Top Recruiters Share Their Favorite Sourcing Hacks

April 4, 2018

As a recruiter, you can probably relate to this meme:

Safe to say you have a lot going on. And, it can be hard to find time for everything—including sourcing. That's why talent pros like Stacy Zapar and Netflix’s Tennyson Jones rely on smart, tangible sourcing strategies to power them through their days so they can get a lot done, without breaking a sweat.

Their sourcing hacks, along with many others, are from Lever’s 101+ Recruiting Hacks to Accelerate Your Hiring in 2018 (which includes tons of other great recruiting tips). We’ve highlighted a few sourcing tips below that aren’t complicated, time-consuming, or labor-intensive—but they do have the power to make a huge difference in your recruiting process.

1. Use tree ring sourcing to start with a narrow search of ideal candidates and expand if necessary  

The next time you’re sourcing candidates, try a tree ring strategy. Start with a narrow group that has all of your “nice-to-haves,” then gradually work your way out. Each successive ring will represent a new, mutually exclusive group of candidates from a slightly larger search pool.

To do this, use the Boolean “AND” operator to start with candidates who have both your required and desired skills, along with a specific area denoted by zip codes. If that doesn’t get you the right people, you can either let go of some of those required skills or enlarge the geographic area (or both). The advantage of this search strategy is that you can start small and only enlarge your search if necessary.

According to Stacy, this strategy works well because it’s always better to nurture the right candidate from the start rather than to bulk message 500 ‘maybe’ candidates and hope that something sticks.

2. Look through your co-workers LinkedIn connections to find referrals

You already know employee referrals are one of the best sources of excellent candidates, and you don’t even have to wait for your colleagues to speak up to find them.

As soon as you spot that a promising candidate is connected to one of your colleagues, you can shoot that coworker a simple message: “Would you refer this person? Yes/no?” If yes, you can work with your coworker to get in touch with that person or mention your common connection when you message the candidate in order to increase your chances of getting a response.

According to Tennyson, this is an easy way to get referrals that you may not have received otherwise.

3. Use calendar “chunking” to get more out of your day

When it feels like there aren’t enough hours in the day, calendar “chunking” can help you accomplish more with the time you have.

The idea’s simple—basically, you take your to-do list a step further by blocking out “chunks” of time for each of the day’s activities on your calendar. You can adjust it to fit your personal flow—for example, Stacy  prefers to source in the morning, then taking calls later in the day:

4. Build relationships with candidates even if you didn’t hire them 

Building positive relationships with every single candidates is always a good idea—even if it turns out they’re not quite the right fit. When you have that kind of shared affinity with a candidate, you might be surprised how likely they are to help you out with a great referral.

“If I’ve built a great rapport with a candidate who ends up not being right for the job, they almost always have zero problem sending me the names of other great people who may be closer to what I’m looking for,” says Tennyson. “So always ask for referrals if you feel comfortable - this tactic has resulted in a few di erent success stories of mine.”

Keeping a positive connection with every candidate is also a great way to improve a candidate’s experience and, in doing so, boost your employer brand.

5. Host team-wide sourcing “jams” and “referral-a-thons” to get your colleagues involved

Everyone in your company can help with recruiting, but the tricky part is getting your colleagues away from their primary duties and into the sourcing mindset.

However, you can easily make it a fun activity by turning sourcing into a company-wide “jam”—complete with food and music (and maybe a few beers) to entice your coworkers to participate. It’s important to provide everyone with sourcing best practices and templates as well and display them in real time on a large screen, like a projector display, so participants can refer to them.

You can use a similar strategy for referrals, too. Instead of asking team members to submit referrals at meetings, plan a regular “referral-a-thon” party where everyone in the company submits as many referrals as they know at once. Try hosting them first thing in the morning to take advantage of the energy boost—this time with coffee instead of cocktails.

6.  Spotlight open roles during company meetings to drive referrals

If you aren’t already bringing up recruiting and referrals during your company’s all-hands meetings, now’s the time to start.

You always want your company’s hiring needs to be top of mind with colleagues who might have a great referral in their pocket, but you can take it a step further by including an short “open role spotlights” section in each meeting.

Mention the highest-priority candidates and the specific experience, skills, and qualities that you’re targeting. Chances are someone in the meeting has a connection, so this strategy can pay off hugely over time.

7. Leverage LinkedIn Recruiter’s “Find more people like...” feature to snag your dream hire

If you use LinkedIn Recruiter, its search bar already has a useful feature you may not have tried yet. With the “Find more people like…” tool, you can take a dream candidate or a stellar team member and plug their name into the search bar, then pull profiles that are highly similar to theirs. These rich, tailored results are an ideal place to start looking for the perfect hire.

8. Reward employees who submit referrals

We can’t say it enough—referrals are huge. They’re more likely to turn into great hires, they’re more productive, and they stick around longer. The key is finding ways to incentivize your employees to make great referrals—and the good news is you don’t necessarily have to give major cash incentives.

Even a simple public acknowledgement can go a long way toward showing employees you value their referrals. Lever’s surveyed talent leaders recommend giving the employee who submits the most referrals a gift card to the restaurant of their choice, though an Amazon gift card will be just as appreciated.

These simple, straightforward strategies are easy to implement and can help you find more time in your day while leveraging your colleagues and your favorite online tools. If there are some that you haven’t tried yet, consider giving them a go—you might be surprised by the results.

Photo by Claudio Pecci on Unsplash

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