Was there ever really a golden era of recruiting when you could just kick back and wait for the candidates to come rolling in? We have a hunch this may just be an urban legend, but we can say for sure that today’s recruiter needs to take a much more proactive approach. Creating a comprehensive sourcing strategy doesn’t just keep the top of your funnel full – it also ensures you get applicants from diverse sources, and if you perfect your pitch, it also means you can attract people who aren’t even officially on the market and build meaningful relationships with prospects.
We caught up with Erica Ebinger, Recruiting Lead and Camille Conrotto, Recruiter at Niantic, a San Francisco-based augmented reality software company (best known as the creators of Pokémon Go and the forthcoming Harry Potter: Wizards Unite) and asked them to share some of their sourcing strategies. Check out their tips for creating compelling outreach communication, diversifying your talent pipeline and tracking the success of your sourcing initiatives.
Greenhouse: Why do you feel it’s important to have a strong candidate sourcing strategy?
Erica: I think it’s important to have a strategy because if you’re relying on referrals and applicants, you’re really limiting the pool of strong and diverse candidates. I try to diversify who, where and how I’m reaching out to different people. I want to see if I can add some traction and keep a good pulse on the industry. I also think sourcing is more about consistency so as long as I’m regularly reaching out to folks, I feel like I’m better able to keep a strong pipeline and gauge the health of the industry.
Camille: For me, everything starts at the top of the funnel. Sourcing and reaching out to candidates from various areas and backgrounds is a must. Engaging passive candidates gives you an advantage as well. In my opinion, the best folks are never looking. If folks are not actively looking, there’s a higher likelihood they won’t be interviewing elsewhere.
GH: What sourcing techniques are you using to proactively engage and nurture candidates?
Camille: I take the first reach out very seriously because it is the candidate’s introduction to our company; it sets the tone for the relationship. As I’ve grown in my career, I’ve relied more and more on relationship building as a sourcing strategy. Building upon relationships I’ve made in the industry from venture firms to university professors. Quarterly, monthly, yearly check-ins with candidates I’ve previously engaged. I make myself available to candidates and I’m flexible with my time, late night calls or calls over the weekend. I also try to take time to understand the industry [my company] is in, who are our competitors, what are companies in a similar domain, what companies have not raised funding in the last couple of years.
Erica: Similar to Camille, I really just try to reach out to a lot of different candidates regularly. I try not to limit myself based on school or location, but on breadth of work. I try to keep a really open mind when looking at someone’s profile.
GH: What’s one secret to receiving a reply to an outbound sourcing message for a passive candidate?
Erica: I personally like shorter and to the point messages. Less is more for me!
Camille: I think appealing to personal interests helps. An inviting subject line, including the candidate’s first name. It might sound cheesy but it works! Taking a few more minutes to look through a candidate’s personal website, mentioning details of a project they contributed to. Folks appreciate thoughtful attempts to connect what they’re doing.
GH: Which sourcing channels are you using to diversify your talent pipeline?
Camille: I’ve changed the way I source and platforms I use many times over the years. I’m always open to trying new platforms. There are many affinity groups that have events, and I try to attend or connect with organizers. I use TopFunnel, Sourceress and Triplebyte to find folks as well. There’s new channels that help find different folks. I like working and changing the platforms I use often so I can reach out to more qualified candidates.
Erica: I also like to change and use multiple platforms as the roles change and our company grows. I prefer to source through not only LinkedIn but other forums such as Hired. I also take into account different programs and meetups. If I’m able to reach out to a few individuals from different groups, it helps get our name out there which helps our recruiting process tenfold.
GH: How are you tracking your sourcing initiatives?
Erica: Through spreadsheets and Greenhouse! I utilize Greenhouse’s reports function often. I also think making sure you’re actively reaching out to people regularly helps with bringing in people.
Camille: To track sourcing success you have to also track conversions at each stage of the process. The most important conversion for me when sourcing passive candidates is recruiter screen to first round screen – tracking passive candidates that are interested enough to hop on a call and after the call they’re excited and want to start the interview process.
The time and energy you put into sourcing can pay off in the quality and diversity of candidates you bring into your recruiting funnel. And remember – even if a candidate isn’t interested today, personalized and thoughtful outreach can set the tone for making the right hire faster in the future. Try out some of the strategies Erica and Camille have shared and see what kind of impact it can have at your organization.
Looking to pick back up with former prospects? Follow these tips on how to foster relationships and re-engage.
Melissa Suzuno is a freelance writer and former Content Marketing Manager at Greenhouse. Melissa previously built out the content marketing programs at Parklet (an onboarding and employee experience solution) and AfterCollege (a job search resource for recent grads), so she’s made it a bit of a habit to help people get excited about and invested in their work. Find Melissa on Twitter and LinkedIn.