TestGorilla LogoTestGorilla Logo

11 creative sourcing strategies for finding exceptional talent


A survey conducted by the Korn Ferry Institute found that over 85 million jobs could go unfilled by 2030.

The reason for this? A lack of skilled candidate means that it will likely become more of a challenge to find top talent in the future.

However, HR professionals can meet the challenges of candidate sourcing by using creative sourcing strategies.

What is creative sourcing?

As described in Forbes by Kathleen Duffy, founder, and CEO of global recruitment firm Duffy Group Inc., creative sourcing involves thoughtfully and creatively approaching potential candidates to build a high-quality jobs pipeline. 

This way of sourcing promising applicants differs from ordinary sourcing because it requires some creativity.

For instance, creative sourcing approaches might involve reaching out to a social network, looking into recruitment events to attract talent, or spying on the competition!

What are the benefits of creative sourcing?

Non-traditional sourcing methods like creative sourcing will give you more opportunities to attract talent by widening your talent pool beyond conventional talent sources like job boards.

The reason is you can take advantage of a broader range of sourcing platforms and target candidates who use these platforms.

Passive job seekers make up 73% of applicants. Though passive applicants are hard to attract, a broader talent pool will increase your chances of appealing to them by covering more applicant channels. In turn, it simplifies finding the ideal talent match for your vacancy. 

If you embrace creative sourcing, you also increase your chances of hiring a more diverse team. The benefit here is that diverse teams outperform less diverse peers, according to a McKinsey & Company report.

What are the 4 challenges of creative sourcing?

One of the key challenges of creative sourcing is shown in its name. Creative sourcing requires out-of-the-box thinking not only when writing job descriptions, but also in the other aspects of candidate sourcing.

challenges of creative sourcing

1. Appealing job descriptions: What should you focus on when writing one?

Firstly, to get creative sourcing right you will need to focus on the job description. Job posts are essential, as they are usually how candidates first hear about your company. 

Even though it can be a challenge, writing a quality job description is worthwhile. Effective job descriptions can make your creative sourcing strategy successful and help you to attract candidates’ attention.

As managing director of Russell Reynolds and Associates Justin Cerilli states, an appealing job description should include “a little bit of marketing, the reality of the role, the necessary skills and competencies and the organization’s culture.”

2. Passive candidates: Why are they difficult to attract?

Using creative approaches to find candidates includes appealing to passive applicants. You may already be aware of the challenges of appealing to passive candidates; they are, in most cases, happily employed. It can be difficult to convince them to leave their current company for a new job or opportunity.

Paradoxically, although appealing to passive candidates is a challenging part of creative sourcing, using unique creative sourcing strategies can make this process easier. 

3. Finding and testing applicants’ skills: What is the best way to assess sourced candidates?

Skills testing typically follows creative sourcing. It can help validate what you have learned about candidates during the sourcing stage but can be a challenge to get right if you don’t have the right tools at your disposal. 

It can also be a challenge if you have many applicants to assess. However, a reliable skills testing platform will make it simpler to test candidates’ skills. It saves you time, prevents human error, and helps you make the best hiring decisions.

4. Sourcing: How do you overcome a lack of talent in a particular field? 

Some fields require particular skills and talent that are difficult to find, such as software engineering. According to business journalist Keith Coppersmith, one way to overcome this is to identify overlooked talent (e.g., ex-military members and veterans). Although this is a challenge of creative sourcing, it can also be solved by creative sourcing.

It is because, as already mentioned, creative sourcing strategies can help you widen your talent pool and open up unexplored channels where you can discover overlooked qualified candidates. 

You can then nurture promising candidates by teaming up with colleges and institutions to roll out new training programs within your organization. This combination of creative sourcing and training can lead you to quality candidates who will likely grow within your company.

11 creative sourcing strategies for hiring managers to source top candidates

The following creative sourcing ideas include social media creative sourcing approaches, marketing and brand building, and networking approaches.

creative sourcing strategies for hiring managers to source top candidates part 1

1. Facebook advertising

Using targeted advertising on Facebook is one creative way to source candidates. It works similarly to posting traditional job ads but is less costly and ideal for targeting passive applicants.

Facebook has approximately 2.85 billion monthly active users (as of 2021) and 1.88 billion users who visit the platform each day. As one of the top social media platforms, Facebook is a largely untapped resource in recruitment. However, it is an ideal creative sourcing approach for targeting potential candidates.

