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Guide: turn your recruitment team into proactive sourcing superheroes

Today, sourcing skills are essential for a recruitment team seeking to meet its objectives and minimize the difficulties faced in this mission. YOUR mission if you accept it? Help them acquire the best active sourcing techniques to transform themselves into a team with ultra-developed talent identification & attraction powers.
Guide: turn your recruitment team into proactive sourcing superheroes

How can proactive sourcing become an essential part of a recruitment strategy?

The answer can be summed up in a single headline from Les Echos: Turnover and talent shortage pressure corporate recruiters. Published in 2023, this article is still highly relevant today. The observation is clear: there's a shortage of talent and, more generally, a shortage of candidates. Once your vacancy has been published, not enough (quality) applications are received to enable you to fill the position. At least, most of the time, that's true. 

However, we shouldn't limit the discussion to the reasons given in the introduction to this article (salary, remote working...). Candidates' expectations extend further. Even more importantly, the quality of their experience as a candidate can also be an obstacle to : 

  • their decision to join you, even once the recruitment process has begun
  • their interest in staying with your company for a long time and becoming loyal employees

But before you can even hope of finding a future employee who will stay for a long time... you have to trigger the application.

This step 0 is often underestimated. And yet, as this second title indicates (“Meeting candidates: recruiters' new race to innovate”)... You can't wait for candidates: you have to make the first move.

This is where sourcing skills become essential when it comes to attracting candidates!

Did you know? In Europe today, there are over 80% of passive candidates (YouGov / CleverConnect study), who won't apply for your vacancies if you don't go looking for them! Another reason to start taking an interest in active sourcing.

Defining proactive sourcing: diving into the deep end

Over the last few years, and for those to come, sourcing has evolved and become more complex.

Sourcing is the identification of profiles that meet your precise recruitment criteria. You can then contact these profiles to encourage them to apply, which is why we add the adjective “proactive”. We can also say “Active sourcing”. 

Recruitment experts are like fishermen, looking for the rare, wild fish hidden in an ocean of other species. These recruiter-fishermen are impacted by the strong tide of a rapidly changing recruitment world, but also by their peers, often equipped with the same fishing rods and trying to find their rare jewel in the same pools. 

So what's changed in this art in the past few years? How do you keep up with the pace? There are solutions available to adapt to a changing sourcing environment. They can be summed up in three main points. 

Vary your sourcing channels, including your internal talent pools

Solution #1 - move to a different beach! ⛱️

Yes to LinkedIn but it’s not enough. People often think that sourcing is the identification of interesting profiles on the Internet. Well, not only that.

Find out more: Finding the passive candidates you need... when LinkedIn isn't enough

Today, you need to think 360° about every aspect of your Talent Acquisition strategy, and this obviously includes sourcing.

LinkedIn might be sufficient for some profiles, but perhaps not all the time. You can also consider other “classic” sourcing channels: job boards, CV databases, etc.

But that's not all! Depending on your needs, there are other options that can be just as effective (or even more so): 

  • Employee referral: hidden profiles may be found among your employees' contacts
  • Job events: this means that the talent on show is certainly not totally passive... so take advantage of it! However, you need to know how to capitalize on a job fair to make it profitable
  • Non-professional social networks: have you ever considered sourcing on Facebook? Instagram? Some organizations are even doing it on TikTok. Of course, it's all about knowing where your target audience stands. Testing is the best solution!

The best sourcing channel: your own talent pool

There are plenty of public “beaches” where you can exercise your sourcing skills. But imagine... your own beach, your own pool. That's what we call a talent pool.

Proactive sourcing + the management and animation of your talent pools are the key to a successful and optimized recruitment strategy. 

The right tool to extend your proactive sourcing and Candidate Relationship Management (CRM) skills

Solution #2: Change your fishing rod! 🎣

Your working tool shouldn't just allow you to catch a profile once: forget the classic fishing rod and start thinking about a comfortable net to put your catch in a pool made for it.

You need to think about changing your sourcing strategy into a long-term objective. Prepare your own pool to welcome new talent sourced from here and there. You need to be able to capitalize on all the hard work and patience you've put into preparing your future recruitments.

A proactive sourcing strategy built around Candidate Relationship Management actions

If we stop the analogy for a second, it means that you need to create a talent pool that can be easily managed and activated thanks to a segmentation system that enables you to find the perfect talent for a specific recruitment, just when you need it.

Talent pools can be used in the plural. The key lies in filtering your database and then using it effectively. This way, you avoid going back to the public beach to fish again (the analogy is back!). 

As a result of truly successful sourcing, you'll have fewer needs to source from external channels later on. And what do you need? A Candidate Relationship Management (CRM) tool to complete your ATS.

The tool helps you centralize all the profiles you've identified, facilitates collaborative recruitment and, thanks to multi-channel communication actions that can be directly activated on this tool, builds trust-based relationships with these talents.

You'll then be able to source directly from your own pool, and save a huge amount of time on your sourcing activities - with each new recruitment.

New skills in sourcing and candidate relation management

Solution #3 : work on your hooks! 🎯

The right place to fish: yes. The right private pool: yes. But you won't catch any good fish if you haven't prepared quality bait. You may have the right tool, but unless you have something interesting to offer your potential candidates... you'll never catch a fish!

