Recruiting 101: What Is Candidate Sourcing?

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What is candidate sourcing in recruitment?

What is candidate sourcing in recruitment?

Sourcing means identifying candidates for a job opening. It emphasizes searching for qualified people over waiting for them to apply.

The sourcing process typically involves building a list of potential candidates’ names (called name generation) and finding contact information for each person. The initial reach out – a cold email, or InMail on LinkedIn – is also sometimes considered part of this stage of the recruitment process.

Many sourcing techniques are web-based, including:

  • Sifting through resume databases and professional directories
  • Using advanced Boolean search techniques on Google or other search engines
  • Searching profiles on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter or other social networks
  • Retrieving lost or forgotten resumes from a company’s Applicant Tracking System

Professionals who specialize in sourcing are called sourcers. Recruiters and HR professional might also practice candidate sourcing techniques.



Why source candidates, instead of waiting for applicants?

Here’s one reason:

“When you’re just waiting for the right person to apply for a specific job through your job board, you might be waiting a long time—especially for technical, hard-to-fill roles. Through sourcing, I can find qualified people that I know have the right skills and experience for the role and reach out to them. No waiting necessary.”

— Angela Bortolussi, partner and recruiting manager at Recruiting Social

Definition of candidate sourcing in recruitment



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