5 Tips For Sourcing Great Candidates In A Competitive Market

With an unemployment rate of 4.1% in the U.S. and thousands of jobs being added, it’s clear that we are in a candidate’s market.

But when there’s high demand for employees, especially employees with specialized skills, sourcing and placing candidates can be difficult. According to a recent recruiting industry report conducted by Top Echelon, LLC, 40% of recruiters’ clients told them there weren’t enough candidates to pick from.

Using recent industry trends, I detail which industries have the most difficult time placing candidates and where you can look to solve sourcing problems.

In which industries are candidates sparse?

In general, it’s more difficult to find qualified candidates for industries requiring highly specialized and skilled workers.

Recruiters report that the top 50% of placements were made in four STEM-related industries in 2017. These industries are manufacturing (24%), healthcare (11%), engineering (8%), and information technology (7%).  

The industries candidates are most sparse in are the same industries that have the highest hiring rates. Recruiters said that they had the most trouble making placements in engineering (19%), information technology (13%), healthcare (10%), and manufacturing (7%).

So, why is it so difficult to find candidates to fill positions in the most popular industries?

Since 2012, IT jobs have increased by over 470,000, and healthcare jobs have increased by over 600,000. Plus, many of the qualified candidates you need already have jobs.

Tips for finding top talent 

Placing top talent starts with your ability to attract top talent.

You might have a few go-to platforms you use to advertise job postings, but it’s important to switch things up and test the results.

Many of the best candidates either have jobs already or are being actively pursued by your clients’ competitors. So, you will need to source passive candidates along with active ones.

Here are some tips to help you find highly sought-after talent.  

1. Let candidates find you

Before you can find top candidates, verify that the job description is straightforward and attractive to potential candidates. After all, the job description is basically your client’s sales pitch to get people to work for them.

Next, make sure candidates can find you by posting the job description on job boards. You can simplify this step by using an applicant tracking system (ATS) that pairs with job boards. If your ATS is compatible with the job board, resumes will automatically upload in your ATS. IPA’s Job posting Recruitment Management System,RMS tool assists you with this option and puts candidates and jobs at your fingertips with a network you can trust!

Branding is another important part of getting candidates to find you. You want potential candidates to recognize your recruiting business as well as your client’s company.

Help promote your client’s employer brand. If they have a strong reputation for treating their employees well and promoting their development, candidates will seek you out.

2. Scour social media

Social media platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter are especially useful for tracking passive candidates, building relationships with them, and eventually getting them to apply for open positions. Passive candidates probably don’t look on job boards, but they may actively use social media.

You can search specific details about candidates you are interested in finding. For example, you can conduct searches based on locations, industries, job titles, and skills. These searches can lead you to top talent.

If you’re still unconvinced about the effects of social media recruiting, keep in mind that 39% of recruiters said they found their highest quality candidates on LinkedIn.

Once you search people on social media, connect with them.

Post and share jobs from your social media pages so all your contacts can see. Or, you can personally send job postings to potential candidates through the messaging systems.  

3. Reference your database

You might also find the candidates you need by looking in your recruiting database. Search for candidates by location, skills, education, experience, etc. Then, you can reach out to them directly to tell them about the open position. You can even use email marketing to send out mass alerts to qualified people in your candidate pool, saving you time.

Because these candidates are in your database, you already have a relationship with them, which will further encourage them to apply.   

4. Ask for referrals

Using referrals is another great way to find passive and active candidates. You can ask your current candidates to refer you to their peers. Or, you can gather referrals from fellow recruiters.

Nearly 25% of recruiters reported that referrals were how they found their best candidates.

If you want, you can do split placements with other recruiters. That way, you bring the job order and the other recruiter provides the candidates. Your split placement partner can refer you to qualified candidates and help you expand your database.

5. Communicate continuously with candidates

Finding qualified candidates requires you to actively recruit them even after you’ve sourced them. Don’t miss out on candidates because you don’t follow up with them during the hiring process.

After you’ve found great candidates, let them know where they’re at in the hiring process, do everything in your power to keep the process short, and continue to sell your client’s employer brand.

10 Unique Recruiting Ideas to Win Top Talents


Attracting talented recruits is not a matter of chance. In today’s competitive job market, a killer recruitment strategy is a must. A lone job advertisement will no longer do the trick especially with the stiff competition for talent.

