels
  • Long time to hire/Hiring Manager miscommunication/Expectations
  • Not analyzing the right sourcing metrics
  • Lack of transparency into recruitment or sourcing process/technology


Building a Sourcing Strategy in Recruitment


Understand the difference between sourcers and recruiters


  • Sourcers - Find and qualify new candidates. Pass contact information and willingness to the recruitment team.
  • Recruiters - Handle the process from when a candidate is deemed interested or qualified through to the moment that they’re hired.


If possible, try to divide your team or outsourced functions down these lines. Have the sourcers supply one end of the recruitment pipeline and recruiters work the other end. If it’s not possible to divide among the people on the sourcing and recruiting team, work to carefully delineate the steps in the process in order to keep clarity and accurately determine when one end or the other needs additional attention. 


Plan well to source well

The key to planning a great sourcing strategy within recruitment is a tight focus on what we call the 4 C’s. Our IQTP Diamond Recruiting Process helps us Calibrate and Collaborate to find the right Candidate who fits company Culture:

  1. Analyze the job’s requirements. 
  2. Create and build  the Ideal Candidate Profile
  3. Discover where those personas “hang out” to locate channels
  4. Define the characteristics, skills, and traits that equal a perfect hire
  5. Use as a benchmark when sourcing potential candidates


Collaborate through every part of the job requirements

Yes, even sourcers need to speak with the hiring manager. Firstly to ensure the hiring requirements are agreed upon, but secondly to discover what is set in stone and what might be negotiable for the right candidate. For example, do you really need to say “master’s preferred” or can you leave it open? Do they need precisely 7 years of experience, or will 4 or so do for a more junior role?  Collaboration while building the Ideal Candidate Profile is key to reducing sourcing time (and headaches!)


Search your own ATS

Chances are you’ve already recruited or sourced for this role before, or at least a role very similar. You cannot hire everyone you recruit and you may not recruit or reach out to everyone you source. However, throwing those candidates away and starting from scratch every search makes little sense. Run a query in your database or ATS to see who might be a good fit (don't forget to add the time between your initial search and this one, your candidates may have just the right amount of experience now.)


If you don’t have a sourcing pipeline, set one up

Shopping your own pipeline (every sourcer and recruiter’s dream) will be very hard if you don’t have one. Capture unsuccessful candidates’ data in your ATS or CRM so you can always access it!

WOW! Candidates who’ve previously applied to a position are 4X more likely to respond to a recruiter’s outreach Click to Tweet

Go beyond the needs of today

Everyone on your TA team needs to know that just because a candidate isn't a fit today, doesn’t mean they won’t be tomorrow. Always teach your sourcers and recruiters to recruit for tomorrow. 


Don’t be basic

The more sophisticated your search queries, the closer you’ll get to the right candidate. Broaden your search terms and use related phrases and terms to find the diamond in the rough. Pro tip: Don’t forget to account for misspelled words in resumes and profiles! 


Measuring A Sourcing Strategy in Recruiting

Your numbers matter more than you think. So do the metrics of your fellow recruiters and sourcers. Here are some metrics you should track:


  • # of communication attempts to get a response
  • Types of messages that are actually effective
  • Which messages get the most responses
  • Open rates
  • Time to apply
  • Time to fill
  • Time to hire
  • Velocity of hire (do passive candidates move through the process faster? Why?)
  • Channel efficacy and cost-effectiveness


Of course, there are many more steps to creating a strong sourcing strategy within the recruiting function. Specific variables are industry, company, team size, hiring challenges, and more. That said, building and measuring your sourcing strategy in recruiting can be done. 


If you need more help, reach out to IQTalent Partners, not only can we help build a healthy, integrated sourcing plan for your organization, we can help train your internal team on how to scale, manage and use it properly. Have one of our friendly recruitment experts walk you through the  IQTalent Partners’ unique sourcing-as-a-service approach.

New call-to-action