Candidate Sourcing 101

Recruit CRM
4 min readJan 8, 2021


Once a recruiter has a recruitment mandate from the client and have collected and understood the job description & specifications, they’re then ready for the next step and that is to identify a candidate.

Much as this activity of calling prospective candidates and offering them job opportunities may sound very straightforward, it is obviously complicated.

Candidate sourcing involves three distinct activities:

  • Identifying a suitable candidate
  • Connecting (or establishing contact) with the
  • Convincing the candidate to participate in the
    client’s selection process.

Identifying a candidate would require sourcing CVs and then shortlisting them as per the requirement. There are various options to source Cvs from and I shall list out some of them:

So what is the best source for a candidate? It depends on the type of job that you are recruiting for and that you will only discover with experience. Though job boards work well for entry/junior level positions, social media/linked is useful for mid-level and headhunting & networking/references is the best for senior levels.

Shortlisting The Candidate

shortlisting candidate sourcing

When you have a large pile of CVs, your recruiting efficiency will squarely depend on your shortlisting ability. It is of utmost importance that you have understood the job description and specifications in great details. Some times the client is flexible with some aspects and very insistent on some others.

The suggested method or sequence for shortlisting would be, to note the ‘must-have’ attributes (maybe a couple of them) and then the ‘should not have’ attributes. ‘Must have’ attributes could be some technical skill or license/certification, a ‘ should not have’ attribute could be a specific salary level (above/below) or the number of job hops or total years of experience (not to exceed a certain number of years).

However, this would really depend on the kind of JD and the briefing that you have from the hiring manager. Once your rules are set, then shortlisting becomes that much easier to reduce the pile of CVs to a manageable number.

Contacting The Candidate

It is always a good idea to prepare a brief about the position in a pdf file ( doc files or ppts get distorted if opened using open source applications). Most candidates would prefer a scheduled call and therefore writing them a mail requesting a call (and even suggesting preferred time slots).

The format of your mail will obviously vary depending on how you have sourced the CV ( job board, application, reference and so on). The more optimal the information in the brief you mail, the lesser would be your energy and time spent on explaining the position over a call.

The call should be more used to gather information about the candidate ( that may not have been mentioned in the CV). If a candidate is not interested in a job change, the recruiter must use the opportunity to request if the candidate knows anyone else with similar skills who may be interested.

Convincing The Candidate To Participate In The Selection Process

candidate sourcing recruitment agencies

This is the most important task. You need to first understand the JD thoroughly and you must also understand the candidate’s skills, experience and motives for the job change. You need to first be yourself convinced that the candidate is a good fit for the job, before trying to convince the candidate. It is ideal to do a face to face meeting with the candidate (else a video call), to understand a candidate better.

A face to face call also gives you an opportunity to assess the personality and body language of the candidate. Once you have assessed the fitment of the candidate for the job, ensure that the candidate is changing her job for the right reason.

The reason cannot only be for a better salary ( unless you assess that the candidate is highly underpaid for her experience and skills). Ideally, the reason could be for career growth, or for an opportunity to learn new skills, handle larger teams, more complex work, etc. Why I emphasize this point is that if you just send any and every candidate to the client, then the rejection rate would be high. You will not only be wasting the clients time but also your own time in co-ordinating all the interviews and meetings/feedbacks.

More still the client will start doubting your recruitment skills. Also if the wrong candidate gets hired, my experience tells me that she would end up leaving the job or getting fired and you would be soon looking to fill in a replacement (most recruitment contracts have a 3 to 6 months free replacement clause).

In a later article, I shall cover in detail the ‘Candidate Preparation’ that needs to be done before a candidate is sent for the selection process.

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