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Blog 24 November 2022

Candidate Sourcing: How You Can Find the Top Talent

Daisy Shevlin
SEO & Content Manager @ Kaspr

All recruiters want to place the best candidates for their clients (or company) 🌟


But to access the top talent, you need to know how to find it. 


This is where candidate sourcing comes in. Like outbound sales tactics, recruiters use the same skills to discover, engage and place candidates. 


They use a combination of channels like email, cold calling, and LinkedIn to build interest in the job. All this outreach helps them to secure that all-important first-stage interview. 


It's not easy and is made harder by the ongoing war for talent and the current economic uncertainty. Over the next year, many people will choose to stay in their roles instead of taking a risk and switching employers. 


But solid prospecting helps prevent losing the interest of great candidates. Let’s get into our top tips. 


Scroll at your own pace, or jump ahead 👇

100% my type of candidate (on paper)

As a recruiter, you need to meet the needs of your client (or company). This means knowing exactly who you are looking for. Otherwise, you’ll be wasting time sourcing candidates who don’t fit the bill.  


Before you start prospecting, create a job description. 


This should have:

  • Job summary
  • Years of experience needed 
  • Responsibilities and duties of the role 
  • Qualifications and skills 
  • Salary and benefits 


It’s a competitive game placing top talent, with the best being off the market in 10 days or less.


Once you’ve got your job description, go a layer deeper with the hiring manager. Find out what types of projects the candidate should have worked on. As well as what tools they’d like them to have used and what sort of personality would fit in well with the rest of the team. 


Chuck Brotman, VP of Sales & Co-Founder at Blueprint Expansion (a GTM recruitment agency), explains the importance of this alignment:


“Startups are bound to make mistakes without a clear agreement that connects talent teams and hiring managers. This will lead to bad hires, lost quality hires, and a lot of confusion in the market.”


He suggests healthy alignment looks like this:

  • A mutual understanding of the hiring process. The number of steps, SLAs between steps, skills, and behaviors being assessed.
  • Clear agreement on target candidate profiles. For each role calibrated for the market.
  • Cadence for reviewing the candidate funnel. Wins, losses, and performance against hiring goals. 

Active vs passive candidates 

There are two types of candidates in recruitment.


  • Active candidates - These people have their CV up-to-date and are applying to roles. They are likely actively looking for a new role or are unemployed.
  • Passive candidates - These people are not actively looking for a new role, but may be open to an opportunity. They are likely already employed but will switch if the circumstances are right. 


You might think that active candidates sound like the easier option. But passive candidates make up 70% of the talent market


So be wary of only waiting on active candidates to apply. Dedicate some of your energy to looking for passive candidates as well. 


Otherwise, you won’t be casting a wide enough net 🎣


Going into 2023, engaging passive candidates is set to become increasingly important. It’s always been common practice for C-suite and executive positions, but uncertain times will make candidate sourcing just as vital for entry-level roles. 


Being able to engage passive candidates early means bringing top talent into the funnel. Whether they’re placed now or later, it’s important to always be forming relationships. 


In times of economic downturn, layoffs cause more talent to become available. This type of active candidate might be the perfect fit but just not know your role exists (yet).


Valentina Stepanoska, Recruiter at Cognism outlines how competitive the tech industry is for accessing top talent:


“Recruitment for engineering and other tech roles is wild. If you reach out to the perfect candidate, there’s a high likelihood they are being contacted by 10-15 other recruiters during the same day!”


“You need to be short and to the point, creative and personal, if you want a reply to your message.” 

Setting your candidate sourcing goals

Setting the right goals is crucial for placing candidates. But before you do this and make a plan for prospecting, it’s worth looking back on your best quarters. 


It’s well worth looking at KPIs like:

  • What your connection rate is with candidates
  • Where your successful placements came from
  • Time spent contacting new candidates vs revisiting old ones
  • LinkedIn reply rate


If you can’t reflect on past performance because you’re a newbie recruiter, then speak to your colleagues. Look at the team's performance and calculate the average for the KPIs across the board.


If you’re not part of a team, review your performance weekly. See what’s working and iterate your approach 💡


Now it’s time to make a plan for the quarter, it could look something like:

  • Adding 40+ new prospects into your cadences each week
  • Setting 1 hour extra aside each day to contact passive candidates
  • Increasing your phone call duration by 10% on average 


Block out your diary time and also break this down into a daily game plan. 


