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What is Candidate Sourcing and Why is it Important?

August 15, 2022

Picture this: You need to hire for your growing tech team and have a month of time for the same. The first thing you do is get the JD from the team and post it to multiple job boards and LinkedIn. Within a couple of weeks, you have a hundred applicants. You shortlist 25 resumes and start screening them. Further, 10 of them move forward to the interview. It’s been more than 3 weeks already, the tech team interviews them and they find that none of them is skilled enough. The result? Almost a month is gone, you couldn’t hire anyone and don’t have more candidates in the pipeline. Why did it happen? You missed out on candidate sourcing and didn’t have a strategy.

To avoid being in such a scenario, you need to focus on building the right sourcing systems, following them consistently and optimizing at every iteration. How do you do that? Let’s find out.

What is Candidate Sourcing?

Candidate sourcing refers to researching, identifying, and reaching candidates for current or future open roles at your organization. Sourcing includes discovering both active (people looking for jobs) and passive candidates (who aren’t looking for jobs) candidates and adding them to your talent pipeline. 

Here are some statistics telling you its significance

Why Do You Need to Source Candidates?

As a recruiter, you’re always evaluating hundreds of profiles and selecting candidates among them. No doubt it’s a mammoth task in itself. You might wonder why source more candidates?

That’s a fair thought - however, if you have not realized it yet, these stats will help you to -

31% of all the hires are proactively sourced and 1 in every 72 Sourced candidates is hired against 1 in 152 applicants. That means sourcing candidates takes half the effort and time to fill an open position. Here are a few more reasons for supporting talent sourcing:

  1. Quality of Hiring: We all are aware of the war for top talent out there. Sourcing gives you the independence to acquire even passive candidates. As much as 42% of applicants aren’t fit for the job requirements on average. And 86% of the most qualified candidates are employed and not looking to switch. This makes sourcing the go-to strategy for recruiters and CXOs.

  1. Talent Pipeline: No matter whether you are a startup or an established organization, hiring almost never stops. Keeping your talent pipeline full immensely helps as whenever you have open positions for various roles, you know where to find them. 

  1. Time & Cost of Hiring: Hiring cycles are usually long when leads come through job boards as multiple rounds of shortlisting are involved. When it comes to sourcing, you usually have a filled talent pipeline which helps fill the positions quickly and hence cuts down the cost of hiring too.

How Has Sourcing Evolved Lately?

The goals of sourcing candidates remain the same: hiring the best available talent in the shortest time possible. However, the systems and processes have completely transformed. 

If you have been in the recruitment space for a while, you can’t deny the fact that sourcing and recruiting are completely different to what they used to be. The market is more candidate-driven than ever before. 

From newspaper ads for open roles and prolonged campus placements in colleges to sourcing candidates through social media, technology has pushed recruitment a long way. Job portal sites like Indeed, third-party sourcing agencies, and professional platforms like LinkedIn are the mainstream sourcing options now. 

With so much noise, recruiters are always racing against time when it comes to sourcing and recruitment. Managing the talent pipeline and filling it manually can be a daunting task. 

Fortunately, a recruitment automation platform can take care of your entire hiring journey: from sourcing to outreach and candidate experience. So you can focus on identifying candidates and interviewing them while the platform takes care of your talent pipeline.

Sourcing vs Recruitment: What’s the Difference?

Do you often confuse candidate sourcing with recruitment? Well, you are not alone and it’s not your fault either. Corporates have been using these terms interchangeably since decades, but now as the dynamics of hiring have evolved - these two have become exclusive parts of the hiring cycle.

While sourcing refers to identifying and qualifying the right candidates with the objective of filling your talent pipeline, recruitment involves everything that follows. Let’s dive deep into the differences between sourcing and recruitment to set the right mindset:



Candidate sourcing involves searching and qualifying talented candidates for present or upcoming open roles

Covers the journey of screening candidates, tests, interviews and ends at appointing them as employees

Acquiring and understanding the role requirements from the relevant vertical or team

Filtering Cvs

Researching for candidates with the right skillset and experience

First screening call and scheduling further interview (if the call goes fine)

Outreach through LinkedIn DMs(mostly), Facebook, Emails

Continous communication regarding updates and solving the queries of candidates

Frequently posting your requirements on job boards, social media, communities

Doing background verification for qualified candidates

Creating and managing a database (talent pipeline) who might be a great fit for the company later on

Giving Feedback to the sourcing team or individual

How to Create an Outstanding Candidate Sourcing Strategy? 

