3 Keys to Succeed in Technical Sourcing: A Comprehensive 2023 Guide
It’s no secret: it’s hard to recruit tech talent. In fact, it’s the #1 challenge for tech recruiters according to our 2023 survey. And it’s becoming more prominent each year.
This is despite the mass layoffs destabilising the industry. But that doesn’t mean that developers aren’t open to new opportunities. Far from it, with 54% being open to new opportunities based on Stack Overflow research. This is where technical sourcing strategies come in. Learning how to turn these passive technical candidates into active ones is key to navigating 2023’s tech landscape.
In this article we’re going to show you exactly how to go about it, with our keys to technical sourcing success.
But first, some background.
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What is Technical Talent Sourcing?
So perhaps you saw the word ‘sourcing’ and you’re already starting to feel confused. What actually is sourcing and how does it differ from regular recruitment? The difference is simple: where standard recruitment is a reactive process, a screening and evaluation of a candidate’s application in response to a particular position, sourcing attempts to search for suitable candidates proactively for an open or future role. You can think of sourcing like your marketing efforts, and recruitment as your sales pipeline.
Your goal is to attract ideal candidates and get them started in the hiring process. More specifically, you’ll want to perform research, analyse the results, identify suitable candidates and then begin recruitment. Don’t worry if this sounds daunting for now, we will show you the entire process from A to Z.
Before we do that, let us sell you on all the benefits of making use of sourcing in your talent acquisition efforts.
Why is proactive technical sourcing important?
There are a few major benefits to proactive sourcing that make it a strategy that should be in every employer’s toolkit.
Building a pool of qualified tech talent available when you need it
The first among them and perhaps the most important is what it can do for your talent pool. Indeed, candidate sourcing allows you to get access to the top talent and improve the overall quality of your hires. It’s pretty simple: engaging passive candidates in advance allows you to fill your pool with the crème de la crème. It’s often said that the best candidates are never looking so use that to your advantage!
What’s more, as you are proactively seeking candidates, you already know they have the skills and qualifications you need at your company.
Lower hiring costs
Another advantage that is worth noting is lower hiring costs. You can think of this as an added bonus of finding the right candidate the first time around. Indeed, companies report reduced costs across the board. This is because the time to hire is reduced by having a pre-qualified talent pool ready to go. In concrete terms, this means less interviews and reposting ads. Given that hiring managers spend two thirds of their hiring time just on the interview process alone that means a huge gain in efficiency. And as any recruitment specialist knows, time equals money.
Especially when we take into account the fees of staffing agencies if you use one.
Fostering diversity in your talent pool
A third reason you should not neglect to make use of sourcing is related to diversity. By taking the time to search for candidates very early on you will avoid rushing to fill a position, leaning on referrals which aren’t exactly known for their inclusion qualities. For example, according to Glassdoor research, in the tech sector, the share of BIPOC candidates in referral candidate pools currently sits at 38.8%. Sourcing allows you to get around this and with a sourcing strategy, you can even search for candidates that are from demographics underrepresented in your company.
Strengthening your employer branding long term
Lastly, it looks great for your employer branding. By regularly keeping potential candidates in the loop via effective messaging (whether on CSR, product updates, employee success stories, diversity stats, etc.), they’ll begin to perceive your company as trustworthy and familiar. And we all know how useful the familiarity principle is in marketing.
So, now that you know the ‘whats’ and ‘whys,’ it’s time to take a look at the ’how’. We’ve discovered 3 key areas where you should focus your efforts. These best practices will give you the insight you need to approach hiring differently. Let’s get started!
3 Keys to succeed in your Technical Sourcing Strategy
1. Be aware of the challenges involved in technical sourcing
The first key you need to nail your technical sourcing strategy is to have a clear understanding of what your main challenges are.
Meeting growing digital needs
The first is the skills gap. How is your company going to meet our growing digital demands? In the context of technical sourcing, this means you need to think from the outset about what skills your company currently lacks. It’s not as simple as narrowing in on a developers’ programming language, though. Rather, employers need to take a holistic view and consider a candidates’ overall profile. This can mean their problem-solving skills, team working ability or time management.
Biases in the selection and sourcing process
Second, are recruitment biases and diversity challenges. Of course, we know on an intuitive level of the need to encourage diversity. But did you know it can also mean the difference between your company performing well financially or not? Indeed, according to research from McKinsey, companies in the top quartile for gender or racial and ethnic diversity are more likely to have above-average profitability. In terms of sourcing, the best way to go about this is to actively look for your underrepresented demographics as mentioned previously.
Taking a long-term view to employer branding
The third major challenge to bear in mind is that of employer branding and candidate engagement. How are you going to seduce your ideal candidates and retain your talent for the long haul? We will go into more depth and review some strategies and solutions for meeting these challenges in the next section.
2. Utilise strategies for effective technical sourcing
Now that you’re aware of the main challenges you need to surmount to achieve candidate sourcing success, we can begin to look at some key strategies.
