5 Ways to Elevate the Success of Your Sourcing Team

Even the most seasoned recruiters struggle to garner responses to their carefully crafted reach-outs. So when the sourcers on your team vary widely in experience, how on earth do you help them truly engage candidates?

Chris Shaw, Director of Talent at Meteor and former Strategic Sourcing Leader at Twitter, has helped countless sourcers revamp their strategies throughout his 20 years in recruiting. When he joined our webinar last week, he was generous enough to tell us how he’s done it. Adopt his five tips below, and we think you’ll be on your way to building a squad of sourcers that candidates can’t ignore. 

  • Do you need a sourcing team to begin with

Don’t hire sourcers simply because other recruiting leaders are doing it. Every team is different; you have to make sure yours actually has the bandwidth and need to source. Why a sourcing team? A sourcing team is typically a team of researchers who look for passive candidates based on specific profile criteria of the ideal persona for an open role at your company. According to Chris, you should source if you have a high hiring bar, and you only seek out the most qualified candidates. “Also, you should source if you’re scaling ambitiously,” explains Chris. “Proactive outreach is essential when you need to hire 20 salespeople and fill six or seven open reqs, for example.” In this case, your full-cycle recruiters need all the help they can get to fill their pipelines.

When don’t you necessarily need sourcers? If you can hire effectively through referrals. Recently, we found that referrals are nearly ten times as efficient as candidates who apply, and Chris also identifies them as a top source of hire. Beyond that? You may not need sourcing if you have full-cycle recruiters who can source, interview, and manage candidates all at once. But it’s taxing to juggle all those priorities. Chris’s moral of the story? Candidate sourcing is often highly rewarding, but it’s not to be blindly prioritized.

  1. Design a sourcing program that plays to every contributor’s strengths

The day-to-day of sourcers involves several moving pieces. At the very least, their job often requires extensive industry research, candidate “stalking”, cold emailing, and persistent follow-ups. But they’ll vary in terms of which tasks they’re best at. “Instead of counting on a full-cycle recruiter who can do it all, create a super recruiter with a couple people,” suggests Chris.  

How can you best accomplish this? Encourage your team to divide responsibilities, especially when they’re tackling hard-to-fill reqs, and make sure to measure your sourcing metrics. “Have the uber emailer work in tandem with the sourcer who’s great over the phone,” he suggests. There is no template for what a sourcing team should look like. When you play to your team’s strengths, you can give candidates the white glove service they deserve.

  1. Create opportunities for your team to up-level itself

Your weekly team meetings are the perfect avenue for best practices sharing. Encourage all of your sourcers to share one new tip at each check-in. “The key is to create a team environment where people are incentivized to actually be a team,” advises Chris. Show them the value of collaborating and working towards a common goal, because they will learn more from others than they will alone.

Too often, Chris sees leaders give accolades to the recruiters with the most hires. This strategy, rather than encouraging a same-team environment, directly stimulates competition.

  1. Teach your sourcers the value of partnership with other teams

When Chris worked at Twitter, he made sure to embed his sourcers into the teams they were supporting. This strategy made hiring more top-of-mind for employees, resulting in more referrals from them. Also, as sourcers learned more about each distinct team dynamic, they were able to provide more insight to candidates about their culture. “I believe in recruiters and sourcers being tied into team meetings,” says Chris. “They should be sitting with the engineers, for example, and understanding some of the problems they’re having.”

Use your best judgment to decide which meetings they attend, but Chris believes they should always be tapped into the culture and new challenges that arise on the team.

  1. Encourage them to walk in the shoes of their hiring managers  

Chris belives that one big 2017 recruiting trend will be “staying behind the curtain”. In other words, recruiters will take advantage of technology to send reach-outs directly from hiring manager email addresses. This makes sense, because a candidate is more likely to respond to a reach-out from their future manager. Your sourcers are crucial players in the hiring process, but they don’t always have the best insight into their candidate’s future day-to-day.

So how do you encourage your team to “stay behind the curtain”? Suggest that they meet with hiring managers regularly to go over lists of candidates.That way, they can both learn who to reach out to and how best to do it. Above all, don’t let your team shy away from “sending for” their hiring manager. With sourcing tools like Lever Nurture, the process is painless and rewarding. 


Thanks so much for joining us, Chris! As the pioneer of our first webinar ever, we were beyond thrilled to have you back.

Throughout his career, Chris has sourced at companies of every size – from well-known powerhouses like Google and Twitter to small startups like Meteor. To hear which tips he has for your team size, don’t forget to listen to the recording.