Valentina says:


“An important skill that all recruiters need is multitasking and time management. To help plan my prospecting activities, I write down all my tasks each day. From the most important (ones I’ll do first), to the least important (the ones I’ll leave till last).”

Determining your cadence and channels 

Recruiters use three core channels for prospecting candidates. These are channels like phone calls, emails, and LinkedIn.  


But how do you decide on the channel mix? 🤔


Well, just like in sales there are two common approaches. 


  1. The multitouch approach. Using multiple channels to understand which one the prospective candidate prefers. 
  2. A validated approach. Electing one channel where you’ve seen success with the prospect. 


Once you’ve decided on your approach, it’s time to consider your cadence. These are a series of touchpoints (from your channel mix) you use to engage with a prospective candidate.  


This is the part where recruiters can encounter rejection and candidate ghosting.  


Jonathan Tye, Talent Acquisition Manager at Cognism says:


“It’s important to detach from the outcome like a salesperson at times. Although it’s your job to influence the process, you can’t control everything.”


“Take a step back and understand the candidate’s actions are not personal and it’s just part of recruitment.”    

Think about your personal branding 

Building a personal brand on LinkedIn is becoming increasingly important for recruiters.


It could even make a difference in whether the prospective candidate replies to your message. Nick Tuno, Director of Talent Acquisition at Botify, says:


“Personal branding will continue to be a crucial element in recruitment. Candidates tend to check out recruiters' LinkedIn profiles after receiving a message.” 


“And based on how credible the profile looks, candidates might decide to pass or engage in a conversation.”


Though it can be challenging to get started, here are some key areas to think about:

  • Optimize your profile. Use keywords for LinkedIn’s search function and switch your profile to creator mode.
  • Find some inspiration. ​Look at what other recruiters or recruiter personal branding specialists do. This can help develop your own unique style. 
  • Set your goals. On LinkedIn, the KPIs are engagement and reach. Set yourself some goals around these, like how many impressions your posts get. 
  • Your first LinkedIn posts. Have a mix of content and see what sticks. You could test posts like: ‘I tried X, and here is what I learned.’ 
  • Stay consistent. The only way to snowball success in personal branding is by staying consistent. Consider creating a content plan when you get going. 


Alice de Courcy, Chief Marketing Officer, and Jonathan Ilett, VP UK talk more about personal branding at Cognism in this clip 🎬



Consider your prospecting toolkit

It helps to have a good tech stack for sourcing the top talent 🔎


You need to be able to find, engage and manage the candidate through the recruitment process.

CRMs or applicant tracking systems (ATS)

This type of software means recruiters can keep track of all the candidates in their pool. Results have found that committed CRM and ATS users are 300% more efficient


Pretty crucial when you think about the narrow window for placing the best talent? 


Some of the highest rated in G2 include Workable and 100Hires.

Prospecting tools  

Half the battle with candidate sourcing is getting access to the right contact details. Recruitment prospecting tools like Kaspr (😉), give you immediate access to data through a LinkedIn Extension. 


You can reach top candidates with accurate emails and phone numbers.

LinkedIn Recruiter 

Research is an important part of prospecting. With LinkedIn Recruiter, you can prioritize candidates, reach out and track the performance of your InMails.

Cadence tools 

Working across a few different channels means can help to have cadence software for candidate outreach. 


The technology makes scaling prospecting much easier and automates mundane tasks.

Place the top talent with better prospecting

Having a way of prospecting that is solid is crucial for placing the top talent 🔥


With the likelihood of economic uncertainty ahead, it’s a good time to review your strategy.


Remember, the best candidates are usually off the market in 10 days or less. 


Let’s recap the key points 👇

  • 100% my type of candidate (on paper).  Understand exactly who you’re a client (or company) is looking for. Don’t overlook personality fit with the team.
  • Set your candidate sourcing goals. A good candidate sourcing plan goes a long way. Break your goals down into manageable chunks.
  • Determining your cadence and channels. Know which type of approach you’d like to use in your channel mix. Work out the best touchpoints by iterating your approach.
  • Think about your personal branding. Don’t underestimate the importance of personal branding. Take our key steps to get started.
  • Consider your prospecting toolkit. A good tech stack makes sourcing candidates and managing the process easier. 
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