Fluff-Free Cheat Sheet to Improve Your Sourcing Prowess

7 min read


Every day brings more competition to the world of talent acquisition and if you’re not finding newer, smarter ways to attract star talent, you can bet your competitors are on it. But with so many different ways to upgrade your recruitment strategy, it’s hard to know which ones will actually bring the right talent through your door.

Here are some easy, practical ways to step up your sourcing strategy and fill more positions faster. 🙌

Clarify the need

Before you do anything else, you must know exactly what you’re looking for. After all, there’s nothing worse (or more expensive) than filling a position with the wrong candidate. Connect with your hiring authorities to get total clarity on what kind of talent is needed and what will be offered in return. Don’t be afraid to speak directly — their answers will determine how and who you search for.

Here are the key questions to ask:

  • Are the compensation packages competitive?
  • Will training and development programs be available for this role?
  • What other perks, benefits or value are we offering that our competitors aren’t?

Identify the target talent

Most recruiters and HR pros get sign off on a job description then take right off running. But there are so many things a job description just can’t tell you. And remember, your ability to knock their socks off depends on this first critical step, so make sure everyone’s on the same page from day one. Get a clear rundown of all the must-haves the ideal candidate should possess, then present them to your hiring authorities before you post the position.

A four-page job description filled with confusing minimal requirements and “highly preferred” skills, can be a major bottleneck. Time spent up front is time saved later on.

Here’s what to ask:

  • What specific tasks and activities would the ideal hire be responsible for?
  • What specific superpowers would they have?
  • Why those are important to the company’s big picture?
  • Are the “bonus” skills really optional or should they be mandatory?
  • Would you turn a candidate away for not having that skill or qualification?
  • What are the deal-breakers?

Write a high-converting job description

If there are any skills or other qualifications your hiring authorities would LOVE to have go ahead and make them part of the role. When it comes to writing a stellar job description, it’s important that you don’t overthink it. Just state what you need and you’ll be much more likely to get it. And please, avoid lifeless, jargon-heavy language wherever possible. 🙅

Here are some practical tips for writing a high-converting job description:

  • Specific skills: Instead of a bland list of “responsibilities”, create a ‘Your Impact’ section that outlines the value of the candidates skills as key drivers for the success of the company.
  • Exact qualifications: Do you really want a candidate with a Masters degree? Don’t put yourself in a position where you have to turn applicants away because it’s the one box they couldn’t tick. Go ahead and put that in as a baseline qualification for the job. You’ll be making everyone’s life easier.
  • Personality traits: Showing your personality as an employer brand is the best way to attract like-minded talent. Use language you’d want them to use, whether that’s buttoned up or friendly and conversational.
  • Seniority: If you’ve got a star candidate with 2 years experience, would you take them? Or does is really need to be 5? Make sure all deal-breakers are clearly reflected in your job summary.

Optimize your career pages

There are quite possibly hundreds of top-quality candidates coming to youevery day. Passive candidates truly are the sweetest low-hanging fruit in talent acquisition. Make sure your career page or site gives them the best possible picture of what it’s like to work for you. 👍

Start by optimizing your career pages with the following content:

  • Compelling mission statement: Strike out the jargon and state straight up why working for your company is both fun and worth it. (And please don’t call it a “mission statement!”)
  • Social proof: 92% of consumers trust peers over brands. And we’re guessing the number is probably pretty close when it comes to employees and employer brands as well. Add employee testimonials to your career page to help build trust with passive candidates.
  • Live chat: Strike while the iron is hot by answering a potential candidate’s questions immediately using chatbot messenger tool. You can opt to have the your convos human or AI-led, then add that info to your ATS or recruitment management system to keep all future conversations as relevant as possible.

Need some inspiration? Our pals over at Piksel and Docebo do a killer job with their career pages. (All with a little help from Breezy’s Career & Referral Portals, of course. 😉)

Get more leads from your best sources

You know the perfect candidate is out there, somewhere, probably on LinkedIn. Heck, it’s likely you even viewed their profile before. Before you start experimenting with recruiting via Instagram and Snapchat, go back to your most trusted sources and see how you can milk them for even more great leads. Who do your connections know? And their connections? Your next great hire might already be in your network. You just need to do more of what’s working, faster.

