Talent sourcing: what does it mean to source talent?

Content Team

How does sourcing differ from recruiting? Watch the mini video now, or read more below.

Talent sourcing: what does it mean to source talent in the work world? Is it really all that different from candidate recruitment?

Sourcing is the practice of finding candidates who are not actively seeking new roles, but who have the preferred skills, aptitudes, and experiences to excel in an open role.

When approached, these candidates are not usually considering a job change, or even aware of the vacancy.

Active candidates, however, tend to show interest in new opportunities by submitting applications, registering with job boards, or contacting recruiters or hiring managers. These types of candidates go through the recruitment process. In that process, a job is advertised and active candidates apply.

Passive candidates will not usually have applied directly to a vacancy or initiated contact with talent managers. Technically speaking, they aren’t recruited into a role. They are sourced.

Two workers at laptop in lounge
Talent sourcing helps business leaders identify great ‘hidden’ candidates.

Here’s another way to think about sourcing, vs. recruitment. In traditional recruiting, candidates typically present themselves to the opportunity. In sourcing, however, the opportunity presents itself to the candidate, vis-à-vis a sourcer.

What do sourcers do for talent acquisition?

A person who proactively contacts passive candidates about new career opportunities is known as a sourcer.

Sourcers are responsible for filling the vacancy, or vacancies. When sourcing candidates, the sourcer initiates contact with passive candidates. These candidates may already be in another role, or they may not yet have entered the workforce. They may be based locally, or, in an increasingly global economy, they may be based in another region or country. Every situation is unique.

The technical and creative skills of a sourcer are often required to fill roles that require specialist abilities. Big data and search technology help sourcers to map candidate pools and identify exceptional candidates. Sourcers can then deep-dive into how candidates and competitors operate in a given market.

3 male colleagues at reflective coffee table
A sourcing team finds candidates who may appear ‘off the radar’, but would offer valuable skills and experience.

Here’s an excellent step-by-step explanation of how sourcers transform a search into a hire.

Sourcing plays a key role in filling vacancies that are niche in nature, such as technology and pharmaceuticals, or for roles that are unique in scope or location.

Sourcing roles can exist within a company, or they can be outsourced and accessed via an on-demand model.

What are the benefits of talent sourcing?

“Sourced candidates are more than two times as efficient as candidates who apply” directly, according to Lever’s Recruiting Benchmarks Report 2016.

Strategic talent sourcing also helps you identify highly qualified candidates earlier in the process. More than half of people who apply for a job are under-qualified, according to the same study.

When you aim to deliver against time-to-fill metrics, you can’t afford to waste resources on shifting through unusable résumés and CVs.

Two Hudson RPO workers discussing recruitment
Talent sourcing can help you find highly qualified candidates earlier in the process.

Sourcing allows you to begin a more focused conversation with vetted candidates. At the start of this conversation, you can align the employer value proposition to the values and goals of your prospective candidate. Equally useful, you can quickly identify whether there’s a fit at all.

With sourcing, you can use personal messaging to reach the closest-fit candidates. Custom messaging is likely to drive higher engagement throughout the process. It’s also likely to help distinguish your employer brand from a sea of prospective employers.

Some roles are so unique that you may not find the right candidate through traditional recruitment. When that’s the case, specialist talent sourcing allows you to dig deeper and avoid mediocrity.

It also helps you avoid those uncomfortable conversations with stakeholders about why you failed to identify the right talent, when and where it was required.

Want to learn more about sourcing?

Hudson RPO

Content Team

The Hudson RPO Content Team is made up of experts within the Talent Acquisition industry across the Americas, EMEA and APAC regions. They provide educational and critical business insights in the form of research reports, articles, news, videos, podcasts, and more. The team ensures high-quality content that helps all readers make talent decisions with confidence.

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