In short: work on your key employer branding elements. Then adapt them to your target audience and the sourcing channel you're considering. 

In the highly competitive sourcing world, your best move is the way you present yourself and also sell your company (let's not be afraid of words) to convince talent to apply

Today, strong competition means marketing. Are you familiar with recruitment marketing?

These are new techniques that help you source more effectively. That's because you learn to communicate with interesting profiles in the right way, with convincing words and promises that match their aspirations.

For instance, if you source talent but never contact them again, you might be forgetting the benefits of having an up-to-date talent pool. One of the most popular techniques in recruitment marketing is “nurturing”. That means regular communication with these targets with information that interests them and is therefore personalized

Using the right words on first contact can also make a big difference. In short: you need to learn how to improve your candidate / recruiter relationship.

As you can see, the recruiter is not just a fisherman, he's also a breeder, because he cultivates his relationship with potential candidates through his sourcing work. Then, he can capitalize on this relationship to encourage the talent to apply for a position when it suits them. 

How do you build a recruitment team with active sourcing expertise?

Before you start thinking about the way you want to organize your team, you first need to consider the skills you'll need to make sourcing a real force in your Talent Acquisition strategy.

Sourcing and candidate relationship management skills

The following list is not exhaustive, but is an excellent starting point:

  • Understanding of the market's various sourcing channels: LinkedIn, personal social networks, job boards, specialization in event-based recruitment, CRM and referral program management, etc. 
  • Project management: frame sourcing usage, check what's working and what's not, and track the right KPIs.
  • Recruitment marketing: employer brand, employee experience, candidate journey, career website management, etc.
  • Impactful copywriting: this is just one aspect of recruitment marketing, but it's significant enough to be listed here. Writing to convince, finding hooks, being educational, etc.
  • Managing your CRM tool: to identify the right profiles among your internal pool of candidates, and initiate the right communications with them, you need to know how to use a Candidate Relationship Management (CRM) tool. Choose one that's user-friendly!

Organize your recruitment team in an active sourcing mode

No two recruiting teams are exactly the same. Just as no two sourcing teams are the same. It depends on three main elements:

  • Your recruitment objectives: profile requirements, number of recruitments, market difficulties, time to hire...
  • Your human resources: size of team, its members' skills, how easy it is to work with other teams (in particular: IT, HRIS, Marketing & Communication)...
  • Tools you use (or could use): ATS, Candidate Relationship Management (CRM) tool, LinkedIn access, referral program...

That's why we advise you to start by clarifying all this and, above all, to involve your recruitment team in the discussions and in the construction of your internal organization. For example: ask about everyone's aspirations, perhaps a member of your team already has essential skills or wants to acquire them. 

If there is such a person, the position could evolve into: 50% proactive sourcing / 50% standard recruitment, for example.

But if you find that a single person can't do it, consider sharing the work. For example: 

  • One team member sources on LinkedIn
  • Another works on advertising campaigns for other social networks
  • Another manages the referral program and the connection with referred candidates
  • Yet another may be in charge of managing your CRM tool and nurturing your talent pools
  • Another may be in charge of interviews
  • Etc. 

If you have a smaller recruitment team, you'll simply have to make choices and prioritize. What sourcing channels are most relevant to your specific needs? You can also test, see what is working and adapt your strategy accordingly.

In any case, don't forget to have a project manager who will monitor your sourcing strategy on a daily basis: he or she will be responsible for ensuring its implementation, as well as its adoption both upstream and downstream. This is what we call change management. 

Our advice: employee referral is a recruitment channel that delivers high-quality, often “hot” candidates. It also creates loyalty among your employees, thanks to a rewards program and a feeling of being part of your organization's success. Don't underestimate its benefits, especially if you decide to use a digitalized referral tool that makes it much easier to manage your program.

Proactive sourcing strategy: how can you integrate it into your recruiter's daily work?

To make proactive sourcing part of your strategy, consider the following steps: 

  1. Audit of your current sourcing practices: what's working and should be maintained, and what's missing (ideally, the gap identified should match a practice you already have to complement your current way of working).

Find out more: Sourcing expertise: the secret is to adapt your existing missions

  1. L’audit des compétences et de la motivation de votre équipe : vous saurez qui peut/veut faire quoi mais aussi qui dans votre équipe peut être un moteur pour ce projet. Vous identifiez aussi les membres qui pourraient être réticents à ce changement.
  2. Audit your team's skills and motivation: you'll know who can/wants to do what, but also who in your team can be a driving force for this project. You'll also be able to identify members who might be reticent about the change.
  3. Definition of objectives and priorities as a team: clarify everyone's tasks, start small to test and then industrialize what works.
  4. Choice of the right tools to support your actions: new missions mean extra time spent... or not! Choosing appropriate solutions for referral, talent pool management, programmatic recruitment, etc. is essential.
  5. Training: decide with your teams and your learning organization how to develop missing skills or improve existing ones: in-house training, external training, MBAs, continuing education, webinars, etc. 
  6. KPI definition and monitoring: before setting up the project and, in line with your objectives, define the performance indicators you wish to monitor and give yourself the resources to do it so that you know where you are going.

What you need to know: Your tools selection may also be influenced by your ability to track the performance of your actions, for example in an automatic dashboard that's easy to read and share.

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