4 Things You're Probably Overlooking in Your Talent-Sourcing Plan Don't know what a sourcing plan is? It's a plan for finding candidates who don't just fit your organization; they "align" with it.

By Andre Lavoie

entrepreneur daily

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.


Every employer with a job opening has been there: sorting through applications, screening candidates, contacting references and finally making offers to the candidate with the best fit. To bring their hiring process to the next level, however, employers need to develop what are called sourcing plans.

Related: 9 Ways to Recruit the Best Talent for Your Startup

Sourcing is a proactive strategy for finding top talent to fill current or planned open positions. It's not a process of just reviewing applications. It's an ongoing effort to find talent that aligns with the organization.

Here are four big aspects employers overlook when creating a sourcing plan:

Being open

Posting jobs on the company website is just half the battle. In order to attract some of the best talent, you need to go the extra mile.

For example, if job-seekers go to a company's careers page and don't see any open roles that they're qualified for, they're going to move on. However, they actually might be a strong cultural fit. So, make it clear that candidates can still submit an application even if they don't see open jobs that fit their skills or experience.

Provide an open invitation that encourages them to submit their information for future consideration. Create a compelling call to action that directs top talent to a general application portal or connects them to an email address.

Related: A New Solution for Efficiently Recruiting Talent

When inviting candidates to send in general applications, describe what information they should include, such as why they would fit into the culture, how they align with the company mission and how their skills would provide value to the organization.

This aspect of sourcing gives employers the chance to screen talent and build a pipeline. Candidates should be evaluated and contacted within a week so they know whether or not they're being considered.

Searching "smart"

Get creative with search engines when sourcing for "A" players. Learn how to make the most out of Boolean searches, which describe relationships between sets of words. This type of search allows employers to find specific cover letters and resumes existing on the internet, on personal websites and in social media.

While Boolean searching may seem complicated, it's actually quite straightforward. There are five elements employers should be aware of:

  • Using "AND" gives results for however many keywords employers use in their search. (For example, if an employer needs a developer who has project-management experience,the right search would be for "software developer" AND "project manager." )
  • "OR," in contrast, helps employers find a list of possibilities for which one of the keywords is important.
  • The "NOT" command excludes keywords that might be closely related.
  • Quotation marks give employers results that include the exact phrase.
  • Brackets show search engines that the keywords are for separate conditions.

Overall? These techniques will yield better results in less time.

Thinking "niche"

Another way employers can focus their sourcing efforts is by looking into niche communities. There are multiple places online where talented people engage with one another. For example, Stack Overflow is a good resource for developers. So, scour professional discussion boards for engaging with talent through these sites. After finding professionals on these sites, dig deeper into their social media profiles to determine their qualifications.

Sourcing through social media is another strategy which is increasingly popular. In fact, a June 2017 CareerBuilder study revealed that 44 percent of employers survyeed said they'd found content on a social networking site that caused them to hire the candidate.

In other words, some candidates know how to show off their skills online. When targeting niche groups through social media, employers can find "A"players who are enthusiastic to share their expertise.

For example, those who engage through LinkedIn groups are likely passionate enough to dedicate their spare time to learning and growing professionally. If you're an employer looking for digital marketers, join digital marketing groups on LinkedIn and start build relationships with their members.

Getting granular

Just like any other project, sourcing plans need to be measured and refined simultaneously as they're being used. By collecting specific pieces of data, employers can track how effective their own sourcing strategies are and determine where improvements might be made.

Look at metrics like "time to fill," "job views," "source of hire" and "total applications." When companies collect this information, they can regularly build comprehensive reports and compare them as they make adjustments.

For example, if your job listing's email conversion rate is low, look at how to create a more compelling email, and consider rewriting the job description. Once the change is made, compare the conversion rate each attracted, to track improvement.

Related: 4 Things to Remember When You're Recruiting Goal-Oriented Talent

Sourcing plans are the key to building strong talent pipelines and overcoming the hiring hurdles that plague so many organizations. Top talent is waiting. Now is the time to find these individuals.

Andre Lavoie

Entrepreneur; CEO and Co-Founder, ClearCompany

Andre Lavoie is the CEO of ClearCompany, the talent-management solution that helps companies identify, hire and retain more A players. You can connect with him and the ClearCompany team on Facebook LinkedIn and Twitter.


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