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Candidate Sourcing: The Recruitment Solution for Candidate Overload
Recruiting is a practice that you are undoubtedly familiar with if you are reading this article. You have also likely heard of candidate sourcing and may be wondering how it is applicable to your company’s recruiting efforts. After all, the Internet has made it possible for almost anyone to identify and qualify large numbers of candidates, right? Wrong.
The Internet has introduced a number of sites such as Facebook, MySpace, and job boards, presenting employers with a wealth of potential job candidates. While this sounds like the ideal situation, it actually makes the recruitment process much more difficult. That’s because the larger the candidate pool, the harder it is to identify the “right” individual for the job. Think about it this way: If you’re looking for a needle in a haystack and more hay is continually added, isn’t the needle harder to find?
This is where candidate sourcing proves its worth as a valuable recruiting tactic. In this article, I explain the what, how, why, and when of candidate sourcing so it’s an easy decision for your company to make when it comes down to identifying and qualifying its future leaders.
Candidate sourcing is a great tool in this age of information (err…candidate) overload because it entails proactive recruiting techniques that allow trained sourcing professionals to match uniquely qualified candidates with specific job requirements. The emphasis here is on the fact that it is a proactive process instead of reactive. Unfortunately, many companies employ a reactive recruiting practice, which means they wait until the need for a replacement arises before they begin the search for qualified candidates. This often results in rushed timelines and poor hiring decisions. With proactive recruiting or candidate sourcing, however, the search begins before the need is there, providing employers a wealth of options and information, leading to better hiring decisions.
Additionally with a proactive sourcing approach, the recruiting or sourcing specialist will query and search the internet using a multitude of sources to find the best matched talent for the specific position. However, typically with a reactive approach, an individual may post a job on the company’s corporate career portal or a major job board, and wait for applicants to apply. While posting a job is a valid approach and will yield results in some cases, the individual is at the mercy of the applicant to apply. With proactive sourcing approaches, this individual will instead uses strategic approaches to locate and recruit qualified professionals and then encourage them to apply for the open positions.
To illustrate, let’s look at the different stages of the recruitment lifecycle: Discovery, Research and Sourcing, Candidate Assessment, Candidate Presentation, New Hire Negotiations and Retention. While all six steps are necessary in obtaining a new employee, it is in the Research and Sourcing stage where candidates are truly fleshed out. Here, the proactive approach provides more viable options to the potential employer.
It is important to remember that the ultimate goal of a sourcer is to ensure that sufficient quality and quantity of candidates are being discovered. It is the old adage of “what is put in, determine what comes out”. If a sourcer, whether this is a recruiter, manager, HR personnel, hiring manager or owner, uses the wrong sourcing options, it can tremendously hamper the quality of hires, which affects attrition, turnover and the overall morale of the company.
With the proactive approach offered by candidate sourcing, the sourcing professional is able to employ many more search tactics than are feasible with a reactive search. This includes online searches for active candidates and cold calls to passive candidates. Quite simply, an active candidate is in the job market performing an active search and typically has his or her “feelers” out for new opportunities. Passive candidates, on the other hand, are not looking, but would be open to a new opportunity should the right one present itself. Identifying the latter is a step typically eliminated from a reactive search wherein the timeline is more restrictive. But with the help of a sourcing professional, candidate sourcing can open doors to these candidates that might not have been considered otherwise, presenting even greater options for retention success in the long run.
The Benefits of Candidate Sourcing
The benefits to candidate sourcing don’t stop there. By utilizing the services of a sourcing professional, a company’s recruitment-related outlay is reduced. RPO and sourcing firms are specifically centered on the sourcing function, so they have the ability to leverage economies of scale when it comes to accessing and qualifying candidates-requirements that can restrict both the time and money of the average HR team or company. With the help of a sourcing firm, however, scalability and flexibility are easily achieved. No longer is there a need to purchase access to costly resume databases. Even better, greater efficiencies are achieved by your own HR or recruiting team through the reduction or elimination of its sourcing hoursâ€•allowing those employees to focus specifically on the important tasks of onboarding and retention.
How and When Should a Candidate Sourcing Firm be Utilized
Now that you’re convinced the benefits of using candidate sourcing make it worth seeking out the assistance of a RPO professional, let’s briefly talk about when it’s best to leverage these services to meet your needs. We already know that you should be searching for and qualifying candidates in a proactive state. Other factors that signal the need or “fit” for this approach include:
- When there is a lack of candidate applications or when the candidates who are applying for the position are not presenting sufficient qualifications
- When a company is not able or does not want to purchase resume databases and/or its resources are limited to effectively handle the sourcing function
- When the opening is confidential or the company does not want to openly advertise the position to the general public
- When a company desires the very best candidate in the market.
What to Look For in a Candidate Sourcing Firm
Convinced that candidate sourcing is the right decision for your company? Now all you need to do is find the right candidate sourcing or RPO firm. It’s important to understand that not all sourcing firms are equal. You really need to ask pointed, qualifying questions up-front and thoroughly shop around to find the firm you feel is best able to meet your recruitment needs. To gain an accurate picture, you should always go into this process by first identifying the factors in a firm that are most important to your company. This will help you more easily narrow down your list.
Once you have a shorter list, keep in mind that a recruiter must take the time necessary to ‘discover’ your company and understand the specifics of the open position. Next, ask questions such as: What sources do you use? How do you qualify a resume? Who reviews the resume? What industries are you specialized in? Are there any service guarantees? Will we be in competition with any of your other clients to win candidates? What is the anticipated timeline to complete a search?
On this final point, it is important to note that while expectations are very important to set up-front, a thorough and accurate search takes time. While speed is of value, the most important factor is the qualification process, so that only the best matched candidates are presented to you or your team. As with most things, do your research, and set deliverables up front. Be sure to track metrics on the aspects that are most important to your organization. To this extent as the outsourcing of candidate search is gaining more and more popularity, it may take a few tries to find an organization that matches to your needs. When you are able to do this successfully, most companies will find that the tremendous cost savings and time efficiencies that are gained are extremely beneficial to the bottom line.
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