In HR, sourcing is the act of proactively searching for qualified job candidates rather than waiting for potential employees to apply on their own. 

HR sourcing involves identifying, contacting, and engaging candidates for a current or future open position. For example, an HR team may source candidates to fill a highly specialized position that requires a unique skill set or that could attract too many unqualified candidates. 

The purpose of sourcing is to help HR pull top talent into the hiring pool and cover the company’s current and future needs. When a position opens, recruiters can quickly target an ideal candidate instead of reactively reviewing applications sent in response to a job posting.

Sourcing also allows companies to create and maintain a diverse workforce, which brings a variety of backgrounds, expertise, and perspectives to the table to solve problems, increase productivity, and improve inclusion.

Difference between HR recruitment and sourcing

Sourcing is a targeted process for identifying ideal candidates and presenting them with a job offer, which often has highly specific qualifications. HR searches for qualified candidates who match the company’s requirements and approaches them with an open position.

In contrast, recruiting typically involves helping candidates through the company’s screening process. The recruiting team manages relationships with candidates. Recruiters schedule candidate interviews, collaborate with hiring managers, and negotiate the hiring terms and salary with candidates. 

Some recruiters may also handle sourcing, but companies often use dedicated sourcers separate from the recruiting team.

Types of sourcing in HR

Hiring managers use different methods to source qualified candidates, and there are multiple strategies for reaching out to talent depending on their employment status. The most common types of sourcing include the following:

  • Passive sourcing. Identifying and engaging desirable candidates who are not actively looking for employment opportunities. Although they are not currently looking for a job, they may be interested in learning about new opportunities.
  • Active sourcing. Identifying and reaching out to qualified candidates actively searching for job opportunities. 
  • Direct sourcing. Targeting a specific candidate for a job position and reaching out to them directly, without using an external recruitment agency or platform. 

HR sourcing best practices

A successful HR sourcing strategy can help hiring managers find and hire top talent. Whether you are sourcing local or global candidates, consider the following best practices for implementing an HR sourcing strategy:

  • Understand the job requirements. Analyze the skills and background needed for the position and understand what qualifications make a viable candidate.
  • Align with your team. Meet with stakeholders to ensure you align on role expectations and what a strong candidate looks like.
  • Use various platforms. Build a diverse list of sourcing channels where ideal candidates may have a presence.
  • Include in-person recruitment methods. Attend job or industry-specific events, conferences, and meet-ups to meet people face-to-face. 
  • Encourage employee referrals. Utilize current employees’ networks to reach untapped talent.
  • Re-engage. Leverage past sourcing or recruiting efforts by contacting past qualified candidates who have shown interest in the company.
  • Provide a positive engagement experience. Give candidates feedback, follow up, and provide a friendly and communicative experience so talent will re-engage in the future. 
  • Source for future roles. Be proactive and consider candidates who may fill future roles not yet open as part of your business growth plans.

Strategies for sourcing international talent

HR sourcing may also involve targeting talent in other countries. Sourcing often falls under a company’s global talent acquisition strategy to hire talent in multiple countries, build a distributed team, and grow business operations across borders.

Consider the following strategies for sourcing international talent:

Create a strategic global workforce plan

Before the sourcing process, understand the options for compliantly engaging global talent. Determine how to legally hire talent by either engaging employees in markets where the company has entities, engaging global contractors, or partnering with an employer of record (EOR) to easily hire full-time employees in markets where the company doesn’t have an entity.

Next, establish a workforce strategy that accounts for your team’s capabilities, long-term goals, future hiring needs, and potential roadblocks. Analyze where the company is and anticipate its future path to ensure the right people are identified and recruited to facilitate seamless growth. 

Conduct market research

Consider your target markets and their economic outlook. Evaluate how the legal and economic factors of another county might impact talent-sourcing efforts there. Assess what the local talent pool offers and what specific roles you need to fill.

When targeting international talent, it’s important to understand the cultural differences, language barriers, and employment laws of the company they are located in.

Make a competitive offer

Prepare a locally tailored offer based on the country’s employment regulations. Incorporate talent expectations, statutory and competitive benefits, and other global compensation offerings to ensure your job offer is equitable and competitive.

Compliantly hire global talent

Familiarize yourself with the local labor laws and regulations, including minimum wage requirements, payroll taxes, statutory benefits, worker classification, collective bargaining agreements, and employment contracts to ensure compliance when hiring global talent. 

HR teams may consider working with an EOR to help them quickly and compliantly engage, onboard, and manage top talent around the globe without the need for entity establishment or navigating complex employment laws.

Learn more about Velocity Global’s EOR solution to start building your dream team across borders with ease and compliance.

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