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Candidate Sourcing Scorecards: the Complete Guide

Candidate Sourcing Scorecards - the Complete Guide

Sourcing proactively means 90% of the working population could be your target.

How do you identify the best prospects in such a huge pool of candidates?

Targeting specific individuals, reaching out to candidates and allowing them to get to know your company, building quality relationships with them… it takes time and resources, things that we usually have in limited supply.

How do you then prioritize who to talk to first, who to spend a bit more time with, who to put at the top of your event invite list?

The logical conclusion is to set up a process to prioritize candidates in a consistent manner. Ideally, you would feed a profile into a small machine, and it would immediately spit out how much of a priority they are, and how to allocate resources to them.

That’s why we have candidate sourcing scorecards.

Why candidate sourcing scorecards?

You may be familiar with the concept of interview scorecards. The Harvard Business Review has an excellent article on the subject here, complete with a template.

The idea of an interview scorecard is to help recruiters consistently identify the best talent, by lessening the influence of biases, standardizing evaluation criteria, and ultimately increasing their chance of hiring a good candidate without letting the bad ones through the filter.

Candidate scorecards, or sourcing scorecards, rely on the same principles - less bias, more consistency- but they are used much earlier in the process, and aim to help you prioritize candidates, rather than filter them. So how do you use them?

First, define required data

To be able to properly categorize candidates, you need to collect the same data points every time, so you can make consistent comparisons and rankings. That eliminates potential bias and makes the scoring consistent.

There’s no limit to the amount of data you can collect about people, but you can get a great start with the following ones:

  • Name
  • Gender
  • Nationality
  • Areas of professional experience (e.g. sales, support, mechanical engineering, education…)
  • Years of experience per area
  • Skills (languages, technical skills,...)
  • Professional certifications (if relevant)
  • Source (where did you find the candidate)
  • Target job family (e.g. marketing)
  • Target level (e.g. manager)
  • Readiness to move
  • Application status (have they applied in the past)
  • Current employer
  • Current job title
  • Demonstrated interest in the company (downloaded content? Subscribed to a community?)

In addition, you can identify criteria that make sense specifically for your company. For example, if you are a management consulting firm, then you might want to focus more on candidates that are OK with travelling a lot.

Once you have decided what data you will look at, you can design your different categories. We like working with Gold, Silver and Bronze candidates, but you could simply triage into Priority/Non Priority, for instance, or Qualified/Interested/Available, or even have 4 or 5 tiers if that works better for you.

Next, rank your candidates

Say you are a South American oil and gas company who hires a lot of process engineers, with experience in multiple technical areas, and who are on the field almost half of their working hours. Your scorecard must make it easier for you to identify the best candidates for this role.

The way to do that is to detail every requirement of the role, and make it into a yes or no question. Does the candidate speak Spanish or Portuguese? Are they willing to work on an oil rig? Do they have proven expertise in one of the distillation technologies used by the company?

This should include both must-haves and nice-to-haves, so that the spectrum of candidates in your pipeline is as wide as possible, and it’s easier to identify the best ones.

After listing all requirements, including non-job specific items like culture fit or interest in the company, you can check each of them off, then rank candidates by number of items checked.

Keep in mind that not all items have the same weight. Speaking the local language is not as important a having expertise in your company’s refining technology. Similarly, a candidate with less experience but who can start now might be a better bet than a more experienced one who won’t be able to start in the next twelve months.

If you are using the Gold, Silver and Bronze tiering system, then your categories would look a bit like this:

  • Gold: the top-tier candidates who smash all requirements and have demonstrated at least a modicum of interest in the company
  • Silver: candidates who are interesting but not as much of a priority, maybe because the timing is wrong for them or because they are still acquiring some of the necessary skills for the job
  • Bronze: candidates who have potential to graduate to Silver or Gold in a few months or even years, and who have demonstrated a lot of interest in the company

Last, design a nurture process for each category

Each of these tiers will need to be engaged differently-- that is, after all, the whole point of having a scorecard. Your limited resources need to be applied where they are likely to yield the best results.

candidate-classification-podium

The promising candidates in the Gold pool need most of your attention, with personalized interactions and an accelerated timeline- if you have noticed how good they are, then other talent teams probably have as well.

Silver and Bronze candidates are a bit less of a priority, but still need your attention in the medium-to-long term. You might not fly them out to recruiting events, but you will send them an invitation, for example.

Here is a good way to think about how to split your attention between the three tiers: If, for example, your distribution of candidates per tier is 10% in Gold, 30% in Silver and 60% in Bronze, then your resources will probably allocated approximately like this: 70% on Gold candidates, 20% on Silver, and the rest on Bronze.

These are approximations, of course, on depend on how competitive the market is, and how pressing your need.


Sourcing scorecards are used everywhere to prioritize solutions or alternatives when there are many criteria to be considered. They’re even used in procurement and supply chain management for sourcing raw materials. It was only a matter of time before talent acquisition teams started using them to source candidates...

The candidate sourcing scorecard template provided below is a good way to set up a consistent, unbiased process to prioritize leads and candidates in your pipeline. Use it as is, or customize it to fit your team’s needs- either way, it will make an immediate impact on the efficiency of your sourcing operation.

scorecard-table