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6 Sourcing Hacks to Find Great Candidates

Justin Lowe Apr 4, 2019 9:00:00 AM

We live and work in an extremely tight labor market.  It often feels like finding that next great candidate is an uphill battle against bigger companies, ghosting candidates, and expensive talent acquisition tactics. But whether you're looking for an intern or a CEO, every search starts with the same step - sourcing candidates you want to consider. Where do you go to find through candidates, though? What channels do you use to attract attention to your job posting? And more importantly, even if candidates are finding your posting, are they the right sort of talent you're trying to attract? 

True story that might entertain some: About a year ago, in Chicago, we had the pleasure of attending a “Source Hacking” event at the Chicago Facebook office. About 20+ sourcers/recruiters were gathered together. The initial prompt might be something like, “Knows C++ programming, big Lionel Messi fan, lives in Atlanta, posts often about guitars on Instagram. Find that person.” The sourcers would race to find them. The top 10 would advance, get another prompt, and move on. It was fascinating to see excellent sourcers truly find the needles in haystacks of the Internet. 

Do you have to be a world class recruiter to hire a great new employee? Luckily, the answer is no. But if you're looking to duplicate the success of a room full of sourcers, you need to think beyond traditional approaches to sourcing and that's where these "hacks" come into play. 

What sourcing hacks should you try?

How can you find the Lionel Messi/guitar fan in Atlanta that also slays it at C++ coding? Well, first of all, don't throw away all of the traditional approaches to sourcing candidates. For example, yes you should be posting on social networks and yes you need to think about your outreach message. But you can go even further than the regular sourcing strategies. Here are some ideas to explore next time you start recruiting. 

Read more: Check out these strategies to reduce your time to hire

Hack the WiFi: If your office is in a busy area (clustered downtown, etc.), change your WiFi password to something like “We’re Hiring” or “We've Got The Job For You at Company XYZ.” Will candidates necessarily stream in the second you make this change? No. But with work engagement levels hovering around 15% in a tight job market, almost everyone can be seen as a candidate these days. Enticing them in random places just might work. And if you're office happens to be near a coffee shop your odds shoot up that someone might see your call out and care enough to search out the job posting. Word to the wise, make sure the job is easily found on your own website and LinkedIn. 

Use co-workers’ LinkedIn connections: See what second-degree connections you have around a particular skill set, especially by focusing on current co-workers. Then send them a simple message or email asking how well they know the person and if they’d be comfortable referring/reaching out. 

Have “Referral-Thon” events: This works well, especially if your company offers cash incentives for referrals. Plan a regular “referral-a-thon” party where everyone in the company submits as many referrals as they know at once. Try hosting them first thing in the morning to take advantage of the energy boost—this time with coffee instead of cocktails. Or if a referral event is too hard to coordinate, then consider bringing a referral program into the company to build another talent pipeline for the future. 

Pro-tip: Looking to give your talent pipeline a boost? Build a referral program with these tips

Use “People Also Viewed”: This is on the right side of LinkedIn profiles. If you find high-quality candidates -- or use your own high-quality internal employees -- then look at “People Also Viewed.” These are usually going to be people with the same skill sets as the person you’re currently looking at. Do any of them have some wording around being available in their headline? Or something vague that might imply they’re not currently with one specific company? Reach out. 

Google Alerts: If you primarily need to hire in one specific domain -- say, personalization -- set up a Google Alert for articles related to personalization. Now when something interesting crosses your path, such as a deep dive on how Netflix uses personalization, you can copy the link, save it, and send to candidates as you discover them. It’s a more personalized approach that puts valuable content in front of them and shows you’re going beyond simply cookie-cutter InMail messages, which turns off top talent. 

Join groups: There are thousands on LinkedIn, with different degrees of efficiency. There are also a couple of strong ones on Facebook, including Secret Sourcing Group, Boolean Strings, and Talent Sourcers Group. The larger a network you have, the more likely someone is to be interested next time you post a job.

What other sourcing hacks have you seen?

We're living in an age where talent acquisition needs to get creative and innovative. Finding great talent doesn't happen by chance anymore and keeping your amazing hires is getting increasingly more difficult. With a lot riding on the line, setting yourself up for success right from the sourcing stage can have a long term impact on your talent management program within your company. Have you come across any great sourcing solutions that move beyond the traditional approach?

 

Topics: Talent Acquisition, Sourcing

Justin Lowe

Written by Justin Lowe

Justin is the Director of Marketing and Sales at the McQuaig Institute where he helps companies refine their corporate culture and grow their human capital.