3 Tips to Focus on Quality over Quantity when Sourcing Candidates by @thejobgirl

When I first started sourcing, I felt so unorganized. I’d find myself deep into searching for candidates, sometimes working on multiple positions at a time and always with way too many tabs open on my browser. I was sending over plenty of candidates, but I wasn’t always confident in the quality of the submittals and was desperate to find an easier process to find the type of candidates I knew I needed.

One of the biggest assumptions that sourcers have is that you have to reach out to dozens and dozens of candidates to fill your role. I certainly thought that when I started! After a lot of training, research, and trial-and-error, I’ve realized that if you have a laid out strategy and a strong list of 20-40 passive candidates to target, you have a good chance of finding one that can fill your role.

The first step in the process is to become an expert on the position that you are sourcing for. Attending the intake session with the hiring manager is critical, and you shouldn’t leave the meeting until you feel like you know exactly what the manager needs to see to be interested in your candidate. Make sure to find out companies he/she likes to see candidates from, and companies to stay away from. Listen for keywords and requirements that are repeated so you know what terms should be included in your search string. Find out the profiles of the top performers on the team so you can look them up to mimic their background. Your goal is to walk away with your brain fully absorbed with exactly what the ideal candidate needs to show.

The next step is to have a scheduled block of time on your calendar to solely source for this position. This time should be within 24 hours of the intake meeting so that all of the information is still fresh in your head. I recommend blocking 2-3 hours to get 25-40 candidates identified. I like to put this on my calendar as soon as the intake meeting has been scheduled so that I make sure I have the time blocked right after I collect all of the details. During this time, close your e-mail, turn off your phone, and just source. Look up the companies the top performers came from and find other people who may be similar. Create search strings that narrow down the number of people who come up and only find those who meet the majority of the requirements. The key is to not just add anybody to your list; take the time to actually research the person and make sure that at least on paper they look like a great fit for the role. Set a goal to have a minimum of 25 people to reach out to by the time you are done.

The last step is to reach out to each candidate individually about the position. I know it would be easier to just sent one bulk message to all 25-40 of them, but as I said in my last article, your response rate will decrease drastically if you do not personalize the message you send to the top candidates that you find. Pull up their profile, figure out a similarity or reason that drew you to them, and personalize your brief message to them on why you are reaching out.

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If your message is right and the positions aligns with the candidate’s background, you should start getting some responses within a few days. From here you can begin sending over resumes to the recruiter or setting up screens, whatever your process is.

This three step strategy probably won’t work for every sourcer or every position, but hopefully it gives you a great starting place to get yourself organized and start working smarter.

Disclaimer: This article does not in any way represent the thoughts, opinions, intentions or strategies of my employer, or any other person other than me.

Kerri Mills is an experienced Full-cycle Recruiter and Sourcer who holds the title of 2015 SourceCon Grand Master. She has both agency and corporate experience and is broadening her skills as a senior talent sourcer with Indeed.com. Kerri loves every aspect of the recruiting cycle but is especially passionate about research and improving the candidate experience. She is also the founder of www.thejobgirl.com, a website dedicated to helping people find new careers and recruiters find new people.


11 Comments on “3 Tips to Focus on Quality over Quantity when Sourcing Candidates by @thejobgirl

  1. This is a solid strategy and one I’ve done myself, except it doesn’t work with a lot of technical roles such as mobile or front end engineers.. Even with personalized messages the response rates on these types of roles is a lot less than the average.

    1. Dawn, check out this Slideshare on how to get folks to respond: http://bit.ly/20Qjf0Y

      It’s based on my own personal experience recruiting I.T. folks, as well as the team I lead now that recruits high demand/low supply I.T. talent such (mobile devs, big data/data science, etc.).

    2. Dawn I agree, tech recruiting can be a whole different process. I would definitely check out Glen’s tips for his personal experiences!

  2. Nice post Kerri! I too learned very early in my career to monotask sourcing and engagement activities – there are many benefits beyond the obvious productivity gains. I’ll be addressing it during my SourceCon presentation among many other topics. 🙂

    Keep sharing content – your voice is welcome and needed!

  3. We’ve called these P&P report numbers…Production (Quantity) and Performance (Quality)…and you can set goals for each req you are working on. 10 Submittals (Production) with 3 Onsite interviews (Performance) give you the score of 10 / 30%. You can also add dates…like by X date Y needs to happen.

    Setting simple goals while measuring the outcome makes for good workforce management (staffing leader) and time management (recruiter). Each req and hiring manager seems to have its own balance between the two.

    Set this during that initial intake meeting and steps to take if the goals are not met to find the reasons why and what can be adjusted. They turn into the little gauges on your car..not need to worry until they are in the red…then you better do “something” quick and you have previously established that commitment.

    Specify for each req and you can roll up into Job Family, Function, Department, etc. for reporting. If you are a staffing leader at a company that has A LOT of reqs..this is a great snapshot overview/dashboard.

    Great article.

  4. Hi Kerri great post. At Capgemini we hire large volumes of technical resources and follow a factory model for hiring. Well defined metrics takes care of quantity and quality of candidate’s sourced. For quantity have fixed daily submissions coupled with % coverage for the Job requests open. For quality sourcer are aligned to a ratio of 3:1 Technical Round Selection against each requisition

    1. Thanks Siby! It’s great to hear that you are focused on metrics to make sure your people are performing. 🙂

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