Strategic sourcing is a vital component of effective talent acquisition.

In fact, some would argue it’s the most vital component; without sources of talent acquisition, there would be no candidates and, subsequently, there would be no hires.

Simply stated, sourcing is all about finding resumes. Recruiters need to locate quality candidates, often with unique, niche experience and qualifications; strategic sourcing is the first step in finding (and eventually engaging) this talent. Recruiters and/or sourcing specialists mine resume databases, social media networks, applicant tracking systems (ATS), job boards and other online/offline platforms to identify prospects and candidates whose key- or buzzwords (experiences, qualifications, etc.) align with the needs of the organization.

This week’s edition of Talent Acquisition Fast Facts touches on the topic of sourcing, and how the best candidates are being found across the world today.

According to a report by SourceConThe State of Social Recruiting in 2014, 56% of high-performing sourcing professionals have obtained at least a Bachelor’s degree, with 18% holding advanced degrees.

On a scale of 1-5, 5 being the least important and 1 being the most, recruiters and sourcers believe LinkedIn is the most important/effective sources of talent acquisition on the market today (1.75), according to the aforementioned SourceCon report; respondents’ ratings of other platforms include:

  • Personal networks (3.35)

  • ATS (3.74)

  • Internet/other (3.78)

  • Job boards (3.94)

  • Phone sourcing (4.42)

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According to research conducted by the Recruitment Process Outsourcing Association (RPOA), online sources (e.g., career websites, job boards/job search engines, social media, etc.) accounted for 87% of interviews and 80% of hires in 2013; offline sources (e.g., job fairs and print advertising, among others) accounted for just 13% of interviews and 20% of total hires.

Furthermore, according to a study of more than 900 employers and conducted by leading HR technology and talent management leader, SilkRoad:

  • External sources such as online job boards and job search engines, print advertising, TV/radio ads and job fairs produce the majority of interviews, but internal sources such as recruiter sourced, company career websites and referrals provide many more hires.

  • Company websites produce more hires than any online source—highlighting the importance of a strong, mobile-friendly company web page and career site.

According to the previously mentioned RPOA study, LinkedIn has 202 million members (36% of which are in the U.S.), and the social platform accounted for 40% of mobile job views in 2013; however, LinkedIn is actually the slowest growing social network for those 25 to 44 years of age.

  • Twitter is the fastest growing social network of this demographic (25-44), with 40,000 new members each day—indicating this platform may also be the most underused social network for sourcing candidates.

According to CareerXRoads, which evaluated 185,000 hires in 2012, 25% of position openings are filled through organizations’ employee referral programs; referral programs have proven to boost employer brand, engagement and trust in senior leadership.

According to research conducted by Jobvite, 46% of referrals stay at a company for three years or more, compared to just 14% of those hired through job boards.

To measure the effectiveness of talent acquisition sources, several metrics standout across the recruitment industry:

Source of Hire: Tracking source of hire enables leaders in talent acquisition to better understand the quality of their sourcing efforts. Source of hire can be tracked by calculating the percentage of new hires from a specific candidate source that have the highest performance and longest tenure.

Recruitment Source Effectiveness: The effectiveness of a source can also be evaluated by tracking the number of applicants, interviews, offers and hires made from a given source. According to clients of the aforementioned SilkRoad, the number of interviews and hires are “unequivocally” the most important indicators.

Referral Rate: Referral programs are used to generate candidates and prospects from an organization’s current workforce. Research suggests referral programs not only improve quality or hire, but also cost-per-hire and time-to-fill. This metric is defined as the percentage of hires from referrals generated by a recruiter and/or the current workforce.

With the right tools in hand, organizations can pinpoint precisely where applicants and hires originate—whether job boards, search engines, print ads or referrals, among other sources. Have you had particular luck with one source or sourcing strategy over another? Are there sources (print ads, perhaps) that will be extinct in the near future?

We’d love to hear your thoughts on these topics below!