Sourcing and Hiring Top Development Talent in 2021


It’s no secret that top development talent for your organization is out there. But it might be tough finding them, or keeping them after you find them. Talent sourcing is the crucial first step in bringing highly qualified candidates into your organization. The best talent search teams are able to cultivate a robust stream of engaged potential hires that remain interested in joining your company for some time, if not indefinitely.

Building a strong pipeline of potential hires with both the technical skills and the right cultural fit begins by having clear processes implemented around this critical task from start to finish, whether it’s utilizing advanced technologies or adjusting existing practices. But with 86% of qualified candidates already employed, how do you succeed at sourcing and hiring top development talent in 2021 when most people aren’t even looking for new roles?

For starters, hiring managers will need to do more than just post attractive-sounding job descriptions and need to look beyond resumes. Yes, formal training and work experience are essential, but they are not the only factors to consider. You might not be able to find top development talent that tick all your boxes. And even if you do, you still want someone flexible enough to learn and try new things and who thrives on challenges. You want someone with a growth mindset because as your company grows, you want that developer to scale with you.

Recruitment takes a lot of time and effort, even more so when hiring developers. And amid a talent shortage (making it even more challenging for companies to find qualified developers at a price they can afford) not only do you need to find the talent, but you have to ensure they’re the right fit. Rushing the process and choosing poorly can set you back and cost considerably more than taking the time to find top development talent.

Sourcing vs. Recruiting

Rather than being distinct from recruiting, sourcing is a subset of the recruiting function. That said, recruiting and sourcing are increasingly recognized as distinct activities with very different goals and outcomes, requiring very different skills and processes.

Sourcing is the process of proactively searching for talent, whether there is a current vacancy or not. It involves finding and nurturing candidates who would not have otherwise applied for a position on their own. Sourcing entails searching for and identifying candidates, generating interest, and a screening process.

Recruiting, much like sourcing is also a proactive approach to locating talent. Many of the functions are similar to that of sourcing such as networking and candidate screening. The crucial difference though is that here the recruiter is actively looking to fill an open role and works directly with the hiring manager to facilitate this process. Recruiting functions involve performing reference checks, analyzing resumes, scheduling interviews, and making firm offers.

Sourcing is much more than simply specialized resume search and candidate name generation. It has morphed into a specialization of its own, and if you don’t understand the difference between sourcing and recruiting, it could end up adding to the overall cost and time to attract, win, and hire top talent.

What are the Benefits of Sourcing and Hiring Top Development Talent in 2021

Recruiters already have a full plate, with little to no time left for building a robust talent pipeline. Sourcing professionals can quickly surface talent and fill open positions faster because they have already identified and vetted a large pool of ready-made candidates, thus shortening the recruitment cycle and reducing recruiters’ workload too.

In the current job market, as much as 70% of eligible candidates are not actively looking for a change. These passive candidates—who are 17% less likely to need skill development since they are currently employed—can make excellent additions to any company if they’re provided with information about your organization and what you offer in terms of compensation, perks, and benefits.

Sourcing experts are adept at finding and connecting with top talent. Plus, they can craft customized value propositions to attract the best possible candidates. They know how to reach out effectively so that you don’t have your hiring managers wasting time on low-caliber candidates who won’t be productive members of your team.

Relying on referrals alone can complicate diversity initiatives. White women (12%), men of color (26%) and women of color (35%) are all less likely to receive a referral than White men are. When you’re filling your pipeline ahead of time, however, there’s time to uncover, engage, and convince this underrepresented segment to consider your organization. Sourcing entities are able to research potential employees from all over—as well as convince them that working with you will be a smart career move.

With recruiting, the average time to hire is 52 days. Sourcing on the other hand shortens this cycle because recruiters will already have a prescreened talent pool ready to engage. Managers and prospective employees will appreciate this more streamlined hiring process. Cultivating a talent pool before you need to hire also gives you access to a larger talent pool.

