Build a sourcing strategy that lands you top talent

Build a sourcing strategy that lands you top talent


Importance of a Comprehensive Sourcing Strategy

Thanks to the kick-off meeting, you now have built a thorough scorecard. It’s time to build your sourcing strategy, to fill out your top of the funnel. In other words, define how and where will you find the great talents you need. It can be a very time-consuming step, especially for competitive jobs (software engineers, designers, product managers…). Whatever channel(s) you will choose to activate, every recruiter or leader can tell you that: you will need to invest time and effort on a regular basis (few hours per day, every day). Unfortunately, there is no silver bullet here.

The Ineffectiveness of the "Spray and Pray" Approach

Plus we still see a lot of founders, leaders & recruiters post a “we are recruiting X software engineers with 5+ years of experience”, with few lines, and if interested “send resume to”. Let me break it to you, if this is your only strategy, the spray and pray method will just not work.

Prioritizing Your Sourcing Channels

In this article, we will help you be more productive and wisely use your time. 1st step is to prioritize the sourcing channels. We strongly recommend activating sources in this order:

  • Talent pool: If applicable, start with the candidates you have in your system. People you've contacted before, people you're nurturing, and candidates who've applied for a job in the past. This is usually the quickest source, mainly because you've already established a relationship with them + they probably already know your business and know you + you have a pretty good idea of their (great) skills.
  • Referrals: Leverage your networks (alumni, former colleagues, your employees, investors, friends), and try to hire them, or ask them to recommend the 3 best persons they know for this position. Often, smart people hang out with smart people. (go further about referrals here)
  • Inbound: Build a career page that can be added to your landing page. Craft a compelling job description, based on the context, the persona, and unique selling points (see kick-off meeting). You can then publish it on Job Boards (Indeed, LinkedIn Jobs, Welcome to the Jungle…). (go further about inbound recruiting here)
  • Outbound: Search for candidates online (LinkedIn, GitHub, Dribble…). Based on multiple filters, like companies you know have best-in-class employees for the positions you are looking for, based on skills and competencies you are interested in (→ persona). And reached out to them with a compelling message (→ Unique selling points) (go further about outbound recruiting and sourcing here)

The Challenge of Hiring the Best

“The best people are rarely available. Why would they be? They are probably superstars in their current job too. They aren’t just going to show up in your interview slate. You gotta go get them.” Ravi Gupta, Partner at Sequoia Capital, in his blog post about hiring.

In the upcoming weeks, we will publish detailed articles about each of these 3 sources: Referrals (find it here), Inbound (find it here), and Outbound (coming soon).

  • Marketplaces: Hiring Marketplaces such as Hired,, or Triplebyte are websites that connect active candidates with companies looking for talent. Usually, only people actively searching for a job, and pre-screened by the marketplace teams are listed. It can therefore be an excellent source to quickly hire high profiles who can sometimes start instantly (without notice). But in addition to their pricing (often between 10 and 20% of the first year's salary, and most often at 15%), keep in mind that statistically less than 20% of the workforce are actively looking, and of these 20% few apply to these platforms then pass the screening stage, which means that mechanically their number will be very limited. A limited number for potentially a high number of clients. Thus, the more customers the marketplace has, the more competition there will be. On salaries, on perks, on the mission of the company, on the content of the work, etc.
  • Freelance Recruiters/Sourcers and RPO (Recruitment Process Outsourcing): Freelancers can be a great way to boost your recruiting efforts. They are either on a fixed rate, with an average daily rate of $400 to $600 (depending on experience and expertise), or based on a success commission (15 to 25% of the first year's salary). Or sometimes a mix of both, with a fixed part and a variable part. Typically, they can fill the top with the funnel for you, so you can focus on the interviews.
    What's fascinating about freelancers (vs Agencies), is that they can help you build your talent pool, that you will nurture over time. Usually, they work with your tools, so the sourced candidates are yours, even after finishing their mission with you.
  • Agencies: will cost you around 20-30% of the first year's salary. Can be ideal when you really don't have the time but have the budget for it. Or need to hire for a very competitive and unique position (usually C-levels), and where you have no expertise on where to source talent.
    A few tips:
    1/ Whenever possible, work with agencies that have been recommended to you by people who have used their services several times before.
    2/ Better yet, who still use them regularly. So that they prioritize you, to keep a good image vis-à-vis their "biggest" client. Plus, you have leverage if things go wrong.
    3/ Explain clearly what your needs are and help them with all the advice you can get (specific skills you are looking for, give them examples of great talents you know, etc.). I'm still surprised by some companies who think "it's the agency's job, and they must first demonstrate their know-how"
    4/ Check-in regularly and try to establish a good relationship. Usually, good agencies have lots of clients and open positions, but few good candidates. You want to stay ahead, so they contact you first whenever they have a good lead.
    5/ Check the contract in detail and carefully, in particular: the retainer part (if applicable). And the reimbursement conditions in the event of a candidate is ultimately not the right ones. This can vary greatly from agency to agency.
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Did you know ?
Crew was built to help you centralize all candidates from all sources, as well as activate and track the performances of all these channels, with ONE tool.