Sourcing Strategies Continue to Fall Short, Says New Research 

Recent findings indicate that talent acquisition departments continue to struggle with arguably their most important function.

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Jun 21, 2023

Three years ago, during the height of the pandemic, findings by Aptitude Research showed that the most critical capability gap in talent acquisition involved sourcing candidates. And now, Aptitude’s research again shows that sourcing remains the biggest challenge for TA teams.

Regardless of industry or hiring activity, companies struggle to identify and attract the right talent even with new solutions and opportunities. What’s more, sourcing is often reactionary as organizations are left scrambling to find and compete for talent in a short period of time.

Sourcing in Disarray

With changes in the labor market, companies need to think differently about traditional sourcing methods and measures of success. Innovation in technology and AI is helping to drive this change and gives companies options that were not available ten years ago to achieve both speed and quality — but technology will not fix a broken process. And investing in the right solutions and tracking the right metrics remain challenges for even the most sophisticated sourcing function.

To fill this capability gap, employers are building out internal expertise, outsourcing sourcing activities, or leveraging technology that includes job boards, sourcing solutions, talent intelligence, and contingent workforce solutions. And, no surprise many companies are turning to AI-infused technology to help fill the gaps and provide immediate solutions.

But not all sourcing providers are the same. The result is that many sourcing strategies continue to fail to deliver results. Research shows several challenges with sourcing, including:

  • Dissatisfaction with sourcing strategies. Three-quarters of companies are not happy with their sourcing strategy.
  • Lack of ROI. Sixty-five percent of organizations don’t measure the ROI of their sourcing investments.
  • Too many sourcing solutions. One in three companies use more than five sourcing tools.
  • Lack of expertise. Many companies lack the expertise and capabilities required to source effectively.
  • Sourcing diverse candidates. Orgs still rely on the same job boards, job aggregators, and sourcing channels to find candidates without thinking more broadly about diversity. Additionally, many companies are not tracking sources of hire to know where they are finding more diverse candidates.
  • Difficulty finding candidates in the ATS/CRM. Search is the main point of frustration with many ATS and CRM systems. It’s limited to keywords, and many candidates have incomplete or outdated profiles. Indeed, recruiters spend over 10 hours a week on average looking for candidates in the ATS.
  • Limited in-house expertise. Employers do not have expertise in sourcing. For some companies building out their sourcing functions, they are simply shuffling recruiters or HR professionals into sourcing roles without considering the expertise needed.

Fixing Sourcing

Some of the ways that organizations are responding to such challenges include:

  • Redefining talent. Companies must think more holistically around talent and include contingent workers in their sourcing strategies.
  • Determining sourcing channels. Businesses have shifted sourcing channels over the past year, and determining which options work best for the future is a key priority.
  • Defining and contextualizing quality. Sourcing must be able to balance both efficiency with quality.
  • Developing a data-driven approach. Sourcing can no longer be ad hoc. Companies need data to gain insights and drive decision making around sourcing strategies.

The reality is that sourcing talent has become both easier and more challenging. On the one hand, advancements in technology have made it possible to reach a global pool of talent and connect with people who may have been out of reach just a few decades ago. But lack of expertise and the volume of information makes it challenging for companies to find the right talent.

Companies today must use a multi-pronged approach that combines world-class technology and AI with more traditional methods. Ultimately, sourcing talent today requires a strategic and thoughtful approach that leverages both technology and human connections.

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