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

Candidate Search outsourced recruiting

How Candidate Sourcing & Research Have Changed Over Time

April 27, 2021

This article on the history of candidate sourcing strategies was originally published in January 2019. All relevant statistics and copy have been updated as of April 2021.


Over the years, recruiting and sourcing tactics have changed. We've transitioned from the old-school "brute force" methods of manually identifying potential candidates in phone books and directories to the online resources that cultivate prospective candidate information using AI. The shift to boolean search strings, web browsers, and AI may speed up simple automation tasks, but recruiting and sourcing are still just as taxing as ever.


The challenge is partially because digital recruiting and sourcing methods have placed a false sense of qualification based on what candidates do or don’t put on their public profiles. In other words, talent pools feel smaller and tighter only because recruiters and sourcers aren’t focusing on the bigger picture: engaging candidates.

@IQTalent breaks down the transformation from traditional to modern #candidate #sourcing trends in their latest blog:Click to Tweet

History Of Candidate Research And Sourcing


Some of you might remember when you had to physically mail in your resumes and cover letters. At one time, job postings were listed in the paper, and Rolodexes were the best tool for getting contact information. Traditional methods like these focused on human connections and relied on the fact that people typically stayed in their role for a longer time than talent does today. But, as time progressed, candidate sourcing strategies evolved, too.


Recruiters began utilizing local employment office postings to see which people were likely to be looking for a job. Temp agencies helped recruiters find people in specific fields. Internal hiring, which is still used today, became a simple and effective way to fill an open position and promote your best employees.


Bonus Material: Build out a robust and reliable talent pipeline with these candidate sourcing strategies.


These flagship sourcing and recruiting tactics revolved around making human connections. Once a connection was made, recruiters would get the job candidate approved by the hiring manager, and their job would be done. Sourcers and Researchers often didn't have any visibility into the candidate experience once they were identified and contacted.


Now, because of new software and more transparent processes, we get to see how the candidates progress through the process. The market is more candidate-driven than ever before; it used to be recruiters searched for talent day after day, but now the talent can actively picking the business they want to work for.


New Ways To Source Candidates


Modern methods revolve around social media platforms and professional networking sites, which allow for a vast talent pool. Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) and Candidate Relationship Management software are the new Rolodex. With the latest technology, it is important to strike a balance between human interaction and tech. Today, technology is a huge part of research, sourcing, and recruiting as a whole. Recruiters must integrate recruiting tools to be efficient, but a human connection is still needed.


Bonus Material: Candidate sourcing continues to evolve as business operations adapt to our current environment. Make sure you beat out the competition for talent with our 3 best practices for candidate sourcing strategies.


Recruiters also have to be accessible and reach out to candidates in ways that are relevant and engaging. With the global market, the use of social media, and other analytic tools, recruiters need to have a presence wherever job seekers are. The competition for skilled labor is fierce, and top talent is heavily sought after. Because of this, recruiters must put their focus on selling the job, getting the candidate’s attention, and keeping them engaged until an offer is delivered.


Candidate Sourcing Tips


With all of the changes, companies need to implement new social recruiting and sourcing strategies into their process. Below are some things sourcers and recruiters should consider when looking at ways to source candidates:


    • Meet candidates where they are. Today’s job seekers use a large variety of channels to find jobs. Make sure your recruitment strategies are implemented across career sites, social media platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook, and on your company’s homepage. This will help you ensure you’re gathering a large pool of candidates.
    • Offer modern benefits. With hiring ramping back up and a limited number of qualified candidates, recruiting is about to become fierce. To compete for attracting, hiring, and retaining top talent, recruiters need to offer benefits that fit our current environment. 72% of job seekers say they prefer a workplace that offers flexible working environments. Offering some remote capabilities and flexible start and end hours is one way to attract highly qualified candidates.
    • Recruit for soft skills. In the past, recruiters focused on finding candidates with specific technical skills. Today, soft skills are a differentiator. Recruiters and organizations recognize the importance of soft skills like communication, decision-making, and time management when hiring the best candidates. Find applicants with strong soft skills that will help progress your organization’s culture. You can always spend time training them on the specific technical skills they need on the job.
@IQTalent says modern #recruiters need to focus on selling the job, getting the attention of the #candidate, and keeping them engaged throughout the process. Read more:Click to Tweet
  • Practice strategic alignment. Strategic alignment enables preparation for your company’s current and future needs. After some time of uncertainty, the need for preparation and resilient processes has never been clearer. Recruiters and leaders should take time to evaluate their approach and ensure they are hiring candidates that uphold the missions and values of the organization.
  • Automate the tedious stuff. With the competition for talent gearing up, recruiters need all the time they can to connect and interact with top talent. Recruiters can gain time back in their day by automating tedious parts of the initial screening and outreach process. Tasks like candidate communication, interview scheduling, and pre-screening measures are parts of the hiring pipeline that can be managed through automation. This will allow your recruiters more time to act strategically within their role.
  • Focus on the brand. Your employer brand can make or break your recruiting strategies. A poor employer brand discourages applicants and can restrict your candidate pools. By creating a culture and hiring process that employees enjoy, you can demonstrate the best parts of your organization and curate a robust and positive employer brand.


Research and sourcing have come a long way since the advent of boolean search strings and web browsers like Google and Bing. Traditional methods can still be used today, but it’s necessary to include modern trends in your sourcing strategy. To successfully recruit top talent and hire the job candidate your company is searching for, IQTalent Partners uses the most up-to-date resources and processes, including AI matching and other useful tactics. Get started with IQTalent today.

New call-to-action