6 Best Practices for Sourcing Candidates


HR Insights for ProfessionalsThe latest thought leadership for HR pros

Monday, March 23, 2020

One of the most important elements of the recruitment process is sourcing candidates and there are many different ways that companies approach this.

Article 4 Minutes
6 Best Practices for Sourcing Candidates

With the majority of qualified candidates being passive (around 70%, according to inc.com), the effectiveness of sourcing is even more important than ever. Mastering the right sourcing strategy for your organization can save significant recruiting costs, and enables you to find the best candidates while eliminating time-consuming tasks.

Here are 6 best practices for sourcing candidates:

1. Work closely with the hiring manager

The recruiter has to work closely with the hiring manager to ensure that their idea of the ideal candidate is the same. Before searching for candidates, meet to discuss the role and use the hiring manager’s insight on the best channels to find their perfect candidate. Collaborate to create a list of role-specific keywords to use in your search.

2. Build a strong sourcing pipeline

Having a pipeline of high-quality candidates is an essential part of a successful recruiting strategy, therefore recruiters should work on building a talent pool and developing relationships with potential candidates. Work proactively by identifying areas that have a high employee turnover, and develop a talent pipeline for those relevant roles.

Explore both internal and external talent. For internal talent, work with the training and development team to identify opportunities to help develop skills within your internal candidate pool. With external candidates, if they’re not interested in applying for a role, keep in contact with them in case another role comes up when they’re more open to moving.

3. Have a good Applicant Tracking System (ATS)

99% of Fortune 500 companies use an ATS to improve and expedite the recruiting process. For example, this can include the automated filtering of candidates during the initial screening process. This is a huge time-saver, and is a more efficient way to identify people with the right skills and experience.

An ATS will rank applicants based on how their resume scores on the job description. All of the information provided is then stored, so if another suitable role comes up, you might already have the perfect candidate in your database. There are lots of good candidates who will not apply for a new vacancy if they were previously unsuccessful in an application for the same company, even if they have built up more experience in that time. In those situations, where you receive several really good candidates but can only offer one job, keeping track of the other applicants will help to fill similar roles faster in the future.

4. Use the right channels

It is unlikely that you can reach all qualified candidates through the same channel.

Passive candidates will often have out of date details and only update them when they are actively looking for a new role. You may need to spend time identifying where the candidates for each role are most likely to exist. It may be worth talking to employees working in similar roles to get their feedback on where you should look for potential hires.

5. Use advanced search techniques

To find the most qualified candidates for your roles, it’s important to have an effective search strategy. Instead of searching role titles, try using terms that describe skills the job requires.

You can use semantic search technology that will provide better search results by looking for the different ways that people describe their skills on their resume. For example, a search for a copywriter might only find a small selection of candidates - compared to a search that includes variations of the role and its responsibilities: content writing, blogging, content marketing, etc.

6. Build a strong brand

Your company’s brand reputation is a key factor in attracting top quality candidates.

Take a look at your company’s Glassdoor reviews because these often influence whether a potential candidate would be interested in working for your company. If you have several negative reviews, then you should evaluate the reasons for low scores and action on ways to improve the employee experience.

Use exit interview feedback to understand how employees feel about the company, and provide insight to the teams that can benefit from this information\.


Establishing a good sourcing strategy will help you reach the right people for your open roles and make great hires faster. Adopt these six best practices to optimize your results.

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