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35 Sourcing Techniques to Find More Candidates for Difference Making Top Hires

A basketball team recruiter knows that the more talent you have to choose from, the better likelihood one has of making good choices in player selection, and ultimately the player selection results desired from the candidate search. A great basketball team recruiter does not say, "let's go to the shopping mall today and pick the 5 tallest people to field my team" and neither should you as a talent recruiter.

Using a shopping mall availability sample to field your team is like going to a job fair and saying... all of my new hires are here. That would be unwise for many reasons. For one thing, job fairs have only talent currently looking for work. Passive job seekers frequently are working and do not attend job fairs. For a basketball team recruiter, poor talent pool size leads to poor decision-making and results, and the same is true for workplace recruiters.

A wise basketball team recruiter builds a talent funnel with a candidate sourcing plan making their ball team player selections from a talent pool as large and wide as possible to give them greater choice and selection of candidates. For example, rather than going to the shopping mall to find basketball players, a basketball recruiter might: identify the top basketball players in high school in their state and region, identify the the top winning teams in high school nationally and its key players, identify the coaches with the best track record of producing winning and well coached team players and contact them to see if there are any player prospects that you should be watching out for in your search. Additionally, a recruiter might look further to the junior and community colleges to players that have been developing in other leagues, and attract the talent that might be sourced now. There are additional players that have 'red-shirted' for a variety of reasons that are now eligible to play ball. There are even talented players sitting on the bench of great teams that might be attracted to come to your team in a lesser market and play ball. The possibilities seem endless... and your resourcefulness is limited only by your imagination (and budget).

Let's now turn this basketball player recruiting analogy over to the real world of finding greater numbers of talent for your company. We provide here over 35+ ideas for sourcing greater numbers of talent to your company.

  1. Gather Referrals from Employees, Management, and Trusted Advisors. Consider what the market rate is for referrals in your area and pay for referrals that lead to employment and continued employment of great hires.

  2. Improve your Careers Page. Draw in candidates to your company through your company website by updating your careers pages, using SEO, and increasing the attractiveness of working for your company; for more info on how to improve your careers page to attract more talent read 30 Ways to Improve your Careers Page to Attract More Talent.

  3. Improve your Glassdoor Company Page and monitor all comments. Glassdoor has become increasingly important to attracting and finding talent. A company with a horrible (low) score on Glassdoor will loose many candidates that will stop looking at a company because of its poor reputation. Recently we were requested to perform a search for a company with a low Glassdoor score and 2/3rds of the candidates we contacted were interested initially in the position, and then dropped out because of what they called poor Glassdoor reputation, or hostile comments from the employer to former employees on Glassdoor, or poor CEO ratings of the company on Glassdoor.

  4. Improve your Yelp Ratings if you are a customer facing company, as this will improve candidates desire to work for your company. Again, like the Glassdoor experience above, poor reviews online of your company will discourage others from wanting to work for your company.

  5. Keep your eyes open and observe talent everywhere. Take interest in talent you you see that is 'pro-social' where the individual observed is presently 'acting, doing, and performing' in alignment with your company's culture, and take an interest in these people, and find out more about them. When candidates don't know you are observing them and watching their actions, frequently you as a recruiter get a truer glimpse into who they are in the real world.

  6. Post ads of your position online. It is reported that 65% of all employees in the US found their jobs on; Post your jobs online, and be sure to include Eight percent (8%) of candidates found their jobs on LinkedIn. Other job boards such as Career Builder, Monster, etc have also been useful for those to create more interest online in their positions. Note for IT positions you are best served by posting to where many technology focused positions are posted.

  7. Post notice of your positions in places where people visit. Examples include coffee shops, community boards, job centers, etc. You might even consider having a table or booth at sporting events where the attendees are your target audience.

  8. Consider using a MetaSite to promote your Position Availability to greater numbers of job boards at once, using tools like ZipRecruiter, etc. However note, many of the job boards can be obtained for free without paying the extra fees. Further, many ATS (Automated Talent Systems) will propagate or post your job positions on multiple job boards for free, so check into this first, before paying for a premium service to put you on the same boards.)

