When marketing your business’s product or service, you wouldn’t rely on a singular channel to reach all of your ideal customers, would you? Hopefully not!
Instead, you likely use paid digital marketing, traditional advertising, email, organic social media, and other methods in order to maximize your reach and attract as many customers as possible. Are you putting that same zest into your candidate sourcing efforts?
When you primarily rely on just one or two channels to source candidates for your open roles, you miss out on wide swaths of job seekers who are qualified and eager to work. In this post pandemic economy, these blindspots in your candidate sourcing methods are only going to continue to set you back from your competitors.
When you account for the fact that you’re competing against 15 other businesses sourcing candidates from the same ever-shrinking pool as you are, the stakes become even higher. Before you can begin formulating the best candidate sourcing strategy for your company, it’s important to set some things straight first.
Candidate vs. applicant
There’s one key difference that you need to understand when it comes to candidates and applicants. In the hiring industry, everyone starts as an applicant before moving onto a candidate.
Applicants, as you’ve probably suspected, are defined as individuals who submit an application of some sort for employment. Candidates, on the other hand, are what you have once an applicant has been selected to continue in the hiring process.
Applicant sources can then be more easily defined as channels that job seekers use when searching for a new employer; these are the methods they use to submit applications. Candidate sources are more aligned with existing pools of qualified candidates, such as previous employees or employee referrals.
Sourcing vs. recruiting
Just as there’s a distinct difference between candidates and applicants, there is one between sourcing and recruiting. While these words have been used interchangeably in the hiring space, when you source candidates you access an already existing pool of job seekers. When you recruit, your team members are essentially cold-calling individuals who may or may not be seeking new employment opportunities.
Sourcing candidates is more like recruiting in this sense, while sourcing applicants would be when you post roles on job boards or career sites to funnel applicants to your positions. This dichotomy can be confusing, so for the sake of clarity, it’s important to have a clear understanding.
What’s the best way to source candidates?
There’s no one size solution to best source candidates who are in high demand. Instead, we suggest having a multi-pronged approach to sourcing applicants when adding to your team.
With all of this in mind, it’s apparent that you need to find creative ways to broaden your business’s reach and stand out amongst the hiring crowd. Here are six easy ways to improve candidate sourcing to add to your strategies today:
1. Career site
First things first: job seekers who are most interested in working for you will go directly to your website to scope out your open roles. Once they’re there, they want to get a feel for what it’s like to work for you and what’s in it for them if they were hired at your company. This is why having a standalone career site is so important in your efforts to source candidates.
To benefit the most from this candidate source, you need to have a robust career site that not only lists your open roles but also wins applicants over by highlighting perks like benefits, culture, and flexibility. A career site that fulfills all of these criteria is the foundational block needed to access those already interested in your company. The best part? If crafted correctly, these job descriptions can be the backbone for all of your applicant sourcing efforts on various platforms.
2. Social media
Seventy-two percent of U.S. adults are active on at least one social media site, making social media a really easy and free way to expand your reach to more people — and a valuable candidate source. You can post your open roles organically or take advantage of social media job boards like Jobs on Facebook.
Social media is also a good way to reach people passively — not all social media users are actively looking for a job, but if you show up in their newsfeed they might think twice. If you utilize networking social media sites like LinkedIn, you gain access to your employees’ existing networks of candidates to source, along with another free job board to find top talent on. One of the perks of using social media for candidate sourcing is that so long as your post remains active, there are little to no limits on how many job seekers may apply or be referred.
4. Employee referrals
If you don’t have an employee referral program in place already, now is the time to get started. Candidates referred by your existing teammates often end up becoming some of your most successful employees — simply because good people know good people.
Plus, it costs next to nothing for you to get a referral program up and running. All you have to do to access this candidate source is share your most pressing roles with the company and incentivize employees to participate with cash bonuses or other rewards like concert tickets and gift cards to get the ball rolling. Just like you can use business-minded social media sites like LinkedIn as a valuable candidate source, you can receive real time recommendations of key performers who are likely looking for a change in employment scenery — all thanks to their friends, your current employees.
Seventy percent of job searches begin on Google, meaning that this search engine powerhouse has become an effective way to source candidates. If you’re not doing everything you can to show up on Google’s job board, you’re missing out on a massive amount of job seekers who are eager for work.
Thankfully, there are really simple things you can do to optimize your job descriptions and improve your ranking to bolster your applicant sourcing efforts. Make sure your descriptions are between 300 and 800 words while including the keywords your ideal candidate is searching for, such as specific skills, certifications, and location. Also, the job titles themselves need to be short and sweet in order to maximize clicks — aim for one to three words and see how well your efforts pay out.
5. Organic job boards
Ask any job seeker today where they’ve searched and they’ll tell you they’ve visited at least one major job board like Indeed or ZipRecruiter. These sites are great sources to approach huge pools of candidates who are actively seeking employment opportunities; it’s the perfect applicant source for businesses that are hiring. That’s why it’s so important to have a presence on these types of sites to reach the widest audience possible when sourcing candidates.
You can post your open jobs on these sites for free, but in order to ensure that they show up in job seekers’ searches they need to be optimized for each website. Make sure to follow each site’s guidelines, update your job descriptions regularly so that they’re fresh, and use commonly searched keywords to attract the most applicants to your posts.
6. Sponsored job boards
While it is possible to show up on job boards organically, these applicant sources are incredibly crowded. The only way to guarantee that you appear early on in a job seeker’s search results is by sponsoring your job. If you know that your ideal candidate pool spends the most time on these types of sites, it can be worthwhile to spend money to make sure your jobs appear “above the fold.”
Of course each of these channels is different. One that provides an excellent candidate source of top talent for one business might not be a great source for another. The key is to track the number of eventual hires you drive from each source over time and then tweak your investment on each one accordingly. Optimization allows you to maximize the ROI of your recruiting spend.
For example, let’s say job boards are far and away your top applicant source in terms of volume. But when it comes to actually sourcing applicants you eventually hire, you find that job boards land lower on the list. While it may seem like a good idea to keep pumping money into job boards because they bring in more applicants, it’s often a better idea to shift your resources toward channels like your career site or Jobs on Facebook that prove to have better candidates sources, including higher quality.
Additionally, it’s important to make sure that the applicants you attract across all of these sources are funneled into a single location that houses all candidate information. That way, no applicant falls through the cracks and you can easily locate each applicant’s resume and other details, identify the most qualified folks, and move candidates through your hiring process quickly and efficiently.
You’re probably thinking that this is a lot of work — and it certainly is. However, if you’re using disparate systems to manage your sources, keep track of applicants, communicate with candidates, and manage tasks like skills tests, it quickly becomes even harder.
This is where Hireology can help. Our all-in-one software brings the entire recruiting, hiring, and onboarding process into a centralized platform that makes the candidate sourcing process easier for you and more enjoyable for your applicants.