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How to create a sourcing strategy that works

Gurprit Bhambra
By Gurprit Bhambra
on November 23, 2014

A talent trends report from LinkedIn has shown that there are a relatively low number of active candidates in the talent market - around 25%. This means that a whopping 75% of the market place are passive candidates. In addition to this, only 15% of these are completely satisfied in their current role.

So how do you begin to put together a sourcing strategy that will help target both active and passive candidates to ensure you reach 100% of the market place?


Sourcing StrategyBy adopting the methods below you will be able to gain an understanding of the current talent market place, the motivators of your target candidate (both active and passive) and their perception of your brand. You can then use this to help craft the perfect searches using a wide array of channels, sources and tools that will lead to finding the best person for your role.

Big data

If you haven’t already, it’s time to embrace the benefits that big data has to offer and utilize this to help make intelligent hiring decisions. By undertaking activities to analyze specifics such as the talent market, candidate supply and demand, and gathering information on your competitors, you and your hiring managers can better understand the current talent market place. Not only will this help you to review important factors such as if you’re paying the right salary, or pitching the role at the right level, but the information will go a long way to ensuring the success of your sourcing strategy. 

Power of your Brand

It is absolutely essential to understand the perception of your brand within the market place and from a candidate’s point of view. Without this, you will fail to tempt people to join your organization. Some points to consider include:

  • What advantages do your competitors have over your organization?
  • How easy or difficult is it for them to recruit?
  • What do they offer in comparison to what you’re offering?
  • What are people saying about your brand?
  • How is your company perceived against your competitors?

All of these factors are highly likely to have an effect on determining how easy or difficult it will to be to attract candidates to work for your organization. By understanding the motivators of your audience, you’ll be better placed to attract them.


The next step is to figure out where you are likely to find the candidate that will be a good fit for the role and can meet the role requirements. Research details about your ideal candidate such as relevant job titles, keywords you can use in your searches, any professional societies or organizations they may be members of, qualifications they may have and find out where they typically socialize online such as social networks or forums. All of this is key to helping you to perfect your search and targeting the right channels to help you to find the ideal candidate quickly.

Utilize what you have

It’s a given that all recruiters work to some sort of time constraints; many are measured on metrics such as time to fill and cost per hire, so utilizing what you have access to – quickly, can often produce better results than you may think. Kick off your sourcing strategy by hunting through your Applicant Tracking System (ATS) to see what hidden gems you can find. Is there anyone who may not have made it through the whole process for a similar role but could be good for yours? Have a look through your talent pool or community and gather employee referrals – these are all people who have expressed interest in your brand at some point, so why not take advantage of that?

Be strategic

Where to advertise and how to source for your role can be tricky decisions to make. Focus on advertising where you have been proven to get the best exposure and results. It’s important to bear in mind that quality is much more important than quantity of applications. Next, you’ll need to use your research and keywords to craft targeted Boolean search strings; whether you’re trawling through resume databases, social networking sites such as LinkedIn or Twitter or searching through forums, these will help narrow your search. Working strategically will help you to source more efficiently and effectively.

Think outside the box

If your role is very niche or hard to fill, think outside the box. Consider running a document search by using a variety of search engines as each will produce different results. Using this method, you can not only find hidden CVs, but also documents such as attendee lists for conferences or key note speakers from which you can extract key information such as a name, job title and organization they work for, which is often enough to help you find them on social networks or obtain contact details for them. Name generation is very useful in helping you find people you would not usually find in CV databases, purely because of the fact that these are passive candidates. Dependent on the role, consider searching for names through a patent database or specific journals. By simply getting creative, there are countless ways you can unearth even the most hidden of gems.


What are some of the additional tools you’ll need to help you source? Google chrome app store has a wide variety of extensions and add-on's for your chrome browser that you can use for free to help you find candidates on social networks and obtain their contact information such as an email address. There are also various websites that will put a Boolean string together for you which can be useful when you are running complex searches.


What are some of your successful sourcing strategies? How do you ensure you are targeting passive candidates? Feel free to leave comments below!

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Gurprit Bhambra
Written by Gurprit Bhambra

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