The ultimate guide to candidate sourcing for recruiters

The ultimate guide to candidate sourcing for recruiters

Candidate sourcing

Attracting the most talented candidates to work for your company has never been more competitive. Top-performing individuals are hard to find and even harder to recruit. In the wake of a devastating economic recession, places of employment are left with little to no wiggle room with their budget, and hiring the wrong person could cost them thousands of dollars. In order to thrive in this competitive market, employers need to put an emphasis on candidate sourcing.

This means shifting into a proactive mindset rather than a reactive mindset, in order to get ahead. However, sourcing the best candidates is far easier said than done. How can your business streamline the hiring process, while still recruiting the best talent?

What is candidate sourcing? 

First, it’s important to understand what sourcing is, and the importance it holds in the workplace. Sourcing talent is an active outreach by talent professionals to connect with strong potential candidates.

This approach, while certainly more time consuming, is miles above simply putting an ad online for an open position and hoping for the best. Sourcing candidates allows HR reps and recruiters to utilize their network and start the conversation with top talent by reaching out first. This proactive approach sends a message to the candidate that they will feel valued in this workplace and throws the ball back in the court of the employer by opening up the possibility of recruiting who they want. 

The idea of candidate sourcing is popping up everywhere, becoming exponentially more popular. Whether a company has been practicing this strategy for years, or are just now planning on adopting it in the near future, it’s advantageous to get ahead of the curve and experiment with the prospect of candidate sourcing. Filling up your pipeline with strong candidates also sets you up for success down the line. 

Why should I source my candidates?

Sourcing candidates for prospective jobs is a smart and tactical way to set your business up for success. According to a survey conducted by LinkedIn, almost everyone in the job market is open to hearing about new opportunities. Employees are consistently interested in new positions, but only about 36% of individuals are currently seeking a new job.  

These statistics put recruiters and human resource professionals at an advantage. They are able to handpick the talent they are interested in, and the weight of going through an entire application process is taken off the shoulders of the employee. Not to mention, they are likely very interested in hearing what you have to pitch. 

Where to begin 

The act of candidate sourcing is crucial, but it may be overwhelming to think about where to begin. Luckily, there are tons of tools, both technological and organic, to help you source the best prospects for any given job. 

A sourcing tool is anything that you use in order to build your candidate pool. By constructing a repertoire of potential talent, you’ll have easy access to strong resumes should another position become available later on. And with the rising cost of posting on job sites like Indeed and Glassdoor, this tactic saves you money while continually attracting top talent. It’s a win-win. 

Understanding the different kinds of tools available 

There is a myriad of tools available, both free and paid, that can help expedite this process. It’s highly recommended that at least one of these tools should be used while building your candidate pool. While these tools can certainly work in tandem with organic recruiting tactics, taking on the endeavor of recruiting talent completely on your own is a waste of time and resources. 

Candidate relationship management tools

Candidate relationship management tools, or CRM, is a system that allows you to reengage with candidates that applied to your company in the past. Perhaps they were a great option but were competing against stronger candidates. Or maybe they were better suited for a different job within the same company. Either way, a CRM saves you the time of recreating candidate pipelines each time a new position opens up. 

Sourcing tools

This is also a great way to keep track of any relevant information that each applicant provides. By having this information at the ready, you can easily pull when you were last in contact, who they interviewed with, and the best next steps for them. 


LinkedIn is an amazing social media platform designed for professionals and employers alike to network. This website is incredibly popular for recruiters to course top-talent. You can either post your job opening for free, or opt into their extremely handy tool, “LinkedIn Recruiter.” 

LinkedIn Recruiter allows you to find and engage candidates for your sourcing needs. This incredible tool helps you access all of LinkedIn’s active and passive candidates, use filters to narrow down your search, see up to 1,000 profiles in your search results, and contact candidates through LinkedIn’s trusted messaging source. 

Tailored sourcing tools

LinkedIn Recruiter is only one of many helpful candidate sourcing tools. If your company is operating on a strict budget, consider utilizing a free candidate sourcing tool. Some of the most popular options include: 

Recruit’Em: Recruit’Em is an easy to navigate tool that addresses a lot of the real-life issues one faces when recruiting top talent. It takes advantage of Google’s index of profile pages and generates a comprehensive database of potential candidates. It is 100% free, you do not need to register, and there are not even any ads that you have to worry about on their website. 

OctoHR: OctoHr is a free Google Chrome extension that allows you to search GitHub and receive information on potential candidate’s areas of expertise, as well as their contact information. This is especially useful if you are recruiting for software development roles. You don’t need to give up your address, and it is a very safe and secure extension. 

Shapr: Shapr, not unlike LinkedIn, is a networking platform with recruiting capabilities. Shapr matches you with people with common interests, based on the information provided on your profile. When you both match with each other, you can begin messaging each other. This is a great way to connect with potential employees; just make sure that you make it very clear that your intention is to recruit while using the website.

Email outreach: Reaching out to potential candidates via email may feel like a lot of legwork, but it is a strategy that can go a long way. Personally emailing candidates that you find compelling adds a touch of personality to your approach and helps you stand out from the competition. Not to mention, there are tons of ways to optimize your email reach.  

Organic tools 

While recruitment software and networking platforms are great tools to utilize in the candidate sourcing process, there are also a ton of organic sources at your disposal that are equally as helpful. One of these critical tools is simply the knowledge of having strong people skills. When reaching out to prospective candidates, it’s important to predict what they want to hear. Consider immediately explaining the company’s culture, the perks of the position, and the mission of the business. Other resources to consider when utilizing your assets include: 

Word of mouth: Personal referrals from employees currently working for your company are a great way to source talent. Especially if this referral is coming from a fellow top-performer, it’s probably safe to assume that the word can be trusted. Employees would not take the risk of putting their reputation on the line by referring a low performing prospective employee. 

Social Media: most businesses and companies have some sort of online presence in today’s digital age. Using social media as a tool to not only advertise any job openings you have but also to increase user engagement with your company, is a great way to sift through potential candidates that are energized by your mission. It’s free to use, and with over 500 million people scrolling through Instagram every day, it’s an easy way to get eyes on your job opportunities. 

Job Fairs: Job fairs are a great way to meet potential employers face to face. They are usually free or almost free to participate in and can draw in thousands of eager applicants in a single day. Try to focus on niche fairs that highlight your company’s industry, or one that concentrates on recruiting the talent you are seeking for specific jobs. 

The bottom line 

It’s clear that sourcing candidates for future positions in your company are a proactive and strategic approach to building a successful talent pool. It allows you to search for what you want, rather than putting the decision in the hands of the applicants and weeding through thousands of resumes. There are tons of great tools and sources that make this process easier for you and your HR recruiters to find the best talent. 

If you want to get ahead of the competition and build a successful business, it starts with its employees. Taking matters into your own hands and recruiting your dream team will set up you business for success, give you the ability to network with top professionals, and fill up your pipeline with talent that you can utilize whenever a new position opens up. 

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