What is Talent Sourcing? Definition, Process, Strategy with Examples


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What is Talent Sourcing?

Talent sourcing is defined as a structured method of identifying, engaging and networking with relevant talent pools of best-fit prospective candidates, with the aim to generate a steady candidate flow for current and future positions.

At the core of the process, lies the idea of converting individuals to applicants. Talent sourcing is thus a key piece – and often a starting point- for recruitment and an important aspect of building a robust talent pipelineOpens a new window . Unlike a recruiter who needs to focus on the end-to-end process of talent acquisitionOpens a new window (converting applicants to employees), a sourcer focuses on cold-calling and tedious networking to build inclusive search-strings.

The sourcer needs to be able to generate not only leads but also garner interest in the organization and the role that they are on the talent-hunt for. For example, if Organization A is looking for a UX designer who can join within a month, a sourcer needs to cast the talent net as wide as possible to create a comprehensive talent pool while keeping in mind the specifics of the job description, the nature of talent wanted, the time-constraint and talent-organization expectations. How well the crucial aspect of talent sourcing is executed affects how the talent acquisition (TA) process is executed on the whole. also controls the time taken to get the right candidates onboard and the quality of the final hires.

Learn more: What is Human Capital Management (HCM)? Opens a new window

Talent Sourcing Process

The process of sourcing the right talent begins with understanding immediate and long-term talent needs. That analysis is what leads to a job description that can guide in quantifying and qualifying candidates. Once the job description is in place, the talent net can be cast to attract the best in the pool. This is where the right employer branding and sourcing strategies come into play. The talent pool you can tap into decides the kind of talent you finally end up with. Understanding the market is thus crucial as is reappraising sourcing strategies, soliciting adequate feedback and bettering the process cycle.

To sum up, the process of talent sourcing has the following primary steps:

  • Talent need analysis based on business growth needs

The nature and number of new talent that you would need to inject into your workforce, or the talent shuffle you would require to grow existing employees along the right career path, depends on the needs of your business at present and for the future. It is thus imperative to understand the map for the organizations growth at large, to analyze the gaps in the workforce that need to be filled in and to ascertain the employee persona you need to aim for keeping the different roles in mind.

  • Preparing the job-description keeping all requirements in mind

The job description is often the first piece of organizational communication that a candidate has access to about any role. Keeping that perspective in mind, it has to be as informative as possible. Moreover, the job-description also acts as a guide for the sourcer when looking for and screening through a bulk of CVs. With AI sourcing software, the job specifications need to be as precise as possible to help the algorithms find the best matches.

  • Studying the market

How you source for the best-fit candidate depends on how well you can gauge the job market and talent trends. This means knowing what sources to use when reaching out to relevant candidates, understanding what they are looking for in their next career move and tweaking the sourcing aspect of the recruitment process to suit candidate expectations.

  • Tapping into the right talent pools

With all aspects of our lives living up to our needs for personalized, individualized communication that speaks directly to us, sourcing needs to do the same. That is how you can make your way into the right talent pools – by providing them with the candidate experience that they want. This involves understanding where the right talent is concentrated, how to crack into the right portals, platforms and communication channels and engaging with your ideal talent pool while screening out the rest.

  • Creating a strategy to attract and engage the best-fit talent

This goes hand-in-hand with making your way into the best-fit talent pools. While the basic strategy is to funnel down to the perfect candidate, the key lies in how you do that. Why should a candidate choose to be a part of your recruitment process over other organizations? How can you engage and motivate them to stick on through the often long-drawn process without losing interest or looking at other opportunities? These are questions that you need to keep asking yourself to keep improving your sourcing process.

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  • Soliciting feedback through steps to upgrade the process

Improving your talent sourcing process depends a lot on what you do with what candidates tell you about it. Even if you do not have an actual feedback survey at different of the process, quite a few sourcing platforms allow you to gauge the engagement quotient of your process based on the data gathered from candidate behavior. How you choose to use this data could either lead to a leaner, tighter and happier sourcing process or just another data dump.

Learn More: Top 3 Innovative Corporate Recruitment Strategies for 2019Opens a new window

Talent Sourcing Challenges

Beyond mere metrics, hiring as a function is a critical, business-objective linked sector, as opposed to the support function it once used to be. Given this landscape, identifying the right talent for a particular position (with a focus on timelines and hiring quality) is vital to ensure productivity and workplace efficiencies are at their optimum.

