Written by Christine Hampton, Senior Consultant & Instructor, Lean Human Capital


How do you define sourcing? Is it dark-web Boolean searches? Is it a virtual career fair? Is it a social media post? Is it a monthly call or connection? Is it research? Yes, yes, and yes. Search for a definition of talent acquisition sourcing and you will find explanations like Wikipedia that note sourcing is the identification, assessment and engagement of skilled workers. I don’t disagree with that meaning.

However, what needs defining are the behaviors and actions that make up a sourcers daily workload.

I am a relationship sourcer. While the hunt for leads is enjoyable, it is the long-term lure that excites me.

I would have made a great fisherman. Patiently waiting and tempting the fish till it bites. Anglers know that there is bait fishing, fly-fishing, bait casting, spinning and trolling. There is no one size fits all. Like fishing, there are many ways to go about a passive candidate search. Here are six tactics to get you started on your talent acquisition sourcing journey:

Old school conversations. Yep, we still need to pick up the phone. Honestly, I am right there with you. I can barely leave a voicemail anymore that doesn’t mirror the rambling of a preteen, but practice makes perfect. Although the first few connections can be via text, email or socials, candidates will eventually want to speak to you “live” for the best experience. Try doing a “Talking Tuesday” where once a week you commit to the telephone.

Hit the pavement. I hope you have your COVID vaccine. If you do, it’s time to get out there! We call these community sourcers, but you don’t have to be labeled a community sourcer to get out in the world with your actual legs. In healthcare, we have dietary and environment services roles that are best filled being out in the community, shaking hands and kissing babies.

Boolean. This is for those sourcers that are fighting to learn or use Boolean and think “I’m doing fine without it.” You simply can’t uncover 100% of the labor pool without it. If you’ve had a few bad teachers, shake it off and find another. You need to understand the language of the internet to use the internet for sourcing.

Job fairs. Don’t try to fight me on this. Let recruiters take the handfuls of resumes back to office for candidates who are an immediate fit – but the sourcers must lay claim to all the candidates that refused to stop by the booth, declined or just simply were unimpressed. The sourcer does the follow up and works the magic with repetitive cadence and reach outs to win the person over. That takes the skill, attention and commitment that a sourcer can provide.

Content marketing. Put 10 sourcers in a room and maybe one has a marketing background. It’s not our forte. However, I urge sourcers to make the effort to get famous on at least one social media platform and grow followers organically. Candidates are consumers. They will research you. And a “famous” sourcer with a reputable online presence gives candidates confidence – not to mention it keeps you relevant to a candidate until they are ready to take on a job search.

Research. Shout out to Nancy Nelson, sourcer at UT Southwestern, who told me she was in pre-search on a role, waiting for a report to come back on trends for ideal candidates on a certain role. A sourcer who looks for trends in schools, degrees and competitors is to be celebrated. If you don’t spend time knowing your competitors, you will never know what to leverage.

This is not meant to be an all-inclusive list. Whatever tactics you use that are legal, moral and ethical to find potential passive leads can be called sourcing. Don’t try to fit the mold – carve out your space. It’s not stupid if it works.

Happy Hunting!

About Lean Human Capital

Lean Human Capital by HealthcareSource delivers a radical approach to healthcare recruitment analysis, process optimization, and continuous improvement. By rationalizing your staffing supply chain, we help you create a proactive, efficient hiring strategy that will dramatically reduce time-to-fill and vacancy rates, improve quality-of-hire and customer satisfaction, and reduce cost and waste.