Active sourcing = direct search in 2015?

by Sabine Steiner in — April 2015
Those who work in recruiting know that for many jobs nowadays it is no longer enough to advertise the vacancy and wait for someone to apply. Firstly,not enough candidates are available on the job market for many technical positions, and secondly they would never actively apply.

What do you have to do to find suitable candidates for your own vacancies? The new magic word is active sourcing. What is meant by it is a concept used in human resources recruitment. It covers all the proactive techniques a company leverages to identify promising candidates for the job and then to contact them in person.

That may not sound particularly new, as various concepts for keeping in touch with interesting candidates or building a network also existed in the past. They were however very time consuming and costly. As a result, it was often only larger companies that could afford to build a good network.

What is new about active sourcing are the opportunities created through various social media channels. There are relatively few access restrictions and financial hurdles, with the result that small and medium-sized enterprises can now also use this new method of recruiting staff.

But how easy is it really to use these channels “effectively”? How much time and what costs do you have to factor in to find and also attract an appropriate standard of candidates? Below we have listed some of the criteria you need to examine and instructions for using active sourcing successfully.

Give yourself a profile – your key to the networks

Access to social networks is basically free for everyone. However, paid premium accounts sometimes open the doors to gaining more contacts even faster.

Registered users can enter both personal and professional details in their profiles. What is useful for recruiters is additional information on the company, such as photos (work places, events, etc.) or a short product presentation. Videos on the company are also becoming increasingly popular.

The recruiter’s profile is a marketing page at the same time (for HR activities) and frequently also decisive in whether it arouses interest among potential candidates.

Endorsements on LinkedIn are much more important than in other social networks. Such recommendations are included in the overall profile ranking, with ratings from customers ranking higher than those from colleagues or superiors.

Countless tips and guidelines are available for improving your own profile. If you search for new recruits professionally, it is worth investing some time in designing and presenting your profile.

Combining quantity with quality

Arguably the most critical aspect of using social media channels to search for candidates is that – theoretically – anyone can do it. It is here that the quality problem begins.

Using the search functions and entering a few concise key words can be learned quickly. Lists with contact details for potential candidates appear at the touch of a button. Thousands of HR professionals browse through this information. They compose and send mass mails without taking individual character and personal engagement into account. And then they are often very surprised when not even 2% of the people contacted actually reply. The low response rate is however hardly surprising when you consider that the recipients receive generic enquiries several times a day.

Conclusion: there is no point in sending a lot of superficially worded enquiries that will not elicit a response. On the contrary, you will only give yourself a bad image.