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Understanding the Talent Sourcing Process

Morgan Lichtenstein
6 min read

Companies trying to land top talent know aspects of the recruiting process determine the endeavor’s success (or lack thereof).  To ensure your organization is following best talent sourcing practices,  take a step back from what you’re doing and review how your company finds qualified candidates.

Hiring managers who take the time to do this gain a deeper understanding of the talent sourcing process. They can use newfound insights to improve how they source candidates, strengthen their employer brand, and land ideal candidates — who may otherwise only come along once in a lifetime.

This guide will break down the talent sourcing process and discuss the most powerful sourcing techniques to upgrade your talent management initiatives.


What Is Talent Sourcing?

Talent sourcing is the broad term that encompasses all facets of a company’s talent acquisition process. It includes advertising, researching, networking, posting on social networks, taking referrals, and anything else recruiters do to attract and connect with quality candidates.

These sourcing efforts aim to turn job seekers into a talent pool to fill vacancies in the organization.


Breaking Down the Talent Sourcing Process

Successfully grasping each step  of talent sourcing is crucial for building a process that returns positive results. Proactively adding interested, well-qualified candidates to your talent pipeline prevents your company from struggling to fill vacancies.

The talent sourcing process has six major components, which all need to function well for the process to work effectively. Below, we'll explore each step of the process in greater depth.

1. Define the Open Job Description Requirements

The first step in creating a productive talent sourcing process is to describe the company’s open positions accurately and thoroughly. Hiring managers and other stakeholders can accomplish this by picturing what their perfect new hire would look like. What education and job experience would they have? What hard and soft skills would they possess?

Pinpointing the knowledge and expertise required to be successful in the open role is necessary to appeal to the best candidate. The better your company is at this step, the better your candidate pool will be.

2. Define Your Organizational Work Culture

For a moment, take the focus off the open role. Take a step back and look at your company as a whole. What does your organization offer that top talent would find attractive? Will the candidate enjoy a flexible schedule? Does your company provide a hefty benefits package? Is your company culture inclusive, compassionate, and welcoming?

Consider this step as a sales tool. You are selling your company to the candidate of your dreams. The more established your employer brand, the easier this step is to master.

3. Start Applicant Tracking and Conduct Candidate Research

You must employ a way to keep track of your talent, or your efforts will quickly descend into chaos.

Consider investing in an applicant tracking system (ATS) that stores and documents every job applicant from their first communication with your company. Using an automated tool like an ATS allows hiring managers to set keyword filters, so you can easily narrow down the resumes of qualified candidates without going through them manually.

This step is where candidate screening comes in. Use the parameters set in the first step to determine which applicants best fit the job posting.

4. Reach Out to Potential Good Matches To Gauge Interest

Once you’ve looked at the resumes and narrowed your pool down to the applicants who show the most potential, it’s time to establish contact with them. This outreach may start with an introduction email and a more detailed description of the role.

Your focus on creating a positive candidate experience should be front and center during this step. This contact is most likely the first one-on-one communication the candidate will have with your company, so it needs to be memorable, respectful, and friendly.

Keep this first conversation short and straightforward. Avoid the temptation of adding several attendees to the meeting, asking tons of questions, and going into deep assessments of the applicant. These pitfalls may overwhelm the candidate and turn them off.

5. Invite Interested Candidates for Interviews

Once you establish communication with your chosen applicants and gauge their interest, follow up with an invitation to schedule a formal interview. This interview can be on the phone, via video call, or in person.

Replay the position's details and get the applicant's buy-in during this discussion. Let the candidate know what to expect during the interview so that they are prepared for the next step.

6. Launch Your Hiring Process

For most companies, this step is the end for the talent sourcer. They move on to the next open position and turn the interviewing, screening, and onboarding process over to the Human Resources department or hiring manager. However, a reliable recruiting agency can guide you through these steps as well to ensure you select the best possible candidate. 


The 6 Most Effective Talent Sourcing Techniques

A thoughtful talent sourcing process can engineer big rewards like filling open roles with highly qualified talent. Instead of crafting the process from scratch, you can use what has already worked in the past. There are several proven methods for sourcing talent. Put these to work for your company if you want to improve your hiring pool and decrease your time to hire.

1. Talent Sourcing Tools

Technology is one of the main drivers of the modern-day talent sourcing process. There’s no need to spend time and energy manually handling the pieces of the process that automation can do quicker and just as effectively. 

Reputable recruiting tools like Hunt Club can take much of the manual work off your plate, freeing up your in-house human resources team for other tasks. Our professional network gives businesses access to deep talent pools that our experts can leverage to find the perfect fit for your organization. Get started with Hunt Club today.


