The Most Effective Candidate Sourcing Techniques for Recruiters

  By Top Echelon  |    Tuesday September 11, 2019

Category: Expert Advice, Productivity, Recruiting, Technology


When it comes to advertising jobs on the Internet to source candidates, getting a good response rate is, well . . . good. But you know what’s better? Getting a good response rate from great candidates! Because great candidates turn into placements. And placements turn into placement checks. And placement checks turn into whatever you want them to. (Like boats!)

It’s no secret that we’re currently experiencing a candidate-driven market, and we’ve been experiencing it for quite for some time. In fact, the bull market that we’re now enjoying is more than 10 years old. That makes it the second-longest bull market in this nation’s history. Happy birthday, bull market!

While that’s good news for recruiters and search consultants in terms of job orders, it’s not good news in terms of finding qualified candidates. That’s because there is a definite lack of them. The National Unemployment Rate has been hovering at near-historic lows for most of this year. While that means employers are more willing to use recruiters to help fill their most important positions, it now means that even recruiters are experiencing difficulty finding the right candidates.

So, finding the best candidates in the employment marketplace is one of the top priorities for independent, third-party recruiters and search consultants. So the question becomes this one: where are they finding these candidates?

We at Top Echelon recently conducted a survey of more than 20,000 recruitment professionals in the United States and Canada. We designed this survey to gauge the professionals’ opinions regarding a wide range of recruiting and hiring topics.

One of those topics was that of candidate sourcing. In fact, we asked the following question in our survey:

Where do you find your highest quality candidates?

We had a close race with this question, but once again, “LinkedIn” was the winner. (It was also the winner in our State of the Recruiting Industry Report in terms of the most effective job advertising methods.) This time, the social media platform garnered 36.8% of the responses. “Referrals” was in second place at 32.6%.

“Your internal database/website” was also in double digits at 12.4%. In addition, “cold calling” continued its descent of the past few years (6.6%). Although that response was up from where it was in our report for 2017, it’s nowhere near where it was in 2016 (15.8%).

Although recruiters are certainly not afraid of the phone, the phone has not been that forgiving in terms of cold calling. There was more than one recruiter who indicated that ALL of the options presented were viable ones and that focusing on just one does not reap the desired results:

“I would say that it is truly a mix of referrals, TE affiliate’s Job Board postings, and LinkedIn. I find high-quality candidates through each method.”


“The answer is I use all of the above. There is no one answer.”


LinkedIn continues to become a bigger part of a recruiter’s workday, there is no doubt about that. The social media platform was tops in our survey both in terms of advertising jobs and also sourcing the highest-quality candidates. However, referrals were once again strongly represented. That goes to show that regardless of how technology affects recruiting, there are just some aspects of the profession that will never disappear. In other words, the ability to get referrals will always be a leading indicator of recruiting success.

As mentioned at the beginning of this article, we at Top Echelon conducted a survey of more than 20,000 recruitment professionals in the United States and Canada. We turn the results of this survey into what we call The State of the Recruiting Industry Report. We’ve conducted this survey and published this report in each of the past four years.

The most effective candidate sourcing techniques for recruiters comprise just one part of Top Echelon’s 2019 State of the Recruiting Industry Report. This special report contains much more, including the following:


· How recruiters are marketing their services

· The best methods for advertising jobs on the Internet

· The top complaints clients have about candidates

· Recruiters’ top priorities for the coming year

· Where to advertise your jobs to reach the most candidates

· What recruiters think about the future of the profession


To download Top Echelon’s 2019 State of the Recruiting Industry Report, browse to

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