Talent Circles

Monday, October 27, 2014

How Sourcing Can Elevate Your Talent Community

By Jessica Miller-Merrell

As recruiters, it’s easy to get stuck in a rut. When we have a position open, we hit up the usual job-seeker websites, post job descriptions on social media and possibly spread the word to our usual connections. Naturally, we go these sources because they’re proven to work. Best case scenario, we get anywhere from a handful of applicants to droves of applicants (a challenge in and of itself), and worst case scenario, we get no qualified applicants that would be a good fit, and then we have to go from there. So in short, what most recruiters experience is that the current system works ok most of the time, but it certainly has its flaws. What if, however, there was a way to take your talent community from so-so to superior? The good news is that all it takes is being willing to proactively source candidates rather than sitting back and waiting for them to come to you.

Sourcing can elevate your talent community because it strengthens, grows and improves it. Read below to see tips for sourcing that can transform your talent network.

Don’t limit yourself
To break the glass ceiling of your current talent network, you have to be willing to try things that are not only new but also perhaps even a bit strange or out of your comfort zone. The key is to go where everyone else isn’t going. The fact that not every recruiter or hiring manager is sourcing makes even logical sources, like Facebook and Twitter and obscure online communities, somewhat out of the box, but don’t be afraid to go to industry- or hobby-specific online communities as well. Nothing is off limits here, and the further out you get (while still keeping it relevant), the more results you’ll have to work with.

Be active
Successful sourcing not only takes proactive effort but also requires you to be consistently active. The talent pool out there is constantly changing because people move from passive to active job seekers very fluidly, This means that a one-and-done strategy won’t work for sourcing. It’s called building a candidate pipeline for that reason. Sure, you can spend one day a month sourcing candidates and add them to a talent network but you aren’t tapping into the power of sourcing unless you remain consistent in your efforts.

Be a stalker and a talker
When it comes to sourcing, people tend to gravitate towards sourcing that requires low engagement, but it’s not always the most effective approach. For instance, connecting with someone on LinkedIn for the purpose of possibly recruiting them (what I affectionately call stalking) will make them easy to access later on and perhaps put you on their radar, but how much more of an impact would you make on someone if you engage with them by commenting on an article they shared? There are places where minimal engagement is required and places where high engagement is required, and I recommend utilizing a mix of both to make the most of your time and efforts.

Identify time-saving tools
One of the things I always tell people is to have a system for keeping track of all those great candidates you’ve been sourcing. After all, you put in the time and effort to source, but when you’re ready to use the results of your findings, you may not be able to remember who it was that you had in mind, where you found them or why you liked them. If you connect with someone, don’t rely on the fact that you can go back to that website or network and track them down. Instead, keep a database that identifies who, why, where, potential positions and any other identifying factors that could help you save time when you’re ready to hire. Systems that seamlessly turn your sourcing efforts into a pipeline of candidates, such as what the partnership between TalentCircles and Swoop allows you to do. At the end of the day, what’s most important is that you can take what you find through your sourcing and use it to make recruiting and hiring faster, more effective and easier.

Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a workplace and technology strategist specializing in social media. She’s is the Chief Blogger & Founder of Blogging4Jobs. You can follow her on Twitter @jmillermerrell

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