The Journey of Hiring in the Modern Age Part 1: Sourcing and Outreach


Warren Pugash and Jason Chan | July 14th, 2017

When trying to fill a position, whether entry or management level, it is especially easy for companies to put up a job posting and expect candidates to send in resumes. However, in a time of low unemployment, top candidates are off the market within days and generally have multiple offers to choose from. This is where sourcing passive candidates becomes an effective strategy for keeping talent pipelines flowing; recruiters actively search through a wide variety of channels to find for candidates that are a proper fit for a company’s needs and culture. They can even find passive candidates who may not be looking for jobs themselves but are still qualified and may be interested. Sourcing passive candidates is also useful in recruiting for a niche or high-level job opening, or one which requires an unique combination of skills. Job postings for these positions may not attract many resumes, but actively recruiting passive candidates increases the likelihood of finding top talent. Finding a balance between hiring costs and quality of hire is crucial. An expensive recruiting pipeline puts pressure on limited resources, yet hiring the wrong person can significantly negatively impact operations. For organizations that require employees to wear many hats, finding quality candidates can be a resource that pays off exponentially.

Starting out:

Of course, sourcing doesn’t mean simply cyberstalking the first few candidates on LinkedIn and contacting them through email. There are several elements that must be considered before beginning. The most important primary step is to establish a clear and unified vision of what the ideal candidate profile looks like, ideally in about 5–10 key requirements. Ironing out characteristics that are and aren’t necessary for the role will give a clear direction that will make the hiring process more efficient. It will also lend information on where to look for candidates that fit the requirements, such as past companies or social media sites. A solid structure for consistent candidate outreach must also be established, ranging from the medium to the number of rounds of contact. Once again, considering the ideal candidate profile helps in identifying the appropriate method to reach out to the intended talent pool. Being too aggressive, not being persistent enough, or using an out of date medium of contact can all be inefficient, ineffective, and can deter candidates from responding.

Staying with the times:

Critical platforms for candidate sourcing are social media sites, both those intended for job finding and those intended for personal use. Candidates have become more accustomed to using LinkedIn and Twitter in professional settings, and generally have profiles on Facebook, GitHub, Quora, and others. Most candidates are active on these sites, and it is important to have a presence there as well. Active Twitter and LinkedIn pages with relevant, informative content are important for candidates who are looking to research companies they have offers from. Niched sites can help diversify sourcing channels to find a greater variety of candidates and outreach on these lesser-known sources may seem more personal as well. These resources can provide a much clearer image of a candidate, one that extends far beyond just the resume, and are very valuable in qualifying a candidate. Another effective social media is one that is less technology driven: face-to-face events such as job fairs, networking events, and industry specific events have the benefit of less competition and more interaction with candidates.

Refer, refer, refer!

Another extremely productive way to source candidates can come from within the office. Referred candidates are hired faster, more vetted, and stay longer 2. On average, it takes 29 days to hire a referred candidate, compared to 39 days for a candidate from a job posting. Because there’s no need to post on job boards or hire an agency, referred candidates are also cheaper to hire. Strategies for kickstarting an employee referral program are very simple to implement in any company. Even if there are no open positions, connecting with new hires about friends or family who might be a perfect fit is worthwhile for identifying future candidates. It is also important to make sure all employees are reminded constantly of referral opportunities and successful hire.The most effective way to motivate employees is with prizes. Monetary bonuses, perks like days off and public shoutouts are all ways to boost referrals within the office. Most importantly, keep employees aware of open positions. Many employees don’t refer because they don’t know what positions are open.

But is it enough?

Greater sourcing efforts will result in a larger talent pool to choose from and a greater number of qualified candidates who submit resumes. This is especially important in building a strong and dedicated team of the best candidates available. However it does lead to additional work for recruiters and hiring teams; sifting through a tall stack of resumes can consume time and can be very inefficient. A strong referral program can also have the effect of decreasing diversity due to the fact that most referrals come from similar educational, professional, or personal backgrounds as the employee who referred them. For example, startups with founding teams of men tend to hire predominantly men. Taking advantage of local resources is a large part of sourcing and recruiting. Spark AI is equipped to help manage the influx of resumes by sifting through hundreds in seconds. Recruiters are left to pursue interviews with only the most qualified candidates while cutting the average time to fill an open position by three to four times. Check out our video below to get a better idea of how AI is changing the recruiting business:

Works Cited

“Average Cost-per-Hire for Companies Is $4,129, SHRM Survey Finds.” SHRM. N.p., 03 Aug. 2016. Web. 14 July 2017. <>.

Dhillon, Kiran. “9 Tricks to Put Your Employee Referral Program into Overdrive.” Lever. N.p., 21 Jan. 2016. Web. 14 July 2017. <>.

“Greenhouse Blog.” Sourcing for Candidates & Challenges | Greenhouse Software. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 July 2017. <>.

Lever, Inc. “Candidate Sourcing Strategies to Build Your Talent Pipeline.” Candidate Sourcing Strategies to Build Your Talent Pipeline. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 July 2017.<>.

Orfao, Alexandra. “Candidate Sourcing Strategies | 18 Tips for Recruiters.” Bullhorn. N.p., 30 Mar. 2017. Web. 14 July 2017. <>.

Petrone, Paul. “4 Steal-Worthy Secrets of Top Employee Referral Programs.” LinkedIn Talent Blog. N.p., 13 Jan. 2016. Web. 13 July 2017. <>.

Slezak, Paul. “Why Sourcing Needs to Be Key to Your Recruitment Strategy.” Do Better Hiring — The RecruitLoop Blog. N.p., 10 Feb. 2016. Web. 14 July 2017. <>.

“The Impact of Employee Referrals | ICIMS.” ICIMS© Hire Expectations™. ICIMS Inc., 2015. Web. 13 July 2017. <>.

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