Here are some of the top sourcing sites to prioritize based on the kind of talent you’re looking for.

But of course, keeping track of the hundreds of potential candidates you come across can be paralyzing. (Who really has time to enter hundreds of names into a spreadsheet! 😵)

Check your ATS to see if there’s an import option. In Breezy, our Chrome extension automatically imports candidate leads from all of the above sites in a single click. 😍

Speed up your search

Smart search has been the advanced recruiter’s secret weapon for years. And it could be just what you need to scratch beneath the surface in your hunt for the perfect candidate. Use Boolean search strings to pull up the right candidates faster on Google, LinkedIn, or pretty much any source with a search bar.

Here’s how it’s done:

  • Combine the logical operations AND, OR, NOT, with keywords and phrases
  • Start by looking intitle which just means you’re searching in the title of web-based documents, versus the body
  • Add your key phrases in “quote marks” like “chief marketing officer”
  • Restrict your search by adding ANDs
  • Bulk it up by adding an OR option
  • Remove needless hits with the NOT operator [or a minus sign, which has the same function as the word NOT — note the minus sign isn’t supported by LinkedIn]
  • Use parentheses to group search terms

Here’s how a Boolean search for a CMO on Google would look:

(intitle:resume OR intitle:cv) (“chief marketing officer” OR “VP Marketing”) -job -jobs -sample -examples

And here’s one for a software developer on LinkedIn via Google:

insite:linkedin.com (web OR software) AND (developer OR programmer)

Or directly from the LinkedIn search bar:

((Chief AND Officer) AND (Executive OR (Operational OR Operations) OR Marketing) OR (CEO OR COO OR CMO))

Reach out in target-rich environments

If you’ve done all of the above and you’re still looking to add more great leads to your Candidate Pool, it’s time to get creative. Go back to your target summary and think about where these people hang out, so you can get to know them on their turf. Start by answering the following questions, then track your results. As you start to gain traction it’ll be easy to see where the best candidates hide, which can save you a ton of time in the future. 💯

  • What associations, Facebook Groups or Twitter chats does your target talent join?
  • What companies already have the best of the best in this role?
  • Can sourcing from different industries give you appropriate candidates with the same, transferable skills?
  • What blogs are they reading?
  • Who do they follow on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn?
  • What schools do they attend, or certifications do they pursue, to develop themselves?
  • What conferences and events will you find them at?
  • What Slack forums do they hang out on?

Treat Every Applicant Like a Candidate

A bad candidate experience is not only horrible for your employer brand rep, it’s also just really bad karma. But treating every applicant with the same level of attention and service as you would give to your top candidate doesn’t have to be as hard as it sounds.

Here are some small but powerful ways to engage your leads with total integrity:

  • Learn more about them by participating in online discussions (LinkedIn Groups, Slack Forums, Facebook Groups)
  • Post a genuine comment on their public posts
  • Share or retweet something that they‘ve said
  • Get introduced via a mutual connection
  • Invite them to a relevant group, webinar or event that would provide them with real value

You might also want to keep these questions in mind when emailing or messaging them directly:

  • What’s the impact of the product and services your company provides?
  • What problems do they solve for the world?
  • What’s it like to work for the company?
  • Are there any specific perks worth mentioning? Do they have a history of internal promotions?
  • How well are they doing on the business side of things?
  • What technologies does the company use?

Tie your message in with the knowledge a fun quip or comment about something you noticed about them via their profile or social activity, for example:

“I loved your comment on the importance of graphic design to brand identity! It’s so important yet so overlooked! [One of my clients] [My marketing VP] agrees with you, too — she recently spoke at X conference about this very subject. You can see her talk [here].

Now, I don’t want to assume anything about your happiness at work, but given our mutual interest in this, I think you’d at least want to check out [opportunity] — I think you could really make an impact. Here’s why:”

Regardless of their initial answer, it’s a good idea to follow up. Circumstances change and you want to be there for them when the time is right. And above all, always keep the conversation firmly focused on what’s in it for them.

Putting your candidate at the center of your recruitment strategy is the surefire way to source like a pro.

Want to deliver a personalized candidate experience at scale? Grab your free trial today!

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