Top 6 Talent Sourcing Secrets [PART 2 OF 2]

Last week, we uncovered the first three of our ‘Top 6 Talent Sourcing Secrets’, where we looked at…

  1. The fact that it’s a candidate market, and how you can play it to your hiring advantage.
  2. The power of building a quality talent pool for talent pipelining and future hiring.
  3. HR analytics and the opportunities they present for sourcing.

This week, we’re going a step further, as we share more strategic options for your business to find the right skills, people and pipeline of talent when and where you need it most. Oh, and we’ve provided an added bonus too… so read on.

Talent Sourcing Secret #4 – Employee Referral Program

Yes, they’ve been around for a long time. And that’s because Employee Referral Programs are one of the most effective talent sourcing strategies out there.

What is an ERP, exactly? According to CareerBuilder….

An employee referral program is an internal recruitment method that organizations use to identify potential candidates from their existing employees’ social networks.

In my experience, ERPs aren’t always executed consistently, for greatest sourcing advantage. The benefits of establishing a quality referral program in your business, is of itself, too much to relay here. For now, let me demonstrate the most salient of these.

But first, take a look at the data on why ERPs are worth your consideration as a talent source:

Retention of talent from employee referrals is 45% after two years, compared to those sourced via job boards, at 20%.

Source: Ere.Net


The ROI of referred talent is way higher. According to CareerBuilder, 82% of employers rated referred talent above all other sources for generating the best return on investment.

Source: CareerBuilder


And in addition to ROI, talent from referrals produce 25% more profit for their employer, than talent sourced via any other means.

Source: The Alexander Group


Time-to-hire is faster with referred talent: 55% faster compared with employees sourced via company career sites.

Source: HR Technologist


Cost per hire is reduced, on recent data up to $3k per employee.

Source: Recruiter.Com


These data points alone show a compelling case for ERPs. In what is an increasingly competitive talent market, the trustworthiness of referrals is a perfect strategic edge for organisations to tap into passive talent (both contract and FTE). Why? Passive talent inside your employees’ networks has the insider’s word on what it’s like to work in the organisation. They get an honest review of the culture, management style, benefits and workload; insights a recruiter is either not equipped or not motivated to provide.

Also, given this inside knowledge, when a referred talent comes into the business, they’re already across so much more about the company, than a non-referred worker. Hence, time-to-productivity is way faster, as onboarding and new-talent education time are cut significantly.

Make no mistake: a well-supported, well-incentivised, well-managed ERP will save your business time and money in hiring, will generate a better ROI, and higher levels of worker productivity.

Below, we’ve put together the five stages of a successful ERP.

talent sourcing for successful employee referral program

Talent Sourcing Secret #5 – Employment Marketing

Like all marketing activity, employer marketing is a multi-faceted, multi-dimensional opportunity for establishing your organisation’s brand as an employer of choice, and hence can be used to drive ongoing interest in your business, with industry talent.

But credibility, walking the walk as well as talking the talk are all integral to successful employer marketing. If you can establish your business as one that is actually sought out by quality, skilled talent, you’re in a unique position, one that you’ll want to foster and protect.

And akin to ERPs, the concepts and opportunities in Employer Marketing are way too extensive to afford full justice here. So again, I’ve delved into the key marketing strategies your business can consider, as strategic tools for sourcing talent.

Employer Brand

The consumerisation of hiring has been around for over 10 years in the context of employer branding. Establishing your (employer) brand as one that is attractive to your (candidate) target audience, is (recruitment) marketing 101. And central to the messaging and appeal of an employer to potential talent, is the Employee Value Proposition (EVP): the point of differentiation of your business as an employer over any other.

In the realm of consumerisation of hiring, candidates today are incredibly savvy. If they see that your EVP as authentic, delivering on an employment promise, they’ll be drawn to work with you. Likewise, if your EVP is established internally with the input of employees (and contractors) if it’s honest, genuine, and tested and true, you’ve got yourself a quality message, and a valuable talent sourcing opportunity.

In addition, through collaboration and establishing an EVP of authenticity, you’ll find that your internal army of brand advocates (your employees) are ready to amplify that EVP to the market, and their various networks. It’s marketing gold.

We spoke with Employer Branding expert and industry veteran, Ian Moore about his take on Employer Branding in today’s market. Here’s what Ian had to say:

“An organisation should treat its candidates like it does its customers. And to ensure authenticity for the Employer Brand implementing a robust research and data analysis process provides critical insights in understanding what the employee and candidate experience is, and builds the foundations for an honest and compelling EVP.”

