Find your candidate

Sourcing strategy – do you know yours? If not, imagine what would you think about a company which invests time and money into marketing without knowing their target audience, message they want to share, or channels they are investing in.

Start here:

While a list of potential tools and channels that can be used for sourcing strategy is long, I would like to share with you two sourcing rules:

  • Always look for the low hanging fruit. Why would you search the world looking for the right candidate if he might be already at your company, just in a different role?
  • Think targeting. Before you decide on a tool, be clear what type of candidates it will reach.

1. Your talent pool

Use an ATS (applicant tracking system) that allows you to collect and organize information about all the potential candidates that have ever been in touch with your company. Someone great reached out to you but there was not a relevant role for her at the time? You rejected a strong candidate just because you hired someone else for the role (so-calledsilver medalist’)? You spoke to someone who at the moment was not interested but said he’d like to circle back in a year?

Talk to them: they know you, they are interested in you, and now you have the right role for them. It cannot get any easier. 

2. Look within your existing team

Could you promote someone within the team instead of hiring externally? Is there a developer who’d love to become a product owner? Even if he or she is not ready yet, the time and resources you will spend on looking for the right person you could also dedicate to his or her training and mentoring.

3. Employee referral program

Your employees don’t know about all your hiring needs so make sure you talk loudly and frequently about the new roles you are hiring for. Make sure that referring people is quick and user-friendly. Take your chances to underline that it is also strongly welcomed (you’d be surprised to know how many people are shy to send over a CV of their friend because they see it as trouble or misuse of power). Establish a process and make sure that your employees know what are the next steps for people they refer. People employees refer are often their friends – and when treated poorly, it is an especially bad sting both for the referral and your employee.

4. Ask your network for referrals.

Reach out personally to people who might know relevant candidates. Share your job opening with your wider network, not only the closest friends.

5. Network^2

The chances are that the relevant candidate is not your first, but second connection. So do your best to activate your networks’ network. Ask to spread your hiring needs further.

6. Your company website

Make it easy for your network to share information about the role as well as collect all the candidates’ profiles in one place.

how to find your candidate

Additional Tools&Channels:

Cooperation with an external recruiter

I recommend working with external recruiters only when you can treat them as a trusted partner. While it is one of the priciest recruitment solutions, it gives you extra value such as candidate-market knowledge and a wide network. If you succeed in establishing a long-term partnership, you might win a great talent just because your recruiter has open eyes and, if kept thoroughly updated, can even forecast your hiring needs – so whenever she sees the right candidate available, she will think of you.

Posts on LinkedIn and other social media

Regular, strategic communication on social media can be helpful for your sourcing strategy and under certain conditions (relevancy for the audience, shareability) can be used also to spread messages about a vacancy. Encourage your employees to be active and post themselves.

Direct approach

Contacting candidates directly (e.g. on LinkedIn) has a benefit that instead of reviewing profiles of people who applied and who might not always be the best fit. You will also reach out to people who were not considering a change or have never heard of your company – but still could be interested in what you do and offer.

Organizing events at your office.

If you have the right venue, capacity, and know-how about organizing events and your employees are happy to engage, then meetups, hackathons, and after-work drinks can be a great tool to build a community around your company and strengthen your employer brand. Keep in mind that while it is a great way to give back to the community, educational and skill-testing events have a potential to attract less experienced people who see it as a way to grow and connect. More experienced people will have often less time to attend and the incentive in their case might be lower.

Recruiting at external events

If you plan to hire more people for a similar role, think about one-day recruiting events. For example, if you go to a conference, take a hiring team with you, provide decent space to run interviews, and do it all at once. Don’t change your standard process and criteria. Just speed it up to the point that the candidate goes out of a meeting with an offer or feedback.

Job posts on specialized websites

Think Stack Overflow, AngelList, Glassdoor, XING, GoldenLine, and more. Before you decide to post your job there, double check if you will find your target group. For example, Stack Overflow can be a decent, although expensive, tool to attract international talent. But if you prefer to hire locally then you might reach your target group better with more specialized tools.

Candidate sourcing strategy is pure marketing.

Before you move a finger, make sure that you:

  • Know who are you looking for (targeting),
  • Have a strong message (Unique Selling Proposition),
  • Know where your message has the best chance to reach them (channel),
  • Measure the results and iterate (A/B testing).

Success in attracting the right candidates lays somewhere between your company/employer brand (including the product and offer), the market you operate in (availability of talent and competition) and your approach (tools, message, and channels).

Look for inspiration and success stories – but before you decide to follow Google or GitHub’s sourcing strategy, keep in mind that their product, resources, and target groups may be significantly different from yours.

Before you start, make sure that you know your:

  • CVP (Candidate Value Proposition)
  • EVP (Employee Value Proposition).

What matters to your candidates? Can you offer it? How can you communicate that?
How are you going to be different from all the
 wanna-be-unicorns that disrupt the market with their hyper-innovative product?