68% of organizations struggle to find the quality hires they need.There is no organizational substitute for quality talent, and strategic talent sourcing is the first (and perhaps most important) step in finding the best candidates available.

“Sourcing has always been extremely relevant, but it becomes even more so when we look at how our workforce is changing, and how those changes are affecting the way we find talent,” said Anne Bucher, VP of Technology and Innovation at Cielo.

Sound sourcing strategies have never been more important, but how can you be sure your efforts will deliver best-in-class results? The following techniques can help you unlock the true value of strategic talent sourcing:

1. Know You Talent Landscape.

You can have robust sourcing strategies in place, but if the talent does not exist, you’re not going to find it. Truly understanding your talent landscape is essential. Ask yourself:

  • What skills do we need to meet our business objectives?
  • Is the talent available where I need it?
  • Do we need to reconsider or adjust our requirements?

Only with answers to these questions can you truly understand how to attract the talent you need.

2. Proactive Pipelining: Assess the Present to Prepare for the Future.

Strategic talent sourcing goes far beyond simply filling open positions - it prepares your organization for the future.

“You need talent today, but you also need a plan for attracting the right people your organization will need six, 12, even 36 months from now,” said Bucher.

By proactively building talent communities, you can enable flexibility, reduce risks, achieve cost savings, and ultimately hire better talent faster.

“You also need a plan for sourcing professionals who are not your target, but who may know your targets,” Bucher added. “Although these individuals may not fill open positions, building relationships with them is essential to a multi-pronged approach—something we believe is crucial to finding top talent.”

3. Proactive Candidate Engagement is a Game-Changer.

Sure, some candidates will visit career sites on their own, but relying on that pool alone does not ensure best-fit hires.

“Unless you know how to find and engage the right people, you’re simply reacting to change; by then it may be too late in the game,” said Bucher. “You can’t compete for top talent or gain a competitive advantage unless you break traditional approaches.”

The rise of social media, mobile communication and other technological innovations have enabled honest, real conversation, minute-by-minute updates, and the open exchange of ideas. However, the challenge is taking advantage of these opportunities to build personal relationships.

With constant competition for top talent, proactive and meaningful engagement is key.

4. Launch Targeted, Technology-Driven Campaigns to Ensure Speed and Efficiency.

Technology helps organizations engage candidates in a fast and personalized manner; in an era that demands immediacy but also a personal touch, this is valuable. But organizations need to take it one step further by using technology to target specific talent pools and to ensure speed and efficiency.

“Partners like Cielo provide automated tools like overnight sourcing, talent pipelining, self-service interview scheduling, and email or text campaigning that complement your recruiting efforts,” said Bucher. “There’s no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to attracting top talent—and smart use of technology is one way to easily and effectively incorporate a wealth of techniques into your overall sourcing strategy.”

5. Never Underestimate the Value of a Quality Recruiter.

Talent intelligence and automation tools are extremely valuable, but you need experienced recruiters to identify and engage candidates, build relationships and provide high-touch stakeholder services.

“Effective sourcing is both an art and a science” said Bucher. “All the intelligence and technology won’t make a difference if you don’t have effective recruiters to identify and engage candidates.”

Organizations may lack the internal team, technology or financial resources to cover all of their strategic sourcing bases. As a result, many HR leaders are exploring Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) partnerships to help determine what they need, where to look and how to change current strategies.