Identifying your target talent pool
One of the first things to do is to identify your target talent pool and understand their preferences. As is often the case, here research is the name of the game. You’ll need to find out the answers to several questions:
- What skills hard and soft skills will be needed for our core roles?
- What are your company’s business growth plans?
- What roles might we need to fill in the future?
In essence, these questions relate to the skills gap we talked about earlier and the strategic direction of your company. Answering them is vital to building an effective talent pool.
Leveraging social media, online communities, and professional networks
You can then begin the sourcing process. A great way to begin is to head onto social. LinkedIn is, of course, one of the world’s largest recruitment platforms. It is also a great place to search for developers – 74% of developers turn to LinkedIn to look for job opportunities.
Here you can begin the search for passive candidates that may have exactly the skills you need for your organisation. Once you have found some you are interested in, feel free to reach out with a tailored and personalised introduction. You can also make use of LinkedIn Recruiter, their tool that facilitates the process, or utilise LinkedIn Boolean Search, an efficient way of finding the right candidates.
Other avenues to consider to source tech candidates include online developer communities such as Stack Overflow, Slack and GitHub, and other major platforms such as Twitter or Instagram. There are also more traditional sourcing channels such as job posting platforms and freelancing websites.
🔖Related read: You can check out our article on the 6 Niche Job Boards to Find Software Developers for more ideas on where to find the perfect candidate.
Fine-tuning your employer branding
Regardless of the channel you use, be sure to focus on your employer branding throughout the process. You want your company to be reflected in the best light possible. This can be achieved through communication on your values, diversity, company culture, growth opportunities, etc.
Essentially, you want to make your company look amazing to work for.
Making use of agile recruitment methods
Feel free to make use of agile recruitment methodologies to streamline all of these processes.
This could mean for example, that you’ll break projects down into targeted phases.
You may also decide to regularly collect feedback, and if needed, pivot to a completely different strategy. In any case, it’s clear that agile recruiting can offer you greater flexibility and, if all goes well, improved speed and productivity.
3. Leverage technology and tools for efficient technical sourcing
You’ll also want to make use of all the tools at your disposal to optimise the sourcing process. In this section we’ll detail a few of them that can make your life easier.
Applicant Tracking System
The first is, of course, a robust ATS system. An Applicant Tracking System (ATS) is a necessity as it will allow you to put together your talent pool. Of course, these systems may be used for the entire recruitment process but in terms of sourcing they can be useful for a variety of reasons.
For starters, they allow you to store candidates, filter and tag them and nurture them via branded outreach. They also allow you to automate your job postings once you’re ready.
Candidate Relationship Management Software
Alternatively, you can use CRM (Candidate Relationship Management) software. These differ from ATS systems in that they allow you to, you guessed it, strengthen relationships between candidates and technical recruiters. They allow you to create targeted campaigns to nurture your passive candidates and, hopefully, turn them into active ones. An essential tool for any talent acquisition professional worthy of their salt.
Take Beamery for example. This well-known CRM provider allows you to actively source your candidates with ease, with features for automated workflow management, proactive pipeline creation and more.
AI-powered sourcing tools
As time is of the essence in recruitment, what other ways can we cut down the time it takes to find quality candidates? Three words: AI-powered sourcing tools. There are more and more innovations as the days go by in this department, with programs for candidate matching, decision-making, and analytics among others. Overall, the main benefit of this emerging technology is that it can automate repetitive and unimportant tasks such as finding candidates, resume-parsing, and job board posting. A great way to free up time for more important matters such as employer branding.
You can include Turing in this category. Its Intelligent Talent Cloud helps to source, vet, match and manage remote developers. What better way to save valuable time and resources!
Lastly, you’ll want to use analytics tools to gather data on your sourcing process. This may be via your ATS or CRM software, the AI tools we mentioned above.
No matter the channel, metrics such as number or quality of sourced hires can give you priceless information on what’s working well and what isn’t. For example, here are just a few ways a data-driven approach like this can benefit your company’s recruitment:
- Increased quality of hire
- Improved candidate experience
- Reduced time-to-hire
- Ability to factor diversity into the recruitment process
Related read: Want a deeper understanding of analytics tools and how you can best use them? Check out our handy guide on the subject!
The first step to attracting top tech talent
Hopefully by reaching the end of this article you have a clearer idea of the importance of implementing innovative strategies for sourcing your candidates, how to go about it, and tools and tech that can assist in the process. A great way to know if your work is paying off is to revisit your KPIs (key performance indicators). Ask yourself, were they met? If not, why? And how far short were we? This’ll allow you to take control of your strategic direction and ensure you’re continuously moving forward to attracting top talent.
And while we’re here, feel free to check out our tech hiring survey if you’d like to learn more about 2023’s tech recruitment landscape. Critical data that can help you get a better grasp of where we are today, and where we’re headed.