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How Digital Talent Sourcing Can Help You Avoid Bad Hires

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Talent sourcing is a valuable tool for successful, forward-thinking companies. As its name suggests, talent sourcing is how you connect with talented colleagues that you might not otherwise cross paths with.

It’s a complex dance, especially in the digital age.

The recruitment market is now largely candidate-driven. Gone are the days when employees remain with a single employer throughout the entirety of their careers. Today’s best talent seeks the best opportunities for success - wherever that may take them. Factor in our growing remote workforce, and you’ve got a challenge. How do you source talent these days?

We’re here to walk you through the intricacies of sourcing prospective digital candidates. Read on to learn about strategies, challenges, tools, and best practices for talent sourcing. These tips can help you avoid bad hires.

What is digital talent sourcing?

Digital talent sourcing is the process of discovering and connecting with prospective candidates to develop a network of talented people for hire. The goal is, essentially, to curate and maintain a talent pool. This way, when a new position becomes available, they can be recruited from this source. Rather than starting from scratch every time you look to hire someone new, you develop a reserve. Moving forward, you can recruit for the position from here.

Talent sourcing is the process of identifying, researching, connecting, and networking with prospective candidates. The hope is to then recruit and convert these individuals when a job opening becomes available.

Strength in numbers, power in diversity

Why is talent sourcing so useful? For one, it makes your recruiter’s job much easier when a position opens up. You’re not looking for a needle in a haystack — you’re looking for a needle in a bowl of needles. More importantly, though, you’re building diversity.

Each new potential candidate that joins your network brings a lot to the table. And you’re not just connecting with one or two individuals, either. Talent sourcing agencies assemble hundreds, if not thousands of top professionals. This diverse pool of potential represents a cohort that will drive innovation and add new skills to future workplaces.

If you hire only who you know (and who they, in turn, know), your organization likely limits itself. But, on the other hand, if you rely on a network of sourced talent, you see a much broader demographic. And, as you look to future-proof your workforce, don’t underestimate the power of diverse talent! Workplace diversity appeals to customers and candidates, alike.

What are the best talent sourcing strategies?

It comes down to a simple formula. Figure out who you want, find them, and establish a relationship. Let’s break it down:

Who should I look for?

Find people who fit the needs and trajectory of your organization. You want to develop a network of talent who can grow with you. It’s important that as you identify the most qualified individuals, you connect with ones whose skills can fill gaps in your present (and future) workforce.

  1. Analyze your current environment: what areas can be improved? Do you find yourself outsourcing certain tasks frequently? Is one skill set oversaturated in your company?
  2. Map out your future. What are your big plans? How will you get there, and who will you need in order to make that change happen?
  3. Source people for your talent network with these points in mind.

Create a candidate version of the buyer persona. A profile, if you will. Give this idealized persona work experience details, interests, and behavioral traits. You’ll want to have a sense of their goals and habits. Know approximately which skills you’d like them to have, how many years of experience in a field or position they hold, what their salary range is, and what priorities they have. Where do they spend time online? What are their interests? These details come in handy as you search for the real-life versions of your persona.

How do I find the right people?

Now that you have a general idea of who you’re looking for, how do you find them? Talent is scattered. Many skilled digital professionals are on LinkedIn and other social media platforms, but they’re also out in the real world working for competitors, visiting conventions and meet-ups, and studying on college campuses.

Your candidate personas help here. Look to your talent profiling to understand where these candidates are concentrated. Enlist the support of talent sourcing tools, too.

Slack, for example, is a great tool for organizations and individuals that share common professional interests. There are channels for everyone: developers, designers, engineers, strategists, and creative tribes to name a few.

Looking for developers? Try StackOverflow, an open community “for developers, by developers.”

Join LinkedIn groups and leverage LinkedIn Sales Navigator. This prospecting tool, for anyone not familiar, allows for advanced search filtering. You can look for talent by geographic location, seniority level, role, tenure, industry, and, of course, keywords.

Build your talent network with the help of your next job posting. The average corporate job posting has 250 applicants. The 249 that you don’t choose for this position likely still possess the skills and interest you’re looking for (just not for now). Add them to your sourced talent network and don’t forget to touch base with them at least twice a year.

