Part II: The science of sourcing creatively

Ready for part II of our three-part series with Fetcher? In this post, we reveal essential information about passive candidates, inbounds, and the science of sourcing creatively.

As the future of work evolves, attracting the right talent requires a certain amount of intentionality and creativity. Understanding the differences between potential employees, while also using the right tools to target them, is vital. When recruiting today, potential candidates generally fall into two buckets: inbound and passive.


Hiring passive candidates means being proactive and trying out new strategies, but the results can be more than worth it. While inbound active candidates certainly have value, they tend to not be on the market very long and the number available can be quite low (especially when hiring for a technical role).  Prioritizing passive candidates can have a positive effect on a company. It can help them to “level up“ by bringing on new employees with relevant experience and specific skill sets and positively impact everything from morale to retention.

Inbound & Passive Candidates

How can you optimize your inbound recruitment processes? When relying on inbound applicants, put your messaging under a microscope. With the sheer amount of job posts out there, companies get one shot to stand out. In an earlier post, we touched on the importance of job descriptions.  In addition to the job description, look at your employer branding and how you are positioning yourself in the industry. Who are you attracting with your messaging, mission, and values? Are you unintentionally isolating groups you would like to draw to your company? Are you listing compensation for a role? If so,  it may be useful to take a look at websites like Payscale and Glassdoor; many potential candidates use the information there to inform where they apply or what they negotiate for.

Some companies find it challenging to reduce the number of unwanted resumes that they receive, but a critical look at your criteria can solve that. If the criteria are too strict, you will have too few candidates coming into the pipeline. Too lax, and you will be inundated with people whom you are not interested in talking to. Take another look at what’s required versus nice-to-haves, make sure you are being clear about what you need, and remove things that are too general or can be misconstrued.

In order to expand the interested candidate pool and find the best hires for a role, more and more hiring teams are prioritizing passive candidates. When building new teams or looking for specific technical or executive talent, companies are unsurprisingly attracted to those who have already demonstrated success in a given role. Yet, pursuing this type of talent is not easy, and for companies in the tech sector, the passive candidate pool is even harder to tap into.

So how do you reach and connect with this top talent when they’re not actively seeking out new opportunities? This is where tools that automate the unearthing of passive talent can yield quantifiable results.

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Over 80% of working Americans are open to new opportunities, with new data suggesting that a shift in hiring practices could help companies better connect with this large group. This is great news for hiring teams targeting passive candidates. Unfortunately, finding and engaging with this passive talent is time consuming.

Data shows it can take up to 8.5 hours to manually contact 100 passive candidates, with hiring teams spending up to 60% of their day manually sourcing these candidates. Given that the labor market is incredibly tight and competitive, especially for technical talent, sourcing candidates can take even more time and effort. Fortunately, there is an array of solutions to make this process more efficient, so that you are not spending your whole day talent searching.

Hiring teams tend to scour platforms like LinkedIn, GitHub, Behance, and Dribble to identify talent. The downside to this method is that everyone else does it, too. Therefore, the competition is high. Staffing agencies can help source talent, but they are often too expensive: charging up to 20% of the proposed salary as a fee. That said, there are automated recruiting platforms out there that are significantly more cost-effective than an agency that can still provide the competitive edge hiring teams need.

Choosing an automated recruiting platform that integrates with applicant tracking systems (ATS) is the power combo that can help target passive candidates, bringing in the right talent and providing valuable tracking data to ensure hiring teams are getting the most out of their recruiting efforts. However, tools and organizations should be vetted to ensure that their methods for sourcing talent align with a company’s values and mission.

If you do not have an army of recruiters at your disposal, automating some parts of candidate discovery and outreach funnel can supercharge your hiring efforts at a reasonable cost. That said, regardless of how you source talent, increasing engagement and response rates can be difficult.  Candidates are likely to scrutinize the companies they will work for and the people they will work with.


To increase engagement and response rates, hiring teams should automate candidate outreach, particularly when targeting passive talent. You should automate an initial outreach email, and then automate two additional follow-ups if the candidate does not reply. According to Fetcher data, 50% of candidates respond not to the first email, but rather, to the second or third email. Automating this outreach means candidates do not get dropped. It also allows for consistent messaging across your team.

Even while focusing on passive candidates, remember to care for your inbound candidates, too! It is important to ensure inbound resumes aren’t going unanswered. Job seekers talk to each other, and candidates will do their research. A company’s lack of response to inbound resumes could hurt future hiring efforts, as there is a lot of talk about being “ghosted” by hiring teams. This “ghosting” could then reduce the number of qualified candidates entering your pipeline.

Whether you’re targeting passive candidates or working through inbound channels, people in the business of hiring know their jobs are complex and ever-evolving. There is constant pressure to fill open positions quickly, with the “right” people. Tweaking messaging and screening strategies are common pivots when you’re having trouble finding qualified hires, but automation often provides the most value in the shortest amount of time.

Next up in the final part of our series, we will tackle strategies to improve the overall candidate experience. As we build teams, we not only have to think about how we interact with candidates, but how we onboard new team members. When we work together across industries to understand the road to diversity and how to build more inclusive work environments, we put an end to the pervasive view that there is just one path to diversity.

Brandice Sills-Payne contributed to this piece on behalf of