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Recruiting top talent is one of the most important challenges facing companies today. With the job market becoming increasingly competitive, finding the right candidates can be a difficult and time-consuming process. To overcome these challenges, companies need to be strategic and focused in their recruitment efforts.

One of the key elements of successful recruitment is sourcing, or the process of identifying and attracting candidates to job openings. Success at every stage in the recruitment process hinges on actually sourcing decent candidates in the first place, and thus candidate sourcing must receive special attention from HR professionals and hiring managers.

In this comprehensive guide to sourcing strategies in recruitment, we will explore the most effective methods for identifying and attracting top talent. We will provide an overview of the different sourcing strategies available, along with their advantages and disadvantages. By the end of this guide, you will have the knowledge and tools you need to create a successful sourcing strategy that can help your company attract and retain top talent.

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What are sourcing strategies

Sourcing strategies refer to the systematic approaches employed to identify, attract, and engage qualified candidates for job openings. These strategies involve leveraging various channels, such as online job boards, social media, professional networks, and direct outreach, to build a pool of potential candidates.

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Job boards

Job boards are by far the most popular method of recruitment. Job boards are online platforms that allow companies to post job openings and attract candidates from around the world. They offer a wide range of benefits for recruiters, including a large candidate pool, targeted job listings, and an easy-to-use application process.

With millions of job seekers visiting job boards every month, companies can reach a large and diverse audience with their job postings. This can help to attract a wide range of candidates with varying skill sets and experience levels, providing a rich talent pool for recruiters to choose from. Job boards also offer targeted job listings that can be customised to fit specific criteria, such as location, job type, or experience level. This can help to narrow down the pool of candidates to those who are the best fit for the job, making the recruitment process more efficient and effective.

"One of the main advantages of using job boards is the size of the candidate pool."

- Ben Schwencke

However, with the vast number of job boards available, it can be challenging to choose the right one for your organisation. It's important to research and compare job boards to find the ones that fit your recruitment needs and budget. Some job boards are industry-specific, while others cater to a more general audience. Some charge a fee for job postings, while others offer free job listings. Additionally, it can be hard to estimate the intent of candidates on job boards. Many candidates are only nominally looking for work or may have little motivation to leave their current employer. Consequently, employers must be careful when sourcing candidates through job boards, as not all applicants are equally serious about their job search.

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Social media

Using social media for sourcing candidates is becoming increasingly popular. Social media platforms, such as LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook, provide recruiters with a vast pool of potential candidates. By leveraging social media, recruiters can expand their reach beyond traditional job boards and attract a wider and more diverse talent pool.

One of the main advantages of using social media for sourcing candidates is its ability to target a specific audience. Social media platforms allow recruiters to search for and connect with candidates who have relevant skills and experience.

They can also post job openings on their company pages or through paid advertisements, which can be targeted to specific demographics or geographic locations. Social media is particularly effective for recruiting in niche industries or for hard-to-fill positions, as it allows recruiters to connect with candidates who may not be actively searching for a job.

Despite its benefits, there are also some potential disadvantages to using social media for sourcing candidates. One of the main drawbacks is the potential for information overload. With so many candidates and job openings available on social media, it can be difficult to sort through the noise and find the right fit. Additionally, social media can be time-consuming and may require a dedicated resource to manage effectively. Finally, some social media platforms may not be appropriate for all industries or positions and may not attract the right type of candidate for your organisation.

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Universities and colleges

Using universities to source candidates is a popular way to recruit recent graduates and entry-level employees. Partnering with universities or colleges can help companies build relationships with students and alumni and tap into a fresh pool of talent. This can be particularly beneficial for industries that require specialised knowledge or training, such as engineering or healthcare.

One of the main advantages of using universities to source candidates is the ability to tap into a young and diverse talent pool. University graduates are often eager to gain experience and make their mark in the workforce. They also bring with them fresh ideas, energy, and enthusiasm. By targeting university students and recent graduates, companies can access a pool of candidates with up-to-date knowledge and skills in their field.

"Partnering with universities can also help companies to develop a pipeline of future talent by offering internships or training programs to promising students."

- Ben Schwencke

However, one of the main drawbacks is the limited experience of recent graduates. While they may have the necessary skills and knowledge, they may lack practical experience in a professional setting. This means that companies may need to invest more time and resources in training and development. Additionally, university graduates may have unrealistic expectations of their first job and may not be as committed or loyal as more experienced candidates. Consequently, many graduate and apprenticeship schemes see high levels of attrition, something to always keep in mind when working with emerging talent.

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Professional organisations

Using professional organisations and regulatory bodies to source candidates is a targeted approach to recruitment that can be effective for companies looking for highly specialised talent. Professional organisations and regulatory bodies are industry-specific groups that represent professionals in a particular field, such as law, medicine, or engineering. They often provide job boards, networking events, and training opportunities for their members, making them a valuable resource for companies looking to recruit top talent.

One of the main advantages of using professional organisations and regulatory bodies to source candidates is the ability to target a specific audience.

By focusing on candidates who are members of a particular professional organisation, companies can identify individuals who have the necessary skills, training, and experience in their field. This can be particularly beneficial for highly specialised industries where finding the right talent can be challenging. Additionally, by attending networking events or participating in training programs, companies can connect with potential candidates and showcase their company culture and values. This can help to attract highly motivated and committed candidates who share the same values and goals as the company.

