Intro to Sourcing 101: Your Sourcing Resource

Put on your Sherlock Holmes hat and practice holding a pipe in an uncontrived manner. That’s right, readers -- we’re going sourcing. Our journey won’t include any haunted mansions or murdered heiresses, but we’ll definitely be putting our sleuthing skills to use. We'll be shaking qualified candidates out of the dark corners of the Internet and sniffing out the talent hiding right under our noses. Why? Because before hiring can take place – before recruiting can even happen – employers need to begin the process with a strategic approach to sourcing. But what is sourcing, exactly? The definition is often muddled by amateurs, but if you ask any hiring or recruiting expert they’ll tell you that sourcing is a bit like lighting a match in a darkened room, or like guiding a metal detector over a sandy stretch of beach. Or, if they’re feeling slightly less poetic than we are, the expert you question might say that sourcing, put simply, is the proactive preliminary search for candidates to fill an open position.

That’s what sourcing is. Here’s what it isn’t: comparing resumes, interviewing candidates, calling references or making hiring offers. Sourcing happens before all of these steps, and if you do it right, it makes completing the actions that follow (and finding your dream employee) much, much easier.

So what kind of activities does sourcing entail? Sourcers can lure active applicants (workers who are currently searching for positions) by job broadcasting on branded career boards. They can also target passive applicants (those who may not be actively searching for a new position at present) by using social recruiting skills and making the most of their social media presence. They may even go a step deeper, delving into online forums and calling alumni associations to discover hidden talent. These actions, of course, only scrape the surface.

Your company’s sourcing strategy can be as streamlined or inclusive as you choose, but one thing’s for sure – you should definitely have a strategy. In the upcoming weeks, we’ll be delving into the process of sourcing to talk about some of the tools and tactics you can use to improve your personnel sourcing skills and build an even stronger, more talented workforce.

Have a specific sourcing dilemma you’d like our hiring experts to investigate? Tell us about it in a comment below and you could see your question answered in an upcoming post.