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Sourcing Tips: Ways to Level Up Your Recruiting Game

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By Paula Dorn, Director of Sourcing
With Tom Brennan, Senior Writer

Part 2 in our series – Sourcing: Tracking Down Hidden Talent

In Part One of this blog series I made an argument for being proactive by making deep-dive sourcing part of your recruitment efforts. If you’re not already using it, it’s probably time to level up. Not familiar with the lingo of online role-playing games? In order to take on greater challenges, you typically have to gain experience points to reach the next level, or “level up.”

As the job market continues to grow more and more competitive for employers, recruiting continues to become more and more challenging. Waiting for the top talent to come to you just won’t work, and simply searching the résumé databases isn’t enough. Here in Part Two and also in Part Three I’ll share some sourcing tips and tactics.

You Still Need the Personal Touch

This advice applies to all the levels. Advanced Internet search techniques (X-ray, Boolean strings, flipping, peeling) and social networking are important, but recruitment is a very human activity — it can’t ALL be done in cyberspace. Sourcing is a relatively new approach in recruiting, but one thing hasn’t changed: you have to invest the time and effort to reach out and establish relationships with people, including picking up the phone. These relationships become even more valuable as you level up in the sourcing game. 

Level I: Strolling on Easy Street

This is the easiest level and you get great information. At level I you’re dealing with candidates who are practically waving their résumés for attention, whether it is on a mainstream job board like, a niche board like Dice or the database in your own proprietary applicant tracking system. These candidates are available and interested, and their contact info is complete and accessible.

If you find and hire your ideal candidate without doing anything more than this, you’re on Easy Street. However, chances are you won’t; in today’s market, supply and demand favors candidates. In addition, probe to make sure these gems aren’t too good to be true. There are plenty of good reasons to be actively looking, whether a candidate is employed or unemployed. But there are also reasons that could be red flags, like job-hoppers who change every 18 months or people who aren’t happy where they are because they aren’t willing to bend a little to fit in.

Level II: Don’t be Antisocial

Level II is social networking and LinkedIn is the clear leader in this space. I Googled “using LinkedIn for Recruiting” and got literally millions of hits, including articles from mainstream sources like,, and others. One article, by Michael Overell, claims that 93% of all U.S. recruiters use LinkedIn. Other articles describe how LinkedIn is changing the recruiting landscape. There are dozens of YouTube videos on how to use LinkedIn for recruiting. It makes sense: it was designed as a professional networking space.

Anyway, I’m not going to give away TOO much about how we source at Decision Toolbox, but even a newcomer to LinkedIn should be able to figure out some basic strategies, like searching for a job title at companies in the same industry. For example, if you’re looking for a cost accountant in the automotive industry, your search string should include “cost accountant” AND Ford OR “General Motors.” LinkedIn also has hundreds of interest groups, many of which are professionally oriented — join the groups that cost accountants might join and start hunting.

Facebook is also a good place to source, and they recently introduced Graph search, which allows you to use simple, natural language to find just about anything, including candidates. This doesn’t mean you don’t need to learn about Boolean strings and other search techniques! They are essential for other sites. Many professionals tweet and blog, so don’t forget to source in those spaces.

Out of space so soon! Next up: levels III and IV, plus a little more on building a sourcing team to support your recruiters.

To learn more about Decision Toolbox, contact us – we’d love to hear from you!

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2 Responses to “Sourcing Tips: Ways to Level Up Your Recruiting Game”

  1. March 18, 2014 at 8:38 am, Sourcing: Tracking Down Hidden Talent | DecisionToolbox said:

    […] may be wondering about how to do it. Part One is just the appetizer — clear your palette for Part Two, in which I’ll serve up some great […]


  2. May 22, 2014 at 10:20 am, Spelunking for the Stars: Game-Changing Sourcing Strategies | DecisionToolbox said:

    […] are fast becoming a necessary part of recruiting, as I discussed in Part One of this series. In Part Two I shared some sourcing strategies for the first two “levels” of sourcing: searching the […]


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