Organizational Wellness

Candidate Sourcing: How To Unlock Top Talent for Your Organization

Aug 14, 2023
Last Updated May 8, 2024

Let's face it: finding qualified candidates can feel like searching for a needle in a haystack. We've all experienced those moments when we find ourselves overwhelmed, buried under an avalanche of applicants, struggling to uncover hidden talent in a fiercely competitive market.

It’s an incredibly common feeling: Half of HR leaders say their organizations are not effective enough at hiring, onboarding, and retention

Now imagine having access to the best candidates whenever you need to fill a position.

That's where candidate sourcing comes in. Think of candidate sourcing as a compass that can guide you through the maze of talent acquisition. The process allows you to tap into a reservoir of exceptional job seekers eager to contribute their skills, experiences, and fresh perspectives to your company.


What is Candidate Sourcing?

Candidate sourcing involves actively searching for people who are the right fit for your company’s open positions. It’s more than just posting a job opening and waiting for applicants. Sourcing requires HR teams to proactively seek out potential candidates to build relationships and identify those who would be great additions to your team.

When engaging in this process, human resources professionals can look for ways to create a strong network of qualified individuals that can be tapped into when needed. You may be more successful at finding the exact right person for a position when you create an environment that invites people from diverse backgrounds and experiences.

What's the Difference Between Candidate Sourcing and Recruiting

Recruiting is a similar process to candidate sourcing, but there are some key differences. The main differentiator lies in the goal of each process.

Recruiting encompasses the end-to-end process of attracting, evaluating, and selecting candidates for specific job openings. Sourcing, on the other hand, is identifying and engaging with potential candidates, an activity that’s nestled within broader recruiting strategies. You can streamline your entire hiring process by putting effective candidate sourcing strategies in place.

Four Common Candidate Sourcing Strategies

Now that we understand what candidate sourcing is and how it works alongside recruiting, let's explore some useful strategies for sourcing top talent.

  1. Talent Pipelining

Talent pipelining is a forward-thinking approach to candidate sourcing. Rather than waiting for specific job openings to arise, you proactively build relationships with potential candidates who may be a good fit for future positions within your organization. 

A pre-established talent pipeline enables you to tap into a pool of qualified candidates when a position becomes vacant. This can minimize the time and effort required to source and screen candidates from scratch, enabling a faster and more efficient recruitment process.

To build a talent pipeline, you can start by defining your current and anticipated talent needs. You can break them down into short-term and long-term needs. For example, a long-term need might be if several folks are retiring in the next two years, and you’re waiting to fill those roles but want to start building a pool of candidates.

Once you've defined your talent needs, you can start working closely with your hiring manager to engage potential candidates in networking events or informational interviews. You can use sourcing tools like an applicant tracking system (ATS) to streamline and automate the talent pipelining process, including resume screening and candidate management.

  1. Candidate Engagement

By proactively engaging with potential candidates, you can gain valuable insights into the talent landscape and industry trends. This process helps you identify and anticipate the skills and competencies that will be in high demand within your organization, so you can align your talent acquisition efforts with future business needs.

Candidate engagement focuses on building meaningful connections, while nurturing relationships with folks throughout the recruitment process. It goes beyond traditional sourcing methods by prioritizing personalized interactions, timely communication, and a candidate-centric approach.

Engaging with candidates also establishes a foundation for long-term relationships. Maintaining connections can lead to future opportunities even if a candidate is not an immediate fit for a specific role.

To start engaging with potential hires, try to tailor your outreach to each candidate. Address them by name, refer to their specific experiences or achievements, and provide personalized feedback after any interviews. Individualized outreach shows the job seeker you have genuine interest and investment in their candidacy. 

You can also share value-added content with them, like relevant industry insights, career development tips, or company updates. This can demonstrate both expertise in your industry and your interest in the candidate's professional growth.

  1. Online Communities and Forums

Using online communities for candidate sourcing has become increasingly important for HR professionals. Digital forums and social media platforms like LinkedIn provide access to a diverse talent pool, including passive candidates who may not actively be seeking new opportunities. These spaces allow you to tap into a wide range of professionals, increasing the chances of finding an ideal candidate right when you need them.

These platforms also have advanced search functions that enable you to filter and refine your searches based on specific criteria such as job titles, skills, industry, location, and years of experience. This targeted approach helps you identify the right candidates who closely align with the requirements of a specific role.

Consider creating a compelling and informative company page on these online platforms that reflect your organization's values, culture, and opportunities. You can start with LinkedIn, as it's one of the more common platforms for job seekers. Try to make a plan to regularly update your page with engaging content, job postings, and company updates to attract the attention of potential candidates.

Once you've established a presence, you can join relevant industry or professional groups and actively participate in discussions. This provides opportunities to showcase your company, learn from others, and identify potential candidates who contribute valuable insights or demonstrate expertise in specific areas.

  1. Employee Referrals

Using employee referrals for talent sourcing involves tapping into the networks of current employees and encouraging them to refer qualified candidates for open positions.

Employee referrals often result in higher-quality candidates. Employees typically refer individuals they trust, know well, and believe would be a good fit for the organization. Referrals tend to have a higher job performance, as they are pre-vetted by someone within the organization. According to one report, referred employees stay with companies 70% longer than non-referred employees.

Employee referrals can also result in cost savings for your HR department. By leveraging the networks of existing employees, you can limit your reliance on costly external sourcing methods like advertising or using an agency.

To establish an employee referral program, start by defining the structure and guidelines. Determine eligibility criteria and the process for submitting referrals. Try to clarify the types of positions eligible for referrals and any specific qualifications or experience required.

You can also design an appealing incentive structure to motivate employees to participate in the referral program. Consider offering prizes like monetary rewards, recognition, additional vacation days, or gift cards.

To raise awareness about the employee referral program, consider sharing it through company-wide emails, internal newsletters, intranet portals, and staff meetings. Try to regularly remind employees about the program's existence and its impact on the organization.

Acquire Top Talent With a Comprehensive Wellness Program

Talent acquisition can be challenging, but these sourcing strategies can help you find the best people for your company. Once you've hired a qualified candidate, the next challenge is keeping them there. A powerful way to keep your employees loyal and engaged is through a wellness program: Not only can they bolster employee retention, wellness programs can reduce absenteeism and increase productivity.

Employees in today's workforce are more likely to work with a company that prioritizes their wellbeing. And most companies understand that — 73% of HR leaders say their wellness program is very or extremely important to talent acquisition, according to Wellhub's Return on Wellbeing Report

If you want to learn more about wellness programs and how they can help you attract and retain the best people, contact one of our Wellbeing Specialists today.

Company healthcare costs drop by up to 35% with Wellhub! (* Based on proprietary research comparing healthcare costs of active Wellhub users to non-users.) Talk to a Wellbeing Specialist to see how we can help reduce your healthcare spending!



Wellhub Editorial Team

The Wellhub Editorial Team empowers HR leaders to support worker wellbeing. Our original research, trend analyses, and helpful how-tos provide the tools they need to improve workforce wellness in today's fast-shifting professional landscape.


Our weekly newsletter is your source of education and inspiration to help you create a corporate wellness program that actually matters.

By subscribing you agree Wellhub may use the information to contact you regarding relevant products and services. Questions? See our Privacy Policy.