Social Recruiting

Not just LinkedIn, savvy HR marketers are utilising some of the lesser considered platforms as hugely successful channels for sourcing talent (but yes, LinkedIn is the no-brainer of course 🙄).

talent sourcing social recruiting

Well beyond a simple update on Twitter or Facebook, multi-faceted hiring campaigns often start on social media then refer talent to careers websites, or landing pages for specific jobs. In this way, the organisation can engage potential hires with the employer brand, EVP and hiring message. And so today, social recruiting is a very exciting opportunity for strategic sourcing.

From Pinterest to Instagram, some of the most prominent employers across the globe are utilising social media to build relationships with candidates (both perms and contractors). The simplicity of these platforms allows employers to engage talent in a hiring and skills conversation, and to proffer the EVP and its potential for talent with the right skills and organisational fit.

In addition, the really clever employers are engaging industry influencers on social media for contingent work opportunities. Thinking outside the typical hiring square is what’s called for here: being smarter, visual, clever with messaging and ready to engage in the social media environment can pay huge dividends as a potent sourcing strategy.

We’ve found some fantastic social sourcing campaigns for you to review, here, here and here.

Careers Site

The careers component of your website needs to be the central hub of your employer marketing strategy. It’s here that potential talent can gain a feel for the business, can engage with existing employees and can apply for open opportunities in your organisation.

Using the Careers Site as the primary employer marketing channel, will enable potential hires to refer back to the site time and time again, to see the ‘latest’ from you – not just in respect of jobs, but also features like:

  • Video updates from your CEO
  • Testimonials from current & past employees and contractors
  • Product and service updates
  • Company presentations
  • Company events: photos, videos

With the right technology infrastructure, your careers site becomes the talent pool repository as well. Candidates can update their details, they can get reminders or notifications of new opportunities, company newsletters and much more. The opportunities are, literally, endless.

Talent Sourcing Secret #6 – Include ‘Contingent’ in your Workforce Population

Yes, there’s a shortage of talent in a number of critical skills today. Many in IT, but don’t be fooled into thinking it’s exclusively an IT issue. So…. like the other secrets I’ve shared with you in this series, this one is about recalibrating your collective organisational thinking when it comes to getting work done.

Enter, contingent workers.

This consistently growing segment of the labour market offers your organisation a scalable, flexible solution where specialist skills can be brought into the business for a fixed period – for example, to complete a project. Often, these are skills you don’t need as a permanent fixture on your payroll and are hence a growing solution for organisations, willing to be agile when key skills are hard to come by.

These are early days in the trend of engaging contingent workers as a means of taking the lead in the war for talent. And there are a host of advantages of getting in early on this trend, including:

  • You can bring together your dream team for project work (repeatedly if necessary), and disband the team upon project completion
  • The cost savings of this approach speak for themselves: lower headcount, lower fixed payroll, zero non-wage benefits to name just a few
  • A better means of tracking the performance of talent, given the fixed nature of the assignment, including completion and milestone targets
  • A potential opportunity to ‘try before you buy’ talent if you see them as future FTEs
  • Contingent workers, sourced and managed strategically, are typically faster in both time-to-hire and time-to-productivity. Dictated by project specifics, and candidate skills, there’s no lengthy interview, evaluation and offer process involved
  • There’s a strategic advantage: upon engaging contingent talent, your organisation becomes involved in the contractor ecosystem, whereby exposure and opportunity to hire more or rehire trusted contractors, grows exponentially

How can your business best prepare to engage contingent workers? Here’s a couple of tips to think about:

  • Consider establishing a strategic contingent workforce management program, to give your business a robust cost-saving, low-risk management profile, and a seamless process workflow of contingent talent from engagement to offboarding. Outsourcing contingent workforce management to a partner like CXC has proven incredibly successful for organisations in Australia like Macquarie Bank, Deloitte, Energy Australia and many others
  • Work your talent pool: if you recognise quality FTEs leaving your organisation to take up contingent work, keep them in your professional sphere should you need to tap into their skills in the future
  • Ensure you investigate the tax, legislative and statutory requirements of bringing contingent workers into your business (again something CXC does) so that you’re not breaching any employment or tax laws

Global markets are shifting more and more to ‘contingent’ as the working model of choice – for both organisations and workers. As a talent sourcing initiative, this isn’t a stop-gap; it’s strategic future-proofing of your workforce AND your business.

Talent Sourcing Secret #7 – BONUS SECRET – Take Your Sourcing Efforts In-House

You’ll notice a theme in these talent sourcing secrets which I’ve shared over the past week. They ALL rely on you taking on increasing responsibility for talent sourcing, internally with your team. To create a quality talent supply that will see you future-proof your workforce and your business, the buck rests with you. With access to analytics for your perm and contingent talent, you’re in a position to extract greater value from your entire workforce.

Critical here, is a shift in your approach to talent acquisition; the first move to enable successful execution of these talent sourcing strategies.

I’m interested to know what you think, and where your business is at with sourcing. You can reach out to me here, to discuss.