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What is sourcing in HR?

Difference between sourcing candidates and recruiting

Key sourcing strategies for remote and global teams

What is HR sourcing

In the context of HR, sourcing involves proactively searching for qualified candidates rather than waiting for potential candidates to apply on their own. The sourcing strategy involves identifying, contacting, and engaging quality candidates.

The human resources department is responsible for talent acquisition, and the talent sourcing process helps to find top talent rather than waiting for interested parties to stumble across the opening on job boards or social networks.

What is sourcing in HR?

Hiring managers use different sourcing tools and methods to find the best talent to fill a position. 

In the HR world, there are three main types of sourcing:

  • Passive sourcing — connecting with candidates who are not currently looking for a job

  • Active sourcing — engaging with suitable candidates that are actively looking for employment opportunities

  • Direct sourcing — identifying a specific candidate and reaching out to them directly, without using a third-party recruitment agency or an external platform

Depending on the candidate's employment status, there are different strategies to reach out to them.

Difference between sourcing candidates and recruiting

Sourcing is a targeted process that is most effective when an organization is searching to fill a highly-specific role. Hiring managers and sourcers are responsible for identifying ideal candidates and presenting them with an open position. 

In contrast, recruiting involves managing relationships with candidates and helping them navigate the recruitment process, screen process, and talent pipeline. A recruitment team may also use automation tools to streamline the hiring process and stay on top of the applicant tracking system.

Keep in mind that certain recruitment regulations must be considered when sourcing from the global talent pool to remain compliant.

Key sourcing strategies for remote and global teams

As the global workforce has expanded, finding the right candidates for job openings may involve hiring from other countries or accepting a remote work setup. For example, hiring a remote software developer demands a different approach to recruiting an in-house tech lead.

Consider the following effective strategies for finding the best candidates from a broad talent pool.

Hunting and finding passive candidates

There are various ways to find passive candidates manually and through automated processes. 

  • Remain vigilant on social media, especially LinkedIn, and niche platforms such as GitHub for specialized candidates
  • Invest in automation tools that identify candidates using algorithms
  • Establish a referral program and rely on trusted employee referrals

Creating interest and driving talent to the company

Prioritizing company culture and offering potential for growth is an effective way to attract talent to your company. Employees have started prioritizing job satisfaction over salary when selecting a job, and a healthy employer brand serves as a magnet. Even so, it’s important to consider employee compensation strategies when sourcing globally.

Engaging potential candidates

Invest in your company careers page and post a detailed job description for each opening, emphasize a personalized and personable attitude in the HR team, and streamline the entire onboarding process. 

Networking through industry-related groups

Collaborate with industry groups and leverage the network to identify top talent. Treating these networks as valuable sourcing channels opens the doors to finding quality candidates.

Searching speciality and niche job boards

Sourcing is particularly effective when trying to find a candidate with a specific skill set. Instead of sifting through hundreds of resumes with mediocre candidates, specialty and niche job boards allow experts to find the ideal candidate efficiently.

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