One of the main drawbacks is the limited pool of candidates. While candidates who are members of a particular organisation may have the necessary skills and training, they may not be actively looking for a job or may be highly sought after by other companies. Additionally, some organisations may charge a fee for posting job openings or attending events, which can add to the recruitment costs. Many professional organisations and regulatory bodies have a job board on their main website, which has all the advantages and disadvantages of job boards more generally. Employers must decide for themselves whether these are significantly more cost-effective than regular job boards and then act accordingly.

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Referrals

Using employee referrals to source candidates can be an efficient way to find top talent. Employee referrals are candidates who are recommended by current employees, and they can be a valuable resource for companies looking to expand their workforce. Referral programs can help companies tap into their employees' networks and attract highly motivated and qualified candidates.

One of the main advantages of using employee referrals to source candidates is the quality of the candidates. Referrals are often highly motivated and qualified, as they are recommended by current employees who know the company culture and values. They are also more likely to be a good fit for the company and its values, as they have been recommended by someone who already works there. Additionally, referral programs can help companies reduce recruitment costs, as they are often less expensive than other methods of recruitment, such as job boards or recruiting firms. Additionally, employees who refer successful candidates may receive incentives or rewards, which can help to further engage and retain employees.

However, there are also potential disadvantages to using employee referrals to source candidates. One of the main drawbacks is the potential for bias or favouritism. Referrals may be recommended based on personal relationships or connections, rather than qualifications or skills. This can result in a lack of diversity or a bias towards certain groups or individuals. Additionally, referral programs may not be effective for all types of positions, as some positions may require a wider pool of candidates or specific qualifications. As a result, referral schemes are often reserved for niche and hard-to-fill roles, rather than high volume recruitment campaigns.

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External agencies

Using external agencies to source candidates is a popular method of recruitment that can provide a range of benefits for companies. Recruitment agencies specialise in finding and screening candidates for job openings, and they can be a valuable resource for companies looking to expand their workforce. While there are potential disadvantages, using external agencies to source candidates can be an effective way to find top talent.

One of the main advantages of using external agencies to source candidates is the expertise and resources they can provide. Recruitment agencies have a deep knowledge of the industry and the job market, and they can offer valuable insights into the talent pool and competition. Additionally, they have access to a wide range of job boards, networks, and screening tools, which can help to identify and attract top candidates. Using an external agency can also free up time and resources for the company's internal recruiters, allowing them to focus on other areas of the recruitment process. Lastly, using external agencies to source candidates provides the ability to reach a wider pool of candidates. Recruitment agencies have access to a large and diverse talent pool, which can be particularly beneficial for hard-to-fill positions or niche industries.

However, there are significant disadvantages to using external agencies to source candidates. One of the main drawbacks is the cost. Recruitment agencies often charge a fee for their services, which can add to the recruitment costs for the company. Additionally, there is a risk that the agency may not fully understand the company culture or the requirements of the position, which can result in a mismatched candidate. Finally, using an external agency can also result in a lack of control over the recruitment process, as the agency is responsible for screening and selecting candidates. Overall, using external agencies should be considered a stop-gap solution, with the overall aim of reducing reliance on external agencies over time.

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Passive candidates

Using passive candidates to source candidates is a targeted and tactical approach to recruitment. Passive candidates are individuals who are currently employed and not actively looking for a job, but who may be interested in new opportunities if they are presented to them. While it can be challenging to attract and engage passive candidates, the potential benefits make it a worthwhile strategy for companies.

One of the main advantages of using passive candidates to source candidates is the quality of the candidates. Passive candidates are often highly qualified and experienced, as they have already demonstrated their ability to succeed in their current position. They may also bring a fresh perspective and ideas to the company, as they are not actively job searching and may not have been exposed to other opportunities. Additionally, recruiting passive candidates can help to reduce recruitment costs, as they may be more willing to negotiate on salary and benefits than active candidates.

However, there are also potential disadvantages to using passive candidates to source candidates. One of the main drawbacks is the difficulty in identifying and engaging passive candidates. They may not be actively job searching or responding to job postings, which can make it challenging to reach them. Additionally, recruiting passive candidates can be a time-consuming and resource-intensive process, as it often requires building relationships and trust over time. Overall, this approach makes the most sense when sourcing candidates for roles that must be filled urgently, as it may not be sustainable to base your whole recruitment strategy around passive candidates.

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Summary

Overall, there are four main considerations when choosing a source of candidates:

  • Candidate quality:How suitable the candidates are for the role and how eager they are to follow through with the recruitment process itself.
  • Candidate quantity:How many candidates actually apply to the role itself, giving you more options to choose from while also allowing for some candidate attrition.
  • The cost:The hard financial cost required in order to access candidates from that particular source.
  • Convenience:How much time, effort, and manual input is required to pursue that method of sourcing candidates.

No method of sourcing candidates is ideal for all four of these criteria. Some methods, such as job boards, give you access to a high volume of candidates with a high degree of convenience. However, their costs can be quite high, and the quality of candidate can be unreliable. Conversely, using an outbound passive candidate approach can yield high-quality candidates, but only at low volumes and with a high level of effort and manual input. Consequently, the ideal method for sourcing candidates will depend on a number of factors, including the number of vacancies, the seniority of the role, the level of urgency, and the overall state of the job market.

Whatever your sourcing strategy, Test Partnership can help. By using our highly valid, reliable, and fair assessments, you can easily identify top performers in your applicant pool, vastly improving the quality of hire. Additionally, our assessments can be used to create concise and effective shortlists, minimising the administrative burden associated with candidate sifting. Lastly, we offer a range of flexible pricing models, ensuring that our solutions are always cost-effective, freeing up HR budget for other things. Test Partnership’s platform and assessments are the ideal tool to complement any sourcing strategy, helping you to hire the best candidates every time.

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