With the Great Resignation and a tight labor market well underway, implementing a talent sourcing strategy to actively reach out to prospective candidates is more important than ever when trying to reach top talent. Talent sourcing is a lot like a scavenger hunt, as you try to piece together the right clues in order to identify prospective candidates, craft your outreach messaging, and find the correct contact information before hitting the “send” key. Whether you are seeking applicants for a particular role or trying to broaden your candidate pool, try some of these talent sourcing hacks to maximize your efficiency.
1. Think About Different Places Where People Put Information About Themselves Online
While LinkedIn is likely a key tool that you use in recruiting, not everyone has a LinkedIn profile! Even candidates with LinkedIn profiles may have a more extensive presence on other websites. For example, you may find information about prospective candidates on websites for professional associations, colleges and universities, newspaper articles, personal or professional blogs, portfolio sites, and more. Other social media sites like Facebook or Twitter, or communities on Reddit or Slack can also be good places to find candidates who are actively involved in their field or sharing knowledge with others. To expand your sourcing horizons beyond LinkedIn and find candidates you otherwise may not have seen, incorporate Google searches into your sourcing strategy—and don’t discount results from websites that aren’t traditionally used for job searches.
2. Choose Your Keywords Carefully
Keywords are an essential part of talent sourcing, especially when conducting online searches through Google, LinkedIn, or job boards to find prospective candidates. The job posting itself is likely your first step in determining potential keywords, from the description of the job itself, required skills, and preferred qualifications for candidates. The sourcing hack here is to focus your keywords on the most important skills and qualifications, rather than trying to find the “perfect” candidate. Prospective candidates—especially those who are not actively looking for a new job and may not have optimized their web presence for it—are not likely to have as exhaustive a list of skills and experiences on their website or LinkedIn page as in your job posting. So including too many keywords in a single search might cause you to miss out on some great candidates.
Keep in mind that you may have to tweak your keywords or come up with a few similar keywords when searching for candidates online. Bios and objective statements on resumes are often written with more casual language than a job description uses, so consider trying a few different ways of saying the same thing. Also remember that job titles may not be standardized across companies (for example, one company’s “Marketing Manager” could be the equivalent of another’s “Chief Marketing Officer”), so it helps not to pass over a candidate’s current job title if it doesn’t exactly align with the new job description.
Finally, it helps to keep your keywords organized. Compose and save your search strings in a document that you can reference later, or use “saved search” functionalities when available.
3. Use Search Operators For More Targeted Criteria
If you are searching for multiple keywords or looking for candidate information on a specific website, search operators are your best friend. Google supports a number of search operators to refine your queries. Here are a few common search criteria and their corresponding search operator:
- How to search social media: Write your keyword or phrase, followed by the @ symbol and the name of the social media platform. Example search: data scientist @twitter.
- How to find an exact match: Write your desired keyword or phrase in between quotation marks. For example, if you are searching for a specific candidate with a certain skill and you have a target university in mind, you can use quotes for these two important keywords. Example search: “ReactJS” “Hypothetical University”
- How to combine two different searches: Use the word “OR” between each keyword or phrase. Example search: software engineering intern OR software development intern
- How to search for a specific site: Write the word "site:" in front of a site or domain that you want to search, then add your desired keyword or phrase. This could be helpful if you want to learn more about a candidate you spoke with at a university job fair, or to look into a project or company that a candidate mentioned in their application or interview. Remember to remove spaces between the word “site” and the web domain in the search bar. Example search: site:hypotheticaluniversity.edu Jane Doe
LinkedIn also allows you to use search operators, in addition to its extensive system of filters by location, job function, school, and more. As with Google, you can use quotation marks for an exact phrase search, and the OR operator in order to combine two queries on LinkedIn. A few additional search operators to consider for LinkedIn are:
- How to exclude keywords from a search: Write the word NOT immediately before a search term. Example search: data scientist NOT manager.
- How to find results with multiple keywords: Use the word AND between a list of keywords and phrases. Example search: marketing AND Salesforce AND HubSpot
4. Use Google Chrome Extensions to Save Time
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by too much information when sourcing candidates online. Luckily, there’s a Google Chrome hack you can use to find what you need even faster. Chrome extensions called Multi Highlight enable you to set up specific keywords, which will then be highlighted when they appear on a webpage. This is especially helpful when trying to scan a website or candidate’s online profile for relevant information, rather than trying to read everything at once.
Another common challenge that recruiters face is finding an email address to contact prospective candidates in order to invite them to apply to a position. Since many LinkedIn profiles do not include the person’s email address, you have to get creative. When sourcing tech roles, especially in software development, the Github Email Hunter Google Chrome extension can help you find email addresses associated with GitHub profiles.
With these 4 immediately-actionable hacks in tow, there will be virtually no limit to the qualified candidates you can source for your organization.
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