Active Sourcing – How can it be used?

The days when personnel managers could select the right candidate for a job from a wide range of applicants are long gone. Due to digitalization, the shortage of skilled workers and demographic change, the battle for talent is becoming increasingly difficult. Active Sourcing can be a promising, important method of recruiting employees so that companies do not miss the boat.

What is Active Sourcing?

Active Sourcing refers to all measures in which you actively seek personal contact with potential employees and establish a relationship with them. This means that you determine where potential candidates are located. This can be, for example, with competitors, at trade fairs, in forums and on online platforms such as social media channels. Once you have found the right person, contact them individually, usually also via social media or business networks. With their consent, you can add the candidates to a talent pool. This pool needs to be structured and maintained. Add the status and information on the candidates.

Once you have found the right person, contact them individually, usually also via social media or business networks. With their consent, you can add the candidates to a talent pool. This pool needs to be structured and the status and information about the candidates added.

Goals of Active Sourcing

The aim of Active Sourcing is to retain potential employees through personal contact until they can be recruited. This can take the form of information exchange or invitations to special events, trade fairs, online conferences or expert forums. The aim of the growing bond is to prevent candidates from migrating to competitors.

How can Active Sourcing be applied?

But when and how can Active Sourcing be applied to your company? It is particularly rewarding in the following areas:

  • IT
  • Engineering
  • Sales
  • Marketing
  • HR
  • Finance and Controlling

In other words, areas in which potential candidates are already well represented in online networks. It is also particularly relevant for positions that require initial professional experience and specialist knowledge. Nevertheless, even entry-level or management positions can be held, which should be checked individually depending on the position.

Targeted use of platforms

In order to successfully implement Active Sourcing, you must first search for platforms on which the appropriate target group for the position in question is represented. You then decide on the basis of a requirement profile that you have created beforehand for a few suitable people. As a first step, you will draw their attention to a vacancy or to your company.

It is important to always address potential candidates in a target group-oriented and personalized manner. Make specific reference to their personal skills, professional competencies and experience. Enter into an appreciative, individualized dialogue with each individual. In this way, you arouse the candidate’s interest until he or she is finally open to a career change.

The operational implementation

The following platforms and methods can help you with the operative implementation:

  • Social media, for the search but also the targeted approach of potential candidates
  • Business networks, such as Xing and LinkedIn
  • Career pages, on the homepage but also in online networks
  • various blogs, e.g. on specialist topics, research and approaching potential candidates
  • CV database, such as Monster or Stepstone, to search profiles 
  • Actively managed and maintained talent pool
Active-Sourcing - How can it be used?

The role of apps

In addition, certain apps and platforms, e.g. for video applications, can also be promising components of active sourcing. This allows you to introduce and present them yourself and invite candidates to a video application. They then have the opportunity to show their personality on video. This will give you a personal impression.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of Active Sourcing?

Active Sourcing has some decisive advantages for your company. You can also reach passive candidates. In addition, you can specifically discover and address talents. Furthermore, if there is an existing need for personnel, you can first access the talent pool that has been built up, which saves costs. This way, you don’t have to start the search from scratch and you don’t have to advertise for jobs. Individualized, goal-oriented and appreciative communication usually increases the response rate compared to other concepts. 

A disadvantage of Active Sourcing, especially at the beginning of the efforts, is the sometimes high research effort. Especially if the talent pool is not yet sufficiently filled or if very special positions are targeted. In addition, there is always a remaining risk that the potential applicant will feel harassed and that establishing contact could, therefore, damage the image of the company.


A shortage of skilled workers, demographic change, digitalization and the increasingly strong “War for talents” – all of these factors are making it more and more difficult for companies to recruit suitable employees. But if you adapt to them and apply new recruiting methods such as Active Sourcing, you can gain a decisive competitive advantage.

Although there is an increased need for research at the beginning of Active Sourcing, this can pay off in the long term. Social media, apps and new forms of application such as video applications also make Active Sourcing increasingly easier. What is important is a respectful, individualized and target group-oriented approach and the active management of a talent pool. So this method can soon be the decisive advantage for you.

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