An organization, no matter how well designed, is only as good as the people who live and work in it. 

~Dee Hock

The people you hire define your company’s future trajectory. In fact, the primary idea of sourcing candidates is to take complete charge of who you want to hire.

On the other hand, retaining employees has become a huge challenge too. 25% of the overall employees in the workforce are looking to switch their jobs after the pandemic. Sourcing talented candidates for your talent pipeline has never been more important.

As a recruiter, you have got a lot to do. It all starts from candidate sourcing and execution without a strategy would just eat up your time. Don’t worry though, we have got your back. Let’s discuss how you can create a stellar sourcing strategy and hire the ‘creamy layer’ talent.

  1. Create Your Candidate Persona

If you haven’t already guessed - it’s just like salespeople and marketing teams create a buyer persona. Before you even begin sourcing, you should know exactly what an ideal candidate for a certain role looks like. Evaluate in terms of hard skills, educational background, relevant industry experience, personality type, soft skills, career trajectory, community engagement and background. These are just a few core parameters, you might need to add role-specific ones too. 

  • Take the help of your hiring manager and create your candidate persona(s) - one for each role.
  • Interact with relevant vertical heads for knowing more about the right candidate. For example - product head for product managers, tech lead for developers, marketing head for digital marketers and so on.
  • Try out matching a few candidates to the create persona with your hiring manager.
  • More importantly, in a few days - review the talent pool and decide if you need to expand or contract the scope of your requirements.

  1. Explore More Sourcing Channels

Why stop at LinkedIn or Indeed when you can explore a variety of platforms? Mix up the most popular channels with the less used ones. Even the biggest of the recruiters hire through social media like Facebook, Instagram (especially for creative roles)and Reddit. Niche-specific job posting websites are hidden goldmines. For example - Dice, GitHub Jobs and StackOverFlow Careers are some of the best places to find tech talents. If you’re a startup - AngelList can be a great choice for hiring startup fanatics. Similarly, if you are hiring content marketing talent, Slack communities like superpath can bring you the best candidates.

  1. Work On Employer Branding

Finding and reaching out to the top talent is fine. How about making the best talent want to work with you? And do you know what defines the chances of a candidate responding to your outreach? It’s your employer brand.

Recruitment is more of marketing than just hiring in 2022. More than 69% of candidates would reject a job offer from an organization with a bad reputation. It’s important to understand that establishing your employer's brand is not an overnight process, think of it as a journey. Employer branding is a continuous process and involves everything around your organization’s reputation among the workforce. Here are the steps you can take towards building your employer brand:

  • Encourage reviews on job sites like Glassdoor and consistently respond to them
  • Share organizational milestones - funding, PR mentions and awards
  • Share Business milestones - Growth rate, ARR and key statistics. 
  • Showcase your company culture through LinkedIn posts, host events and employee engagements
  • Ask your employees to share their professional stories on LinkedIn posts or dedicated blog posts
  • Executives should work on their personal brand on platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter because they are the primary faces of your organization 
  • Be consistent in posting about new joiners, work anniversaries. Focus on more employee-centric content.

  1. Leverage Your Employees’ Network 

Sourcing candidates is primarily related to one’s network. Imagine if all of your employees utilized their networks for candidate sourcing. It would be a double win in terms of both quality of candidates and the time required to source them. 

Platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and even numerous communities are driven by personal brands. Here’s how you can leverage your employee’s networks for sourcing quality candidates:

  • Utilize platforms like Teammable - to get recommendations based on your employees’ social networks.
  • Allow your employees to join in and introduce the candidates to you
  • Keep exciting rewards for successful referrals 
  • Ask your employees to share about the open roles with their networks on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and more platforms/communities.

  1. Make the Best Out of Automation Tool

Manually sourcing the candidates, managing their contact details and engaging with them can collectively freak you out. Your productivity goes for a toss when working on a hundred spreadsheets, doing naive iterative tasks of managing those candidates’ data and whatnot.

