Sourcing Quality vs. Quantity?

What’s more important in a search, quantity of candidates reached or quality of candidates reached?

Well, sometimes the answer is both.

Reaching out to people who will NEVER either want or get the job is pointless (unless you are sourcing them for leads, which is a different conversation).


Because inevitably the people who are not close to being qualified are going to be the ones who are interested in your job, take up time and effort from your candidate experience, and need to be let down eventually.

If you’re hourly, that’s wasting client dollars. If you’re on staff, that’s wasting your time. If you’re all about candidate experience, Glassdoor scores, and employment brand, that’s one less person out in the world saying, “They talked to me about a job I was never even considered for.”

Doing targeted sourcing at the beginning, where you look at profiles instead of just keywords, saves time in the middle by saving you from having to process people who will never have a shot at filling the role.

I am all about reaching out to 200 people in a short period, but they have to be 200 people who have the minimum qualifications for the job, or else they will be entered into a cycle of recruitment that will never have a positive result. Candidates may start seeing your emails as spam, asking themselves if you even took a moment to read their resume, and may not respond when you approach them with the position that is right for them.

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Call me old school if you’d like, but as much as I love using technology like Hiretual, Entelo and Boolean builders to search and source, I believe that our value as recruiting professionals comes not only with our ability to find, but also to evaluate and target the right people for our clients. Use search tools and technology to unearth resumes, but use your knowledge of your client and position to choose who to reach out to about the job. It may take longer up front, but in the end, it will help you end up with a better, more targeted candidate pool and extra time on the back end where you don’t need to interview unqualified candidates or respond to “why did you target me?” emails.

When sourcing, some things to keep in mind:

  1. Use your entire sourcing toolkit (Working on your toolkit? See these awesome articles to help you build it- and to come up with a master list.
  2. Once you get a great list using all of your handy sourcing tools, go through it. Yes, I said, it. We are smarter than our technology, and we will catch that, while that sales person our search targeted still lists the Bay Area on her resume, she is now in Utah and should be taken off of your list.
  3. When going through your list, look at each profile and ask yourself, “Could this person get this job?”. If the answer is, “Yes,” proceed with a reach out. If the answer is, “No,” take them off of your list.
  4. Once your list is paired down to only the people who could actually, possibly have a chance at getting the job, do your tailored reach out and start to engage.
  5. Happy hiring!

The more we target our searches, the more we gain candidates’ respect, and respect as professionals by people who aren’t in the industry.



Liz is the Owner/Principal Recruiter at Liz Bronson Consulting, specializing in teaching companies how to recruit with a more human-centric approach to finding talent. She and her team also augment company recruiting teams, finding them top business-side talent. 
Liz began her corporate career as an HR Generalist, and took those skills to recruiting, where her holistic approach to people management helped hiring managers build productive, cohesive teams. She spent 9 years at VMware predominantly focused on building out the product management and product marketing groups before helping companies such as SignalFx, Hortonworks, Greylock Partners and Evernote.
Outside of work, Liz is active in the Austin community, serving on the Board of Little Helping Hands- a non-profit dedicated to teaching young people the value of community service. She is often found with her family and 2 crazy dogs.