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Strategic Sourcing: What it is and Why it Matters

Strategic Sourcing - What it is and Why it Matters

The first step in adopting a strategic sourcing mindset is to plan for the future.

And yet, while 83% of companies source proactively, only 46% of them know how many candidates they have in the pipeline.

[image-caption]Source: State of Recruitment Marketing 2018, Beamery[image-caption-end]

Why is that? Knowing how many candidates are coming your way, focusing on industries or functions where you might miss your objectives… that is a great perk of being proactive-- one of many. Why miss out on it?

It could be simply that there is a lag: recruiters have started sourcing proactively, but they haven’t yet implemented a solid tracking process in the background.

If it’s not just a lag in implementation, however, then it could be that some companies are only following the latest recruiting fad, without having actually internalized the logic behind it.

Strategic sourcing: What it is

Strategic sourcing is in fashion these days, but it also delivers real value to recruiting teams, so it is here to stay.

It’s a break from only sourcing active candidates for specific open roles, to sourcing continuously for future needs, and targeting both active and passive candidates.

The words “proactive” and “strategic” are sometimes used interchangeably in this context, even though they are slightly different, technically speaking; One of the main aspect of strategic sourcing is proactivity, but being strategic also means sourcing with an eye on the future, and on the goals of the whole organization.

This means:

  • Establishing a presence in the mind of the target audience early and building relationships
  • Forecasting applications and hires, and identifying which hiring objectives are at risk well in advance
  • Targeting quality leads instead of relying on a high-quantity, post-and-pray approach
  • Bringing market information to the rest of the Talent Acquisition organization
  • Improving speed and efficiency of sourcing by acquiring specialized sourcing skills

Why it matters

Based on the definition above, strategic sourcing brings a neat combination of predictability, reduced risk, efficiency, and quality to the hiring process. That’s music to every business leader’s ears.

How do those advantages play out in practice? For example, the Sourcing team can build forecasts spanning several months based on current talent pipelines. That allows hiring managers, recruiters, and human resources staff to plan for interviewing time and resources, onboarding, trainings, ramp-up times, workload, etc.

Strategic Sourcing in the Talent Acquisition team

Best-performing teams have a separate Sourcing function, with sourcers sometimes working on a project basis with recruiters, and handing them promising leads that closely match their needs.


As a result of that structure, the Head of Recruiting can better allocate sourcing resources to different regional and functional recruiting leaders, who in turn receive prime leads from more efficient, more specialized sourcers.

Operations leaders have a better understanding of what tools and features the organization needs, and can collaborate with Sourcing on creating smoother, faster processes for collecting candidate data or managing handoff, for example.

Strategic sourcing plays an especially important role in recruitment marketing and employer branding.

[tweetery]Sourcers are the scouts of the Talent Acquisition front lines.[tweetery-end] They are the closest to the action in the hiring market.

A competitor’s new Linkedin campaign here, an industry event there… they can note down these anecdotal data points and feed them back to the marketing team, giving them excellent competitive knowledge, and a starting point for future campaigns or branding events.

Being strategic about sourcing means being proactive, but also giving sourcers the space and time to bring additional value to the team.

It might not immediately translate into more leads per sourcer, for example, but it will help the company find a strong positioning, and convert leads much more easily after a while. In the end, the overall impact on the company will be much higher.

We will be talking more about strategic sourcing with Marvin Smith from Lockheed Martin, in our upcoming webinar on March 29th. Register here to hear him discuss his strategic sourcing model, and his learnings from a lifetime spent building talent communities.

If you're curious about Beamery, we'd always encourage you to do a demo. When it comes to Recruitment CRM and Marketing software, there's nothing quite like it. You can book in a time here.