2021 was a year I delivered 53 (zoomified…) sourcing trainings - organizations and individuals globally and locally, 5 free Q&A sessions and several sourcing projects.
It was interesting to see that, regardless of the geography, many of the challenges were similar, as well as some of the bad habits that infiltrated the sourcing process…
It’s so hard to kick bad habits, even when you know they are hindering your process… Making a change is never easy, but if you want to excel in your sourcing efforts, this is my list of the top bad sourcing habits to kick out and some proven tips on adopting more effective ones in 2022!
1. Habit to drop: Stop Sourcing for a role communicated to you, high level, on a phone call
Too many times I hear stories on how the search is launched as a result of a very short
phone call (or a quick request delivered in the corridor) from the hiring manager or the recruiter:
“find me this and that”…
If you don’t have a 360-degree vision of who that person is and what they will do, you can
not target the right potential candidates. Lots of energy, time and labour, gone to waste.
Habit to Adopt: Don't agree to it. Say right away that you need more info to make an educated search
and book an intake meeting. This doesn’t show weakness, rather exactly the opposite - It shows that
you are a professional.
2. Habit to drop: Jump into Linkedin right away as you start your search.
Habit to adopt: Check your CRM/ATS FIRST. Too many times I hear of huge sourcing efforts, only
to find out that they already have their details in their systems as a product of previous
Tip: The next search after that, should be within Linkedin, within your company, for current/past
employees. It happened several times, that I drew the HR’s attention to current employees that
can perform that role or even past employees that could re-join (“boomerang hiring”). HRs are not
always aware of their employees’ skills and not all are engaging with software that can promote inner
3. Habit to drop: Sourcing with only 2 keywords (for example: a full-stack engineer with react &
Ok, so this one drives me crazy 😊 I totally understand the pressure to launch a search right
away! But 2 keywords can never describe a person’s experience, not to mention you’ll be missing
out on many others that decided to word that same experience or skill set, differently.
For example: If you search for people with SaaS experience, those who only wrote AWS will not
come up in your search. This is why you need to always expand your keywords.
Habit to adopt: Spend time to build your search. Choose and expand your keywords and
remember those can also reflect soft skills, personality, excellence, future-ready, etc. Those will
generate a list of high-quality potential candidates that will, probably, fare better in the
hiring process. Your keywords are a “make it or break it” situation. IMHO, this is where we should
spend most of our time pre-sourcing.
4. Habit to drop: No follow-ups on your outreach emails
You spend so much time sourcing for great potential candidates. You spend time collecting info
so you can augment the amount of info you have about them, some of it you use to
personalize your outreach email. So much effort invested, how can it be that you forget all
about them once you’ve sent the message? This is just not a very effective practice.
Habit to Adopt: Engaging with potential candidates is a process. Sometimes we are lucky and get
immediate responses. Sometimes we need to work harder to catch their attention. Manual is not
scalable. Adopt a software that can either automate your emails and/or create drip campaigns.
Personalize those messages that are super important to you and the rest you can automate.
There is a level of personalization in most softwares.
5. Habit to drop: Never say that you’ve reached everyone out there! (I hear this one a lot..)
Especially! If you are using Linkedin Recruiter Light, or not paying at all…Even if you have Linkedin
Recruiter Corp doesn’t mean you get to see all of them. Not to mention those people that are no longer
If you feel like you’ve reached everyone out there it only means that your sourcing is stuck in a
rut…and you need to refresh, get creative and start using different keywords, different sources
Habit to Adopt: Always have 3 tabs open on your browser when you start a search. One for Linkedin,
the other two can be x-raying on Bing and the third on your CSE du jour, there are some great ones out
there (check Irina Shamaeva's list here).
A 4th one can be dedicated to an advanced sourcing tool like Hiretual and Seekout, that will,
generate results you’ve never seen before.
6. Habit to drop: Stop assuming
I see too many sourcers reviewing profiles and assuming too many things about that person.
They fill in the blanks with THEIR interpretation of what they read, connecting dots that aren’t
there. Bottom line they may jump to conclusions that are wrong and miss out on a great
Habit to adopt: Think of why you SHOULD approach that person.
As a sourcer, and in life…I try not to assume too much. You never know what’s going on in that
person’s life exactly during that moment in time. I was pleasantly surprised, more often than not.
7. Habit to drop: Stop benchmarking your data against other companies
One of the most prevalent questions I get is “what should be the opening rate for my outreach
It is my belief that you can not equate what you are doing to what someone else is doing,
especially in recruitment. Apples and oranges. Sourcing and recruitment success has so many
changing variables that it simply doesn’t make sense to look at what someone else is doing and
their success rates.
Habit to adopt: Invest time and energy in looking at your own data. See if you and your team are
improving over time.
8. Habit to drop: Doing everything manually
Yes, you have fewer expenses when you source manually, but those efforts are not scalable.
Habit to adopt: Automation. Instead of recruiting more sourcers and recruiters for your team, adopt
automation tools that can take away most of the time-consuming repetitive tasks off your hands.
At the very least start testing them. This is why you need a sourcing budget for 2022!
9. Habit to drop: Thinking that as a Sourcer you are at the bottom of the recruitment food chain.
Too many times, I meet sourcers that feel that maybe one day, when they “grow up” (ie "gain
more experience”) they will be lucky enough to become recruiters..
Habit to adopt: Be proud for being a talent sourcer. It is totally a stand-alone discipline.
Become a professional. There is so much to learn on how to do this well. Understand the business
and industry you are in.
10. Habit to drop: Sourcing only on Linkedin
The truth is that ANYONE can add a few keywords in Linkedin, get results, send emails and with some
luck and good brand visibility, get replies. Since there is so much pressure on getting sourcers and
recruiters to deliver ASAP, the easiest method is straight away, Linkedin!
Some reasons not to source only on Linkedin are:
* Not everyone is on Linkedin.
* The profiles you see are limited to your plan and network
* Not all profiles are being updated regularly
* You can not establish quality (in case of techies)
Habit to adopt: Spend at least some portion of your time to source on different sources. For example:
if you are searching for PhDs, search in article databases, for developers and software en engineers -
Github, Stack Overflow, dev.to, Codementor and Twitter, Dribbble and BeHance for UI/UXs, Angelist
and F6s for anyone with a startup background, the free internet for personal websites, conferences,
blogs and more.