Recruitment Strategies: The Power of Sourcing

Posted: February, 15, 2022 | Categories: Interviewing and Hiring


By the year 2030, there will be a global human talent shortage of more than 85 million people. According to Korn Ferry, a global organizational consulting firm, “In the United States, the majority of baby boomers will have moved out of the workforce by 2030, but younger generations will not have had the time or training to take many of the high-skilled jobs left behind.” This means that employers will continue to see an increased difficulty in not just hiring the right candidate but hiring people in general.

In the following, we’ll show you the process behind the most important step in recruiting top talent – sourcing. 




Talent Sourcing and Why it’s Necessary

Talent sourcing, otherwise known as candidate sourcing or recruitment sourcing, is the process of actively searching for qualified candidates rather than waiting for applications to come to you. Sourcing is a crucial part of the professional recruitment process where recruiters (or sourcers) search an extensive network of resume databases, social platforms, colleges, referrals, and applicant tracking systems to find quality candidates. Conducting a proactive search while also running the typical online advertisements allows you to reach a larger talent pool of passive (or currently employed) and active candidates.

With the current talent shortage, advertising on social media or even a job board is not enough. “Talent shortages in the United States have risen to historical levels [in 2021], with 69% of employers having difficulty filling jobs – the highest in more than a decade,” says Red Branch Media.

Talent sourcing allows you to fill positions with the best people, even the ones who aren’t looking for a new job. According to Lever, only 36% of the workforce is actively seeking a new role at any given time, but 90% are willing to talk with a recruiter and learn more about an available opportunity. Lever also found that sourced candidates are two times more efficient than candidates who have applied to a position, meaning they are more likely to take the job. 




What is the Cost?

Talent sourcing costs your corporation’s time and money. Given the internal consumption of resources required to source candidates, many choose to outsource to an experienced and professional staffing agency. If you decide to conduct the process internally, here are the budget considerations:


Job Board/Resume Databases - In addition to charging for job ad posting, job boards like Indeed, Zip Recruiter, Monster, or Career Builder offer access to their database of resumes – i.e., the resumes of every job seeker who is registered on their website. You will have to manually run various types of searches to find the resumes you’re looking for. Then, you’ll typically pay $2-5 for each message you send to candidates you identify. Keep in mind, it can take hundreds of messages when doing cold outreach like this before you find someone who is interested in talking, let alone joining your team. This process is time-consuming and costly, even for professionals.


Social Platforms – Sourcing candidates from social media platforms such as LinkedIn is an effective way to find highly skilled professionals. However, there are a few things to consider. LinkedIn’s lowest-tier plan, Recruiter Lite, is $140/month which includes just 30 InMails (or messages to prospective candidates). On top of that, you are limited to messaging people up to your 3rd degree of connections. Plans with better access typically are around $900/month. It’s hard to quantify the hours needed by your hiring manager, to run searches and filter through profiles. 


Colleges & Schools – Sourcing candidates from colleges and schools is one of the more hands-on approaches to talent sourcing. If your company already consistently communicates and works with the appropriate college career center, you may have access to a list of recent graduates and your partnership may include campus job fair participation. If your company does not, this process requires extensive research and outreach in order to get started. While there may not be any direct fees involved in partnering with schools, it will certainly take up your or your employee’s time.


Referrals – Employee referral programs are one of the most effective methods for sourcing quality candidates. According to a study done by erin app, 82% of employers found employee referrals to have the best ROI. For the employer, this may cost an incentive such as a reward or bonus for the employee or referrer.


ATS (Applicant Tracking Systems) – Companies with a large HR or talent acquisition department may utilize applicant tracking software, or ATS, to manage their network of potential candidates or temps from their staffing pipeline. An ATS talent pool takes months/years to grow, and requires consistent communication with candidates to keep them interested in future opportunities. ATS systems can be expensive and cost-prohibitive for smaller-sized organizations. For larger organizations and staffing agencies, an ATS is an essential investment. 




Process of Talent Sourcing

The process of recruiting candidates through sourcing is a proactive approach that requires a lot of research, outreach, and follow-up in order to reach quality candidates.

1. Create a Candidate Identity or Persona – Consider the expectations and requirements of the role and create a persona with the skills, experience, interests, and values the ideal candidate may need.

2. Collaborate with the Hiring Manager or Recruiter – If you are working with your company’s internal hiring manager or a professional outside recruiter, it is important to make sure you are on the same page regarding what you are looking for in a quality candidate. Communicate your expectations clearly and ensure the job description and candidate identity align before you begin the sourcing process.

3. Utilize your ATS or Candidate Bench – This is a good place to start because candidates in your ATS or on your “bench” are warm contacts who have already expressed interest in the role or the type of role for which you are hiring. Your bench can also include temporary candidates who may have impressed you in the past.

4. Utilize Your Networks – After reaching out to potential candidates from your bench, reach out to your professional network and ask for referrals. Then, find professionals connected to those you may already know and reach out to them with information on your available position and why you believe they may be a great fit.

5. Reach out to Cold Contacts – While it’s essential to offer competitive salaries and benefits to attract the best candidates, it is not enough. When sourcing from job boards or social media, reach out to potential candidates with an engaging message catered toward the individual’s interests. Create a subject that encourages them to open your message and learn more about the available position. Include information about which of their credentials impressed you and why you believe they may be a great fit. Due to the cost of each message sent through job board resume database subscriptions, you’ll also want to make sure that you are only reaching out to candidates who fit your candidate identity or persona.

6. Follow-up – Follow-up is a critical step in the sourcing process. The candidate may have missed your initial message, been unsure or unready to reply before learning more about your company, or forgotten to respond, so it’s always a good idea to leave a follow-up message. If a few days have passed without a reply, send a follow-up message that highlights additional benefits of the role and your eagerness to learn more about their experience.



Advertising an open position on job boards or social media is no longer enough to attract employees. Companies must actively search for and reach out to potential candidates if they want to fill an open position. This takes time and money. One option is to outsource your hiring process through a staffing agency/talent acquisition firm. Professional staffing agencies have a team of recruiters and sourcers who utilize their extensive networks and ATS systems to find and help you hire top talent.




JWilliams Staffing is here to help your company navigate the recruitment process. With over 20 years of experience in the industry, we have built a strong network of job seekers who are ready to work. Our expert recruiters carefully source, screen, and identify any cross application of skillsets in candidates necessary to excel in their career. Learn more about our temporary and direct hire staffing services today!

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By JWilliams Staffing

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