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Trying to find and hire the right talent is difficult right now. With the “Great Resignation,” a shift in how people work, and more job openings than qualified candidates, it might be time to rethink your talent sourcing and hiring strategy. But where do you start?

talent sourcing meme

In this post, we’ll detail 13 talent sourcing strategies that can help you attract the right talent for your openings.


What is talent sourcing?

As a recruiter or hiring manager, the ultimate goal is to find and hire the right candidate for your open jobs. Sometimes that requires a little more work than crafting the perfect job posting. That’s where talent sourcing comes in.

Talent sourcing is “the process of identifying, researching, generating, and networking with potential job candidates in order to convert individuals into job applicants.”

Nearly 90% of the most qualified candidates for your open positions already have a job, but 90% of professionals say they’re open to new opportunities, so it becomes all about how you reach and engage with them.

Talent sourcing can help you tap into these pools of potential candidates and work to turn them into your newest employees.


13 talent sourcing strategies

Try these talent sourcing strategies to find the right new hires for your business.

1. Lead with your benefits

In the 2021 Recruiter Nation Report, Jobvite reported a noticeable increase in candidates negotiating higher salaries. Not surprising–we all follow the news and know that inflation is up and there are too few qualified candidates to go around, but it’s not just the money they are looking for. It’s benefits, too:

  • Medical/dental coverage (51% of surveyed workers): This is particularly true for the industry sectors and low-paying jobs that haven’t been offering this in the past.
  • 401(k) (49%): The US workforce is aging, and this is becoming even more important.
  • Work from home/ flexible work hours (44%): Anyone that was able to work from home during the pandemic realized the benefits and drawbacks to working from home, but for most the benefits out-weights the drawbacks.

talent sourcing - chart showing top benefits prospective employees look for

Related: Get tips to adapt your business during inflation and recession-proof your business.

2. Add (and highlight) new benefits to meet demand

It’s no longer enough to have these foundational benefits, either. Prospective employees are looking for additional benefits when deciding whether or not to take a new job.

Benefits on the rise (2017 to 2021):

  • Family planning: 2% vs. 27%
  • Childcare services: 7% vs. 21%
  • Maternity/paternity leave: 18% vs. 26%
  • Financial wellness education: 8% vs. 17%

Additionally, 84% of surveyed organizations have increased flexibility for working parents throughout the pandemic.

talent sourcing - benefits that increased from 2017 to 2021

As you reach out to candidates or create your job posting ads, make sure to highlight these additional benefits to source the right talent.

3. Focus on career opportunities and growth

To advertise a job opening is traditionally a pitch about the job and what it entails, as in what you, the employer, are expecting of the future employee. What you really need to do now is to pitch:

  • What is in it for the candidate.
  • How this opportunity will benefit their career be it as the first step in joining the job market right out of school, entering a new industry, or as possible career advancement.
  • How your organization supports and creates opportunities for additional career growth.

By focusing your talent sourcing pitch around these outcomes for the prospective employee, you can build a connection and pique their interest.

4. Personalize your talent outreach

Personalization is crucial in talent sourcing. You need to build a connection with these prospective employees, and that requires personalizing your outreach. This goes beyond using their name—it can also speak to their specific accolades, experience, or place(s) of employment.

This level of personalization can make a huge difference in them choosing to move forward with your opportunity over another.

5. Look for hiring opportunities with your existing employees

Most recruiters are concerned about the lack of skilled and qualified candidates and the increased competition that is attracting the talent away. All very real concerns, not to mention the time it takes to fill the new job openings. More than 30% of all jobs take up to 60 or more days to fill and it’s not just because of the many job options the candidates have but also the hoops we ask each applicant to go through just to apply.

talent sourcing - stat showing how long it takes to fill open jobs

One talent sourcing strategy includes looking within and training within your organization. Are there open roles that would be a good next step for your current employees’ careers? This is especially helpful when hiring for more senior roles that require specializations or more expertise. It may be easier to train or promote an existing employee and hire a replacement for their role rather than bring someone completely new in.

This can also help with employee retention. If your employees see that their career progression is prioritized, they’ll be happier (and more likely to refer their personal networks).

6. Create an employee referral program

Another way to tap into your existing employees is to create an employee referral program to help with talent sourcing. This is typically an incentivized program in the form of a bonus or even a gift card for any candidate your employees refer that is then hired.

Your employees can then help with the recruiting and talent sourcing process—identifying talent from their networks that would be a good fit for your organization.

7. Make the application process easier

To expect every applicant to fill out your long and often cumbersome application form (think ATS, downloadable application form, etc.) that includes everything you want and need to onboard them before you even pre-screen them is diminishing your talent pool and giving your competitors an advantage.

