18 Recruiting Sourcing Strategies for Finding Top Talent

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated December 6, 2022

Published March 1, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Implementing an effective recruiting sourcing strategy can help you find and engage with qualified candidates for open positions. A strong sourcing strategy can lead to efficient hiring processes, higher retention rates and positive candidate experiences during the hiring process. Knowing about some common sourcing strategies can help you create and implement the best ones for you.

In this article, we explain what recruiting sourcing strategies are, list 18 different strategies you can use and describe their benefits to help you find and attract top talent for open positions.

What are recruiting sourcing strategies?

Recruiting sourcing strategies, also known as candidate sourcing strategies, are methods hiring managers use to search for and engage qualified candidates to fill open positions. Building an effective candidate sourcing strategy allows you to access a wide range of potential employees, which can increase your chances of finding the right person for a role. In a recruiting sourcing strategy, hiring managers can locate talented candidates who may perform effectively in the role based on the company's specific hiring needs and position requirements.

Related: Guide to Talent Acquisition

18 recruiting sourcing strategies

Most hiring managers use multiple candidate sourcing strategies depending on the open position. Here are some common recruiting sourcing strategies for you to try:

1. Create candidate personas

As you develop sourcing strategies, review the role's requirements and preferences carefully and then build candidate personas for each position. Candidate personas are fictional people with real characteristics, capabilities and skills you're seeking in ideal candidates. You can use these candidate personas as references when sourcing candidates and locating ones who seem like a good match based on their qualifications and traits.

Related: What Is Candidate-Centric Recruiting? (Definition and Benefits)

2. Collaborate closely with the recruiter

If you're working with recruiting teams, it's important to collaborate closely to ensure you're both in agreement about what you're looking for in ideal candidates. Engage in a kickoff meeting to define your open positions clearly. You can also search for the first few potential candidates for a role to show recruiters the types of candidates you're seeking.

Having a recruiter allows both of you to search separately so you can reach more qualified candidates. Maintain constant communication with the recruiter throughout the job search process to ensure they're locating quality candidates you're interested in interviewing for the role.

Related: Learn About Being a Recruiter

3. Review candidates who previously applied

As you find and recruit talented candidates, you may attract some with impressive credentials who may not be the right fit for a particular role. Keep previous candidates' information in a recruitment database and review them when you're hiring for a different role. See if any previous candidates better fit the next available position based on their qualifications.

Related: What Is a Recruitment Management System? (Plus Tips and Benefits)

4. Use social media

Rather than posting a listing on common job search sites and solely interviewing candidates from there, consider using other channels and resources to find top candidates. Post open roles on popular social media websites for potential candidates to view. You can also contact connections within your professional network who may have colleagues they could refer.

You can also search professional profiles on common job sites to find candidates with qualifications that match your job description. Contact them directly and present them with information about the open role and why you believe they could be a great fit for it.

Read more: How To Use Social Media for Recruitment in 4 Steps (With Tips)

5. Attend in-person events

While online channels are a great way to locate qualified candidates, you can extend your talent pool even further by recruiting candidates in person. Attend different events like job fairs, industry conferences or seminars to find potential employees with the skills and abilities you're seeking. Learn if they're searching for a new opportunity and ask for their contact information so you can follow up with a phone call or email to provide more details about the role.

6. Implement an employee referral program

Since your employees may have served in similar positions or industries, they may have strong connections with candidates who could be a great fit for the role. Implement an employee referral program that rewards current employees when you hire someone they've recommended. These rewards are often financial and result in bonuses for the current employee.

Employee referral programs usually bring in impressive candidates because they're people who your employees may have worked with before. A referral program can help you feel confident the candidate can perform well in the role and align with the company culture.

Read more: Employee Referral Programs: Components and Benefits

7. Craft engaging outreach messages

Crafting well-written messages for individual candidates is a great way to attract, engage and entice them to learn more about the role and company. Create a subject line to interest potential candidates, which can encourage them to open your message.

Include relevant information in the message that explains why their credentials impressed you. You can then provide a brief overview of the open role and the organization. The final section of your message can describe how you believe they can contribute valuable work to the team.

Related: How To Create a Recruitment Pitch (With Template and Example)

8. Build the company's brand

If you maintain a positive brand image and reputation, more candidate may be eager to apply for open positions and respond to outreach. Build the company's reputation by ensuring it has consistently strong reviews on social media and hiring websites.

If you notice any negative reviews, respond to those on behalf of the company to tell reviewers you appreciate their feedback and the company is working to resolve the issue. Encourage current employees to share their positive experiences to let others know it's a great place to work.