  9. Consider finding candidates on some of the matchmaking boards such as, etc. These are sites where the candidate puts their resumes up, and companies can find talent for their needs.

  10. Consider looking at the Gig-economy boards where individuals are already giving part-time or gig-positions for many areas of talent. Examples of such boards include (formerly eLance, ODesk) and Freelancer, etc.

  11. Post ads fo your position at targeted industry job boards and locations where candidates might be lurking or hanging out. For example, if you are searching for employees to work at Cabellas or Bass Pro Shops, you might post fliers for work opportunities on community notice boards at gun clubs, firing ranges, police departments, college and university criminal justice departments, etc. You might also consider advertising on hunting, fishing, and outdoor magazine websites.

  12. Build a list of target talent using websites like Linkedin and build your talent funnel using tools such as Linkedin talent or Sales Navigator tools.

  13. Promote and advertise your position on Social media sites where people hang out and browse such as Facebook, Pinterest, etc.

  14. Push your notices of open positions to candidates in key subgroups by sharing job notices with industry boards and groups such as Linkedin Groups, where the group manager would view your open positions as newsworthy items to share with their managed groups.

  15. Push your notices to passive job seekers using Twitter and promote your ads for as little as $100 to get 25,000 people to see your job notice blurb. Use hashtags (#) to help target your ad such as #CFO, #COO, #Hiring, #Sales, etc. to help refine your search. Read more about this method here; Twitter: The Recruiters Secret Weapon for Candidate Attraction.

  16. Leverage Job Fairs and swim upstream to get the best candidates before the job fairs by networking with College Student Committees and Groups, and professors in your field. At the Job Fair, put together an engaging 'offer' and staff your table or booth with engaging and inspiring talent to 'attract' new hires to your company.

  17. Hold a Job Fair at your Own Company Headquarters, and keep all the leads for your own company. This works well when you have a campus, building, or warehouse where you can give a tour of your company, welcome community members, and interview and screen talent on the spot especially for entry level positions.

  18. Use military job boards and career fairs to attract and hire additional talent with skills and training developed on-the-job as paid by the government.

  19. Seek out the "Answer Givers" online who are helping others, answering questions, and demonstrating positive pro social behaviors, knowledge, and caring. Research industry thought leader blogs, websites, technical question responses, to see who has 'game', industry knowledge, and the right skills to help you.

  20. Hold a contest, offer a prize, and invite candidates to compete for your interest with a competition. I'm aware of a company that regularly holds a business school competition for teams of 2-5 students to prepare an industry analysis, company analysis, or valuation exercise to see who can work as team members and perform great work. Many times individual contributors can do great work, but they may have difficulty working with others, so the key to having a group project of accepting only submissions of teams of 2-5 has some latent genius in the competition setup. In one instance, a company offered a $5,000 prize for the winning team submittal, and they peer reviewed all team submissions, and reportely hired everyone from the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place teams; total cost of recruiting: $5k; nice!

  21. Create a college internship program for your company. Get your employees involved in the decision making to help them, help you find and select great talent. Keep your internships short to say one-week to two months; screen talent; and offer full-time positions or work to the best candidates. In my experience, I have been able to offer full-time offers to the top 30% of candidates completing an internship with my companies; if you are offering 100% of interns jobs afterwards... perhaps you are not being as selective as might be in your best interest. The Internship really is a 'paid test drive' for the intern and company to get to know each other.

  22. Consider creating a competition for college scholarships and/or training in your industry. This gives you a way to find and attract much more talent from all the applicants, not just the winners of the competition.

  23. Scan newspapers, business journals, and other media sources for 'high performers' in your industry and start tracking them, getting to know them, and encourage them to take an interest in your company.

  24. Proactively keep an 'evergreen' job positing open in your industry, cultivate interest in candidates, interview them to find out more about them, AND find out who else at their company would be a great addition to your company. This strategy works well with strategy #1 of referrals. For instance, you might tell a candidate, that you have three positions open that they are interviewing for, and could they recommend two or three others at their current company that might be great to also interview for your open positions.

