Active sourcing has become an increasingly important part of recruiting in recent years. The shortage of skilled workers has made it more difficult for companies to fill open positions promptly and to attract the best candidates. For this reason, many companies hire headhunters or other external service providers. This enables them to attract candidates from the passive job market. But do HR staff in the company also need to have knowledge of active sourcing? Is this knowledge even that easy to learn and is it not enough if the headhunter is familiar with the topic?
Why Active Sourcing at all?
The ever-present war for talent and the shortage of skilled workers are leading to an increasingly empty labor market. Passive recruiting or "post and pray" - i.e. placing a job ad and hoping that the perfect applicant will respond - no longer works for all open positions. Either not enough applications are received in the first place, or there simply aren't enough qualified applicants. For small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in particular, exclusively passive recruiting has become difficult. They often don't have too much reach or an established employer brand.
While large corporations can hardly save themselves from incoming applications and tend to have problems receiving suitable applications, many SMEs receive too little attention at all.
Active sourcing has become an important component, especially for positions in the STEM sector. In this area, the war for talent is particularly strong. The market is booming and too few qualified people are entering the labor market.
In addition, active search also reaches candidates who are not actively looking for a job but are open to new offers. These are often also the candidates with the greatest potential. They are already working in the position that the company wants to fill.
Can you learn active sourcing?
Many recruiters surely ask themselves: there are professional service providers for active sourcing after all - can I learn this at all? The answer is yes - if you want to. However, this is not just about learning the methods and tools, but also about rethinking the topic of recruiting. The role of the applicant is changing to that of the candidate. In concrete terms, this means that in passive recruiting, the applicant has to present himself to the company. In active sourcing, however, the company presents itself to the candidate. In a way, the application process is reversed. Once you have internalized this principle, you can also learn how to use appropriate tools and methods through workshops and training courses.
However, there is one point that cannot be learned: the experience of the professional sourcer.
Experience is important in active sourcing
Of course, there is a reason why there are specialized service providers for active sourcing. Professional sourcers have not only built up a talent pool over time that they can draw on, but have also developed the right intuition to be able to fill each position perfectly. Which methods and channels do you use and when? Example: In the IT environment, it has recently become almost impossible to approach candidates directly by phone. However, this option is still the most popular in the sales environment. There are other points from position to position that must be emphasized in the active search.
Another point that requires special tact is the direct approach to the identified candidates. Candidates in different positions care about different things. According to these, they decide whether there is interest in an exchange about a new job. For some, the company is particularly important because the industry is closely networked. Others, on the other hand, are only interested in the specific tasks in the job and decide afterwards whether the company appeals to them. In active sourcing, it is important to respond to the wishes and requirements of the candidates and still have enough sales skills to convince them to make a change.
Basic knowledge is an advantage
Back to the initial question: is active sourcing mandatory knowledge for recruiters? It is certainly not compulsory, but it can be a great advantage in choosing the right recruiting methods. If there is a basic understanding of active sourcing, it is easier to decide for which positions it is sufficient to place passive job advertisements and for which open positions active sourcing is indispensable. If the appropriate expertise is then lacking to implement the sourcing process professionally on one's own, an external active sourcing service provider can always be called in.
As in many other areas, the following also applies to active sourcing: basic knowledge brings advantages to the personnel manager as opposed to someone who has never heard of the method. Whether the knowledge is sufficient to eventually fill all positions oneself can still be decided on a case-by-case basis.