This article on Candidate Sourcing was originally published in July of 2015. All relevant statistics and copy have been updated as of November 2020.
Sourcing candidates is an art, and like all art forms, it’s as difficult as it is rewarding. How do you know which avenues are working and which aren't? What’s the line between sticking with good sources and trying new ones? When you’re trying to build better methods of finding great hires, it can be difficult to know the best practices and what to avoid. With that in mind, we’ve pulled together 8 quick tips to get you started on your next sourcing campaign with your applicant tracking system.
1. Find Fewer, Better Candidates
When it comes to job applicants, quality is better than quantity. Depending on your industry, you could be flooded with applicants but find that none of them are as qualified as you had hoped. When looking for new sources, focus not on how many candidates a source can give you but how many qualified candidates it can get you. Applicant tracking systems can help to alleviate some of the work from HR departments by helping to screen resumes and schedule interviews.
Tip: If you want to attract higher-quality candidates, focus on demonstrating the values of your company. Studies have shown that candidates are more highly engaged and interested in organizations where they can clearly see the company’s values and identify how they can help advance your goals.
2. Track Your Stats
An easy way to find the best recruitment avenues for your company is to track them through platforms like your applicant tracking system. When you implement a source-tracking solution, you’ll get data on which leads to hires the most frequently and which ones you’re better off putting on the back burner. Tracking where you are finding your candidates helps you better invest your time and money. For example, career sites account for 25% of all applicants to job postings, whereas agencies only account for 4%. A strong ATS will help highlight where you are getting the best candidates from so that you can stop investing in sources that aren’t working.
Tip: Use your ATS to nurture your leads. By tracking the conversations you and your candidates are having, you can create personalized messaging that attracts higher-qualified candidates.
3. Use the Buddy System
While you’re looking internally for new hires, make sure to ask employees who might be interested in a new position if they know anyone who could fill their current one. Employee referrals have long been one of the most potent recruiting sources, making up 16% of all hires. When you get employees involved in your sourcing and recruiting, they’ll also feel a better sense of commitment to the company, making them a more productive employee.
Did you know: Referrals are the 3rd highest source for filling new roles. Asking your current employees for referrals is a great way to find qualified candidates and find candidates that fit your organization’s culture.
4. Keep it Fresh
While you’re tracking all of your new hires, make sure you’re always introducing new sources into the mix, just to keep your source-tracker busy (and your hiring alive). You won’t know if that new source of hiring everyone’s talking about will really work until you try it for yourself. So while you’re dumping out of all your old, ineffective hiring methods, make sure to keep adding new ones. If they don’t work out, that’s too bad. But if they do, they’ll practically pay for themselves. The risk on some sources will always be higher than others, but it’s usually worth the risk to try out new avenues and see if they can’t get you better candidates.
Tip: Need some help finding new sources for candidates? Check out these tips for sourcing new candidates.
5. When In Rome
Large-scale recruiting companies like LinkedIn and Glassdoor realize that a one-size-fits-all approach to recruiting doesn’t work. LinkedIn is adopting more location-based recruiting solutions, and Glassdoor’s new Job Explorer software connects jobs with quality candidates on a more local level. Recruiters need to pick up on these signals and adapt the wording on their job posts, interviewing methodology, and sourcing, depending on where they’re recruiting. It pays to be nimble.
Tip: Did you know that the wording you use on your job applications affect the candidates you receive? Check out this list of things to keep in mind when creating job postings.
6. Have Guidelines, Not Standards
Job requirements are tricky. Women only apply to a job when they feel 100% qualified after reading the job descriptions, but men will apply when they feel 60% qualified. There’s a good chance that most of them won’t meet 100% of the qualifications. However, suppose they feel confident in applying, even though they might not be proficient in everything you need them to be. In that case, they have other areas of expertise that can benefit your organization in ways you haven’t thought of before. Some requirements will be a baseline, but don’t be afraid of compromising in some areas if it means gaining new expertise you can use down the road.
Tip: Sometimes, soft skills are more important than technical skills. While a strong candidate can always be taught the technical skills needed for the job, soft skills such as communication, leadership, and time management are much more challenging to improve.
7. Be The Candidate
Around 30% of candidates never hear back from the employer. If you were a candidate, how would this make you feel? How would you go about fixing it? If you want to source like a pro, think like a candidate. What channels would you use when looking for a job? Have you heard any interesting stories from friends about how they got their job? Think that could make for a useful source in the future? Embodying candidates is one of the best ways to think of new hiring sources since most of these solutions could prove more practical than big-picture ones.
Tip: Try using a mobile application tool to assist with your recruiting efforts. ClearCompany’s Text To Apply offers a new recruiting and job application process that might attract stronger candidates for your open positions.
8. Know Your (Talent) Audience
Thinking like a candidate also lets you know what kind of candidate to look for. And this helps when trying to understand that the audience for your jobs is not the same as your audience for your product. Your commercial audience may be executives, businessmen, or the average joe. Still, when you’re recruiting, your audience is far more likely to be people out of college or someone already working in your industry with your talent competitor. Keeping these things in mind is crucial to determining your recruiting strategy and will help you craft a better sourcing campaign and a more powerful job ad.
Bonus Material: Does your candidate experience need a bit of a facelift? Check out our advice on simple ways to better your hiring process for job applicants.
Sourcing to find great hires involves juggling many tasks at once. But when you implement these tips into your sourcing and hiring strategy, you’ll make things a lot easier on yourself and find some great candidates along the way.
ClearCompany allows you to track just about every sourcing channel imaginable and creates a talent pipeline that lets you easily follow up with every candidate. To see what the most robust applicant tracking system around looks like, sign up for a demo or reach out to one of our experts today.
As the head of a department in the midst of a sustained period of rapid growth, Sara has spent thousands of hours interviewing, hiring, onboarding and assessing employees and candidates. She is passionate about sharing the best practices she has learned from both successes and failures in talent acquisition and management.