What is Talent Sourcing?

Talent sourcing is a proactive approach, identifying qualified candidates to fill open positions. Broadly speaking, it involves identifying, engaging, and converting them into applicants. 

An ideal talent sourcing strategy focuses on understanding an organization’s current and future supply and demand needs. 

talent sourcing

How is talent sourcing different from recruitment or talent acquisition?

While some people use the terms “talent sourcing,” “recruitment,” and “talent acquisition” interchangeably, there are subtle differences between the three. 

Talent acquisition refers to the entire process of finding, hiring, and retaining. Think of this as the overarching function that houses sub-processes like sourcing and recruitment. The goal of talent acquisition is to build a future-ready talent strategy that marries effective sourcing with recruitment. 

So, what does recruitment mean? Recruitment is a more reactive process to address immediate hiring needs like screening, interviewing, shortlisting, and onboarding candidates. Sourcing begins long before recruitment and helps organizations build a pipeline of qualified candidates.  

Approaches to sourcing talent

Organizations rely on a combination of different channels and methods to reach potential candidates. The most common methods include:

  • Job fairs or career events: Employers regularly host events offering potential candidates mentoring opportunities, sharing information about the business and work culture to establish themselves as an employer of choice. Job fairs enable talent sourcing teams to meet with potential candidates in-person and build a compelling case to consider their organization as a prospective employer. 
  • Social networks: Platforms like LinkedIn and Meta offer a unique virtual platform to start high-value conversations with target candidates. Social networks are also well positioned to develop employer brands. 
  • Employee referrals: Employees are terrific advocates. Leveraging employees’ experiences to build future teams is one of the most effective sourcing channels available to organizations. 
  • Job boards: Using virtual job boards to advertise open positions is a popular sourcing technique. Although the most relevant approach for active candidates, these boards can also send alerts about recent postings, creating interest among passive talent as well. A big reason why job boards remain the preferred sourcing channel is scale – they enable organizations to reach the largest possible audience. 
  • Software: While software is more of a solution to talent sourcing than a channel, it helps talent teams capture data related to application patterns, potential candidates, and high-level process data. It also enables users to automate and scale sourcing activities across different channels. For instance, software can help automate job postings based on specific hiring or role objectives. 
  • Community outreach: Community outreach is a long-term investment to improve sourcing and talent acquisition outcomes. This could include volunteering for charitable causes, taking steps to address climate change, or establishing policies related to gender inequity. Sourcing through community building is not a quick solution, but offers attractive returns in the long run. With more candidates wanting to work with purpose-led companies, community outreach is critical to both employer branding and engagement.
  • DE&I events: Diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) events are designed specifically to share information about jobs and company culture with candidates from underrepresented backgrounds. Like community outreach and other career fairs, DE&I events are a long-term approach to cultivating the employer brand among diverse candidates. With DE&I being top of mind for organizations around the world, such events are a sure-fire way to identify and engage candidates.

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The Sourcing Maturity Curve

When it comes to sourcing, the maturity of a given organization’s approach will vary. This can be broken down into four major stages of development:

  1. Chaotic: In this stage, an organization’s sourcing strategy is typically reactive. Talent acquisition teams only begin sourcing when there’s an open role to fill. 
  2. Inconsistent: Talent acquisition teams experience some success with their sourcing but cannot replicate this success consistently. At this stage, success is driven by individuals and not processes. 
  3. Systematic: Organizations have a process that works and tools/technologies that enable them to meet their talent needs. At this stage, organizations are more focused on tactical execution rather than designing a forward-looking strategy. 
  4. Strategic: Organizations have the measurements, automation, and continuous improvement that allows them to source and hire great talent, at will. 

It is important to remember that these stages are not sharply defined, but rather a spectrum.  

How Programmatic Can Take Sourcing from Chaotic to Strategic

Solutions like programmatic job advertising play a crucial role in helping organizations move from chaotic to strategic. 