Tips for using Development Outsourcing to Hire the Best Talent

One of the best ways to stay ahead of the curve is to anticipate growth. That way, you’ll have some candidates ready when you make the change. According to a report from Glassdoor Economic Research, the average hiring process in the US takes 23 days. Using a more proactive approach to recruiting can significantly shorten the process and has many benefits. However, these can only be realized with the right strategy.

So, how does a recruiter go about finding  top development talent?

Develop Candidate Persona

This helps you build a set of criteria to target the right individuals. How much experience should the person have? What skills are important to the organization? Where have they worked? What type of projects have they worked on, what size and scope? It’s important to include every stakeholder directly affected by the hiring decision in this process to make sure you create a persona that fits a particular position.

Know Where to Look

To know where to find your candidate persona you need to be aware of the latest industry-specific communities and platforms that prospective candidates are active on.

Engage Appropriately

The best way to connect and engage with candidates is by using the channels they prefer. Maintain the conversation using personalized messages. Candidates are likely to be more receptive knowing that you value them as people and not just interested in their skill set. Taking the time to build this relationship fosters trust. Once you build trust, they are more likely to want to hear you out when a job does become available.

Master the Follow-Up

Reaching out once or twice does little to establish trust. Not only that, they are more likely to forget about you if you don’t follow up regularly. Keep them updated with occasional emails. Send them holiday greetings or news on key company accomplishments.

Enhance Your Employer Brand

Will Stanley, former Head of Global Recruiting at Glassdoor, sums it perfectly: “Everything a candidate has ever heard, read, or witnessed about your company will enter into the decision of whether to work with your company.”

Think about it, the most talented developers are approached by more than one company and candidates are constantly comparing companies to see which has the best culture fit and is overall more appealing. Building a powerful employer brand is thus key to winning over potential talent.

How to Avoid Failure in Development Outsourcing


Unless you know where your target is, you are sure to miss it every time. Sourcing and hiring top development talent in 2021 must take a holistic approach and solely focusing on the needs of one department or division is narrow-sighted.

It is important to be aware of the corporate roadmap. What are some of the upcoming business initiatives? Is the company looking to implement new technology to gain more of a competitive edge? This type of insight helps create a more appropriate talent reservoir. An understanding of where your company is headed will inform future talent needs and these need to be factored into your talent sourcing strategy. The best sourcing strategy has clearly defined goals and objectives that are measurable. These goals enable you to optimize the process that’ll yield better results.

A common mistake many companies make is using social media as a job board, rather than a networking and outreach tool. Your company’s social media presence should be a place to share valuable content with prospects. Your social media accounts must serve as an extension of your employer brand and leveraged to develop connections based on trust and respect.

Hiring managers must build partnerships with recruiters and engage with recruiters immediately when a new opening is identified. Early communication helps define the role, job description and identify the ideal candidate persona.

Communication is vitally important. Creative sourcing isn’t just what you say, but how you say it. Think about the tone of your message and if it conveys the ‘vibe’ of your organization. It’s crucial to consider who will be reading job ads and how they’ll be perceived. Make sure that none of your communication comes across as biased because you will be called out on it.

An IT Consultancy Partner That Grows by Your Side

Talent sourcing isn’t something you do when there’s an open position and then stop. The most successful companies understand that sourcing and hiring top development talent in 2021 requires a more proactive approach and view it as ongoing and constantly evolving practice that can save your company significant time and money if done right.

Recruitment has become a battleground where the war for top talent rages on. The pressure to find a strong hire quickly so that your time-to-hire metric doesn’t increase can be intense. To survive, you need to have a solid recruitment strategy which a human-centered IT services provider like Growin can deliver through our dedicated IT Recruitment and Talent Management teams. 

Sometimes the ideal candidate you are looking for simply doesn’t exist. And while we can’t do anything about that, we can offer you the next best thing, an HR-related process that covers the whole candidate’s journey where every career plan is adapted to each employee’s profile, experience, needs, and goals.

Growin can help build your software development team so you can deliver your projects faster, on time, and on budget. Get in touch with our team today and learn why companies lean on us for our innovative approaches to hiring top development talent.

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