8 Common Talent Sourcing Mistakes You May Still be Making in 2021



Resources are the most critical assets for any company. Hiring the right resource is crucial to business growth; it is also a time-critical process as the best-fit resource, a purple squirrel, may not remain available in the job market for too long. Getting talent sourcing right is one of the most critical steps for staffing agencies to recruit the best candidates.

And to ensure efficiency, agencies must iron out the mistakes that most talent sourcing experts make even today. These mistakes while sourcing candidates constitute a significant cause for missing out on the best-fit candidate.

Here are some of the common candidate sourcing mistakes and ways to fix them so that your recruiting firm doesn’t feel the brunt of declined offers or failed talent search.

  1. Skipping the formation of a Candidate Sourcing Strategy

The minute a new requirement comes into the recruiter’s kitty, many of them immediately open their internal talent pool or external job portals and start looking through them. To make the best use of precious time and energy, the recruiter must first formulate a robust candidate sourcing strategy that offers sustainable and long-term benefits. The recruiters must remember that they are tapping into a pool of active and passive candidates. An ineffective sourcing strategy (or its complete absence) will only attract the ‘window shoppers’.

Recruiters who understand the nuances of the requirement, the business they are hiring for, and the organization’s culture will have an edge. The strategy must include the value proposition that the recruiter offers to the candidates, possible talent marketplaces and the best way to reach out to them. While hiring for a niche position, recruiters must spend some time thinking about out-of-the-box ideas that can help them tap the right talent.

So, before you start sourcing for a vacant position or a bulk requirement, sit down and spend some time reflecting and formulating your strategy. Do some research about the role, the nature of business and potential sources of talent. Then you will be all set to begin the sourcing process with all your arms and ammunition.

  1. Ineffective or insufficient engagement with candidates

Today’s workforce is looking for a personalized connection and transparent communication with their potential employers. If this is missing in their early experience with the recruitment team, they might get disenchanted and lose interest. Imagine the candidates available in the talent marketplace; they get innumerable messages, emails, and calls from different sourcers. You must differentiate yourself – capture their mind space and create a long-lasting impact and recall in such a scenario.

Conversing in a way that you can engage with the candidate is an art that the recruiters must learn. The need is for a balanced, high-touch approach to build trust and convey your value proposition without coming out as overly interfering or a recruiting robot. The trick is also to communicate all that you must very quickly, but at a pace that the candidate can comprehend and process.

Therefore, when you are cold-calling your candidates, engage with them in a genuine way that is enjoyable for them. Remember, you need to cut through a lot of noise. Once you build a good rapport with them, the chances of converting the candidate to hire are much higher. If you are a new sourcer, try to grab an opportunity offering training on crafting messages and emails to candidates and conducting cold calls. Self-reflection on what is working well and what is not can also take you places as you course correct whenever you see you are not getting the desired results in passive candidate sourcing.

Suppose the company’s in-house recruitment team is overburdened and finding it challenging to deal with the growing volumes. In that case, out-of-hours candidate sourcing services can be of great help as they provide support during non-working hours, weekends and bank holidays. This will give the recruiter more time and bandwidth to engage with the candidates.

  1. Overselling or selling a bit too hard

Very often, when the recruiter gets overwhelmed and sells the position too hard to the candidate, it ends up back-firing. As sourcing experts, you must remember that you are dealing with people, and they have their own unique situation, goals and definition of success. You must spend 50% of your time identifying and addressing these aspects during your conversation so that your pitch has a personal touch.

Say things like, “based on what I understand about what you want, this role fits very well into the scheme of things,” and top it up with some examples of how the role fits into their career aspiration and short and long term goals. If you find out that the candidate is not a good fit, don’t give them a blatant ‘no’. Instead, tell them basis your conversation with them, you feel the role will not fit into their career goal, and you will keep their profile in your database and refer them when a relevant position comes up. By building this rapport with them, you can also seek referrals, giving you access to an enriched talent pool.

Referrals are 5x times more effective than any other source of recruiting
Referrals are 5x times more effective than any other source of recruiting. Source: Jobvite
  1. Not following a human, high-touch approach

For sourcers, it is imperative to have a human approach. Ensure your conversation and dialogue with the candidates have a personalized approach, and you don’t sound like an AI tool deployed for recruitment. You must look beyond the resume and the dollar signs on the profile so that you can elicit honest responses and attract the best talent.

