Harnessing the power of job boards: Diversifying your sourcing strategy

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What’s the key to success when it comes to sourcing? Stop looking for a silver bullet – there’s no one-size-fits-all sourcing strategy. But there are sourcing trends and best practices you can tap into to maximize your results. Just like marketers who research and develop deep empathy for customers, the best sourcers take the time to learn what moves and motivates candidates.

At the first Open Forum 2021 event, Join the Talent Makers, Greenhouse Director of Partnerships Garret Starr moderated the panel discussion “Harnessing the power of job boards: Diversifying your sourcing strategy.” In this conversation, Gabrielle Mellon, Senior Director of Talent Acquisition at Axon, Adam DeVos, Associate Director of Talent Acquisition at Chewy, and Marvin Li, Product Manager at Greenhouse, weigh in on winning sourcing strategies.

Catch the highlights from their discussion below or watch the on-demand recording to dive into all the details and level up your sourcing game.


What does sourcing look like in 2021?

“Sourcing in 2021 is an evolution,” says Gabrielle. The pandemic has transformed the recruiting process, so engagement with candidates is primarily virtual at every step from interviewing to onboarding.

Adam finds that the transition to more flexible working arrangements is top of mind for candidates. Recruiters now need to lead conversations with information about whether a role is remote-friendly or whether there are location-based expectations.

The job market is also changing. Due to the pandemic, many workers are feeling risk-averse and less likely to seek new opportunities. “So many people are more passive than they might have historically been,” says Gabrielle.

Considering all these changes, Adam says, “To say the least, it’s going to be an interesting year.” And while sourcing always involves a little bit of luck along with strategy, Adam believes the key is to keep your conversations with candidates meaningful. It all comes down to that deep understanding of your candidates – know the populations you engage with, what makes them successful and what motivates them to accept a role.


Investing in talent marketing to access passive talent

With candidates feeling more hesitant to make moves, many employers are leaning heavily into talent marketing. This is a long-term strategy that can help you build recognition of your employer brand and develop relationships with candidates over time.

Being a household name like Chewy is certainly a benefit, says Adam. He’s grateful to all the hard work the marketing and customer success teams have done to build such a solid consumer brand. But that doesn’t mean his team can just coast through conversations with candidates. “We are trying to translate that employee value proposition (EVP) that’s vastly different from our consumer and customer value proposition.”

At Axon, Gabrielle says, it’s a different story. Since the company is not as well known, talent marketing is equal parts education and candidate attraction. One strategy that’s working well is encouraging employees to be thought leaders in the market. “Having our phenomenal employees tell their stories through the work they’re doing is far more engaging than our recruiting team telling stories about why anyone should come work here,” says Gabrielle.


The tools of the trade

What are some of the specific tools and tactics sourcers are turning to? Marvin says he’s noticing three big trends: referrals, third-party job boards and agencies. The increasing reliance on agencies may be an early indicator that companies are more resource-strapped, especially given the downturn in the economy due to COVID-19. Lighter recruiting teams are now working with heavier backlogs of candidates.

There’s also a move toward more specialization. “As the landscape changes, there are more niche job boards and agencies that help tailor a specific job to a specific candidate,” says Marvin. Gabrielle echoed this sentiment, saying she works with agency partners for more niche or one-off roles while her team focuses on core, repeatable roles.

The key to making the most of any tool is having the data to help you interpret the results. Gabrielle sets strong expectations and guidelines for how her team inputs data into Greenhouse. “I wanted to be able to tie back our return on investment to every single dollar I was spending on my strategy – whether it was a job board, marketing, event or agency – and be able to have the clean data on source of hire,” she says.


How to strengthen your sourcing strategy today

Looking for a few steps you can take to strengthen your sourcing strategy today? Adam recommends coming up with a plan for where you intend to find candidates. For example, you might anticipate getting around 30% of your candidates inbound and 30% from referrals, which leaves 40% for everything else. This will help you monitor the time you spend on each source and give you an idea of when it’s in your best interest to move on.

Marvin recommends thinking about ways to foster experimentation with robust reporting to back it up. If you find a source that works, you can double down on it and see if you can drive even better results. Or if you find something isn’t working, you can back away and try something else. Greenhouse customers can keep an eye out for a new feature called the Job Ad Market that will facilitate this type of data-driven experimentation with job boards.

“Be curious,” says Gabrielle. She encourages sourcers to carve out an hour each week to learn something new, read up on different topics and tinker. And, of course, she recommends sharing whatever you’ve learned with the rest of the team to help accelerate your hiring practices.

The conversations during Open Forum give you the opportunity to learn from other business leaders and talent pros who have built diverse, high-performing teams. Sound like something you want to be a part of? Join us for the next Open Forum event, Building Belonging, on June 16.

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Melissa Suzuno

Melissa Suzuno

is a freelance writer and former Content Marketing Manager at Greenhouse. Melissa previously built out the content marketing programs at Parklet (an onboarding and employee experience solution) and AfterCollege (a job search resource for recent grads), so she's made it a bit of a habit to help people get excited about and invested in their work. Find Melissa on Twitter and LinkedIn.