5 Expert Tips for Sourcing Candidates

A line of job candidates waiting to be interviewed.

As a recruiter, it’s important not to get too seduced by the internet. With the convenience and reach of the world wide web, it’s easy to think that finding quality candidates is just a few clicks away. But, since every other recruiter is also sourcing candidates with the help of online tools and resources, you need to take it up a few notches as you compete for talent.

You can absolutely find stellar candidates online, but it’s just one of many tools—a powerful tool, but not a complete solution. To be successful, it’s important to focus on recruiting strategy basics that transcend technology, such as honing your message and making real human connections.

If you’re having trouble sourcing candidates or just hoping to refine your strategy, the following tips will help you get started:

  1. Write better job descriptions
  2. Perfect your pitch to potential applicants
  3. Write compelling ad copy
  4. Work efficiently with resume databases
  5. Network, network, network

1. Write Better Job Descriptions

Attracting the best applicants starts with a compelling vision of what the job entails. Don’t rely on a bland or vague job description for sourcing candidates. Instead, ask hiring managers what an employee would need to do in order to be successful on the job. Get a description of at least three or four major projects to help you understand the position well.

The best job descriptions contain the following elements:

  • Job title. Use terms commonly used for the position so candidates can find your listing via search.
  • Summary. Sell the workplace and position, sharing highlights of your employer brand.
  • Responsibilities. Using relevant keywords, list the main responsibilities of the job.
  • Requirements and preferences. Include both “must have” and “nice to have” skills, experiences, and other attributes you’re seeking.
  • Benefits. Mention standard benefits as well as those that are unique to your company.
  • Call to action. This is where you tell prospective candidates how to apply.

2. Have a Strong Basic Pitch

Once you have some solid applicants, come up with a quick pitch to grab their attention. “Would you be open to exploring a situation that’s superior to what you’re doing today?” or “Are you interested in a new career opportunity that supports your professional development?” Ninety-nine percent of candidates will probably say “yes” to either of these questions.

Use this type of approach every time you first talk to a top candidate on the phone, or even if you only get their voicemail. Don’t get into too much detail in your pitch and be sure to avoid overpromising something you’re not positive you can deliver, but use a strong pitch that will hook the candidate. This can help you and your company stand out when sourcing candidates.

3. Write Compelling Advertising

When advertising for a position, avoid the traditional or boring. Ads need creative titles and copy that describe what the person will be doing, learning, and becoming. Similar to how companies typically sell a lifestyle or experience as opposed to simply a “product,” you want to sell them on an exciting career journey, not just a “job.”

For example, don’t just list skills and years of experience required. Rather, describe a skill in the context of how it would be used: “Use your accounting background to help us build a new reporting system.” Similarly, an ad title that says, “Accounting Wizard Required,” is more intriguing than, “Accountant Wanted.” Still, you need to make sure you’re using keywords that prospective candidates will be searching for.

4. Work efficiently with resume databases

Sourcing candidates in a resume database can be time-consuming. Maximize your return on time invested by calling the best candidates quickly—otherwise they could be gone. The recruitment game is much more fast-paced than it used to be, so you need to move quickly with your top candidates.

For others, convert inactive candidates into active applicants by writing an email describing your opportunity, including a copy of the job description. Send this to anyone who meets your employee screening requirements and ask them to respond.

For example:

“I found your resume online and was very impressed with your background. If you’re still looking for a position, you might be interested in this opportunity . If you’d like to pursue this, please send me your latest resume and a quick paragraph describing your most significant accomplishment in the area of [whatever may be relevant, e.g., launching new industrial products].”

5. Always be Networking

If you were looking for a job, every wise person you know would tell you it’s all about networking. The same goes for recruiting the best candidates. Ask people you’re familiar with if they know someone appropriate for the job. It’s a great way to find top candidates. But, always be prepared to provide that compelling job description—you don’t want people who are just looking for any job. Once you have a potential candidate, call them and use your basic pitch.

Refine Your Strategies for Sourcing Candidates

Creating strong advertising, utilizing resume databases, and networking are all helpful for hiring quality people. Honing these essential recruiting skills will get you started on the road to sourcing the better candidates for your company. Get more ideas by signing up for the latest recruiting tips, hiring trends, management strategies, and more.