We’ve all seen what happens when you go wide on your candidate sourcing, without targeting specific candidates who are right for a given role. It’s a slow, expensive way to end up with someone who isn’t the best fit for your client.

Finding the right person for a job requires good research. And in today’s world, that starts with a simple Google search. But as our new course on candidate sourcing reveals, there’s much more to effective research than just punching someone’s name into a search engine.

In order to make effective, impactful decisions about potential candidates, it’s essential to understand the available different types of information, and how to access them. Our guide provides a complete overview of the research process, from start to finish. With this information at your fingertips, you’ll be able to quickly and efficiently find the best candidates for any role.

Researching candidates wherever they are

When it comes to researching and sourcing candidates, it’s important to cast a wide net. With the current candidate shortage, you can’t afford to limit your search to only the candidates you already know. Instead, you need to be able to efficiently search for candidates online. Boolean searching is a powerful tool that can help you filter all the information that’s out there. For example, using ‘’ before your search terms can help you find candidates on LinkedIn. Researching candidates wherever they are is essential for finding the right people for the job. Boolean searching is just one of the ways you can make your research more efficient.

Some quick research into candidates you already know is fairly straightforward. But that’s just a small part of the overall talent pool and, particularly given the current candidate shortage, it’s your job to find the right people wherever they are.

In part, effective research is about understanding the places your ideal candidates are most likely to be reachable. This could include social media, events, and more. However, it’s also important that you can efficiently search for candidates online.

One key technique is Boolean searching – using powerful search tools to refine and filter all the information that’s out there. If you’re not already using Boolean search, it’s a game-changer.

For example, using ‘’ before your search terms in Google restricts results to pages on LinkedIn. Similarly, using ‘senior leader’ will get you results for that mention ‘senior’ or ‘leader’ – using ‘senior AND leader’ will get you the filtered results you need.

There are numerous commands you could be using to make your searches more accurate. This is also useful on individual social media platforms, where you may be looking to research individual candidates and find all their posts.

Find everyone who matters

Every recruiter knows how important it is to research candidates, whether that’s through social media, online communities, or a traditional reference from a previous employer. But many, many people influence candidates – and could be the difference between securing their interest or being ignored. Find everyone who matters: current boss, direct reports, colleagues, mentors, and peers in the industry. Talk to them all – you may be surprised at what you learn. And make sure you keep your eyes open for hidden talent: that person who always has his head down at meetings could be the next big thing – so don’t write him off just because he’s not an extrovert. The more you know about a candidate, the better your chances of making the right hire.

Beyond individual candidates, take some time to map out the communities where the kind of people you’re looking for gather. The process can take some time, but you’ll usually see the roles of various people within a few weeks. This could include:

  • Thought leaders and influencers in a given industry
  • People who are currently searching for new opportunities
  • The most skilled in a given role or niche
  • The people who lead or moderate a given community
  • Other recruiters who are present

Once you understand who’s who across the community, you can start to build relationships and trust.

You can build these relationships offline, too. Candidates you have placed have the potential to become clients in the future while delivering great service to anyone who gives you a reference is a fantastic way to network.

The research goes both ways

The talent pool is competitive and online research is a two-way street. Not only are you researching potential candidates, but they are also researching you. This is why it is so important to be active in communities, whether that means posting content and opinions or engaging in conversations with the people who matter most. The more active you can be, the more trusted you will be, and the better positioned you will be to take advantage of opportunities when they arise. By being active in your field and building relationships, you can create a network of trust that will serve you well in your career.

Leave a Comment