How do I establish a relationship?

The best talent is the hardest to reach. How do you connect with your leads, and how can you maintain a relationship? If you’re trying to network with top talent, chances are that many others are doing the same. And if they’re truly as great as you believe them to be, they’re busy.

Figure out which channel you’re using to start the conversation. This will depend on your industry and the candidate persona. Where are they most active? Responsive? Some talent sourcing agencies prefer email, others rely on LinkedIn or other forms of social media. Again, consider who it is that you’re talking to, and modify accordingly.

Now. How do you handle your first touchpoint? The number one piece of advice we can give here is to connect personally. Nobody likes a generic form email. Personalize your message and don’t be afraid to sound human. Stiff professionalism doesn’t build relationships.

Another thing to consider: be respectful of everyone’s time. Keep it short, and don’t demand too much from your prospect from the outset.

Talent sourcing best practices dictate that you connect three times. After this, keep your leads warm by reaching out once every six months. Wish them a happy holiday, or remind them that you’re on the lookout for suitable positions. Perhaps you could even share a success story or two.

What are the challenges of sourcing tech talent?

The above talent sourcing strategy works across industries and roles. If you’re sourcing tech talent specifically, there are a few challenges you should be prepared to encounter. Esteemed is a talent sourcing agency that manages a talent network of developers, architects, system administrators, UX designers, QA testers, and more. We know a thing or two about sourcing tech talent, and we’re happy to share what we’ve learned over the years. So, what challenges can you expect to face as you source people with tech skills?

For one, be prepared to put in more time. There’s a fundamental shortage of engineers and technical management, so demand for tech talent is high.

Additionally, you have to be well-versed in the field from which you source. This can get tricky with the more niche tech positions. Before you begin identifying top talent, you need to know the ins and outs of the skill requirements and tell-tale signs of an expert.

What’s the difference between talent sourcing and recruiting?

You’ve likely picked up on it by now, but what exactly is the difference between talent sourcing and recruiting? They’re not one and the same, but they are two parts of the same process. The ultimate purpose, for both sourcing and recruiting, is to match talent with open positions.

Talent sourcing is the first step in this process: converting non-applicants into applicants. Recruiting converts applicants into hires. They’re both integral parts of any well-oiled talent acquisition strategy.

Additionally, while recruiters typically search for talent when a role requires it, talent sourcers seek qualified individuals on an ongoing basis. This way, when a role becomes available, there’s a talent pool already filled with high potential.

What does Esteemed do differently?

Esteemed was born out of the realization that talent sourcing doesn’t have to be difficult. Especially tech talent sourcing.

Our team already had a history of working with hundreds of engineers, tech managers, project managers, and product managers. We specialize in digital niche categories, roles, skills, and products. (Think Salesforce, Drupal, and Django).

We’ve spent a decade building relationships with thousands of digital professionals. From this, we created a talent network of esteemed colleagues who recommend one another as a trusted source. We have a robust talent pool of those we know firsthand, and we also incentivize referrals to connect with thousands more. Here, you get instant access to pre-screened professionals in hard-to-hire specialties.

Our main differentiators are our dedication to vetting talent and delivering quality right when you need it.

Before any potential candidate is added to our talent network, we have our experienced tech leads screen them. We use Coderbyte to test candidates’ skills. We offer live interview code pairing, custom test questions, and even take-home projects if our client requests it.

When you need to hire a contractor, there’s virtually no wait. Esteemed delivers quality options within minutes in cases of common requests. If you need a skilled JavaScript, WordPress, Drupal, or Sitecore professional, we’ll match you almost instantly.

If you subscribe, you can connect our talent network to your company’s Slack account. This allows you to message requests on Slack and get results as quickly as if you were messaging your coworker.

Final thoughts

Sourcing tech talent doesn’t have to be a chore. If you use the right talent sourcing strategies, you can avoid bad hires. We get it. The workplace and workforce are both becoming increasingly complex. We wholeheartedly believe that everyone deserves access to advice, support, and the right tools. If you choose to team up with a talent sourcing agency, check us out!

Category: Talent Sourcing , Distributed Workforce