Related: What Is a Brand? (Plus Types and How-To Guide)

9. Send follow-up emails to all candidates

If a few days pass without receiving a reply from candidates you have contacted, consider sending follow-up emails. The message may have gotten lost in their inbox, or they may have forgotten to respond. Sending another email to candidates also tells them you're eager to learn more about their experience and potentially add them as a member of the team.

In addition, try to keep a list of candidates who mentioned they weren't ready to pursue a new opportunity or preferred a role with different responsibilities. You can contact them later with roles that better fit their specifications.

10. Locate future candidates

Even when you're hiring for current positions, it's important to look for candidates who could fill future roles so you can expand your talent pool. If you meet with candidates who match any of your candidate personas or company culture, document their information for a position you may eventually have available.

Review the growth plan of the company over the next few years to help you predict its hiring needs in the next month, quarter or year. You can then have this list of candidates ready to help you fill those roles quickly.

11. Track your metrics

To help you more accurately find quality candidates for upcoming roles, track your metrics after each hiring period. Review how many attempts it took for you to receive responses from candidates and what types of communication provided more responses.

This review can help you create similar messages that provide better results the next time you contact candidates. You can also study where you found the best candidates to ensure you continue recruiting candidates from that source.

Related: 20 Recruiting Metrics You Should Know for a Better Hiring Process

12. Use artificial intelligence tools

Some recruiting and sourcing technology tools and databases can locate strong candidates using automation. These technology tools find candidates with professional profiles or resumes that fit the requirements of the role you have available.

This automation helps save time on reviewing candidates' applications and profiles. It also provides stronger matches for open roles, which can give you a larger number of talented candidates.

Related: 12 Modern Recruitment Techniques for Your Hiring Process

13. Be flexible

As you work with the candidate during the hiring process, show you value their time by being flexible. Ask if they have time to talk with you on the phone for 15 minutes so you can briefly provide an explanation of the role and company and learn more about their background.

Try to give them several times throughout the week to accommodate their specific schedule. This flexibility makes the candidate feel more valued, which can give them a more positive opinion of the company.

14. Consider candidates within the organization

There may be some positions that could be well-suited for employees already working in your organization. Review the qualifications and skill set of current employees and ask other department managers if they believe any of their team members could be strong fits for any available roles. Hiring existing employees for open roles is usually effective because they're already familiar with the company, which means the organization can spend less time, effort and costs on training and onboarding.

Related: How To Create an Internal Hiring Process in 7 Steps

15. Run several tests

You can regularly experiment with different strategies and methods to determine what ones work effectively for certain segments of candidates. Take notes of strategies that attract great candidates to determine what you did correctly so you can repeat the same techniques for future positions. Once you've run several tests, you can increase your chances of implementing more successful candidate-sourcing strategies.

16. Understand the differences between sourcing and recruiting

As you implement your recruiting and sourcing strategies, it's important to establish their key differences to ensure you're using the most effective strategy for each. When sourcing, you locate and qualify candidates who you believe are right for the role.

The recruiting phase involves working with candidates who express their interest in the role and want to discuss the potential opportunity further. Some teams hire sourcing specialists and recruiters to work in separate roles, while others have one employee who handles both responsibilities.

Read more: Sourcing vs. Recruiting: Definitions and Key Differences

17. Maintain an effective sourcing pipeline

Your sourcing pipeline is a system that contains the information of all the candidates who have applied for open roles. You can regularly add to this sourcing pipeline and include candidates who have qualifications you're searching for but weren't the right fit or potential employees who aren't quite ready to leave their current role. Maintaining this pipeline can help you save time when sourcing candidates for future positions.

Related: Guide: How To Create and Maintain Recruitment Pipelines

18. Use applicant tracking systems

Consider using tools like applicant tracking systems or candidate relationship management systems to process candidates effectively and keep their information secure. Organize your pipeline according to candidates' skills and abilities so you can access the desired candidates for certain roles. This strategy can help you quickly hire candidates for new opportunities.

Why are recruiting sourcing strategies important?

It's important to have an established recruiting sourcing strategy because it can help you attract quality candidates to open roles. They can also help you find and target potential employees who match the company's culture. Hiring candidates who are a good fit for the company can drastically increase the overall work environment and may encourage employees to stay with the company longer, ultimately increasing retention rates.

A well-defined candidate sourcing strategy also strengthens your engagement with candidates during the hiring process. This engagement can lead to a more enjoyable job search experience for both you and the candidates.

When candidates have a positive hiring experience, they may feel excited to accept potential opportunities or apply for other open positions in the future. These candidates may also refer the company to their connections, who may be eager to apply with the company after hearing about its smooth, enjoyable recruitment process.

Related: 11 Hiring Practices To Build a Better Team

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