The struggle to source top-notch candidates for your open roles in 2023 is real. With the unemployment rate at a near-historic low of 3.5%, 9 out of 10 employers struggling to fill jobs, and fierce competition for the best workers in many industries, the pressure to fill positions is high for recruiters.
That stress means it's time to get creative — and strategic — about how you develop your talent-sourcing strategy right now. You want to aim to pull in a higher volume of applications and a higher quality of candidates. And we've got your complete guide to doing just that right here.
What is a Talent Sourcing Strategy?
Talent sourcing is the process of identifying, finding, approaching, engaging, and evaluating potential candidates for open roles at your company.
While you could simply put up a job listing on Indeed and call it a day, developing a comprehensive strategy for sourcing talent will ensure you're reaching the most qualified candidates and optimizing your recruitment process for the best results.
Top 8 Sourcing Strategies for Recruiters in 2023
So what are the sourcing strategies you should add to your recruitment plan in 2023? It's a year with a challenging talent shortage, making your hiring strategy more critical than ever. Here are eight ways to source the best candidates in today's talent environment.
1. Use Social Media
Let's be honest for a moment — most of us spend a decent chunk of our time on some form of social media, whether we're opening Facebook in the morning to see what our network is up to, browsing Linkedin posts on our lunch break, or scrolling through TikTok before bed.
That's precisely why you should use social media for recruiting — but it doesn't mean you must be on every platform creating content. Identify the top 1-3 platforms where your ideal candidates spend their time and work on creating recruiting content that appeals to your audience. Linkedin is a great place to start since 94% of recruiters currently use it to recruit candidates, and it's explicitly work-focused.
2. Leverage Automation and AI
If repetitive, manual tasks take up much of your recruiting team's time, they won't be as effective as possible, which hurts your sourcing strategy. Adding automation and AI to your talent sourcing process can give your HR team time back from those tedious tasks so they're more engaged and effective.
Whether that's using ChatGPT to streamline parts of the recruiting process or software like GoCo to deliver a better employee onboarding program, automation and AI can enhance your entire recruitment process if you use them wisely. And instead of replacing your valued HR team, they will now have more time to spend on the higher-value parts of the recruiting and hiring process while AI and automation handle the rest.
3. Consider Internal Candidates
If you overlook internal candidates when recruiting for open roles, you might miss out on excellent home-grown talent. And if you think you don't have enough internal talent to make a difference, you need to change how you approach internal hiring.
For example, you don't need to search only for employees who are ready to be promoted and in the same department as the open role. Consider employees who would be open to a lateral move or who want to change job functions or roles, and you might uncover the perfect candidate (and increase employee retention as well).
4. Implement Employee Referral Programs
Another way your current employees can serve as a great recruiting resource is by adding an employee referral program, where employees who refer a successful candidate receive a bonus payment. These programs incentivize employees to refer qualified people within their networks.
Employee referrals expand your recruiting network and come with built-in brand ambassadors (your referring employee!). That personal connection can get you access to the top talent in your industry, so that bonus is a small price to pay.
5. Reach Out to Former Employees
You can also reach out to former employees when you're recruiting if you have a role in mind they're ideally suited for. Of course, you don't want to contact former employees indiscriminately — those who left because they were a poor cultural fit, were terminated for poor performance or bad behavior, or who left on bad terms should be left well alone.
But employees who simply sought a new opportunity elsewhere because of the potential for advancement, a change in their family situation, or employment terms that no longer apply (if your company used to be fully in-office and now allows remote work, for example) might be delighted to come back.
6. Reconsider Former Applicants
Another excellent recruitment source is previous applicants for another role at your company. If you made it to the interview round with a few great candidates but only had room to hire one in the past, you should consider reaching out to see if they're interested in your new open roles.
Since you're already familiar with them (and vice versa), this can speed up your hiring process and give you access to great candidates. The top candidates in most fields are only on the job market for about ten days before accepting an offer, so speed is essential if you're looking for the best talent.
7. Look Carefully at Existing Talent and Hiring Practices
Maybe you've already implemented several or most of these talent-sourcing strategies but are still struggling to fill your talent pipeline efficiently. That might warrant a careful and objective look at your current hiring and talent practices.
Is your talent acquisition strategy equitable, or are you leaving out potentially great candidates because of unconscious bias? Are you insisting on a full-time in-office presence when 40% of workers in the US would prefer to be remote full-time, and a further 33% prefer a hybrid model? You can survey current employees and ask for candidate feedback to surface potential issues in your existing processes.
8. Develop a Consistent Recruiting Mindset
You're already behind if your recruitment strategy only kicks into gear when you have an open role. Instead, try setting your recruiters and hiring managers up for success by considering recruiting an always-on process.
That means continually working to build your employer brand even when you're not hiring. A strong employer brand ensures that you'll quickly draw in qualified candidates when a role opens. It helps to get into the marketer mindset, so you know exactly how to target your perfect candidates with your marketing practices.
The Importance of Your ATS
Your applicant tracking system, or ATS, is critically important to the success of your talent sourcing strategy because it can help you avoid the most mistakes recruiters make in their sourcing strategies. Plus, it can improve your recruiting effectiveness and efficiency while boosting your candidate experience.
A great ATS ensures you're making the most of the data you ask applicants for. While this seems like a small win, applying for a job by uploading a resume to an applicant portal and manually filling in fields that duplicate all that information is all too common and frustrating to applicants. An intuitive ATS helps you avoid this tedious repetition and eases the application process while still delivering the data your recruiters and hiring managers need.
Another way an excellent ATS can help you better source candidates is by keeping previously unsuccessful but highly qualified applicants for other roles at hand and even matching them to future open positions. This allows you to deepen your talent pool without requiring much extra effort from your HR team.
A good ATS makes following up with candidates easier throughout the recruitment process. Timely follow-up communications, such as thanking them for their application when you receive it, outlining the next steps in the process, and telling them when you've made the final hiring decision, are critical in providing a great candidate experience.
Even in a challenging talent environment, like the one in 2023, you can still find great candidates for your open roles. It requires a careful talent sourcing strategy and a mindset where recruiting is always on, not only when an open role appears.
Are you looking for a way to seamlessly integrate all your HR functions into your ATS so you and your applicants have a better recruiting experience? GoCo integrates with the top ATS solutions to sync your candidates' data and documents directly from your ATS into GoCo to make your hire-to-onboard process seamless. Take a tour and see for yourself today!