When a new position is opened in a company, the HR department can take two actions. The first one involves making the job offer available in the organization’s own channels, including the website, social media and industry recruitment portals. This is followed by a selection of received resumes and an interview with chosen candidates. The second one is about resigning from passive waiting for applications and starting active candidate sourcing. Below we will explain how exactly this process should look like, what benefits it brings and what its most important elements are. Read on.

Candidate sourcing – table of contents:

  1. What is candidate sourcing?
  2. What are the benefits of candidate sourcing?
  3. How to source candidates?
  4. Top candidate sourcing tools you need to consider for recruiting
  5. Summary

What is candidate sourcing?

Candidate sourcing means actively looking for employees for open positions in the company – so it’s one of the first stages of recruitment processes conducted by the HR department. It’s about reaching out to people who are not thinking of changing jobs at the moment (so-called passive candidates), but who may be persuaded to take part in the hiring process by a competitive offer.

This recruitment method relies on the use of data and information that is publicly available on the Internet and can give recruiters some hints about a person’s competencies and abilities. Of course, you can also get in touch with individuals who are actively looking for a job, but that is not the main purpose of candidate sourcing ( unemployed people usually respond to job offers themselves).

candidate sourcing

What are the benefits of candidate sourcing?

The main benefit of candidate sourcing is getting the best employee for the position. But that’s not all – candidate sourcing conducted by a talent acquisition specialist or an HR specialist also aims at building a base consisting of people with diverse competencies who may want to participate in the recruitment process in the future, for example, due to the opening of a new position or the implementation of an innovative tool.

Establishing relationships with specialists from a particular industry is also a way to build an effective employer branding strategy. Such a contact database along with documents can be created in dedicated software that have a CRM tool, among others, in Firmbee.

How to source candidates?

If you want to source candidates effectively, you should start with defining key qualities that the potential employee should possess in order to properly perform the assigned tasks (e.g., experience, hard and soft skills, personality traits). It is even sometimes said that the recruiter, using marketing methods, creates a persona, or a profile of the ideal candidate.

In this regard, it’s advisable to consult a hiring manager who is most familiar with the job requirements. In the next step, you should conduct market research to create a competitive job offer. Then, you ought to identify places where to look for a new employee and what methods to use. On this basis, you will get in touch with the selected people and start building a relationship with them.

Top candidate sourcing tools you need to consider for recruiting

To actively seek candidates, recruiters primarily use social media (due to the possibility of direct contact), especially LinkedIn which has advanced options to source potential candidates. However, this is not the only channel used for reaching passive candidates.

Equally often, recruiters use other social media sites (Facebook, Instagram, Behance, GoldenLine), Google (X-ray search, Boolean search) and talent search engines (TalentBin, Hiretual). Candidate sourcing is also possible on portals created for people with specialized skills to exchange knowledge and experience (e.g. GitHub for software developers).


Undoubtedly, every year, effective candidate sourcing will gain more and more importance in attracting employees to the company, especially in the case of the most specialized and competitive industries (e.g., high-tec, telecom, IT). This modern recruitment method helps reach passive employees with relevant experience and outstanding skills who may be persuaded to change jobs.

What is more, candidate sourcing is faster and more efficient than simply waiting for resumes – provided that recruiters properly define job requirements and remember that building relationships is an ongoing process.

Read also: How can interview intelligence improve your recruitment process?

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Author: Nicole Mankin

HR manager with an excellent ability to build a positive atmosphere and create a valuable environment for employees. She loves to see the potential of talented people and mobilize them to develop.