Top 10 Free Sourcing Methods to Boost Recruiters’ Pipelines

Recruitment Candidate Sourcing

Does your candidate sourcing strategy need a boost?  Here are ten free sourcing methods that recruiters can use to find the candidates they need (first presented by Glenn Gutmacher at one of the most popular Engage sessions of all time). For even more sourcing advice, check out our guide to candidate sourcing here.

1. Move beyond basic keywords

  • Use websites like and to more fully grasp the particularities of a search you might not be familiar with
  • You can also use thematic search engines, like Yippy, to perform categorised searches
  • On large job aggregators, like Indeed or SimplyHired, you can search by job title
  • If you want to search by company name, you can use websites like ZoomInfo (which has a free community edition),, and LinkedIn
  • If you use pinpoint search strings on specifics like job titles, company names, skills, licenses, and locations, you can dramatically increase your number of useful results. But you should make sure to aim for between 250 and 1000 results to maximise relevance.

2. Natural language search

  • To find the candidates you want, you have to be able to understand the way they talk on the Internet when they describe themselves
  • Using phrasing that contains pronouns and action words (“I configured X,” “I delivered presentations to clinical,” etc.) will point you in the direction of relevant resumes and profiles

3. Explicit and implicit search

  • By selectively eliminating keywords, you will come across candidates that fit your search but may have neglected to include those keywords in their self-descriptions
  • This can also work when searching by company name because some candidates will use abbreviations of company names instead of the company’s full name

4. Diversity search

  • While not every candidate promotes his or her diversity online, searches for “natural language” phrases relating to ethnicities and languages can be useful for your recruiters
  • You can also search for diverse universities and professional associations

5. Finding relevant communities

  • You can search for many technical and other communities to find information about individual talent
  • Some sites are best searched by using website-specific native searches, like GitHub and Meetup
  • Sites like Stack Overflow, however, can be more effectively searched by using site-specific searches (“site:”)

6. Social media: Facebook, Twitter, Google

  • In early 2015, Shane McCusker created an easy-to-use free web tool to search various Facebook fields, allowing you to find people much more effectively than by using Facebook’s native search
  • Twitter’s advanced search can help you to find people who are talking about a particular thing in a particular location
  • Google+ has its own native search, but X-ray on Google is often easier – site-specific search again: “ (“CPA” OR accountant)”

7. Easy custom search

  • You can use the free Chrome extension Search Bar to put a large number of custom search engines at your fingertips in a toolbar format
  • By noting where the variable text of your search appears in a URL (”), you can create and save easily accessible custom searches by replacing the variable text with “%s” (“%s”)

8. Competitive Intelligence

  • Your recruiters get intelligence from candidates and business people in the field all the time, but some great free tools can help you to identify companies that are being acquired, laying off staff, or experiencing financial issues
  • With Owler, you can create custom company lists and receive news about these specific companies through the web or email
  • Industry-specific sites can help you narrow down your intelligence further, e.g., FiercePharmaDealbreaker, and FierceMarkets
  • Glassdoor can give you a valuable point of view of a company’s employees

9. Must-have browser extensions

  • There are several tools available to you that are free or have free trials and can help you find people and contact information
  • HootSuite Hootlet – post any page to some or all of your social networks

10. Must-have search sites

  • SourceHub – provides suggested extra keywords and transfers your search easily to specific sites
  • Pipl – allows you to search social profiles by name and location

For an even more in-depth guide to sourcing, check out Straight to the Source: Why Candidate Sourcing Matters and Tips For Success. Filled with interesting insights into talent acquisition and more top sourcing tips, this guide can help you and your agency considers boosting your recruitment strategies in a post-GDPR landscape.

Want to take your sourcing efforts to the next level? Find all our great sourcing content in one place in our guide to candidate sourcing.

candidate sourcing

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