The Top 4 Methods for Sourcing Job Candidates

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In our last post, we discussed the importance of the P3, or Peak Performance Profile and how it can help you to define precisely what success looks like by highlighting the essential activities of the job. Now, I’m going to take you through the next step in the hiring process: Sourcing for Candidates.

After reading today’s post, you will end up with a better idea of both where to look and how you can find the right people and get them into the right seats. 


In this industry, we’ve learned that the best candidates come from word of mouth. Chances are, if you go to any Sales Director you know, he will usually know someone else in the same role that is qualified and looking for a better opportunity. Don’t be afraid to reach out to your contacts; we’ve found that people are more than happy to provide a recommendation if you just ask.

Note that sometimes, your best source for other employees are your own. Most companies have an employee referral program in place that offers some type of reward, but I often hear how these programs really aren't working for them. Here are two things you need to know in order to make your referral programs work.

1. Remind your employees there’s a reward!

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Every time you have a vacancy, send out an email to your team and ask them for candidates, reminding them of the reward.  If you always have vacancies, then send a monthly reminder with a list of the vacancies.  

2. Assess your reward program by asking your people if what you are offering and/ or the manner in which you pay it out is motivating enough to them. 

Offering a bonus after the new hire has been there for six months is typically too far out of sight to be any real motivation. Split it up into thirds: the first upon the new hire's start date; the second after 90 days; and the third after six months. The other important thing you should consider is that perhaps your people are not making referrals because they don’t believe your company is a great place to work! When we conduct employee satisfaction surveys, this is far too often the reality.  

And there’s a new twist on the old idea of the referral: Barrel of Jobs, “the only website where you can share relevant job opportunities with friends.” The way it works is this: you browse the job opportunities on their site, see an opening your brother Bob might be interested in, and send him the information via email, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook. Then, if the company offers him the job, you get part of the referral bonus, which you can then receive in the form of an Amazon gift card or donate the money to a charity such as the Wounded Warrior Project, Year Up, or the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship. They are all about putting America back to work, so you can feel really good about referring both your friend and doing a public good.

2. JOB BOARDS (Monster, Dice, CareerBuilder, Craigslist, indeed, TheLadders, etc.):

This doesn’t mean just placing an advertisement. You need to be proactive. Says Excelsior’s Director of Talent Acquisition, James Moore:

I believe they are the gateway to a search. They get the ball rolling when you don’t know where else to start or to jumpstart ideas of what to search for. For example, Ellen calls James and says, ‘James I need you to help me hire a Documentary Columnist in El Paso, TX paying $65,000/hr.’ James has no history of hiring a Documentary Columnist, doesn’t know what the market salary range is for El Paso, TX and has no knowledge about the salary range for these types of professionals. What does James do? He goes to a site like CareerBuilder! He plugs in the job title, the city, the state, the salary that is proposed and begins doing some sourcing just to see what types of candidates come back. During this process, James asks Ellen exactly what she is looking for in a candidate and what key words he can pull from professionals’ resumes that will help him to be more specific in his searches.

These websites are truly an easy way of  providing you insight into the market, industry, salary range, type of candidates, etc. You can then utilize this information to go outside the scope even further to possibly find stronger candidates, maybe in nearby cities or with slightly higher salary ranges. It is also important to consider that job titles are sometimes relative and that there are potentially different names for the same role.

They are also great places to drive traffic to your job/website, to get your brand out there. I would never say these are the best places to source, but I am a firm believer these are your starting points.

Before heading out into the online universe, make sure you are knowledgeable about the objective of each site. Different sites specialize in different types of jobs and different salary levels. For example, Dice is strictly for Technology Professionals, the self-proclaimed “Career Hub for Tech.” Meanwhile, TheLadders, since September 2012 began posting jobs with salaries ranging from $40K to $250K+, used to post jobs strictly with salaries over $100K so make sure you know which site you are using. 

A related site in the job-advertising arena is, which offers jobseekers an inside look at jobs and companies through entirely “employee generated content,” which means the information was produced by current company employees, job-seekers and employers alike. Here, employers can create an Enhanced Employer Profile Highlight, showcasing your employment brand, providing information about your company (e.g., current employees’ salaries) promoting your latest job listings, getting your profile on Facebook and having access to analytics and competitive benchmarking. This is a useful site for anycompany seeking to push their brand out into the vast internet space.

3. SOCIAL MEDIA(LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter):

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This is the new way of recruiting, which people in every industry are now making use of. Make sure you have a company page on all three of these sites, because whether you like it or not, this is what people are using to find and post jobs these days (and it’s not just the Millenials, that 18-34 age range, who are making use of social media!). 

Back to James, on the topic of LinkedIn:

Many of the people on LinkedIn are not actively looking for an opportunity but may still be interested enough to hear about the role. And even if the person is not interested, they usually are connected to someone that may be. This site helps you narrow down candidates, giving you insight into companies that may be great places to source from. 

There is also TweetMyJobs, which boasts to be “the leading social recruitment and job distribution network site matching job seekers with employers.” TweetMyJobs allows employers to post their jobs onto Facebook, Twitter, job aggregator sites and directly to job-seekers themselves via email and phone. 


Networking events have taken the place of career fairs or job fairs as the place to shake hands and make acquaintances for future references. One such event that takes place in major cities around the country is called Network After Work, a monthly social outing that brings together up to 600 people from all different roles, industries, and career levels. Guests wear a nametag color-coded by their industry, allowing for easy identification and navigation. These events are great because they offer guests the opportunity to expose their name and brand to top business professionals, all while hanging out in some of the area’s hippest after-work spots over cocktails and appetizers. 

In addition to these more general networking events, there are also industry-specific networking events, which help someone in a more concentrated industry rub elbows with people in their field. One great resource that does this is your local chapter of the Society for Human Resource Management.

Finding candidates isn't rocket science, but it does take a lot of time and patience. Develop a strategy, put in the time and effort, and you will find candidates who fit your search criteria. Then the truly hard part starts - interviewing and screening to identify the candidates who are the right people for your job and company. My next post in this series will address how to accomplish just that.  

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