The most important thing to understand about efficiency is that you have to keep in mind the big picture. Being efficient in just one part of the sourcing or recruitment process might cause more problems overall than the time you save during that stage. A textbook example of this happens in sourcing when you are searching for “a” list of candidates instead of “the” list of candidates. With more and more people being present online in many positions the real challenge is the engagement with the candidates – and the end result depends more on your selling than searching skills. What you have to realize however, that the way you search and who you search for impacts the difficulty of the sales efforts you have to make. In this concrete example of being fast in search but realizing you can not reach your potential candidates, your process is generating time-waste compared to spending some more time searching and finding those candidates who not only are able to perform the job you are sourcing for, but are most likely to be interested. The overall process in both cases is shown on the picture below – the red part is the time you waste.

Sourcing Process 1: Fast search, hard sales

Sourcing Process 1: Fast search, hard sales

Sourcing Process 2: More detailed search, time saved in the whole process

Sourcing Process 2: More detailed search, time saved in the whole process

In this post I have gathered four tips how you can make your sales easier and faster with a better search.

1. Do not skip the easy wins

This should be a no-brainer, but do not skip the ATS and the Job boards. Starting on LinkedIn might be very tempting as you can find loads of candidates incredibly fast, but their response ratio will be lower, the time you spend engaging them will be longer and the submitted/identified ratio is usually also worse – classic practical example of the phenomenon described above.

2. Look for people who are seeking a change

A very simple and widely used way to find people who are easier to convince is looking for people who actually are admittedly open to change. On LinkedIn you can reach that with the addition of keywords implying job seeking activity. After identifying your talent pool, try an addition of a string part similar to this: (“looking for opportunities” OR “looking for new” OR “new challenges” OR “new opportunities” OR “new job” OR “in search of” OR “in search for” OR “open to” OR “seeking new” OR “job seeker” OR “job seeking” OR “seeking opportunities” OR “looking for job” OR “looking for employment”). This is just a quick example, with some further additions you can cover even more candidates – an obvious example for additional keywords are expressions existing in the language of the country you are sourcing in.  As a next search change this bracket from AND to NOT. With these two searches you checked your whole pool – in a more efficient order. Sidenote: this will not work if you are sourcing for recruiting professionals as we have profiles often spammed with these keywords.

3. Look for people wo might be interested in you

Include keywords in your search string which are not directly describing the willingness to change the job, but are indicating that a change to your vacancy might be more likely. In short, you have to translate one of your selling points to keywords and search for those candidates with whom your selling points will truly hit the bullseye. I have gathered a some ideas which worked for me, but there are lots more! Since all of this depends on your position my advice is to use these as inspiration and let your creativity flow.

1. Your job location is in a middle of nowhere… really. No big city, no business hub, no local talent pool. Do not panic, look around in Google Maps, what natural attraction is there – if it is indeed the middle of nowhere, you will find something. A forest in a nature park, a rocky mountain, a sea with big waves: something will be there. Thank god love of the nature is a growing trend, and for some reason many people like to talk about their hobbies in a CV (hey, at least it’s additional data we can leverage while sourcing!). Add a string part about hiking activities like (hik* | camp* | wander* | backpack* | alpin* | hillclimb* | climb* | mountain*) to find those candidates for whom the location might be actually a plus.

2. When you are searching for candidates on Facebook (more info on how) you have an incredible advantage of being able to search for interests. Your position is located in Manchester but your candidates are in London? Search for those Red Devil fanatics and you immediately have a selling point in offering them a chance to watch their favorite football team live. Simply add an “and like Manchester United” to the graph search query, or add 7724542745/likers/intersect to the url.

3. You know you are looking for a software engineer who is going to work for a game development company. The perfect candidate on your longlist is a fan of that game (imagine that selling point!), but even if it’s a less known name, you can find developers liking games from that genre (FPS, RPG, etc).

4. The engineering industry has a looong chain of suppliers. While it’s less likely to find people who are enthusiastic about a leather cover, if you know your client’s products are used in that fancy new Mercedes, you have a whole different story to tell to someone who cares about cars (and loves Mercedes). Find a tangible, known and liked brand or product line which is related to your vacancy, and leverage the millions of dollars being annually spent to marketize that brand! Depending on the brand and your sourcing channel you can find that information in page likes, groups or Hobbies part of the CV (for example Kindle means a bracket about reading | novel | novels | books … etc).

4. Track social activity

Use social activity tracking tools to check the openness to change. This exciting new concept which started a couple years ago with LinkedIn Signal, where the system notified you that judging by the amount of profile changes who in your network might be open to a job change. Nowadays there are tools which do a lot more: they can analyze the sentiment and the frequency of the activity and make a prediction about how likely your candidate’s job change is. There are multiple start-ups out there trying to capitalize on Big Data analytics, and I see this area as something with a lot of potential. A free and helpful site is, a social aggregator which compares the sentiment of the work-related and non work-related posts, and based on the difference it recommends you which candidates you should be contacting. Because of the limitations of Needlehunt as a search tool (you can find people more easily elsewhere) I would only recommend it as a supplementary tool – do your search somewhere else, then cross-reference your results here. If you have spare budget, Joberate can offer continuous fine-tuning and monitor targeted individuals or groups.

As a closing thought I want to emphasize that this post is not a “way to do it for every position” type of advice. This post is for whenever you can anticipate that you are going to have a hard time selling your vacancy. You, as the person owning your positions and familiar with your industry have to know when will this be the case. I really wish you to be a sourcer or a recruiter who does not have to worry about this because your positions sell themselves. But I know you are not one of them. They already stopped reading after the first 5 sentences.