How to Find Talented Employees

How to Find Talented Employees

The 4 main sourcing channels

The hiring process has 3 stages: sourcing, screening, and interviewing. Before you can hire anyone, you first need to find people who want to work at your company.

There are 4 main sourcing channels through which you can get candidates: in-house referrals, agency referrals, outbound, and inbound.

You'll need a strong command of each to meet your hiring needs.

Relying too much on one channel only is not good as it will eventually tap out.

In-house referrals

In-house referrals are candidates you learn about from someone who works at your company. The trouble with referrals is they limit the diversity pool of your candidates and you’ll quickly exhaust your employee’s social network.

To keep the referral channel fresh, you can ask new employees for referrals. For example, you can sit with them during their first week and quickly pass their Facebook/LinkedIn networks and ask them if they know someone who they can recommend.

You can also highlight open positions each week during a weekly meeting; or you can take it a step further and hold a regular referral event where you come in, share open positions, and ask everyone to go through their social networks and build a referral list you can then contact.

The key to reaching out to referrals is to leverage the referring employee and mention them. Otherwise, it's just another cold call and you lose the advantage the referral process gives you.

Agency referrals

You can also get referrals from staffing agencies, although it’s going to cost you. You tell them what you need and they send you the CVs of potential hires. If you hire their referral, agencies charge 10%-20% of the employee's salary for one year.

In addition to giving you qualified candidates, they can also help you to refine the job description, establish a fair salary range, check references, and conduct testing. They can also be very effective in finding senior hires.


Outbound sourcing means you reach out to potential candidates and try to convince them to apply. It typically consists of browsing social profiles (mostly LinkedIn) and messaging people.

It's not very efficient so most recruiters at big corporations do this. If you want to make yourself stand out, get personal. Be specific, get to the point, and tell them why you reached out to them specifically.

Remember that great people don’t look for jobs, they are sold on jobs. They’re going to say no at first so you have to work on winning them over.

You actually have a good chance to get a positive response as 85% of people on LinkedIn are willing to switch jobs if you have an interesting offer, according to the survey from LinkedIn. Just keep the message human and short; otherwise, you’ll look desperate, which is a turnoff.

You can go a step further and interview your rivals' employees.

I have never known a single person in a rival organization, however well paid, who has refused to meet me for a quiet drink after work. I have discovered more about what my rivals are up to in this manner than any other. In addition, I have often been so impressed with the people I met that I poached them later. - Denise Richards

Another trick is to use display advertising and targeted ads on Facebook and other social networks. They key here is segmentation. For instance, if you're hiring for SEO, show your ad to people who like Majestic on Facebook or follow Rand Fishkin on Twitter. You can also tap into your social followers, who already know and like your product, and see if there’s someone who’d be great for the job.


Inbound sources come to you, for free. You don't have to do anything except having a good reputation and tell a good story. You need to really work on your website's career section and show why it’s so exciting to work at your company. Give people a real sense of what it’s like to work at your company using blog posts and Instagram.

Work on your employment brand. Issuing press releases, being active on GlassDoor and LinkedIn, and organizing meetups and other community events - all these can make talented people want to work for you.

When someone does apply, you should have a 100% response rate, even if it's just a couple of lines. The point is, if someone took the time to reach out to you, you should treat them with respect. They are your brand ambassador. If you don’t even bother to thank for applying, the word will get out and damage your employment brand.