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The Secret Sauce of Sourcing

The Secret Sauce of Sourcing

An important part of every company is sourcing for applicants. For some, regular high turnover is just part of the territory. For others, they may only worry about filling a position when someone suddenly quits. For all companies, sourcing has become a competition of who has the bigger budget or larger recruiting staff. There are, however, new ways to game the sourcing system. If you are a small company, have a limited budget or just new to the world of sourcing, this is especially for you!

The 3 Different Flavors of Sourcing

There are different ways of attracting customers: advertisements, coupons, mailers, social media ads, clever billboards, blimps, people who twirl signs while dancing, etc. While all these methods vary in effectiveness and cost, they all share the same goal – get the attention of potential customers and convert them!

Just like advertising, companies rely on these same principals to get their job openings filled. They cast their net and hope to catch qualified candidates. Sourcing, in this case, is the net. Like advertising, every method has different levels of success. So let’s take a look at the three staples of sourcing.

1. Free Job Boards

The job boards of today grew out of the classified ads in newspapers, fliers, and “Help Wanted” signs. With the proliferation of websites, all this transferred into the digital world. This introduced two major game-changers: job openings became visible to more people (and more potential qualified candidates) and everything became searchable!

Today, the giants in free job boards still work in the same way. For one job board giant, they look and behave like a classified section. You can post your job, but once another company posts their own job, yours quickly gets pushed down. And if that same company posts 10 jobs, your own job post quickly disappears from the page altogether. Let’s look at an example with this type of free job board: A job seeker searches for “Delivery Driver”. They receive anything that has those keywords, not necessarily the results that are most relevant.

A different, big job board offers a slightly personalized experience. Applicants can type in “delivery driver” and an algorithm will return relevant results. The problem with this site, however, is that the same algorithm that decides what to surface to the user will also decide  what not to show. This is where free job boards become “paid” job boards – so keep reading!

Takeaway: The obvious benefit to free job boards is that, well, they’re free! You can post as many times as you want. Free job boards, however, are a very saturated source. Furthermore, job search results are not ranked based on relevance, they are ranked based on which employer posted most recently. You are likely to get very few qualified candidates using only this method.

2. Paid Job Boards

Ok, so why would a job board return results and choose not to show other postings? The answer is simple: they need to make money. By removing the free postings and prioritizing the ones companies spent money for, this site has incentivized companies and recruiters to shell out money – and this can get costly very quickly!

For this job board giant, depending on which results are shown, those results are then prioritized based on how much an employer will pay (CPC or Cost Per Clicks). So inevitably, results are prioritized according to who is willing to pay more. The obvious benefit to this is that you are more likely to get candidates that match your needs because some layer of vetting has been applied.

Takeaway: Paid job boards use a CPC (Cost Per Click) model. This means recruiters are not just throwing money and hoping their posting stays at the top of the list. While companies have the option to pay in order to improve their visibility, results are still based on relevancy. It’s still just all a numbers game. By paying, however, your posts will get prioritized in the search results and you are likely to get more qualified candidates than free job boards.

3. Lesser-known Job Boards & Paid Ad Networks

Upon first glance, using lesser known job boards and ad networks seem like a wasted effort. If you’re a small business, however, you are competing with companies that have larger budgets for sourcing and it becomes a lot about who can spend the most money. With alternatives, however, you can acquire candidates for less – the cost per applicant drops. So get creative!

Lesser-known job boards provide you another way to get in front of qualified candidates with less competition. Ad networks act similarly, in that they are another way to set yourself apart. Ad networks behave in a complex and very fascinating way (I’ll leave the details for another post!). The gist of ad networks is that you work with publishers who have a network of sites who, in turn, have access to ad space. This can be on sites relevant to your job seeker or ones that wouldn’t apply to them. So while this is a creative alternative to traditional job boards, this requires a lot of strategy (as in time and effort) to get the results you want. If done correctly, however, this is a great source for sourcing candidates, particularly the more passive job seekers.

Takeaway: Using lesser-known job boards and paid ad networks is a creative and less costly way to source candidates. If you are a small company or have a small recruiting budget, this is a clever way to get in front of potential candidates!

What’s Your Sourcing Strategy?

Sourcing is one of the most time-consuming and costly tasks in recruiting. Without any guidance or help, it can feel like you’re blindly posting and then praying you get an applicant. Many companies don’t have a fully-staffed recruiting team and end up relying on a third-party agency to source candidates on their behalf. This, however, can get pricey. If you’re a tiny company, this cost is difficult to justify. And if you’re an on-demand, gig company, or retailer with high turnover, this can get very expensive quickly.

While well-known job boards are where more candidates will be going, it’s a lot about who can spend the most money. With alternatives, however, you can acquire candidates for less – the cost per applicant drops. Even though your volume might be lower, your cost per applicant is less.  So in no way should it be the only channel, but it is a great way to supplement because this allows recruiters to cast their nets wider.

Takeaway: Sourcing best practices means casting a wide net across all channels: both free and paid boards, lesser-known boards and trying ad networks.

Use a Programmatic Partner

If doing everything in-house is not possible and hiring an agency is too costly, work with a programmatic partner. This is a third-party that works like an agency but at a fraction of the cost.

The advantage of using a programmatic partner is that a company can send them a posting and then they can distribute on the company’s behalf. This means the employer doesn’t have to go out and find each publisher, buy ad space or do this manually. Doing programmatic distribution allows companies to access these lesser known job boards and ad networks automatically. Unlike an agency, no one is advising companies with creatives or content but the trade off is that it is all hands-off and companies to cast a wider net with much less effort.

The New Fountain Sourcing Service – Introducing Boost

Ultimately, Fountain found a smart way to remove the process of having to do the ad network posting or hire an agency. We deliver candidates to companies and they just worry about hiring. With a click of a button Fountain sends job openings to free job boards. If a company, however, wants to cast a wider net, they can dictate a budget and Fountain will do the rest – we’ll post on relevant ad networks for you.

We act as an agency without charging agency prices. Companies provide Fountain a budget and we will determine the best strategy. Sometimes it’s a mix between major job boards and ad networks or a larger portion of the budget dedicated to just one of these.

In turn, employers can just sit back and wait for applicants to come. Other services and ATSs offer this service but we are making it as truly hands-free as possible. Additionally, we don’t just make recommendations – we take action on your behalf. At the end of the day, employers don’t need to worry about how candidates got to them – they should just focus on getting a steady stream of qualified candidates.

The Results Are In…

So far, our customers are seeing impressive results. A franchisee customer, for example, used our Boost feature and saw an immediate applicant increase. Before Boost, their strategy was to post on the major job boards. Their average number of applicants per job opening was approximately 3 applicants in one week. With Boost, Fountain supplemented their job post with programmatic sourcing and they received 16 in 6 days! So the takeaway is that while employers receive 1-2 applicants a week on the heavy hitting job boards, they received 5-7 through our programmatic sourcing.

Takeaway: For companies looking to cast a wider net to source applicants at a fraction of the cost of hiring an agency, Fountain’s Boost feature is an easy way to set a budget and just wait to candidates to come to you.