Digitalizing Recruitment - Part 3: Sourcing

Viktor Nordmark
8 November, 2020

The endless manual search for the perfect candidate. The all too time consuming jumping between Indeed, LinkedIn and Glassdoor. The spammy, impersonal InMails that give the candidate a small ego-boost but that you get nothing in return from. Irrespective of if you’re a recruiter or a specialized sourcer, you’ll benefit from understanding how you can digitalize sourcing. The point of sourcing is to find the candidates instead of waiting for them to find you. But today this is a time consuming process with inadequate results. Therefore we’ll now give you the latest news on how to speed up and augment this process and at the same time reduce turnover rates.

Sourcing back in the days

Job hunters used to rely on bulletin boards, newspapers, their network and physically going to companies to find a job. Whereas the companies relied on headhunters with broad networks to find new hires at the same time as they were not very up-front with their inner workings. In 2007, solely 25% of hiring managers were conducting Google searches on candidates and Myspace was the go-to site for social networking.

Sourcing, as it is today, didn’t exist at all to the same extent. A lot has changed since then and much thanks to the Internet, what used to be the employers’ market has now transformed into the candidates’. Meaning, we’re living in a more open digital world where your persona is open for everyone to see and companies are working hard in order to make their employer brand attractive and intriguing.

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The problems with manual sourcing today

A sourcing specialists main goal is to find and identify matching candidates for a target profile. This goes far beyond casually looking into your talent pool database, scroll through some CV’s and find someone who seems to be suitable for the job. Without tiring you with too many bullet-points, these are only a few of the sourcing specialists tasks:  

  1. Developing a network of industry professionals and potential candidates
  2. Connecting with potential candidates on social media networks such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter
  3. Being present on niche platforms such as Github and Behance
  4. Logging all the information gathered about a candidate in Applicant Tracking Systems and other databases
  5. Reviewing resumes and online portfolios to pre-screen candidates  
  6. Sending numerous recruiting emails along with follow-up emails to candidates
  7. Do extensive Google searches

Manually searching for candidates online is simply nothing you do in a jiffy. From the moment you find someone online that has the experience you’re looking for, you have to understand, from their social media presence only, what kind of person this is, if she would be a good cultural fit, if she seems to have the right skills and estimate if it seems as if she might be on the look-out for a new job. And these are only the deciding factors you have to make before a first contact. Then it all boils down to actually managing to get in contact with the person.

If being a sourcing specialist is your occupation, then you’re probably up for the mission but spending 60% of your time on searching for candidates as a recruiter, is nothing short of disastrous since it drives you away from what is important to you; interacting with candidates. On top of that you have to log all the information you find in the ATS and single-handedly understand which candidate is the best fit. All of this is extremely time-consuming and tiring since you have to use all your brain-power to analyze a lot of data and still not be sure you’ve found the most viable candidates.

What if the best fit is still out there?

How to optimize sourcing with digitalization

Sourcing is vital to today’s recruiting strategy because it gives you the upper hand in the subsequent recruiting process. Why? Because you’ve already pinned down the people worth considering and thus avoid having to question your choices. Because of this, 83% of companies source proactively. But how you conduct the sourcing can be made more efficient and thus, more cost-effective.

There’s a whole world out there with digital tools that can support you in your sourcing endeavors. Before we go into which these are we’ll advise you to chart your pain-points in order for you to understand which ones to use. Where in the process do you need extra support? Which tasks do you speak fluently and which ones, in your opinion, take too much of your valuable time? Doing a small SWOT analysis like this gives you the upper-hand in pitching the possible investment to your manager.

We have hand-picked the tools and techniques that we believe you’ll get the most value out of, starting off with;


Boolean queries and tools

Boolean searching is the act of leveraging large databases (Google, CRM, LinkedIn, Indeed) by making use of certain search operators to make more specific searches. This is a great way for you to master your searches and relieve you from spending too much time on non-valuable search results . The most common operators within recruitment are:

AND; used when you want to include more than one criteria e.g; Producer AND Film. The results you get will include both words.

OR; used when you want to see multiple entries in the results. In return you’ll receive all results containing Producer and any results containing Film.

NOT; used in order to exclude certain requirements. Example:

(Producer AND Film) NOT TV

You can also use the minus symbol subsequent to the unwanted term.

Brackets ()

Used to explain to the search engine how you want the search string to be read, example:

Producer AND (Film OR TV)

In return you’ll get any results with Producer Film and results with Producer TV.

Quotations “”

Used when you want to search for an exact phrase. By putting quotations around “Producer Film”, the search engine will treat it as one keyword and in return give you results with those exact words in the body of the text.

