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Candidate Sourcing

Definition: In recruitment terms, candidate sourcing refers to searching for potential job candidates to fill open positions. The goal is to create a pipeline of qualified individuals for evaluation when job vacancies occur.

Candidate sourcing is a proactive approach to identifying, attracting and engaging potential candidates before they apply for a job.

Unlike traditional methods where employers post a job and wait for applications, sourcing involves actively seeking out candidates who may not be actively seeking new opportunities, but whose skills and experience match the job requirements.

Candidate sourcing process

  1. Understanding job requirements: The process begins by understanding the job requirements and the skills, experiences, and competencies required for the role.
  2. Creating a sourcing strategy: The next step is creating a strategy that involves determining where to find potential candidates, such as specific job boards, social media networks, professional forums, or through networking events.
  3. Searching for candidates: This involves the active search for potential candidates using the sourcing strategy.
  4. Initial contact and engagement: Once potential candidates are identified, the sourcer reaches out to gauge their interest in the role and to build a relationship.
  5. Pre-screening: The sourcer may conduct an initial screening to verify the candidate’s qualifications before they are moved to the next stage of the recruitment process.

Candidate sourcing vs. recruiting

Sourcing is proactively searching for, identifying, and contacting potential candidates.

Recruiting is a broader process that includes sourcing but also involves screening candidates, coordinating interviews, negotiating job offers, and onboarding new hires.

A sourcer focuses on building a robust pipeline of potential candidates, while a recruiter manages the entire recruitment lifecycle.

Key candidate sourcing metrics

  • Sourcing channel effectiveness: This measures which sourcing channels bring in the most qualified candidates. It can help you refine your strategy to focus on the most effective channels.
  • Time to source: This measures how long it takes from the start of the sourcing process to when a candidate is found and engaged. This can help identify inefficiencies in your sourcing process.
  • Candidate conversion rate: This measures how many sourced candidates make it through to the interview stage or are eventually hired.

Candidate sourcing tools

  • Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS): Software that organizes and tracks all candidate information, like Recruiteze.
  • Sourcing Platforms: Tools like LinkedIn Recruiter that allow sourcers to find and reach out to potential candidates.
  • AI Tools: Artificial intelligence tools can automate parts of the sourcing process, like screening resumes or reaching out to potential candidates.


How much time should I spend on candidate sourcing?

The time spent on candidate sourcing can vary based on factors like the role’s complexity, the company’s size, and the hire’s urgency. However, it’s a crucial part of the recruitment process and should be given sufficient time and resources.

Is a sourcer higher than a recruiter?

Regarding the hierarchy, a sourcer is not higher than a recruiter. They are different roles within the recruitment process. In some organizations, these roles may be combined, while in others, they might be separate roles with different individuals specializing in each area.

What is passive candidate sourcing?

Passive candidate sourcing refers to the practice of seeking out candidates who aren’t actively looking for new job opportunities. This often involves networking, social media searches, and leveraging databases to identify individuals who might be a good fit for a role even though they haven’t applied for a position.

What is the difference between candidate sourcing and candidate screening?

Candidate sourcing involves searching for and engaging with potential candidates. It’s the process of building a pool of potential candidates, based on their fit with a role’s requirements. Candidate screening evaluates these sourced candidates to determine their suitability for a role. It involves reviewing resumes, conducting initial interviews, and checking references.

What are some common candidate sourcing strategies?

Common sourcing strategies are: posting jobs on online job boards, using social media to find potential candidates, attending career fairs and networking events, sourcing from employee referrals, using candidate sourcing platforms or software, and reaching out to passive candidates.

Why is diversity important in candidate sourcing?

Diversity in candidate sourcing leads to a more diverse workforce, which has been shown to have numerous benefits. These can include better decision-making, greater innovation, and improved financial performance. Moreover, a diverse workforce can better reflect the diversity of a company’s customers, potentially leading to improved understanding and service.

How can technology help in candidate sourcing?

Technology can significantly streamline, automate and improve the candidate sourcing process. For instance, with the right tools you can easily organize and manage candidate information, find and reach out to potential candidates, and automate parts of the sourcing process, like screening resumes or initial outreach, saving time and effort.

What skills are important for a candidate sourcer?

Key skills for a sourcer include excellent communication skills, for engaging with potential candidates; strong research abilities, for finding potential candidates; familiarity with recruitment software and platforms; and good judgment, for assessing potential fit between candidates and job requirements.


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