Candidate Sourcing: How To Plan a Successful Hiring Campaign

I have a lot of sympathy for in-house recruiters. Many are working on a huge number of simultaneous recruiting assignments, often with the business expecting results that are unrealistic with the resources and timescales available. As I was increasingly hearing this message in the market, I decided to run a regular candidate sourcing webinar to help internal recruitment teams address two key points.

Firstly, there’s the issue of assessing the role that’s being worked on – and correctly determining the resourcing that’ll be needed to realistically deliver on that assignment. This might involve what we’ve termed a “light touch” approach, or a “deep dive” approach – depending on the anticipated difficulty of sourcing suitable candidates for the role. The time investment needed for each differs considerably, so making the right call is key. But sometimes the more time-intensive route is needed – and internal recruitment teams need to be able to fight for adequate resource when that’s the case.

Then secondly there’s the issue of optimising your approaches to sourcing. Having decided whether to go “Deep Dive” or “Light Touch”, are you researching and contacting candidates in the ways – and with the frequency – needed to maximise success? Working at scale on such engagements, we’re obviously in a position to shed light on the activity levels and approaches that are most likely to generate results. So hopefully we can help you to ramp up results with your limited resources.

Let’s look at each of these two points in turn.

Candidate Sourcing Success Requires Adequate Resourcing

In this blog I’m sharing typical resourcing levels and results for these two types of candidate sourcing campaigns. At one end of the spectrum we have the “light touch” approach, which is likely to require 5 full days of work spread over a 2-3 week period.

At the other end of the spectrum, the “deep dive” approach will require 10-14 full days of work spread over a 4-5 week period. The differences here are absolutely critical. A good portion of all the roles you’ll work on can be successfully filled with a light touch approach.

Stats 1

This involves a less rigorous approach to candidate research – with candidate approaches made via LinkedIn InMails or other online messaging. If you determine that this approach is sufficient, then it’s realistic for you to promise the business a 2-3 week turnaround time to produce your shortlist.

This approach works for that portion of your roles where the profile of candidate being sought is easier to deliver on. That’s to say there are more of the desired type of candidates out there, they are more likely to have complete profiles on sites such as LinkedIn and they are more likely to be receptive to online approaches.

One of the biggest difficulties I see amongst in-house recruiting teams is that they find themselves pushed into working this “light touch” approach, on roles that clearly demand a much more rigorous plan of attack.

Where your target hire is a more difficult candidate to find and win over, you must leave no stone unturned. Your research methodology needs to be more comprehensive. When reaching out, you need to do so by phone, InMail and email. All of this takes additional time.

So one of the biggest wins recruiters can come away with is a greater understanding of the resources they need to have at their disposal – and the means to fight for those resources. 5 days of resource for a regular role and 10-14 days for a tougher assignment. If you don’t have that resource available in the business, that’s when you can turn to a business like mine to do this work for you.

Stats 2

Candidate Sourcing Success Comes From Knowing Your Numbers

Of course one way you can help alleviate the pressure on your team is to maximise everyone’s effectiveness when they’re working on an assignment. For example, sending one well-crafted InMail to your target candidates is likely to yield only a 15-20% response rate. You could lift that to a 40-60% response rate if you just followed up with a strong second and third InMail message.

Two things stand out here. Firstly, you need to have tested your InMails to know which ones are proving to be the most effective at soliciting a response. Having done that, you need to also know that sending the second and third InMails will produce those additional gains – and thus leverage all the work you put into finding the target candidates in the first place.

Similarly, if you’re going down the more intensive “deep dive” route, it’s critical to know the order and timescales in which you should be calling candidates, leaving voicemails, sending InMails and contacting them by email. It’s not enough to work hard on an assignment, you need a template of what the perfectly delivered assignment looks like – which you then work to on each and every role you’re given. This not only maximises the chances of a successful hire being made, but it also gives you something that documents to your budget holders the ramifications there will be if you don’t get the resources you need.

These are some of the key topics we talk through in my Candidate Sourcing webinar. You’re very welcome to tune in for one of the next sessions – and to follow that up by sending through any questions you may have.