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How to source top candidates? (Tips & Tricks by Dean Da Costa)

Sourcing can be both a bane and a boon. It depends on how you carry it out. You either wait for candidates to reach out to you or you do what Dean says works today - you master your outbound approach through adequate research combined with outbound messages that tick, and tools that make the whole process a breeze for you.


Sourcing top executives for over 30 years with a breeze, Dean Da Costa is known for his unique ways of sourcing the best talent in the industry. Every sourcer aspires to be like Dean. If you're hearing about Dean for the first time, you’re surely going to want to know more about him as you discover his tips, tricks and wisdom on finding the top talent in a world that has more jobs than people.

These tips, tricks, and insights were shared by Dean on our first episode of Recruiters on Record - a conversation series where we cut the fluff bringing actual frameworks and insights for recruiters, sourcers and founders.

What is Candidate Sourcing

Candidate sourcing is finding potential candidates for current and future vacancies. The process also involves qualifying candidates who’re both actively looking out for a job or might be open to exploring opportunities. 

Candidate sourcing is essential for companies to keep their top-of-the-funnel brimming at all times. 

How has sourcing evolved over the years?

A few decades ago, recruiters and sourcers would sit back and wait for candidates to reach out to them. Offline mediums like print ads and job fairs were prevalent. In fact, some of the means like sending letters via the fax machine or people collecting resumes at a job fair don’t even exist today. 

The (sourcing) tables have turned. 

Sourcing has moved online in the past few years, thanks to the internet and technology - current-day sourcers have a number of tools, resources, and data at their disposal. 

Infographic | Evolution of sourcing
💡Dean’s Advice: Recruiters and sourcers need to be extremely proactive today. The focus must shift from inbound to outbound recruitment. Go where you potential candidates are hanging out. 

How to source the top candidates? 

  1. Get to know everything about the role

The first step toward successful sourcing is thoroughly knowing what the role entails and how it is evolving in the current times. Every organization has its own definition of a particular role. So it’s important that you align with the hiring manager to understand what they are looking for in a candidate for a particular role. 

  1. Find the best-fit candidates

“There’s nobody on the internet that you cannot find,” assures Dean. Finding the right candidate is what a sourcer is expected to do. And to nail that, you must know where your potential candidates are. All you have to do is look at the right places. 

If you’re looking for engineers go to Github, looking for executives look up the team’s section on the company websites, check Dribble for designers, and so on. Also, use your existing talent pool. Further, active job seekers on LinkedIn usually update their profile using LinkedIn’s #opentowork feature. Look for these seekers. 

💡Dean’s Recommendations: Sched.com for people attending conferences, Bvsg.org for Bing vs Google search results, Techmap to search companies in particular locations, Chartloop for organizational charts

  1. Collect the right information 

Once you’ve figured out who your potential candidates are, you’d definitely want to reach out to them as soon as possible. To do that, you first need to collect the right contact information. While Dean has his own unique ways of finding all the information about potential candidates, one of the simplest ways he suggests is to use the right tools to extrapolate the information. For example, he suggests using ceoemail.com to find out executive email addresses. 

You start by collecting the information that’s available and then enrich the data further to get all the information about a particular candidate. 

💡Dean’s Recommendations: Instant Datascrapper, Rocket Reach, CEO Email

  1. Engage with qualified candidates 

After collecting the candidate’s information, the next ideal step in sourcing the best candidates is to talk to them. Instead of choosing one channel to connect with the candidates, it’s important to know which channel would your candidates be most active on. It could be email, LinkedIn Inmails, etc.

Whichever channel you choose, ensure that your messages aren’t like the one below. 

The email you should NEVER send.
the email you should NEVER send

What’s important is that you send messages that your potential candidates would actually want to open, read and respond to. Dean has figured out a way to write emails that increase the chances of candidates acknowledging the email.

💡Dean’s Tip: Use the WIIFM (What’s In It For Me) model to write emails that strike a chord with the candidates. Where Me = the candidate receiving your email. So, in your email, convey what’s in store FOR the candidate. 

💡Dean’s Favourite Tools for nailing sourcing emails: Textio.com, Readable, Joblint to avoid mis-cultural, sexist, or racist messaging, SpamcheckFroalo to help you accurate emails, 
  1. Choose your tools wisely 

A death by tool overload is a high possibility if you confuse yourself while picking tools and mediums. Using the right tool at the right stage of your sourcing lifecycle will save you ample bandwidth and speed up your sourcing efforts. 

💡Dean’s Trick: Don’t use 3-4 similar tools that do the same job or try to do it manually. Pick one tool that does the job well and get going. For instance, if you can automate your outbound reachout campaigns, don’t spend time sending one email a day by yourself. 
  1. Build your own sourcing stack 

Nope! We aren’t asking you to forget sourcing or recruitment and build a product instead. What we mean is, experiment and start organizing your most useful tools in a way that increases your productivity, saves enough time, and helps you source faster. 

Over the years, Dean has set up some 26 chrome-based browsers with about 400 extensions on each along with a host of tools and software that he finds useful. He’s been kind enough to share his secret sourcing stack with our audience. 

💡Dean’s Secret Sourcing Stack 

  1. Find your own unique 

The key to becoming the best at what you do in sourcing is to find your strengths and weaknesses. 

Dean believes that everybody has the ability to do something better than everybody else. 

Like Dean’s ability is to compartmentalize and pull out information in a timely manner. You could be great at writing those cold reach-out emails. Leverage that and build on top of it 

Summing it up

Sourcing can be both a bane and a boon. It depends on how you carry it out. You either wait for candidates to reach out to you or you do what Dean says works today - you master your outbound approach through adequate research combined with outbound messages that tick, and tools that make the whole process a breeze for you.

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