What is active sourcing?

Active sourcing is a recruitment strategy where the focus is on actively identifying potential candidates to hire before there is a concrete job opening. Its main concern is to seek out people who match the company’s mission and values and targeting them without a predefined position to fill.   

It is a trend of recent years and, as such, the opposite of passive recruitment, where a hiring need arises first and subsequently a job advertisement is made. HR then waits for candidates with matching skill sets to apply, screening applicants only based on those criteria.

Overview Talent Sourcing

How active sourcing relates to your graduate recruitment

When company representatives go out to university campuses to meet junior talent and promote their employer brand, this is an example of active sourcing already in use.

The strategy of active recruitment can be particularly helpful when looking for university talent as the candidates may not have a long career track record or intensely honed skillset, yet. Thus, the old slogan “Hire for attitude, train for skill” comes into play.

Next, to the traditional ways of on-campus recruitment (such as at job fairs or seminars), digital technology has opened many new options and tools for active candidate sourcing. The most important ones are:

  • Using employee referral systems, so employees can recommend candidates (and might get a reward when the person is actually hired).
  • Virtual career fairs, where companies can showcase their employer brand online and recruiters can chat with potentially interested students and graduates.
  • Direct messaging functionalities (such a Graduateland Live or on LinkedIn) where recruiters can actively look at candidate profiles and individually assess if there is a match.

Especially with students and graduates, companies have to option to first hire promising candidates on a temporary basis before making the call about which part of the company they would fit best in. Offering internships or job shadowing for interesting, but more inexperienced candidates is one way of doing that. For recent graduates, offering trainee positions and rotations may be the way to go.