15 candidate sourcing strategies for any business


When your business needs to fill job vacancies, you should consider implementing different sourcing strategies to identify and attract the best candidates. The sourcing strategies you use will be dependent on different factors, like the number of candidates you need to recruit as well as your budget.

Here are 15 effective strategies for sourcing candidates to help you to find the most suitable people to join your company:

1. Search for resumes online

Many people now post their portfolios and resumes online. They can create their own website to display their work and include images, files or an “about” page to attract potential employers. This is popular among professionals in the tech industry, creative arts or other types of contingency workers. This strategy is ideal for sourcing passive candidates.

2. Get referrals from current employees

Employee referrals are an effective option for your candidate sourcing strategy. In a survey of 73 major employers, it was found that referrals have the highest interview to hire ratio, and they are 10-30% less likely to leave the job, which will have a positive effect on your staff turnover rates. Additionally, 88% of these employers said that referrals are the best source for finding above average candidates. To incentivize employee referrals, offer an incentive program for employees who refer a candidate that goes on to be hired.

3. Reach out to people who were unsuccessful the first time

When you are in the recruitment process, you may have dozens, if not hundreds, of candidates with only one position to fill. There is most likely more than one qualified candidate. Use your applicant tracking system (ATS) to retain information about suitable candidates. If a similar position opens up again, contact some suitable candidates from the last round of interviews.

This candidate sourcing strategy will help to reduce your time to hire rates because you already have these candidates’ information on file and may have gone through the interview process. Additionally, candidates who have previously applied for a position with your company are four times more likely to respond to an opportunity.


4. Use the best sourcing tools

The sourcing tool you use should be suited to the type of business you are recruiting for. For example, if you recruit for franchises, the tool you choose should be capable of handling numerous applications at one time, without compromising the quality of the application.

Click here to find out how one recruiter is able to effectively manage nearly 2,000 candidates when hiring employees for the one of the biggest fast food chains.

You also need to include specialist sourcing tools in your hiring strategy when dealing with high-volume and high-turnover businesses, like on-demand and delivery companies. Fountain is especially positioned to help companies who require a large amount of staff to source, recruit and onboard staff quickly and efficiently.

5. Include passive candidates in your pipeline.

Your hiring pipeline is where potential candidates information is stored. By creating an effective pipeline, you have a good foundation for your candidate sourcing strategy. If you find an interesting candidate but do not have an open position, retain their information in case a suitable position becomes available in the future.

Even if the person you are interested in is currently employed, take the risk and reach out to them. A survey from LinkedIn showed that 90% of people are interested in new opportunities while only 36% are actively looking. Reaching out to working professionals that you are interested in may produce positive results.

6. Host events.

A traditional job fair can sometimes be just what you need in your candidate sourcing strategy. The people who attend these events are people who probably already know your company and have been waiting for an opportunity to work with you.

You can choose how formal or informal these events are. You can have anything from a bowling night with some Q&A time, to a tour of the facilities with one-on-one interviews to follow.

Another strategy would be to host a competition involving the skill that you are hiring for. For example, if you are a restaurant looking to hire a new chef, you can have a cook-off. You do not necessarily need to hire the winner but you can hire candidates that you felt coped well under pressure or displayed other qualifications that you are looking for.

Be sure to invite current employees to this event. You never know who may be interested in progressing in your company. Sometimes the best candidate is one that has already experience with your business.


7. Be transparent about perks, benefits and salary

Research shows that being transparent about salaries and benefits not only saves you time, it significantly increases engagement with the job posting. Including this information can increase engagement by up to 30%. Ultimately, your chances of finding a good candidate are increased by your willingness to be transparent about your salary and benefits.

If you are concerned that candidates will try to take advantage of this candidate sourcing strategy, it is helpful to remember that job seekers do not want to waste their time either. Many of them are searching for jobs while working full-time. If they feel like they cannot successfully convince you of their skills or negotiate the pay to compensate for their experience level, they are unlikely to apply.

8. Use your website.

If you have a quality website with high traffic and engagement, use this to your advantage during the recruiting process. Repeat visitors already know about your company and are choosing to support it. They are likely to be involved in a similar industry or, at the very least, have an interested in it.