Broadly, here are some of the common challenges most recruiting teams face while looking for best-fit candidates:

  • Sourcing qualityOpens a new window , in-sync with organizational expectations: Every firm demands the best in quality when it comes to hiring, which means that HR teams must find a unique ‘edge’ against ever-increasing competition;
  • Matching job-roles with right-fit applicantsOpens a new window : Sometimes hiring managers are unable to reach out to the most fitting candidates, as a result of timeline challenges, process complexities, or other clutter-inducing mechanisms;
  • Managing global expectations with localized targets: Often large multi-national corporations have to deal with localized hiring rules and patterns, with limited integration with pre-determined global norms. This delays the hiring process, and could lead to missing out on best-fit applicants;
  • Ensuring cost-optimized talent acquisition processes: When the searching systems are not effectively maintained and streamlined, HR teams can face rising hiring costs that stretch beyond budgetary plans.

Learn More: What is Talent Pipeline and How to Manage It!Opens a new window

5 Talent Sourcing Strategies to Hire Best-fit Employees

Talent sourcing is a process that affects the rest of the TA process. The kind of candidates you source is the benchmark that the recruitment process would follow. Being an activity that can set the course for recruitment, it is important to have the right talent sourcing strategies in place. Here are 5 strategies to make your talent sourcing module intelligent, proactive and business-focused.

1. Creating The Candidate Persona: Do You Know Who Youre Talking To?

Just like in sales, where its a necessity to know your target audience or your ideal client persona, in talent sourcing too, it is wise, to begin with building an ideal candidate persona. While doing so, it is important for the talent sourcer to keep channels of communication active between the team leader to whom the new recruit would be reporting, the hiring manager and business heads as well, especially for roles higher up the ladder. This helps in creating a persona that every stakeholder directly affected by the hiring decision is onboard with.

2. Finding Your Candidate Persona: Do You Know Where To Look?

Once you know the ideal candidate persona that you need to scour for, you need to identify the channels through which you could look for the often-elusive ideal candidates. What also needs to be kept in mind is that the ideal candidate may vary quite a bit between roles, levels, and processes. That said, there should be certain traits in keeping with the brand and culture at work that remain common across the board. Knowing where to look wins you half the sourcing battle. For example, while Behance and Dribble might be more suited when on the hunt for designers, GitHub or StackOverflow are better aimed at searching for developers. A talent sourcer thus needs to know the latest communities and platforms that prospective candidates choose to be on. Newer technologies like the LinkedIn X-Ray search or Recruiterflow can help you not only in running Boolean search queries but also in having single-click access to multiple profiles of the same candidate.

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3. Connecting Right: How Do You Drive Candidate Engagement?

The talent sourcing strategy is driven by the need to engage with potential candidates. Sourcers today need to know where talent for a certain role would be concentrated but they also must understand that in a candidate-led, individualization-driven talentscape, candidates need to be connected with on platforms of their choosing. The medium that you choose to open and maintain an engaging conversation with the candidate, be it through job portals, portfolio sharing systems, social networking platforms or even via email, should be a conversation medium that the candidate is comfortable with. It is also crucial to personalize (if not individualize) the message that you are reaching out with. Consistent communication is especially important when it comes to connecting and engaging with passive talent this is what can help you build and nurture a resilient talent pipeline. The candidate experience that you offer drives engagement to the process of talent sourcing.

4. Building Your Employer Brand Story: Do They Know Who You Are?

To source the right talent, you need to know the brand narrative that youre trying to communicate to your ideal candidate. How candidate experience touchpoints are managed during the sourcing process affects the candidates perception of the employer brand. Every interaction matters and provides you with the opportunity to build credibility for the brand. This helps you in building in a case for your organization and the role that youre trying to source for. This holds true for candidate pools that you steer away from during sourcing as well.

5. Being Agile: Are You Ready To Change?

Having a talent sourcing strategy in place is just the beginning of your journey towards better talent. The talent sourcer needs to be able to keep the strategy agile and flexible to factor in the latest talent trends, business requirements and employment benchmarks. The idea is to be open to experimentation and to explore the changing facets of the talent ecosystem.

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With newer generations and evolving technology taking over larger aspects of the workplace, talent sourcing needs to keep pace and evolve as well. That said, the process of sourcing should have the ability to not only follow and adhere to trends but also to lead change by setting the tone for how and from where talent is acquired and nurtured at the organization.

What talent sourcing tools do you use to engage with the best talent for your organization? Tell us all about it on FacebookOpens a new window , LinkedInOpens a new window , or TwitterOpens a new window . Were always listening.