Frequently when I speak to organizations about their current methods for sourcing talent, the conversation usually starts and ends with posting the job. In the recruiting world, we refer to this as the "Post and Pray" method of sourcing. A passive approach of posting a job and waiting for candidates to come to you will usually end up with a lackluster candidate pool. So where do you start?

First and foremost if you are serious about recruiting, then you need an Applicant Tracking System. Applicant Tracking Systems are the central repository for your recruiting efforts. Think of it this way, with an Applicant Tracking System you have a pool of every candidate that has ever applied to your organization. How many times have you had a candidate that was strong, but they were edged out by another candidate for a past position. It may be several years before you are hiring for that same position. Wouldn't it be a lot easier to cross-reference that list of previous candidates that were excellent fits for that position? Sure you can get by with an excel spreadsheet, but Applicant Tracking Systems offer many tools that make sourcing candidates quick and easy.

When it comes to sourcing, in my opinion, your talent network is the best place to start. Not familiar with Talent Networks? If you would like to learn more, then check out a previous blog post on Talent Networks. Your talent network is critical to sourcing candidates. Think of your talent network as your short list of warm leads to get the hiring process started. If you have done an excellent job of tagging past candidates and your Applicant Tracking System has some job skill matching you can quickly come up with a short list of qualified candidates. Next, you can contact those individuals and invite them to apply to the newly posted position.

Social networks are a great place that not many people fully utilize. I am a big fan of LinkedIn. As a recruiter, you can quickly and easily build your network in areas that are relevant to your position. Let's say that I have a new job for a marketing manager in the Tampa, FL market. With LinkedIn, I can start expanding my network in related fields and share information about the position. The best candidates probably are not out actively looking for a job. By getting on the potential candidate's radar through expanding your network could be a great way to get your foot in the door.

A job posting is a passive approach to sourcing. Since job posting is relatively well known I am not going to spend much time here. I would recommend that you leverage source reporting from your Applicant Tracking System to establish where the best candidates are coming in and applying to the positions. Leveraging an Applicant Tracking System to provide visibility around your sources can help you focus your spend where you are getting the most bang for your buck.

Once you have cross-referenced your talent network, leveraged social networks, and the job posting hopefully you have a starting point of great candidates to start the recruiting process. During the screening stage, the recruiter can implement one of the top methods to sourcing candidates, referrals. Referrals are a fantastic tool in finding great talent. When it comes to asking for a reference, there is a time and a place where this method is appropriate. When you contact an applicant to discuss the position if they are not interested, it is a great time to ask the candidate if they know of anyone that may be interested. If I am pursuing a marketing manager in a particular market then that marketing manager likely has relationships with other individuals within their field. In the event, the person I am working with decides that they are not interested then asking for a referral of someone that may be interested could quickly add a qualified candidate to the pipeline.

To effectively source candidates you don't have to be a seasoned recruiter. Use the tools that are available through your Applicant Tracking System and don't be afraid expand your network and ask for a referral.