  • Filters resumes with specific metrics
  • Gives organizations access to talent not found through traditional recruiting avenues
  • Integrates with job boards to automatically post to multiple sites


  • Can be expensive depending on your company's needs

2. Job Boards

Online job boards are easy ways for companies to advertise their open positions. Popular job boards get millions of views every day from active candidates ready to make a move.


  • Offers a broad reach to many active job seekers
  • Lets users add jobs quickly and easily
  • Allows for lengthy, detailed job descriptions that are more likely to attract talent
  • Includes links to the company website and contact information for applying


  • Heavy traffic (may net resumes from many unqualified candidates)
  • Few screening capabilities, if any
  • Ineffective for C-level recruiting
  • Fierce competition (postings may get buried)

3. Referrals

This technique is a valuable and rewarding approach to talent sourcing because you can leverage your existing employees. During the sourcing process, they become salespeople who market your organization as a great place to work. 

While it's not a perfect system, these candidates come recommended by existing employees, meaning that there's some level of screening involved.


  • Provides a layer of screening/trust; team members unlikely to risk reputations by recommending someone unqualified
  • Faster than digging through cold resumes
  • Inexpensive, even if you incentivize your referral process


  • Can create an awkward situation with referring employees if their referral isn't hired
  • May receive referrals for under qualified candidates 

4. Job Fairs and Networking Events

Getting out in the community to network and look for high-quality candidates should be part of every recruiting strategy. Job fairs and other recruiting events can help make connections you wouldn’t forge otherwise.


  • Gives you access to passive candidates who would have never applied through other channels
  • Offers a way to positively showcase your company’s culture
  • Allows you a chance to “eyeball” the market to see what type of talent is out there


  • Lacks confidentiality, for candidates who want to keep their search under wraps, they may not attend a public event
  • Time-consuming; requires an employee to operate a booth
  • Expensive; most venues require a fee for booth space
  • No guaranteed traffic

5. Social Media

Companies are increasingly leaning on social networks for talent sourcing. According to the 2021 Recruiter Nation Report, 51% of recruiters report leveraging their budgets on social media recruitment.

Searching resumes and sharing jobs across LinkedIn and other popular social media platforms increases your visibility and may help you catch the eye of a well-qualified person looking for a new job.


  • Interactive way to attract and engage with active candidates where they hang out
  • Gets the word out fast about your open role
  • Informs your followers who already know your brand and hopefully have a positive opinion of it
  • Inexpensive way to reach lots of people


  • Reach may be a disadvantage; may end up with several unsuitable resumes
  • Increases chances of bias and stereotyping
  • May have inaccurate or incomplete candidate profiles

6. Passive Leads

Sometimes, the best talent isn’t actively looking for a job. However, they may be open to the right opportunity. Connecting with these candidates is more challenging than with active candidates.


  • Less competition for this type of applicant
  • Less likely to waste time; will only move if they're confident your role fits their skill set and experience
  • Not actively looking for work; won't drop discussions with you because of a better offer
  • Actively gaining useful experience


  • Harder to convince them to leave their current role
  • Often require heftier pay and benefits package offerings to entice them away from current role

The Difference Between Talent Acquisition, Talent Sourcing, and Recruiting

It may not be obvious on the surface, but talent sourcing, talent acquisition, and recruiting represent different things. While there is some degree of overlap (they all focus on bringing in quality candidates), let's explore their differences.

Talent Acquisition

This refers to the talent acquiring process from beginning to end. It’s the broad, all-encompassing term for finding, recruiting, and retaining great talent. Talent sourcing and recruiting are components of talent acquisition, among others — like vetting and onboarding.

Talent Sourcing

Talent sourcing refers to the process companies use to find, connect with, and engage talent. This part is the first stage of the process for filling open roles.


Recruiting focuses on filling the position. Recruiters usually focus on moving swiftly and narrowing the field to the right people. In smaller organizations, the same person might handle talent sourcing and recruiting tasks, as these must be closely aligned for the talent acquisition process to be successful.


Fine-Tune Your Talent Sourcing Strategy With Hunt Club

Crafting a high-performing talent sourcing strategy is essential to finding and attracting top talent to fill your company’s open roles. If you falter, you can lose your competitive edge and become less relevant in the marketplace. 

Organizations wanting to elevate their talent sourcing process and access higher-quality talent should partner with reliable recruiting agencies like Hunt Club. Our proprietary technology solution can help you pinpoint the perfect person to fit your open role. Don’t wait any longer to secure your next new hire — start taking advantage of our full-service recruiting to stack your team.

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