Creating Repeatable Processes as a Sourcer

Strategies for Consistent Success in Candidate Sourcing

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Jul 2, 2024

Have you ever felt like all the stars needed to align to close a sourced candidate? I know I have.

As I’ve grown as a Sourcer, I began reflecting on many of my roles to see what went well and what I could do differently next time to implement repeatable success criteria and share them with our community. Here’s what I’ve found:

1) Deeply understand the hiring profile and how it impacts the wider business

Imagine that you’ve already discussed the role, a brief overview of the responsibilities, and the hiring manager they will be reporting to. Let’s dive one layer deeper…

Why is this role important? In other words, what happens if this role isn’t filled as soon as possible? Will it impact revenue? Will it delay the launch of a critical project?

The sooner you understand the business need of the role, the sooner you will have a clearer picture of the ideal candidate profile, as well as how to sell the opportunity!

Another tip is to think about someone currently in a similar role within your company who can tell you more about the day-to-day in the role and give you some industry tips? Tap into those resources and use it to your advantage!

Sometimes the answers to all of these questions will reveal themselves organically over time; however, the more quickly you learn these things, the faster you can calibrate and deliver qualified candidates!

2) Reflect on past searches

Whether you sourced for this role a month ago or a year ago, chances are high that your ATS has some hidden gems!

Here are a few places to start:

  • Search for silver medalist candidates 
    • Are there candidates that previously made it to final round interviews for this role with positive feedback, but there was only one role available? These candidates are gold and will likely convert at a high rate! 
  • Dive into previous rejections 
    • Do you want to understand what profiles weren’t moving forward and why? Has the role changed since then? Use this information to guide your search. 
    • Have any previously rejected candidates gained experiences that now make them a good fit? 
    • Was the role filled before another candidate’s interview took place?
  • Assess traditional conversion rates for roles of this kind 
    • As sourcers, we’re responsible for finding top talent and getting them into the process. It’s imperative to have an understanding of what the screen-to-offer ratio looks like so that you can take a step back and evaluate how many candidates you will need to source to make one hire. 

3) Align your screening questions with key skills and must-haves

Separate the must-haves of the role from the nice-to-haves. This will allow you to quickly identify candidates who have experience that aligns with what the team is looking for and will convert the quickest through the process.

In sourcing we’re often focusing our efforts on trying to find candidates that tick 100% of the boxes for our hiring teams. However, if you shift your focus to candidates with a strong alignment with the must-haves, you’ll move the needle quickly in the search.

Examples of screening questions:

  • We’re looking for someone with experience in X field/industry with Y because of Z. Do you have experience with Y? If so, in what capacity?
  • As a {position} at our company, you’ll be supporting the business by X. This is important because Y. Can you share with me a time you did X or similar?
  • Who are some of your close cross-functional partners? How are you relying on them to get your work done? This will be an important part of the role as you’ll be closely working with XYZ teams.

Before asking these questions, get familiar with terminology that may come up on the call. Ask your hiring manager clarifying questions to better understand what experience with X could look like. By deepening your understanding, you can gauge what level of proficiency you’re looking for in a candidate.

Let’s put this into practice 

Let’s say I’m looking for an Account Executive.

In this example, we’re looking for a Small Business Account Executive with 3+ years of relevant experience and 2+ years of closing experience. The industry background is flexible; however, one must-have is that the candidate has experience in the small business or mid-market segment. At this point, it is critical to understand the difference between segment sizes at your company and what each sales cycle looks like on average as we know this can vary company to company!

My first step in understanding the profile would be to dive deeper into the profile and expectations of the hiring manager.

Why is this role important?

In this example, we had an attrition on the team that created this opening. Having someone in this role is critical to ensure proper territory coverage and contribute to our overall revenue number as a company through their quota.

Evaluating Past Searches

My initial thought is to leverage our past Small Business Account Executive searches. There are many ways to do this, and no single right answer!
Leveraging our ATS I’m able to pull a report that shows who reached specific stages in the previous search. Example below:

You can also add to this by reviewing prior candidates that had at least X% positive scorecards after phone screens.

I find that for recent roles silver medalists are a great starting point; whereas, for roles that we haven’t hired in awhile, I like to focus on candidates with positive feedback at any part of the process that could be a potential fit now with newly gained experience.

Suppose two candidates above passed the virtual onsite. We hired one, and the other was a clear runner up. I would flag the profile to the hiring manager, and get their take on reengaging with this candidate.

I would then deep dive into the data and review how many screens led to a hire. For instance, if speaking to 10 professionals resulted in one hire, I can estimate the number of candidates I need to engage for a future hire. I would then walk this back to determine how many candidates.

I need to source to lead to X number of screens, but that would be a separate article all on its own!

Screening Questions

Lastly, I would work with my hiring team and recruiting partners to ensure that interview questions are tied to must-have skills. As previously mentioned, a must-have for this example is experience in the small business or mid-market segment.

What do either of these terms mean to us and how would that translate into a screening question?

Example below:

“I see on your profile that you have two years of small business experience. I know that small business can be defined so differently everywhere. How is the small business segment defined at X company?

Makes sense – that’s similar to how we define our small business. In SMB, we typically see sales cycles between X and X. What are your sales cycles typically like?”

With each candidate you speak to, you’ll be able to refine your questions and what the ideal answer looks like to help ensure you’re pushing through the best talent.


Key Takeaways:

Understand the profile and how it impacts the wider business

  • Why is it important?

Reflect on past searches

  • How can we tap into our ATS and re-engage past talent?
  • What can we learn from last time?

Align your screening questions with key skills and must-haves

  • Are there questions we can ask to better assess the skills we’re looking for? What does this must-have look like in an answer? Are we looking for a specific level of proficiency?