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What is pre-sourcing and how does it help?

When you want to do something right, it’s best to take a scientific approach so you leave as little to chance as possible. When it comes to recruitment, and sourcing in particular, it can be difficult to establish what a scientific approach actually looks like, but pre-sourcing can take you a long way towards streamlining your work with clarity.

But what is pre-sourcing? You may not even be aware of it, but you’re probably performing some level of pre-sourcing whenever you look for new candidates for an open position. The more you can separate out and clearly define pre-sourcing as its own effort, the better your results will be.

Pre-sourcing is essentially the process of establishing precisely what qualifications and capabilities are required for a position before you go looking for candidates – in other words, pre-qualifying potential candidates.

At first glance, this may sound obvious and easy; in reality, pre-sourcing requires in-depth thought and effective communication. And that’s because pre-sourcing isn’t just about deciding what kind of education or work experience you would prefer candidates to have, it’s about looking at a position in your organization scientifically and asking yourself what it truly requires – particularly in terms of soft skills.

Regardless of technical qualifications, what type of person is likely to succeed in a given position? Yes, this applies to the work itself (a position might require the ability to stay calm and productive under stress, for example), but it also applies to the work environment and the team that will surround the candidate who is eventually hired. Always ask yourself what skills and/or abilities does a candidate need to flourish in the specific environment and conditions you are hiring for.

This in turn requires that you paint a picture for yourself of what you want to be accomplished from that position in the near and distant future. Pre-sourcing is about having a vision and finding candidates who share and understand that vision. This approach also opens you up to candidates who may not have handled the same tasks in the past, but who can demonstrate they will be capable of and excited to meet the challenges that await them.

Importantly, pre-sourcing saves valuable time and resources while simultaneously producing better results. By understanding the true requirements of a position and not just what makes a candidate look good on paper, you can then target your sourcing efforts with greater precision, spending time and effort on the best candidates you can reach rather than sifting through an endless stack of essentially irrelevant resumes.

Where pre-sourcing fits into building a pipeline
But pre-sourcing isn’t only important in your search for talent to fill a specific position, it is also a great tool in building a talent pipeline that will serve your organization for years to come.

Put more accurately, pre-sourcing is a pre-tool to building a pipeline, a preliminary process that sets you up for success before you even begin gathering candidates around you. After all, how can you construct a talent pipeline without fully considering the qualifications and requirements necessary to fill a position?

Pre-sourcing will also help you construct an entire recruitment process that is more precise and more efficient, leading to better results. Knowing what a position requires on such an intimate level will help you answer questions like who should interview candidates for that position, how many interviews should be conducted, should there be a skill test somewhere along the line, etc.

Generally speaking, you should be asking yourself the following questions whenever you are thinking about hiring someone new:

* Why? – What do you hope to accomplish by hiring? What is missing from your team to reach your business goals?
* When? – Is this the right time to hire? Do you have the capacity to onboard a new team member?
* How? – What is the right recruitment process to hire for this position and what’s the best way to reach out? This interacts directly with candidate experience.
* Who? – Who is the right person for the mission you have in mind? What assets and qualifications should he/she bring to the table? Soft skills + hard skills produce a holistic view of the perfect candidate.

The next step is to make yourself a sheet that includes job requirements and traits that might give candidates an advantage. This reality check is crucial, so don’t ever skip this stage. We are all looking for superman but, in reality, the best candidate probably won’t possess all the assets you come up with, and you do not want to lose him.

We can only assume you don’t rely on chance or other external forces to decide the fate of other processes in your organization, so why be so nonchalant when it comes to sourcing? The right way to go about it is to start thinking about what a position requires in pre-sourcing rather than thinking about what a specific candidate could bring to the table.

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