The Definition of Candidate Attraction and Sourcing Strategies

by Jane Kennelly, Frog Recruitment, 29th August 2012

As often happens in processes with an assortment of jargon, terminology tends to get confused.  It is pertinent every now and again to take a mini refresher course on what we mean when we talk about certain terms. For example we noted a slight confusion recently about the differences between attraction and sourcing so we’d like to recap what we mean by these terms.

Attraction refers to activities soliciting candidate inquiries. This is mainly done through advertising vacancies with the hope that they will attract candidates meeting the requisite criteria.  This method tends to be quite passive, as the recruiter relies on the advert to do most of the leg work.

An increasingly popular attraction tool is the use of effective employer brand strategies. This usually involves creating an employer brand website designed specifically to create a talent pool of candidates registering into an online talent pool. While this is a great method to present an organization’s brand as an employer, it still relies on candidates taking action, or having a motivation to investigate employment opportunities at the organization.

Sourcing, on the other hand, is an active effort by the recruiter to find and contact candidates who have not applied for a role or registered into a talent pool. These candidates are essentially ‘under the radar’, and may not even have an online presence. They will often be highly sought after, and accordingly won’t rely on lodging job applications for discovering future opportunities.

In the current market these in-demand candidates are spoilt for choice, and require a certain amount of luring away from their current opportunities to consider moving to another organization, let alone another industry. These are the proverbial ‘white whales’ of the job market that every organization wants a piece of. So how do you go about casting your net wide enough in order to catch them?

Additional to the traditional ‘cold call’ approach of sourcing, there are in-depth search tools available on LinkedIn to identify individuals with very exact skills and experience.  There also forensic search techniques accessing specialized databases to find those who have very little online presence.  ‘Low-tech’ options can also be effective, such as membership in special interest groups or industry-specific events.

Whatever sourcing method employed, some active, planned, and persistent tactics are needed for this approach to yield results. It is deceptively easy to lose these candidates through a clumsy approach or poorly executed strategy. It takes time, more time than expected, that’s for sure.

Sourcing is a method that many organizations are turning to under increasing pressure to outperform the rest of the market, and in some instances the only way to find the talent necessary to make that happen. Ask yourself: can my organization passively attract the talent that will drive it beyond the competition? The answer may surprise you…

To learn more about sourcing top talent for your organization, please contact Jane Kennelly, Director, Frog Recruitment on 09 362 0528 or

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