This is possible when, going back to the first point, you formulate a strong candidate sourcing strategy. Your strategy will include pointers on how you can personalize your communication with the candidates. Being human and authentic is vital. Listening is imperative because only when you listen will you tweak and customize your approach per the individual. Empathy is essential, and when you say things like you can relate to what the candidate is saying and share the same emotions, you will create a strong bond with them, and they are bound to be more receptive to you.

  1. Not preparing your communication strategy in alignment with the hiring manager

The hiring manager understands the role the best. A conversation with the hiring manager to prepare your communication plan will help you during talent sourcing.

Ask the hiring manager, “what is in it for a candidate in this role? What is the company’s expectation from an incumbent in the role?” Answers to these questions will help you do a very targeted search and create robust and relevant messaging for the candidates. Be aware of the USPs of the team and the company. Ideal candidate sourcing companies spend time perfecting this step to formulate a healthy sourcing and communication strategy. Understanding the company’s culture is a must for the sourcing expert as then they will be able to check for a culture fitment too and thus increase the chance of getting the best-fit candidate.

  1. Over-analysis of resumes

Experts believe that resumes are an imperfect representation of a candidate’s experience and skills. Hence, they recommend a ’10 second rule’ wherein you scan through the resume, and if you don’t find something that is an absolute deal-breaker, you should pick up the phone and discuss it with them.

It is important to remember that resumes do not present a complete picture of the person, and hence you should not base your judgement on the CV only. It is often seen that some of the best-fit candidates have quite uninspiring and unattractive resumes.

Talent Sourcers under pressure

  1. An inefficient search

Recruiters usually have access to several sources like LinkedIn, the internet, career pages and the recruiter’s database. Most job boards work on Boolean search strings that recruiters create as a part of talent sourcing. Sometimes the search string can be inappropriate and hide a big pool of candidates, many of whom could be a great fit. Hence, the recruiter must test and refine the search string before they start tracking the results. The correct search string will increase the recruiter’s productivity and help them find more and better candidates. If the search is very generic, that will lead to too many results, and most of them will not be relevant.

  1. Poor Job Description

An obsolete or irrelevant job description or a not well-known talent source can be disastrous. The job description needs to be very appropriate as if you have an inflated job description, the right talent will never get attracted to the role. If the job description inadequately puts forth the requirement, then the hiring manager will never find the right fit for the position.

The recruiter must spend sufficient time understanding the position and the expectations from the role holder. Spending time with the hiring manager to understand the key performance indicators, what would it mean to be successful in the role, what incremental change is expected from the new hire and what would be an excellent cultural fit for the position will help recruiting and sourcing experts develop an efficient talent sourcing strategy.

Therefore, a recruiter’s search string is like an axe for a woodcutter. For a woodcutter, sharpening the axe is essential to do the work well; for the recruiter, a correct search string is vital to get the best results. Sometimes, recruiters focus only on the resumes received within a certain period from posting the job. This again reduces the potential talent pool that they could access. Recruiters must not have a tunnel vision and look at the candidate as the destination. Each candidate that you speak to has the potential to give you references of numerous other talented candidates. The candidate who is a misfit for the role you are currently sourcing for could be the best fit for another position, so add him to your pool. Have that flexibility and spontaneity as a sourcing expert so you can efficiently conduct passive candidate sourcing.

Concluding Thoughts

The talent marketplace is quite competitive, and innovative hiring strategies are needed to attract the top talent. Streamlined passive candidate sourcing, extensive use of technology, and mobile application platform availability are some of the commonly used best practices. Recruitment needs to work like a well-oiled machine to ensure that all vacant positions get filled in time. To achieve this state of the recruitment function, the leaders need to have a futuristic vision and be innovative in their approach. Knowing the common mistakes that happen while sourcing talent will help in being cautious and avoiding mistakes.


QX Global Group RPO division, one of the top talent sourcing companies catering to staffing firms in the US, employs candidate sourcing experts armed with the latest tech stack, to scale up service delivery capabilities of the agencies and enable them to meet high-volume recruiting demands efficiently.

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