This candidate sourcing strategy will open up the candidate pool to include people who are already passionate about your product or service. People will be more excited to support a brand or product that they believe in. Including the job ad on your website will give your supporters a chance to work for your business.

9. Craft a good outgoing message.

If you are sourcing passive candidates, make sure that the initial message that you send them is well written. The first line of contact is the subject line of the email. Make sure that it is engaging and will get the candidate to open the message.

Keep the message personalized. Make sure that the candidate knows that you are interested in them specifically. They will be less likely to answer if they think you sent the same message to 50 other candidates. By asking about them personally, you show them that you really value their experience.

Asking for personalized information will also help you understand the candidate's needs and offer them what they want. Ask questions like, “What do you look for in a career?” or “What is holding you back from switching employers?” By finding out this information, you can meet their needs to entice them to join your company.

How to source for candidates and all the considerations.

10. Write a good job description.

A good job description is the bread and butter of effective candidate sourcing strategies. If you cannot describe the position that you are hiring for and the candidate qualifications that you value, this will negatively affect engagement with your job description.

Here are some things to consider when writing a quality job description:

  • Avoid job titles that you use internally (i.e. Member Service Representative).
  • Use words that people will search for. Think about your potential candidate. Be clear and use words like “accountant” or “marketing” that are simple and expected. Very few people are going to search “Social Media Guru.”
  • Keep it between 700-2000 words. According to an Indeed study, descriptions in this range receive 30% more applications on average.
  • Give them an idea of what it is like to work with you. Include descriptions of day-to-day responsibilities, workplace culture and how the job relates to the rest of the business.
  • To ensure that your description is accurate and covers all of the necessary information, have someone who is already in that position read over the description and make suggestions for edits.

11. Follow up with passive candidates, even if you have not heard from them.

While you are sourcing passive candidates, it is important to stay on your candidate’s radar by congratulating them on their accomplishments, asking them about projects that you have discussed, or inquiring about their satisfaction with their current employment.

Your candidate may not have responded to your first contact attempt, but by messaging them every so often, you remind them that the opportunity to discuss a new position is still open. You can communicate to them that you have not forgotten them and are still interested in working with them in the future. Do not pressure them to make any changes. Just remind them that your company is an option for them.

12. Go to networking events.

Networking events are not just for people looking for jobs. They are great for your business too. Get your foot in the door with potential candidates by having a booth at networking events.

When you utilize this candidate sourcing strategy, it is easier for you to follow up with both passive and active candidates. They will be more comfortable communicating with you because they have built a foundation with you and they recognize your business.

13. Build a strong company brand.

A strong and clear company brand will help you recruit only the candidates who think they are a good fit for the position. When you are able to convey a clear picture of what your company values and what it will be like to work there, you will narrow down your field of candidates automatically.

This candidate sourcing strategy will draw people in and make them excited to work with you. It will save you some of the effort when sourcing candidates as people will seek out openings in your company.


14. Use social media platforms.

To help develop your brand, utilize social media platforms. Through this medium, you can talk about how your company started, what your mission statement is, and what you are hoping to do next in an organic way. Interested candidates will be able to engage with your content and ask questions.

This works well with the build a strong company brand candidate sourcing strategy. An effective social media profile will show potential candidates what you are all about and get them excited about the idea of working with you.

15. Recruit from within.

There are a few situations where it makes sense to hire from within. If you are a small business or working on a tight budget, it will save you money in the recruiting process--training costs, job posting fees and background check fees. If you are working on a complex project, it may be better to promote or transfer someone who already has knowledge of the project.

This candidate sourcing strategy will also show your current employees that you are invested in their development. Most people stay with a company longer if they believe that there is room for them to promoted to better positions. Giving them opportunities to do this will decrease turnover.

It is important to have the right tools to support your sourcing strategy. The tools you choose should include features, like one-click sourcing, advanced communication features and integration with services to provide a complete recruitment management experience. Fountain provides all of these functionality and more.

Book a free personalized demo to find out why Fountain should be an integral part of your sourcing strategy to attract and secure the best candidates.


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