Asterisk *

Used when you want to widen your search. Say you want to search for anything related to Producer* the results will consist of; production, produce, produced.

If you’re not too keen on conducting the searches yourself, there are, of course, tools that can write the search strings for you.

Tools for extracting contact details

Even though it may be easy to find people online, it can be tricky to find a way to contact them. Information service companies host people in their database along with their personal and professional information as well as contact details. Type in a social media handle, or name, in the search bar and receive the information you’re looking for.

There are also tools for extracting contact details from websites. These tools appear as plug-in’s in your browser. These come in handy when you know a person’s current workplace. Just go to the website, press the plug-in and you’ll find all the emails it has found, compiled into a neat list.

But, how do you find a tool like this? Simply Google “email finder tool AND identity information tool” and you’ll receive a bunch of options. As you have chosen your tools and started extracting contact details, make sure to manage your findings wisely by building structures that you can reuse or pass on. For example, build lists and name them after your search “Female Data Scientists” or “Project Managers Creative Agency”. To make it even easier for you, import the lists into your ATS.

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AI to identify and rank candidates

Candidate sourcing AI (Artificial Intelligence) tools make use of machine learning to consolidate all of your talent pools into one single pipeline. Not only does it source the web for candidates but you can also integrate your ATS, job boards and resume databases into the tool. It ranks candidates and shortlists the top talent in the category you’re looking for. This is a powerful tool that makes sourcing a bliss since you have everything gathered in one place as well as the ability to filter according to your needs.

If this is something that intrigues you, start off by doing a quick market analysis of the available tools and compare prices, features and reviews. If you’re the decision-maker at your company, bring the analysis to your manager and explain the benefits as well as the potential ROI (Return on Investment). You can support your ROI case by explaining that you will have a potential reduction in time to source of 9 days.

AI Networking tools

Based on your interests and searches, these tools learn which people you tend to be on the lookout for the most. They’re based on the two-way street philosophy; by adding your own details, you’ll be rewarded with the possibility of contacting thousands of people. It’s basically Tinder, but for the job-market, so when a match is made you can begin talking to the person. It’s a fun way of finding new candidates because you can assume that them being on there means they are on the lookout for new opportunities and may be even more open to your proposal.

Start off by searching for “networking tool recruitment” and you’ll find plenty. Make it into a daily habit to use these tools as you’ll quickly get an idea of who is out there, even though you might not be looking for that exact person right now, at least you know she exists. Apply the same strategy as for the email extracting tools, save the potential candidates and their contact information in your talent pool.

Forums and Communication Tools

In order to understand your target candidates, you have to hang out where they hang out. Find out which forums these people enjoy spending time on, whether it’s Reddit or Github, get in with them! There are also chats on Whatsapp and channels on Slack in which people talk about their jobs. This is a good way of staying up to date with the potential candidates' issues and questions and in return you’ll get a deeper understanding of their professional lives which you can then use in your sourcing.

The way to go about it is by simply starting to write to people in your chosen forums. It can be a bit tricky to find the information you’re looking for in forums. But as far as Reddit goes, you can quickly learn how to use the search bar by knowing this:

Type what you’re looking for within the brackets.

  • title:[text] searches only post titles. Example: title:[recruiter]
  • author:[username] searches only posts by the given username.
  • selftext:[text] searches only the body of posts that were made as self-posts.
  • subreddit:[name] searches only posts that were submitted to the given subreddit community.
  • url:[text] searches only the URL of non-self-post posts.
  • site:[text] searches only the domain name of non-self-post posts.self:yes or self:no to filter results based on whether they were self-posts or not.



As an example of what you can find on Reddit, there’s a subreddit called r/AskEngineers with the connecting post: The recruitment process for big companies is full of shit. Although it is quite the harsh example, it’s a good example because you get a feeling for what people are saying about your line of work and candidate experience as a whole. Information that you can use to your advantage. Remember, don’t just be the observer but instead, spend some time each week engaging with the crowd.

Communication tools are also beneficial in the sense that you can connect with other sourcing specialists and recruiters from all over the world, thus support each other in your work.

Sourcing like a pro

Thinking that you somehow would be cheating when using these tools is an idea you should let go of. Finding new ways of excelling in your job, reducing speed-of-hire and at the same time being more cost-effective is a win-win for you and your company. If you feel hindered by your lack of knowledge in technology and the online-world, use it to your advantage and start by Googling how to do something, or ask a fellow recruiter for help.




Viktor Nordmark
8 November, 2020

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