woman conducting a search for an employee

A Look Into the Future of Talent Sourcing

Greg Simpson Blog

woman conducting a search for an employee

How do hiring managers source talent?

There is some misconception in the job market that hiring managers are deluged by so many talented candidates, that all they have to do is sit back with a catcher’s mitt and wait for the resumés to roll in.

The resumés are rolling in—thousands and thousands of them—as many job seekers are effectively spamming job boards with applications, responding to anything and everything without a lot of strategic intent. This creates challenges for hiring managers who are forced to weed through tons of information to find the best talent. Hiring managers understand that to get the best people, you have to go out and look for them. But how?

To better understand how hiring managers source talent, Lee Hecht Harrison surveyed 277 human resource managers responsible for sourcing or hiring talent. The respondents came from organizations of all sizes and major industries across North America, Latin America and Asia-Pacific.

Our survey reveals that the current state of talent sourcing is a hybrid of traditional and digital methodologies.

For example, the survey confirmed that traditional approaches like networking are now and will be in the future a critical component in talent management. However, over the next three years, professional and personal social media footprints will become increasingly important for hiring managers looking for top talent.

At the same time, respondents told us they will rely less on passive or third-party sourcing methods, such as job boards, search firms and print ads.

We asked respondents how effective each of the following methods were for sourcing candidates, based on their experience.

Sourcing Method Effectiveness Now Effectiveness in the Future 
Personal referrals  8.3  8.1
Networking  7.7  8.1
LinkedIn recruiting tools  7.6  8.2
Internal job postings  7.5  7.7
LinkedIn personal profiles  7.5  7.9
Recruiting and search firms  7.0  5.9
Career page on company website  6.9  7.5
Specialized niche job boards  6.9  6.1
Major job boards  6.3  5.4
College campus recruiting  6.1  6.3
Onsite career fairs  4.8  5.0
Personal branded websites  4.7  5.2
Glassdoor  4.1  5.3
Facebook personal profiles  3.4  4.9
Print ads  3.2  2.3
Twitter  2.9  5.1
YouTube  2.3  4.5
Instagram  2.0  4.1

Ratings based on a 0-10 scale, where 0 represents "Not at all effective" and 10 represents "Very effective."

The survey confirms that digital technology will become an increasingly important tool to source talent. Consider that 98.2% of our survey respondents said that LinkedIn®, already a tool of choice among hiring managers, will become even more prevalent over the next three years. However, hiring managers are finding some value in just about every major social media channel.

We asked hiring managers exactly how they were using social networks to source candidates.

Sourcing Objective LinkedIn Facebook  Twitter  Glassdoor 
Building a talent pipeline  32.0% 15.6%  20.6%  21.4% 
Utilizing recruiting tools  37.5% 14.1%  05.9%  16.7% 
Facilitating conversations  40.8% 25.0%  32.4%  19.0% 
Seeking referrals or recommendations  54.8% 34.4%  20.6%  21.4% 
Evaluating candidates  58.1% 17.2%  11.8%  16.7% 
Advertising open positions  58.5% 50.0%  55.9% 61.9% 
Searching for talent using key terms  64.0% 14.1%  14.7% 19.0% 
Posting jobs  70.2% 53.1%  61.8%  69.0% 

Ratings based on a 0-10 scale, where 0 represents "Not at all effective" and 10 represents "Very Effective."

What does this mean for the job seeker? It will be increasingly important to establish a credible presence on all of the major social media channels. And that presence must be managed very carefully. Hiring managers will be looking for you to tip your hand on your personality, behavioral profile and your general approach to work and life.

The LHH survey clearly shows that hiring managers are relying more and more heavily on the information we voluntarily publish through social media channels. The candidates who pay close attention to the image they are projecting and the personal brand they are cultivating on those channels will definitely have an edge over their competition.

Download our full report.

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