For organizations on the less mature end of the sourcing maturity curve, there is usually a lack of planning and foresight when it comes to the business’s talent. This starts early on, when a role opens up and the TA team is under the gun to hire someone “quickly.” There is little alignment between stakeholders and it is nearly impossible to take an informed approach to hiring. The recruiter wants to fill the position, while the hiring manager may be too busy to craft a job advertisement or description. 

Here’s where a solution like programmatic brings in a lot of clarity. Programmatic platforms do most of the heavy lifting when it comes to automating sourcing tasks like job posting, enabling hiring managers and recruiters to understand what job descriptions should look like, and finally, offering visibility into hiring performance data – allowing the sourcing team to monitor and improve KPIs. 

Let’s look at specific programmatic use cases to understand the journey:

  1. Business impact metrics

Programmatic platforms allow users to track metrics that impact both talent acquisition and the business bottom line, rather than provide vanity metrics. This includes cost per hire (CPH), cost per apply (CPA), and more across all recruitment media. They also allow users to monitor sourcing impact in real-time and provide valuable insights on efficiency. 

  1. Data-driven media planning

An intelligent programmatic platform allows recruiters to execute recruitment media campaigns by activating data to target and attract qualified candidates looking for jobs. The platform also helps allocate media spending to the most efficient sources, taking the guesswork out of budgeting and spend allocation. Ultimately, recruiters are able to make better decisions about their recruitment media spend. 

  1. Intelligent automations

The underlying algorithms powering a programmatic platform allow you to automate job distribution across best-fit sources based on volume, cost, and time to hire goals. In addition, programmatic platforms also offer expanded reach beyond traditional big brand job boards to marketplaces that can help with initiatives like diversity and inclusion, early career hiring, and hard-to-find skills. 

  1. Industry, job-role, and location-specific data

An ideal programmatic solution will also offer insights based on historical data for industries, locations, and job roles. So, for instance, if you are hiring for nurses in Texas, your programmatic partners could help you understand what locations have more sourcing success, what the salary ranges look like, and how the healthcare industry has responded to other macroeconomic factors like inflation, skills shortage, etc. 

While it would be incorrect to suggest that a programmatic platform alone can take your sourcing from chaotic to strategic, it does play a big part in helping organizations with high-volume needs make that transition. Ideally, a programmatic platform will work with multiple recruiting tools like applicant tracking solutions and other databases. However, programmatic’s true value lies in driving visibility in performance and enabling hiring teams to source at will. Here’s where features like intelligent automations, data-driven media planning, and industry data come into the picture. 


The best talent is in high demand. And it’s crucial for organizations to be strategic if they want to win in an unpredictable business environment. Just because the landscape is chaotic, doesn’t mean that your talent sourcing efforts need to be! Programmatic offers an easy transition for organizations looking to move the needle on their hiring maturity. The data, insights, and the ability to engage with candidates at scale make programmatic an indispensable hiring solution. 

See us in action to see how Joveo can take your sourcing game from good to great! 


What is talent sourcing?

Talent sourcing is the process of identifying, attracting, and engaging with potential candidates for job openings within an organization. It involves using various methods and strategies to find and connect with qualified candidates.

Why is talent sourcing important?

Talent sourcing is important because it helps organizations build a pipeline of qualified candidates, reduce time-to-fill for open positions, and improve the quality of hires. It also allows companies to proactively recruit top talent, giving them a competitive edge in the market.

What are the key strategies for effective talent sourcing?

Key strategies for effective talent sourcing include using social media and professional networking sites to find candidates, engaging with passive candidates, building relationships with potential candidates over time, and leveraging data and analytics to inform sourcing decisions.

How can technology improve talent sourcing efforts?

Technology can improve talent sourcing efforts by automating manual tasks, providing access to a larger pool of candidates through online platforms, and using data analytics to identify and target the most qualified candidates. It can also help streamline the candidate experience and improve engagement.

What role does employer branding play in talent sourcing?

Employer branding plays a crucial role in talent sourcing as it helps companies attract and retain top talent. A strong employer brand can make a company more attractive to potential candidates, leading to a larger pool of qualified applicants and better hiring outcomes.