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Any effective recruiter or HR manager realizes that to find the best employees, you need to start with a sourcing strategy. Sourcing strategies can be seen as long-term plans to find and manage potential candidates for your company’s open roles. Some companies have one central sourcing strategy that can be tweaked for each open position, while others create separate strategies for each department or critical hire. Either way, one thing is for sure – when it comes to technical talent, an effective sourcing strategy is critical.

If you’re thinking to yourself, “But where do I start?”, you’re in luck. Here are a few questions you can ask yourself when creating your tech sourcing strategy.

Will we be actively or passively looking for these developers?

Sometimes you’ll want to target just one of these types of candidates, while other times you’ll end up looking for a mix of both. Either way, it’s important to know the difference so you can make sure you’re looking in the right places.

Active developer candidates are out there looking for a new role. They might be reading job listings, applying to open jobs, or a combination of both. For developers specifically, “active” candidates aren’t all that active for long. Our CEO Joel Spolsky wrote that with the way the developer market works, the average programmer will only apply for around four jobs over the course of his or her entire career.

Passive developer candidates aren’t actively looking for a new role, so as a recruiter you’ll need to present them with your awesome opportunity to inform them.

Once you know which type(s) of candidates you’re looking for, you can adjust your sourcing strategies to each group. Some examples of this would be optimizing your job listings for search engines for active candidates and crafting the perfect recruiting email outreach for those passive candidates.

Where can we find these developers?

You can’t simply put up a job listing on your website and expect the best developers to find it. Instead, you should identify where your ideal hires currently hang out – both online and offline. Online sources can include developer-specific websites (like Stack Overflow and GitHub), programming language forums, open source repositories, and social media websites. In-person sources could include hackathons, developer-specific events, or networking opportunities.

What is our budget?

When it comes to budget, there are a lot of things to think about. What sourcing tools or software will you need? Will you need to put up paid advertisements to get more eyes on the job listing? Do you need to hire any additional sourcers or recruiters to help find these developers? Putting together a plan and then measuring its effectiveness can also help you calculate the ROI of your sourcing strategy to set you up for future success.  

How will we reach out to our target candidates if we’re interested?

Once you’ve found your targeted candidates, you’ll need to decide how you plan on reaching out to them. It’s likely that if you want to hire Developer A or Developer B, so do many other companies. This is where you can put together a detailed plan based on your research of each candidate. What does your company offer that’s different from the rest? What is special about this role (and how does that match this candidate’s interests and skills)? As we mentioned above, the answers to these questions will vary greatly based upon the candidates themselves.

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