What you need is an automation tool that helps you scale your sourcing efforts and fill your recruitment pipeline rapidly. NurtureBox makes sourcing hassle-free and allows you to focus on more critical tasks like screening and interviewing. How does it do that? By connecting to your existing ATS, Gmail, LinkedIn and WhatsApp so that you don’t need to perform repeatable tasks for each candidate.

Best Practices You Must Follow for Candidate Sourcing

One thing is for sure, the best candidates don’t apply for jobs anymore. With so many recruiters and executives approaching them, there’s no reason they would think about applying themselves. 

The question is, are you one of the recruiters approaching them? Are you doing it the right way? Let’s find out. Here are the five best practices you must follow for candidate sourcing.

#1 Begin Sourcing With Your Existing ATS

Most of the organizations have an internal database of rejected/unconsidered resumes for various roles. The point to consider here is these people wanted to work with you once. 

Before putting up efforts to find out candidates with relevant skills on various platforms, re-screen these candidates in your ATS. The probability of them upskilling or gaining experience by now are high, which makes them even more valuable. 

#2 Don’t Judge Candidates Only Based on Their Social Profiles

Most candidates (especially passive ones) don’t usually update their LinkedIn profiles with skills and experiences. As a recruiter, you need to analyze and judge them based on their years of experience, current industry and role and the organization they are a part of currently. Most of the uploaded resumes on LinkedIn and other job profiles are outdated. 

For example - A growth marketer with 4 years of experience in the SaaS industry might not have an updated resume or LinkedIn profile with a detailed description of all their skills. However, a candidate with 8 months of experience has briefly mentioned all the skills and has an updated resume. If your hiring requirements are for a marketing head - who would you choose?

An updated resume cannot be the only basis of judgment.

#3 Level Up Your Search Game

Searching for the most common keywords would lead to common results that everyone is getting and most recruiters are probably behind them. However, searching with keywords related to their daily work in their jobs (not the job title) can help you find untapped talent. Search with keywords like ‘managing’, ’leading’, ‘consulting’, ‘executing’, ‘building’.

Additionally, think beyond the conventional dimensions of a role. For example - If you’re hiring a copywriter, don’t just search with the keyword - ‘copywriter’. Try more semantics like ‘storytelling’, ‘design thinking’, and ‘ brand messaging’. 

Club the daily work keywords with the work keywords and you will find some good unapproached talent for sure.

#4 Maintain Talent Pipeline

Your sourcing process, ideally, should never stop. Even when you are on a hiring spree and onboarding tens of employees daily. Keep working on your sourcing strategies and always have an eye for worthy candidates that you can consider now or in the future. Add them to your talent pipeline. As a recruiter, your role is not only limited to reaching out to people and pitching them the role. You also need to build relationships and network genuinely with people. Your rapport with the talented candidates helps you source candidates who are as good as them. 

#5 Know Your Sourcing KPIs

KPIs or key performance indicators are resultant metrics that suggest how did your campaign perform. The key to scaling up your sourcing and hence upgrading your recruitment is by experimenting and analyzing which approach works the best. So that the next time you have similar requirements - you know how to go about candidate sourcing. Here are a few KPIs you should track as a part of sourcing:

  • Top sources for successful candidates
  • Time taken to hire for each different role
  • Qualitative feedback from vertical heads

How Nurturebox Does the Sourcing Automation for the Recruiters to Source Quickly?

Here’s a brief breakdown of how NurtureBox helps you optimize your sourcing. From finding candidates and adding them to your ATS to outreach and tracking the performance, NurtureBox's chrome extension helps you avoid all the repetitive tasks in your sourcing cycle:

  • Find candidates on LinkedIn. Use integrations like Recruitee, Rocketreach and SIgnalhire with NurtureBox extension to find your target prospect’s contact details. You can then directly add them to your campaign database.

  • Automate your engagement through multiple channels - WhatsApp, SMS, LinkedIn DMs and email.

  • Track your outreach results to find out what’s working. Double down on that approach of sourcing.

Being highly productive as a recruiter means focusing on critical tasks that need deep human intelligence and analysis which is mostly interviewing the candidates. Sourcing the right candidates is the key to quality recruitment. If you are planning to optimize your hiring strategy and scale up your recruitment processes, automating the mundane tasks is the way forward. 

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