The more you ask for, the fewer prospective employees will take the time to provide their information. Your competitor, on the other hand, is making it much easier–just a click or two and a few data points needed, and they will contact via text or chat the candidates to set up a quick pre-screening before asking them to fill out the required application needed to move forward with a hire. The best talent sourcing strategy is to make it easy for your new hire and you to meet and say hello before you go to the next step.

talent sourcing strategy pro tip - make application process shorter

8. Make your job postings stand out

Keep your job postings fresh. Keep them relevant to the current market and targeted toward your new hire’s needs. Don’t expect to source talent with a laundry list of what you like to see as in years of experience in your specific industry, ready to walk in on day one without training and get the job done…be realistic and transparent. The more they know about you and how you respect your workforce, the better chance you have in attracting and retaining employees.

Consider these job posting tips:

  1. Be honest and transparent about your compensation and benefits.
  2. If you lack good pay and great benefits, share what you do provide–even the little things matter. Like staff coffee and doughnuts every morning, short Friday hours, transportation options, etc.
  3. Make it clear if the job opportunity is remote, hybrid (with the number of days required on the premises), or 100% onsite.
  4. Make the first “hello” easy, and make the first step in applying as simple as possible.

how to make your job posting stand out - think like a job applicant

Get more tips to make your job postings stand out here.

9. Post your jobs in the right places

Job boards still count and should not be ignored. Job seekers need to see you and find you everywhere. But, there are other places you need to post your jobs.

Social media, for one, is still showing some of the best returns on investment due to the targeting available on the many different platforms. Picking the best-suited social media platforms is really based on your best employees’ demographics. Not gender or age but what they read, where they socialize, virtually, and who they follow.  Notable is the rise of Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok–yep, TikTok!

“TikTok usage continues to surge among recruiters, with 16% of recruiters using the platform for recruiting efforts–more than doubling results from the previous year.”

Here are the social channels that source the highest quality candidates:

  • LinkedIn: 53%
  • Facebook: 33%
  • YouTube: 22%
  • Twitter: 21%
  • Instagram: 20%

talent sourcing stats - social channels that source highest-quality candidates

10. Start texting

In this ever-increasing mobile-friendly, quick response world we navigate, recruiters are seeing a much better response to applies via text. Consider these stats:

  • Texts have an open rate of 90% percent and are often read in the first three minutes.
  • 85% of Americans own a smartphone!
  • 45% of job seekers search for jobs daily on their mobile devices.
  • 89% of job seekers think mobile devices play a critical role in the job-hunting process.

talent sourcing stats - smartphones play big role in job-hunting process

If texting isn’t part of your talent sourcing strategy yet, it’s time to add it!

11. Advertise your open jobs

In addition to putting your job postings in the right places, it’s also important to put a little bit of budget behind them to reach a wider audience. By advertising your open jobs—especially on social media—you can source talent outside of your direct connections and widen your scope. Plus, with advertising targeting options, you can ensure you’re reaching a group of people who are more likely to apply for your open positions.

12. Try a talent newsletter

Another helpful talent sourcing strategy is to send a regular talent newsletter. This can help you engage your existing talent pool, collect prospective employee information, and build a relationship with prospects before they apply.

Include information about open positions, your benefits, and features with your current employees to make your organization appealing and keep talent engaged.

Email marketing is a great addition for your recruitment marketing strategy because they can help you continue engaging with candidates.

13. Add recruitment marketing

Talent sourcing is a very active way of finding and engaging prospective employees. When you add recruitment marketing to the picture, it can make your job even easier. Recruitment marketing is all about bringing talent to you rather than going directly to talent. It includes promoting your organization and culture as well as specific job openings.

Get recruitment marketing strategies that can help you source the right talent with ease.


Make your talent sourcing easy

Talent sourcing can help you find, hire, and retain the right employees for your open positions. Right now, it’s a candidate’s market, which means your organization needs to stand out in all areas of the hiring funnel. Talent sourcing done right can help you do just that.

Here are the talent sourcing strategies to try:

  1. Lead with your benefits
  2. Add (and highlight) new benefits to meet demand
  3. Focus on career opportunities and growth
  4. Personalize your talent outreach
  5. Look for hiring opportunities with your existing employees
  6. Create an employee referral program
  7. Make the application process easier
  8. Make your job postings stand out
  9. Post your jobs in the right places
  10. Start texting
  11. Advertise your open jobs
  12. Try a talent newsletter
  13. Do recruitment marketing


This post was co-written by Stephanie Heitman.

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