What is Talent Sourcing

What is Talent Sourcing

Talent sourcing refers to identifying, researching, generating, and networking with potential job candidates to convert individuals into job applicants. The broader task of talent sourcing is to generate a consistent flow of highly-skilled applicants. Ideally, this process occurs even when positions are not currently available. As soon as a vacancy occurs or a new role is created, a pool of qualified candidates fills it.

According to SHRM, talent sourcing encompasses the strategies, techniques, and process of identifying, acquiring, and retaining the best employees the organization needs. Talent

A study undertaken by LinkedIn shows that 9/10 people are open to learning about new job opportunities. Only 36% of these are active job seekers, hence the need for talent sourcing.

Talent sourcing is identifying qualified people who possess the necessary skills to fill open positions and are also a good cultural fit for the company. In addition to finding top talent, it also involves researching them, networking with them, and converting them into applicants. For companies, it is important to take talent acquisition seriously, as the issue of sourcing the perfect individuals is an important component of the overall organization's success and business objective. Without the right employees, a business will likely struggle with low productivity, bad decision-making, and unmotivated staff.

A sourcer is a professional who specializes in finding and attracting potential candidates for job openings. They use various channels, such as social media and professional networks, to identify and engage with individuals with the desired qualifications and skills for specific roles. Talent sourcing aims to build a pool of qualified candidates where those best fit for a role are chosen.

Organizations in today's work environment must recruit the right talent to succeed. But then, what exactly is talent sourcing, and how can it be revolutionized to feed into your organization's growth strategy?

Related: Talent Sourcing: What you need to know

The Differences Between Talent Sourcing and Recruitment

It is key to look into the demarcation between talent sourcing and recruitment. Talent sourcing involves identifying and approaching prospective candidates for a certain role. On the other hand, recruitment has a more specific focus, as it mainly entails sourcing individuals to fill a vacant position with their necessary skills. Yet again, talent sourcing is typically a more passive process, as it involves attracting candidates who may or may not be actively seeking employment. Unlike talent sourcing, talent acquisition involves contacting candidates seeking employment and recruiting the top from there.

Talent sourcing is typically an ongoing and continuous effort, as it involves proactively identifying and engaging with potential candidates even when there are no immediate job openings. Talent acquisition, on the other hand, is more focused on the immediate hiring needs of the organization, such as filling specific job openings within a given timeframe.

Related: Talent Acquisition Step by step process

Sourcing of Talent Strategically


The talent sourcing process may vary from organization to organization, but it generally follows a set of steps. Let's explore each step in detail:

1. The Job Description and Identification

Any applicant sourcing process needs to begin in the job description. These job descriptions will assist both the talent-sourcing team and the potential candidates. Candidates can decide if the position and the organization are worth taking up the position by just going through the job description; hence, the job description has to be of great quality. In creating the job description, there is a need to identify the types of candidates needed for the organization. Factors to be looked into are experience level, skill sets, and qualifications. Here is an example of a standard 3rd generation job description.

Related: What Strategies Can You Use To Recruit The Best Talent for Your Organisation

2. Undertaking Research

Research is needed to see where these candidates are likely to be found. These may involve leveraging online platforms, professional networks, industry events, and referrals. The goal is to find the channels where your target candidates are most likely present. For an example, applicant tracking systems (ATS),​

3. Engagement

After identifying potential candidates, the next step is to engage with them and build relationships. Engaging candidates during the hiring process is a solid approach to talent recruitment. It builds your employment brand to make you more enticing to prospects. It also opens the door to candidates who were not hired but could be a fit.

This can be done through personalized outreach, networking events, or social media platforms. The key is establishing a connection and making them aware of potential opportunities within your organization.

4. Nurturing

The final step in the talent sourcing process is to nurture the relationships you have built with potential candidates. This involves staying in contact with them, providing relevant information and updates about your organization, and keeping them engaged. By nurturing these relationships, you can create a pool of qualified candidates ready to join your organization when needed.

If you're not actively building an engagement strategy, you risk alienating candidates who have shown interest in your company in the past. This can be a wealth of talent for your pipeline. Keeping those lines of communication open is a benefit.

Related: Talent Acquisition: Internal or RPO?

One of the new trends in talent sourcing is the COVID-19 pandemic, which has hastened the shift to flexible and remote employment, which has consequences for hiring. While working remotely and flexible hours can cut expenses and promote work-life balance, they can also present communication, cooperation, and engagement issues. You must be able to use digital tools and platforms, conduct virtual interviews and evaluations, and onboard and integrate new hires remotely if you want to adapt to remote and flexible work in talent acquisition.

Attracting candidates with the right skills - A skills-based approach to talent lifecycle management is becoming increasingly popular among firms as they learn to assess if the right individuals are working in the correct jobs and possess the necessary abilities. The first thing to do in such a situation is to have a solid awareness of the abilities you already have internally to recruit and hire applicants who possess the crucial skills your organization needs. Once aware of this, one may determine the remaining skill gaps and concentrate your hiring efforts on acquiring those particular abilities.

Related: Talent Management: The Fundamentals of Talent Management


Talent sourcing plays a crucial role in the success of any organization. It is not enough to rely on traditional recruitment methods or wait for candidates to come to you. By actively seeking out and engaging with top talent, organizations can access a pool of qualified candidates to drive the organization's success. Effective talent sourcing involves leveraging various strategies, such as building a strong employer brand, utilizing social media platforms, and fostering relationships with industry professionals. By doing so, organizations can attract a diverse pool of qualified candidates with the skills and expertise needed to drive innovation and growth. Talent sourcing goes beyond just filling immediate job vacancies. It is about building a pipeline of talented individuals who can contribute to the organisation's long-term success. By proactively identifying and nurturing potential candidates, organizations can ensure a continuous flow of top talent that aligns with their strategic goals.

Tanyaradzwa Shava
This article was written by Tanyaradzwa a Consultant at Industrial Psychology Consultants (Pvt) Ltd

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