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Post by Rich Moy on Nov 11, 2015 1:00:00 PM

With so many options at the fingertips of technical recruiters, it would be easy to measure a sourcing strategy’s success simply by counting the hours you’ve spent sourcing candidates online. However, while it should be obvious that this alone is not a good indicator of time well spent, the characteristics of a successful developer sourcing strategy aren’t always as clear.

Even if you haven’t invested in sophisticated tools to measure the effectiveness of candidate searches, there are a few things anyone could (and should) consider when your sourcing strategy leaves a bit to be desired. Here are three questions you should ask yourself when you’re trying to determine if your tech sourcing strategy is as effective as it could be.

Are Your Keyword Searches Saving or Costing You Time?

Because sourcing candidates online is as easy as running a keyword search, it’s easy to approach the task without much of a plan. When you don’t have a plan of attack, it’s even easier to spend so much time in front of your computer searching for developers, you actually haven’t enabled your team to move on to recruiting them.

Even though tech talent is particularly scarce, a basic keyword search could still yield thousands of candidates, most of which don’t exactly meet the criteria you’ve set for candidates. While it’s often fun to click through profile after profile, the end goal of any sourcing effort is ultimately to identify great developers that you might want to hire. If you’ve toiled away at candidate searches across a number of platforms and have only reached out to a small number of developers, reevaluate how you’re spending your time at this stage of the hiring process. In fact, you’ll be surprised by how even a simple Boolean search string can help you find the candidates you’re looking for more quickly.

Are You Looking at All the Resumes That Fit Your Criteria?

All candidate databases come equipped with a number of tools that allow you to narrow your search results down as much as you’d like. Since developers are often not on the open market for very long, it makes sense to believe you should only hire developers who have been in a database for a short period of time. Although that sounds like a good rule of thumb to follow, the only surefire way to learn more about available developers is simply to reach out to them.

It’s important to remember that while developers typically have the ability to choose where they work, that also gives them the ability to wait for the opportunity they feel fits them best. Even if a candidate in a database has been active for more than seven days, don’t be afraid to reach out to them. Restricting yourself to only sourcing candidates who are newer to the database might preclude you from meeting a great developer who is just waiting for the right job to present itself. 

What Types of Candidates are You Looking For?

This is likely the type of question most technical recruiters ask themselves as soon as they launch a search. However, even though you wouldn’t go into any search without a clear understanding of your ideal candidate, it is something worth asking yourself throughout your entire hiring process.

In my experience as a recruiter, I found myself backtracking quite a bit to make sure I was on the same page as hiring managers about the types of candidates they wanted to see. What I quickly realized was that even when I thought I had identified a list of strong candidates, I couldn’t be completely sure of that unless I constantly asked hiring managers to describe the profile of the ideal candidate. It might sound like a redundant exercise when it comes to hiring developers, but if hiring managers keep asking you to source more (read: better) candidates, it’s a good indication that your sourcing strategy isn’t quite as strong as you originally thought.

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