Comparing Candidate Sourcing — Ranking the Best Techniques

Headhunting is the Most Time Consuming Candidate Sourcing TechniqueLet’s face it, recruiting new talent is difficult and expensive. With a wide range of resources available online these days, there are many ways to find suitable candidates to fill your job openings. For this reason, it’s easy to abandon traditional methods for web-based or social media applications. But which option, however, truly produces the best result? Let’s compare how each candidate sourcing method stands up against ease of use, time, return on investment (ROI) and cost effectiveness:

Job Boards (C+)

Ease of use: Good

Time: Good

ROI: Poor

Cost: Poor

Writing sales copy and advertisements can be time-consuming and, depending on your ideal audience, costly. But once you’ve got a workable template and a bit of practice, posting on job boards is a breeze. The only downside is that your candidates will be actively in the market, and you’ll have to sift through many applications that aren’t suitable. It can also be expensive — posting a single job on can cost upwards of $350, when done a la carte. On the contrary, many enterprises already have existing relationships with job boards. Often, these listings are negotiated in bulk, making a far more cost effective scenario when broken down by individual candidate.

LinkedIn (B+)

Ease of Use: Great

Time: Great

ROI: Average/Poor

Cost: Average

LinkedIn and other social media platforms have sadly become the fallback option for sourcing candidates. It’s discreet, takes little time and is much easier (and less frightening!) than cold calling candidates. However, it’s easy to be ignored over the web. You could send out hundreds of messages and only get a few responses. Needless to say, the return on investment isn’t ideal. Premium accounts that allow you to contact and access their database start at $59.99.

LinkedIn Takes Little Time in Candidate SourcingHeadhunting (A-)

Ease of Use: Great

Time: Average/Poor

ROI: Average

Cost: Great

Headhunting is by far the most time- and resource-consuming method on this list. It can be draining and stressful. It takes nerves of steel. But the results you can glean from headhunting are unmatched by any of the other methods listed above. The candidates you source will be relatively untouched by your competitors. They will also be untapped in the market and unknown to your clients (or if you’re recruiting in-house, to your employer). These candidates are your gold dust, and all you need is a phone line.

Referrals (A+)

Ease of Use: Great

Time: Great

ROI: Average

Cost: Great

The golden egg of sourcing candidates. These candidates are often warm, haven’t previously been on job boards and are pre-screened by their friend or colleague. The only downside is that they can sometimes be less than ideal for the particular role you’re trying to fill. Just because you placed Joe six years ago doesn’t mean his neighbor is necessarily perfect for the role you’re filling right now. On the plus side, referrals cost absolutely nothing and are the pillar of repeat business.

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