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Talent Sourcing in a Candidate’s Market

It’s been quite a few years now since the recruitment equation switched — from employers sitting in the “catbird seat” — to jobseekers taking over that perch. The job market has only continued to tighten with each passing year. Today, it is the companies that need to prove their worth, rather than the other way around.

Talent sourcing at a time when jobs outnumber candidates is an early, critical step in what should be a rigorous, strategic recruitment process. Your process may begin with writing and posting a well-thought-out job description. But praying that your ideal candidate sees your ad won’t help you find the top talent you need today or at any point in the foreseeable future. And yet, a surprising number of organizations still depend almost exclusively on the outdated “post and pray” method to attract candidates. Sourcing is the most critical element of recruitment after employment branding. If your sourcing doesn’t attract top performers, you can’t make a quality hire.

Sourcing is the process of identifying and engaging people with the right qualifications and culture fit for your organization before they become actual job candidates. Successful sourcing in today’s job market recognizes that people are likely talking to many other potential employers and probably have numerous options for employment. So, what can you do to convince them to consider you? The answer is, manage sourcing and the entire recruitment process the same proactive way you manage your sales process — and treat potential candidates like you do customers.

Sourcing is the most critical element of recruitment after employment branding.

Think Like a Sales Rep

Like successful sales representatives, the best talent sourcers have a deep understanding of their organization’s business needs, culture, and employer brand.

They have equal understanding of what’s important to job seekers today, including purpose, inclusiveness, and the flexibility to work from anywhere.

Sourcers are tasked with:

Researching where to find the best job candidates. This includes appropriate job boards, search engines, social media, local technical colleges and universities, networking websites, and professional events, as well as the viability of holding job fairs and other candidate events.

Remember that some of the most effective sources for new talent are well-paying employee referral programs, hiring former employees, and promoting or developing current employees.

Creating a compelling job post. Details matter! The post should have a searchable title and provide an accurate description of the desired skills and experience preferred or required, and character traits you’re looking for.

It should also describe the most compelling aspects of your culture. For example: your mission and values; generosity of compensation and benefits; flexibility for remote and hybrid work; leadership philosophy and style; and diversity, equity, and inclusiveness (DEI) commitment.

Refresh your employee value proposition (EVP) to reflect today’s workplace expectations and feature it prominently.

Making the first contact. Share the ad on job boards, your organization’s website and social media page, social media networks, and in print.

Make sure your website has an irresistible careers page that promotes your organization as a great place to work (and make sure that it’s true). Invite your employees, vendors, and followers to share the post with their networks.

Following up. The first contact is only the beginning, and creates that all-important first impression of your organization. Make it a good one, and amplify it by communicating frequently and respectfully with your potential candidates. Move speedily from post to recruiter. A slow, arduous process risks losing the candidate altogether.

Our tight job market means you have to source in places you might not have looked for candidates in the past: underrepresented groups like people with disabilities; younger and older people; people who have been incarcerated; and people who may not possess the skills now but can be upskilled.

Thinking outside the box can bring new diversity and inclusivity to your workplace, which in itself helps to attract top talent, enhance your brand, and increase your competitive position.

Sourcing and recruiting at its essence, is about connecting people. Rather than praying for the right people, be open-minded, and you’ll find them in ways and places you never imagined.


Kathleen Quinn VotawKathleen Quinn Votaw is Founder/CEO and Speaker/Author of TalenTrust and KQV Speaks. Her first book, Solve the People Puzzle: How High-Growth Companies Attract and Retain Top Talent, debuted in February 2016; with the second book, Dare to Care in the Workplace: A Guide to the New Way We Work and related Podcast launched between 2021-2022.
Kathleen and her firm have achieved many recognitions from many well-known organizations, including ColoradoBiz Magazine, Vistage Worldwide, and the coveted Inc. 5000 for two consecutive years. Kathleen is a regularly published columnist and popular speaker on topics related to HR strategies and workplace culture. Reach Kathleen at [email protected] or (303) 838-3334.