10 Innovative Sourcing Techniques for Recruiters

Close up portrait of woman recruiter smiling and using laptop computer to source candidates for her job opening.

If you want to secure a strong, highly skilled workforce that will ensure a stable future for your company, posting your positions to job boards isn’t enough. Innovative sourcing techniques are required to out-recruit the competition and attract the best talent. 

Relying on just one or two channels to find candidates won’t cut it. Instead, you need a strategic and diversified approach that uses a range of tactics to connect with active and passive candidates and build meaningful relationships with them. In this post, we’ll share 10 creative sourcing techniques to expand your talent pool and maximize your recruiting ROI. 

The Benefits of Creative Sourcing

Expand your talent pool

If you only ever post your openings to sites like Indeed and LinkedIn, you will only reach the same group of people who browse those websites. If you want to reach beyond your existing network and connect with fresh talent, you must explore new and alternative channels for publicizing your job openings. 

Differentiate yourself

As a recruiter, you’re often the first point of contact that a candidate has with a company. Creative sourcing channels are a message in and of themselves, demonstrating that you’re different from competing employers who rely on boring, run-of-the-mill sourcing techniques. This may be an attractive quality to candidates who are looking for a change. 

Reach passive candidates

You can spend all the time in the world attending job fairs and hosting career events, but that still won’t put you in front of people who aren’t actively looking for a job. Creative sourcing will help you contact specialized, skilled candidates who are already happily employed so you can make a strong case for why they can’t pass up the opportunity to work for your organization.

10 Innovative Sourcing Techniques for Recruiters

1. Leverage candidate personas

Candidate personas are a highly effective tool for identifying people who precisely fit your needs. However, few recruiters will actually take the time to sit down and build them. 

A candidate persona is a comprehensive profile of the ideal candidate for a specific role. Creating one forces you to focus intently on the characteristics that matter most, making it easier to identify those characteristics within your applicant pool and decide where to look to find people who possess them. 

Related: How to Build a Complete Candidate Persona

2. Create a blog

For years, content marketers have been using blogs to attract traffic and generate leads for commercial purposes. Why not do the same thing to attract leads of your own–a.k.a. new candidates?

The purpose of a blog is to deliver relevant information to your target audience–another reason having a candidate persona comes in handy–and then capture their contact information in exchange for an incentive like a downloadable guide. By acting as a resource for job seekers in your niche, you’ll build brand awareness and establish trust while developing a highly targeted audience with whom to share future job openings. 

3. Go offline

We tend to get pigeonholed into online channels when we think about sourcing techniques. After all, it’s easier to sit at your computer and comb through LinkedIn profiles than it is to get in your car, drive to a networking event, and make small talk for a few hours. However, in-person conversations are exponentially more effective for building genuine relationships that set top recruiters apart from the rest.

So, make the effort and get out there. Attend industry events, especially ones that aren’t specifically geared toward hiring. Establish connections with local business leaders, community organizations, church groups, and colleges, and have a presence at their programming. 

When you meet people live, you’re putting a face to your company’s name, which a candidate will remember far longer than a generic message accompanied by a tiny profile photo on LinkedIn. 

4. Make bite-sized videos

You probably already know video is the most consumed form of digital content. With the explosion of platforms like TikTok, that content is getting shorter and snappier. Capitalize on the trend by creating short videos (aim for under 30 seconds) that advertise your openings and highlight your value proposition to candidates. 

Not all of your videos should ask the viewer to take action. When you do give a call to action, though, be sure to provide clear and simple next steps like ‘comment to receive a link to our application!’ Then, be sure to follow up with interested leads. 

5. Partner with influencers

If you think influencers are just for advertising products, think again. They can share information about your hiring initiatives in an organic way and help you connect with the types of candidates you want to reach.

The key to successful influencer partnerships is to be incredibly selective about who you work with. It’s not the audience size that matters, but the quality and the specialization. If you’re looking to hire a numbers-oriented office administrator, working with a personal finance blogger could help you reach organized candidates with a knack for money management. If you want to hire a designer, using a popular graphic artist to publicize your openings could put you in front of aspiring creators. 

6. Source from your customer base

Your customers already know and love your brand, making them a prime recruitment messaging audience. Compare your candidate personas against your customer database to identify potential matches. AI can be a helpful tool here. 

You can also turn to your customer base for referrals. A satisfied customer understands what makes your company great and may be able to recommend someone suitable for a particular job from within their network. 

Related: Best Recruiting Messages to Enhance Your Candidate Outreach

7. Tap into online communities

Get creative with your sourcing techniques by the types of communities you engage with online. Think beyond job seeker forums, which are usually crowded with companies trying to advertise openings. 

Here are some examples of online communities to source candidates:

  • Your city’s Facebook page
  • Facebook pages for professional organizations, like your local young professionals group
  • Local Facebook groups for specific niches, like gamers or moms
  • Public Slack channels
  • Discord servers
  • Industry- and city-specific subreddits
  • Platforms catering to specific roles, like GitHub for developers and Behance for creatives

8. Revisit former candidates

For every new employee you’ve hired over the years, there have likely been two or more other top contenders who would have been a strong choice for the job. These candidates not only possess the necessary skills but may have acquired additional ones since you were last in contact. 

Reconnecting with past candidates allows you to emphasize your continued interest in them while reigniting their enthusiasm for your organization. Plus, since they’ve already completed your screening and are familiar with your hiring process, you won’t need to devote as many resources to pre-employment activities. 

9. Use an attention-grabbing job description

Writing compelling job descriptions is an essential part of the hiring process, but when was the last time you changed things up? Bring some flavor to your descriptions–and attract new candidates in the process–by doing something completely different. 

Write your description like an online dating profile and advertise for the perfect match. Format your list of requirements like a shopping list and incorporate grocery-themed language into your listing. Think outside the box–just be sure your creative idea aligns with the type of candidate you’re looking to attract. 

10. Host a webinar

Hosting a webinar is a dynamic approach that allows you to conduct some proactive screening while gathering a highly targeted list of prospective candidates. A live webinar lets recruiters present detailed information about roles, career paths, and the company’s culture, which is much more engaging than just reading a paragraph in a job description. Plus, the two-way nature of webinars facilitates direct communication, letting candidates ask questions in real-time. 

The ideal webinar topic is one that a prospective candidate would be interested in apart from their job search like valuable industry thought leadership, a how-to on using a piece of emerging technology, or a behind-the-scenes look at the company’s latest projects. 

By supplementing your traditional sourcing methods with creative ones like those outlined above, you’ll create a compelling, informative, multi-channel recruitment approach that gives you the best chance of finding the right person amidst active and passive job seekers.

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Pete Newsome

About Pete Newsome

Pete Newsome is the President of 4 Corner Resources, the staffing and recruiting firm he founded in 2005. 4 Corner is a member of the American Staffing Association and TechServe Alliance, and the top-rated staffing company in Central Florida. Recent awards and recognition include being named to Forbes’ Best Recruiting Firms in America, The Seminole 100, and The Golden 100. Pete also founded zengig, to offer comprehensive career advice, tools, and resources for students and professionals. He hosts two podcasts, Hire Calling and Finding Career Zen, and is blazing new trails in recruitment marketing with the latest artificial intelligence (AI) technology. Connect with Pete on LinkedIn