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Reimagining technical sourcing

This blog post is based on the 19th episode of the data-driven recruiting podcast hosted by CodeSignal co-founders Sophia Baik and Tigran Sloyan. You can find and listen to this specific episode embedded below.

Sourcing has long been one of the key channels for finding candidates. Before the Linkedin era, recruiters and sourcers used the Yellowbook to cold call potential candidates. Then, Linkedin came along and became a widely accepted professional social media site. Linkedin has also introduced many features and services to help employers run powerful searches on their site to discover new potential candidates.  

Enter LinkedIn Recruiter. 

Today, many organizations rely on LinkedIn Recruiter to source potential candidates. For technical positions such as a software engineer role, recruiters or sources start by setting several filters to narrow down their searches . 

These filters tend to be:

  • Years of experience
  • Previous employers (Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.) 
  • Schools (Stanford, Berkeley, etc.) 
  • Education degrees (Computer Science, Computer Engineering, etc.)
  • Location
  • Keywords on skills (Javascript, CSS, Hadoop, AWS, etc…) 

The more filters you use, the fewer candidates you’ll have in your pool. Best practice has turned into insane competition. 

Because organizations are using the same filters, they’re reaching out to the same pool of candidates. This has created chaos where engineers now put “recruiters don’t reach out” as their titles because they receive dozens of requests every week! 

A small candidate pool means that you’re very likely to pay a lot more in compensation because they have so many companies reaching out to them. 

If you don’t have a big brand like Google or are not willing to throw six figures in sign-on bonus, think more creatively about how you want to stand out in this sourcing war for  technical recruiting — think beyond keywords and pedigree. 

The New Way of Technical Sourcing 

Organizations, especially those with smaller budgets and less-known brands, need to focus on skills and abilities, not pedigree to identify highly qualified potential candidates. 

By targeting candidates who don’t have the best resumes, you’re widening your candidate pool from the very start AND moving away from the hyper-competitive segment. 

Over the last twenty years, the process of acquiring skills has transformed. Now, children start learning computer programming in elementary school. Stanford and MIT aren’t the only universities offering computer science degrees. Bootcamps are popping up all over. 

Which is why we can’t use the old way of technical sourcing.

We should put away our old assumptions on what experience what really is. Instead, think of top of the line sourcing from a different perspective. Think through each of the filters you’ve been using in your search to see if it is helping you or hindering you from finding great potential candidates. Challenge your assumptions about the filters to see if there are other ways to focus on the candidates that are important to your organization. Or remove the filters to open up your top of the funnel and engage a broad set of candidates first, and then introduce a filter based on skills such as coding assessment to narrow down the candidate pool.  

Bye bye pedigree, hello abilities!