2. LinkedIn advertising

You might already be familiar with how to search for the LinkedIn profiles of specific candidates on social media platforms like LinkedIn. You can narrow down your criteria (such as the location you want to target), choose whether you would like to search for first, second, or third-tier connections, and select the particular role of the candidates you are searching for.

But there is another option: LinkedIn advertising. With this creative sourcing approach, you can create an ad for just $10. You can create an ad to reach potential candidates by following these steps:

  1. Select either managed campaigns or self-service

  2. Use the campaign manager to manage your ad

  3. Choose between sponsored or text ads

  4. Create your ad and ensure it targets the right audience

  5. Select either a cost-per-click or cost-per-impression budget

  6. Review, optimize, and enhance your ad using the campaign manager metrics

Ready to start LinkedIn advertising? Check out this article on how to hire a campaign manager – so you can find the perfect person to run your LinkedIn campaign.”

3. Promote your company using a Twitter business profile

A Twitter business profile is primarily a business marketing tool, making it an ideal creative sourcing strategy. Once your business has built up a following, you can instantly connect with potential candidates the moment you publish a tweet. You have a range of options, including account, video, and tweet promotion.

Twitter’s enormous user base of 353 million monthly active users is another reason to take advantage of this method of creative sourcing.

4. Get employees involved with marketing your brand

Your brand can boost your creative sourcing efforts. If it’s well-presented, it can attract the best candidates who are researching your organization. Asking your employees to be a part of your brand is one good way to achieve this. 

Featuring employee statements about your organization on your career page and using keywords in those statements will also augment other creative sourcing strategies you use. This technique uses the power of marketing and search engine optimization to draw candidates to your career page.

Another bonus is that strong employee branding mentioning your culture attracts the top 20% of candidates, according to Gallup’s findings. 

5. Start a blog

This works in the same way as the keywords mentioned above. A company blog that features content relevant to your organization and uses search engine optimization principles will also assist you with creative sourcing. 

Though blogging is mainly a marketing strategy, it also works as a creative sourcing approach by attracting candidates (and traffic) to your brand. 

creative sourcing strategies for hiring managers to source top candidates part 2

6. Career conferences

You can form new connections and promote your brand by attending career networking conferences, such as college networking events. These creative sourcing opportunities take networking into the real world, as they allow you to meet people in person.

What’s ideal about career conferences is that once you’ve made your connections, there’s a chance they will share your brand with others. There is also a chance that they will remember your organization and form part of your talent pipeline in the future.

7. Employee referral programs or bonuses

You can boost your chances of attracting candidates to your company when you offer existing employees referral bonuses. Many different types of employee referral bonuses count as unique creative sourcing ideas, including:

  • Financial rewards 

  • Vacation and free time bonuses

  • Resource bonuses

  • Bonuses related to altruism

8. Ask your clients or your customers

You’ve already got a resource ready to use as a creative way to source candidates: your clients and customers. Not only do they know your brand well, but they also know your products or services. 

Similar to soliciting referrals from employees, when you reach out to a well-known client and start a dialogue with them about an opening, you might find enthusiastic candidates who are already passionate about your organization.

9. Use your company website

In addition to showcasing statements from your existing employees, you should ensure the careers section of your website clearly shows three things to enhance your creative sourcing strategy:

  • The brand of your organization

  • Your organization’s values

  • Diversity and inclusivity statements

One reason this counts as a creative way to source candidates is simple: Your brand, great culture, and values are what will intrigue candidates. As stated by Entrepreneur.com, a brand “helps companies recruit better candidates” and even helps candidates engage with your organization.

You can even include videos of your existing employees’ experiences at your organization, as this might better reflect your brand and company culture compared with written statements.

10. Use overseas job websites

You may be limiting the size of your candidate pool if you stick to one geographical location when sourcing candidates. However, another reason to expand your sourcing strategy geographically is increasing remote work. The prediction is “70% of the workforce will work remotely at least five days a month by 2025.” 

Remote and creative sourcing are compatible strategies that will enable you to widen your candidate pool. The best way to do this is to use overseas job websites. It may mean posting a job as a remote role on an overseas site to attract candidates.

