Sep 18

Proactive sourcing 101

What is proactive sourcing?

Proactive sourcing involves taking a proactive approach to talent acquisition by actively searching for and engaging with potential candidates before a job vacancy arises.

This is a skills-led approach, and it is not led by vacancies. It’s about positioning your organisation at the epicentre of a specific community of talent.

It helps you to create a competitive advantage for your TA team when approaching the roles that you struggle to hire using a reactive approach.

How is proactive sourcing different to reactive sourcing?

Reactive sourcing involves switching on various channels to attract active and passive talent applications. These are stored in your ATS, and after they’ve been through a screening process, they are fed into candidate shortlists.
Proactive sourcing is research-led, using your teams to map the external market, and look at the skills you have internally - as well as the ones you can train. This data is hosted in a CRM which fuels engagement campaigns. The objective of proactive sourcing is to create talent communities of engaged talent.

When is proactive sourcing the right strategy?

Proactive sourcing is a patient job, and it’s not the right approach for every skillset that your organisation needs to hire. It should only be used on roles that are critical to the future of your organisation, that you struggle to hire using reactive sourcing methods.

How do you know if a role is critical to your organisation’s future?

  • Your organisation can't deliver on its strategy without it
  • Your organisation requires this skill in volume
  • Your organisation currently finds it very difficult to recruit this skill via traditional methods - for example, you frequently have to use agencies, or your time to hire is very slow.

This is probably only about 10% of the roles that you currently hire.

Talent acquisition needs to work with business leadership to identify the skills that are going to make the maximum impact on ths business - and this should form the backbone of your proactive sourcing strategy.

Who owns proactive sourcing?

Talent acquisition is about making sure the right person gets the right job, and that goes for your own team as well.

We believe that your recruiters shouldn’t be the ones handling proactive recruitment. They’re absolute pros when it comes to vacancy-led recruitment, and that’s where their focus should be.

Proactive sourcing and engagement are different skillsets with their own set of metrics and KPIs to measure success. To effectively build a proactive sourcing strategy, hire the right experts in engagement, content creation, CRM management and effective EVP messaging campaigns.

Vacancy fulfilment KPIs

  • Number of roles filled
  • Time-to-hire
  • Shortlist to interview rate
  • Interview to offer rate

Proactive sourcing KPIs

  • Talent pool size
  • Talent pool engagement
  • Number of hires made from talent pools
Proactive sourcing cannot be carried out by your vacancy fulfilment team because you measure the success of these jobs differently.