  25. Build your own 'farm club' or recruiting database of up and coming talent, and those that you have competed with in the past that 'beat you in the bidding competition,' etc. Give them your business card, write "Winner" on the back side of the card, and tell them that you track winners in your industry, and have them reach out to you when in the future they think it is time to leave their company, and call you first. Remind them to tell you that you wrote 'winner' on the card you handed them to get them a first interview with your company. This is a great way to find and cultivate talent over time and create a flow of candidates coming to you in the future.

  26. Harvest candidates at trade shows, where you get a chance to meet and greet potential candidates from other companies in your industry. Walk the four corners of the trade show floor. Pay special attention to those employees on the floor that made you feel special, that gave you great service and information, and take an interest in them. Consider renting a suite in a nearby hotel and interviewing talent from the industry while at the show. Ask these industry insiders for referrals for additional candidates as well.

  27. Go to MeetUps, entrepreneurial gatherings, and other locations where people with interests in your particular field gather together. Mix and mingle and spot the talent there. Look for "flocks" of people gathering on your topic; this could be conferences, tradeshows, industry events, etc.

  28. Post billboards, hang flyers, wrap your buildings with "Were Hiring" signs etc to get the word out that you are hiring, to attract more candidates.

  29. Identify "Influencers" in your industry and push your notices of open positions to them. Many people follow influencers and they can be a rich source of promotion of your job availability to others.

  30. Identify those high performing employees recognized in trade publications as having received or earned reputable honors or awards: Best Company To Work For, CEO of the Year, CFO of the Year, Recently Awarded Patents, etc.

  31. Post a "Hard Problem" online and offer a prize for the winner who solves the problem. This is a strategy used by Google as they are most interested in demonstrations of 'curiosity' and wonderment prior to hire. Harvard Business Review rates Curiosity as the number one trait to look for in a new hire.

  32. Identify lists of potential candidates from club directories, membership lists, groups, and other lists complied by specific industries, and send email, text, or phone individuals to let them know of your open positions.

  33. In summary, open your mouth, your mind, your contact manager, and your networks, and get the word out about your open positions. If this fails to find talent I have two more options for you below.

  34. Consider engaging Contingent Search Recruiters if you can't find enough talent. Contingent recruiters represent about 85% of the search industry, and only get paid when you hire the talent they bring you. Consequently, if you are going to use one contingent search recruiter, why not engage five of them? Because if each brought you 20 candidates, and they identified unique candidates, you would source 100 candidates quickly, and statistically you would have a better likelihood of having great talent in your candidate pool. Beware however, finding candidates is not the same thing as screening and selecting talent. Some contingent search firms are resume mills only, and do not adequately provide for screening of talent. Further, since these firms only get paid when you hire their talent presented to you, some unethical companies seek to hide certain facts about the talent, their history, abilities, etc, and essentially are 'putting lipstick on the pig' of a candidate's resume or story so that you will hire them, as contingent search companies only get paid when you hire their talent. This is a minority of contingent firms, but it happens. My suggestion, if you are going to use a contingent search firm: require that you get the original candidate submission of resumes... with no rewrites or editing by the search firm; ask the search firm to not engage or solicit your own employees or the new placed candidate for X months (perhaps 2 years).

  35. Lastly, engage a "Retained Search Firm" like ePraxis when it matters, and candidates are hard to find, and the risks are too great of making a poor candidate selection, or you have insufficient time or experience to make a good candidate selection on your own. Retained search firms like represent about 15% of the top search firms in the industry, and are the 'elite' recruiters and headhunters that become your owners representative and help you step-by-step find, select, hire, and onboard great hires. It is true, retained search are not cheap, however the buyer of cheaper services would be well to remember that the 'sting of poor quality lingers long after the remembrance of a good price.' How many readers have had the experience of buying off-brand AA batteries because they were cheap, only to find they are replacing them soon thereafter. By design, retained search talent placements are 'built to last' hence these searches have the longest duration of employment guarantees in the industry.

In closing, feel free to contact us if we can help you find difference making top talent for your critical hire, key-executive replacement, or difference-making next must-win placement; that's our core business and we would be delighted to help you hit the 'easy button' on your next key executive search.


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