11. Use platforms such as Dribbble 

You can use the Dribbble platform to specifically target designers and creative talent for your organization. This platform is for a niche, targeted set of candidates, making this a creative sourcing strategy.

If you are sourcing candidates for journalism roles, you might try JournalismJobs. For executive positions, use Ladders; and for freelance positions try Freelancer. By utilizing these job websites you can target a wide range of talent with skills for these particular roles. 

How do you carry out creative technical sourcing?

Here are some key steps you can take when using creative sourcing for technical roles:

  1. Work alongside marketing team members to create a top brand and attract candidates

  2. Use niche job boards, particularly for sourcing tech candidates, such as Stack Overflow, AngelList, Tech Talent, or Geeklist

  3. Network by attending software engineering conferences, such as QCon’s International Software Development Conference, and build your candidate pool

  4. Distribute skills tests, such as a Java coding skills test

  5. Conduct technical interviews after creative technical sourcing to evaluate candidates

Generally, for technical roles, technical recruiters will undertake creative technical sourcing strategies to attract talent. However, non-technical recruiters who might not have the technical expertise might still carry out creative technical sourcing by using skills tests.

What are the next steps for all roles after creative sourcing?

Your next two steps following creative sourcing are to use skills tests to evaluate the skills of passive candidates and carry out a video or in-person interview.

1. Evaluating passive candidates’ skills with skills tests

If you have used candidate sourcing strategies successfully, you will have a broad candidate pool, after which you can make the recruitment process easier with skills testing. Skills testing will ensure that candidates are a good match for your vacancy. 

The best skills testing platforms will provide you with a skills-testing library. Here you will find tests for various positions, such as SEO copywriting tests for copywriting roles, accounts payable tests for bookkeeping, or English (proficient/C1) tests for English teaching roles.

There are several advantages to performing skills testing after creative sourcing.

Not only can you use skills testing to verify what you have learned about candidates from their resumes, but you will also:

  • Avoid unconscious biases when hiring

  • Compare candidates’ skills and make better decisions

  • Reduce time-to-hire during the recruitment process

2. Conduct video or in-person interviews

Once you have narrowed down the ideal candidates for the new position, you can select candidates for an interview. It might be a pre-recorded video interview, a live video interview, or an in-person interview.

You can use the candidates’ skills test results as discussion points in the interview. You can ask additional questions to understand the candidates’ soft skills, values, and how they would fit within your team.

Find exceptional talent using creative sourcing and evaluate using skills tests

Creative sourcing is one of the best ways to widen the candidate pool. Remember, by implementing creative sourcing strategies successfully, you will:

  • Increase your chances of hiring a diverse team; and

  • Increase your chances of appealing to passive candidates

Use a wide range of creative sourcing strategies and creative technical sourcing ideas to find the ideal candidate for your team and add value, knowledge, qualifications, and skills to your organization.

With TestGorilla, you’ll find the recruitment process to be simpler, faster, and much more effective. Get started for free today and start making better hiring decisions, faster and bias-free.


Hire the best candidates with TestGorilla

Create pre-employment assessments in minutes to screen candidates, save time, and hire the best talent.

The best advice in pre-employment testing, in your inbox.

No spam. Unsubscribe at any time.

TestGorilla Logo

Hire the best. No bias. No stress.

Our screening tests identify the best candidates and make your hiring decisions faster, easier, and bias-free.

Free resources

Anti-cheating checklist

This checklist covers key features you should look for when choosing a skills testing platform

Onboarding checklist

This resource will help you develop an onboarding checklist for new hires.

How to find candidates with strong attention to detail

How to assess your candidates' attention to detail.

How to get HR certified

Learn how to get human resources certified through HRCI or SHRM.

Improve quality of hire

Learn how you can improve the level of talent at your company.

Case study
Case study: How CapitalT reduces hiring bias

Learn how CapitalT reduced hiring bias with online skills assessments.

Resume screening guide

Learn how to make the resume process more efficient and more effective.

Recruiting metrics
Important recruitment metrics

Improve your hiring strategy with these 7 critical recruitment metrics.

Case study
Case study: How Sukhi reduces shortlisting time

Learn how Sukhi decreased time spent reviewing resumes by 83%!

12 pre-employment testing hacks

Hire more efficiently with these hacks that 99% of recruiters aren't using.

The benefits of diversity

Make a business case for diversity and inclusion initiatives with this data.