Recruiters also deal with the fact that most top-tier employees are already gainfully employed.  So, how do you win the best candidates in a tight talent market? Here are some unique and creative ideas:

1. Arrange a group interview

A group interaction is an excellent way to assess a job candidate’s personality, communication skills, and knowledge. It helps you shortlist a big pool of applicants saving you time and effort in doing individual interviews.

A well-structured group interview conducted by a skilled panel of interviewers is the perfect setting to identify the best of the best among your candidates.

2. Attend events

Ditch the job fair and look for talents in community events. If you’re looking for a programmer, for instance, try attending a tech event in your area.

You can also use social networking websites like Meetup to keep you posted on local events and happenings.

3. Consider AI tools

AI or artificial intelligence is a promising recruitment tool that can help you select the strongest candidate without the hassle of going through thousands of resumes.

There are different AI recruiting tools that serve diverse purposes such as screening a candidate’s social media accounts, providing job application tests, scheduling interviews, answering candidate questions, and articulating job descriptions, among others. AI does the legwork for you giving you more time to focus on preparing interviews and closing job offers.

Companies like Airbnb, Facebook, LinkedIn, Lyft, and Upwork use at least one AI tool in their recruitment and hiring process. Big names in the automotive industry such as Fiat Chrysler and Tesla also swear by AI tools like Mya, a recruitment chatbot developed by FirstJob. These companies cite increased productivity and reduced costs as some of the advantages of automating a portion of their recruitment process.\

4. Be creative with advertisements

Catch people’s attention with a wacky commercial, a humorous podcast, or an eccentric billboard like Google’s famous billboard puzzle. You can also produce a short YouTube video, advertise on social media, and buy relevant keywords on Google AdWords.

Remember to keep your ads fun, catchy, and memorable. Your goal here is to whet the curiosity of potential employees. Heightened public interest is also a bonus!

5. Host an open house

An open house is a win-win for both the recruiter and the candidate. For the latter, it’s an opportunity to get a feel of the company and its culture. Meanwhile, for the recruiter, it’s a fantastic way to narrow down your selection and to see who’s really going to take that important first step to pursuing their application. Plus, it would be great to see how your applicants interact in a group setting.

6. Set up employee referrals

Your current employees are the most qualified to recommend a promising job candidate. They know your company better than anyone else, so they have a good sense of who’s going to be a perfect fit for both the job and the organization. Odds are they also have excellent connections in the industry.

Get your employees involved in the job search and incentivize the process to keep it fun. You can give away cash incentives, gadgets, vacation leaves, or a premium parking spot for every successful referral.

7. Organize a competition

In 2010, advertising giant, Ogilvy & Mather, launched a viral contest dubbed as “The World’s Greatest Salesman.” The challenge is to sell a brick to win a paid fellowship with the agency.

It was an incredible way to capture the interest of potential employees, and the competition itself was a means to assess the candidates’ skills.

8. Participate in online forums

Scour online communities like Reddit and Quora, and search for discussion threads relevant to your job posting. Chances are there are thought leaders in these forums who have the skills and qualifications you’re looking for.

9. Use social networking sites

Social media platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ are fast and simple tools that can connect you to your next dream hire. Each platform offers a unique feature that gives you access to an expansive network of profiles.

LinkedIn, for example, has filters that allow you to find potential candidates according to their location, work experience, and skill set. You can also use these platforms to advertise your job opening and increase engagement.

10. Go all out with a guerrilla campaign

Go the extra mile and launch an off the wall campaign that will not only attract top talents but also generate significant social buzz for your company.

Take inspiration from the famous “Who Cares?” campaign. To attract young people to fill 1,430 open positions in the military, the Swedish Armed Forces launched a guerilla campaign featuring a cryptic box placed in central Stockholm. A person sat inside the large box, and he/she could only leave if somebody volunteered to take his/her place. The campaign was a huge success both online and offline, as it generated over 200,000 website visits and 9,930 applications—more than double of the target 4,300 applications.

The competition for top talents is fierce. With more open positions than qualified candidates to fill them, recruiters must think out of the box to capture the interest and win the A-players in the field.

Attract rock star talents and unicorn hires with IPA’s RMS tools. Post your jobs and candidates today! Recruiting at it’s best!