Sourcing Candidates: How to Identify Qualified Leaders

"Sourcing" refers to finding job candidates through the use of recruiting techniques. The critical step of discovering candidates is performed by either an internal recruiter, agency, or designated sourcing professional. Sourcing candidates to identify talented individuals for your organization should be one of the highest priorities for your Human Resources/Talent Acquisition function.

Why is sourcing candidates important? Sourcing is particularly critical at this time due to the following factors:

  • The improved economic conditions are yielding higher employment rates resulting in fewer active job seekers applying directly to organizations, particularly for higher level or specialized positions.
  • Due to the low number of job seekers, the job market is much more competitive.
  • Baby boomers are retiring at the rate of 10,000 per day, and their many years of experience are walking out the door with them. Finding seasoned and qualified candidates to replace them takes a concerted effort.
  • Relying only on candidates who reply to job postings or website listings significantly limits the pool of qualified candidates.
  • The sourcing of candidates allows you to directly target individuals who meet your specific needs and fit your culture.

The following are some proven ideas to consider when sourcing candidates for current or future needs:

  • Sourced candidates are generally not looking for a new position, so you need to look for them.
  • Determine a sourcing strategy for identifying candidates. The broader your sourcing strategy, the more robust and extensive your potential candidate pool will be. Every search is different, so each open position calls for a separate sourcing strategy with appropriate tactics and activities.
  • Approach networking (in person and online) not as “what’s in it for me,” but “how might I assist someone else.” Networking is friend building and can pay huge dividends in the near future or even years later. Here are some tips:
    • Attend events, functions, professional meetings, or other gatherings where there may be potential candidates or connections to potential candidates.
    • Keep a high profile in professional groups on LinkedIn and other specialized sites. Let people know you are interested in building your network.
    • Professional associations offer an excellent venue for sourcing activities, including meetings, websites, and online groups. Identify organizations that serve in functional areas where potential candidates belong (e.g., MGMA, ASHHRA, HIMSS, ACHE, AMGA, and others). Join, attend, and serve at local or national meetings to network there, or become a member of an online group of these or similar associations.

Sourcing to identify candidates is not a one-time event. It is an ongoing effort for each search to build a pool of talent for your organization. Skilled and experienced recruiters are sourcing continually and everywhere. Think of sourcing as always and evermore and as a “contact” sport.

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