Posted by John Kleeman, Founder

What is candidate sourcing?

Candidate sourcing is the process of finding suitable candidates for current or future job openings. The discipline often falls under recruitment, but it is also distinct.  Whereas sourcing strategies aim to create a rich candidate pool, recruitment strategies narrow this down to the best person for the job.

Online skills assessments help identify high-caliber candidates and indicate which roles they may be suited to.  Book a demo of our online assessment platform.

Below we share our advice for recruitment teams on creating an effective candidate sourcing strategy.  

1. Make a plan

Get to grips with the requirements of the role and create a candidate persona.  This is effectively a blueprint of the ideal candidate, with all the essential skills and characteristics clearly defined.  This can act as a benchmark to test people against.

2. Diversify your candidate sourcing pool

A diverse candidate pool comprises several groups. These include:

  • Previous applicants – people who have applied to your organization but were unsuccessful.  It’s worth tracking and re-visiting these, as they may be a perfect match for another role
  • Passive candidates – people open to opportunities but not activity hunting
  • In-role candidates – those in the equivalent role at another organization
  • Out-of-role candidates – those looking to side-step, or take the next step in their career

3. Ask colleagues and employees

Candidates sourced through employee referrals are more likely to receive and accept an offer, stay longer and perform better.[1] It’s also worth talking to existing employees in similar roles to understand which professional platforms they use.  This can help develop a more effective social media recruiting strategy.  

4. Make job descriptions clear and succinct

Run through job descriptions and remove points that are nice-to-have, rather than essential.  Research shows that women are unlikely to apply for a job role unless they meet 100% of the listed qualifications.[2] This means that publishing unnecessarily long or prescriptive job descriptions could inhibit your ability to source the best talent.

5. Source candidates even if no roles are available

Work closely with business leaders to establish their mid to long-term objectives and how these impact people requirements.  A new emphasis on digital transformation or customer experience, for example, might necessitate new skill sets.  After assembling a list of the skills and characteristics needed, start sourcing candidates that meet these criteria.

6. Follow up

Recruitment is one area where persistence can pay.  A prospective candidate may not respond first time round for several reasons, but a targeted follow-up could generate a completely different result.

7. Use online assessments to measure skills

Online assessments provide a crucial final filter between sourcing and recruitment stages.  Using these, ensure any candidates put forward have all the skills and attributes necessary to succeed in the role before they enter the hiring process. This can save recruiting teams time down the line. Book a demo of our online assessment platform

Accelerating the sourcing process

Candidate sourcing is a crucial component of any recruitment strategy, but it can be time consuming.  One of the best ways to make the process more efficient is to build a book of suitable people, which recruiters can turn to when a new role becomes available.  Assessing the skills of candidates at sourcing stage will help identify great people.  

 Book a demo of our online assessment platform


[1] https://hbr.org/2020/05/build-a-stronger-employee-referral-program

[2] https://hbr.org/2014/08/why-women-dont-apply-for-jobs-unless-theyre-100-qualified