What is sourcing in IT recruitment and why is it so important?

What is sourcing in IT recruitment and why is it so important? itMatch Blog Post

Published: June 18, 2024 by itMatch

What is sourcing in IT recruitment?

In the simplest terms, sourcing is a set of activities that seek to establish contact with a potential candidate. For this stage of the process, both a recruiter and a specialized person working as a sourcer can be responsible - the latter solution is used primarily in recruitment agencies focused on large volumes of candidates. Active search essentially has one goal - to increase the pool of candidates with persons who do not take action seeking to change jobs, but are willing to accept a suitably favorable offer.

By conducting active research, a recruitment agency is able to expand its candidate base, used both for the current process and for later clients. In the case of niche qualifications, which are available to a very limited group of specialists in a given country, sourcing is the only way to find a candidate who meets the requirements of the client. For exactly the same reason, agencies go to great lengths to thoroughly crawl the market in search of a potential manager or person who will play a key role in the organization being served.

Sourcing complements passive recruitment, but cannot replace it. Active search for employees in the tech industry is needed almost always, but a well-prepared advertisement based on detailed market mapping allows you to gather a certain group of specialists practically effortlessly.

How to conduct effective sourcing in IT recruitment?

Since sourcing is the actual foundation of active recruitment, this process will be combined in part with the very implementation of the cooperation between the recruitment agency and the client.

Analysis of business needs and gathering requirements for candidates

Sourcing won't succeed if we don't know exactly who we are looking for. The search for candidates is based primarily on the technologies they are familiar with, so it is essential to prepare a list of criteria on which we will base our search filters. Of course, the more precisely the requirements for a future employee are written down, the more effective the search will be.

Typically, the process of establishing requirements accompanies the creation of an advertisement, so in most cases, the search for candidates occurs after the final approval of all criteria.

This is also the time to conduct market mapping, which is crucial when looking for niche specialists. Analyzing the activities of competitors who have recently conducted similar recruitments makes it easier to formulate an attractive offer with the potential to close the position.

Compiling a list of selling points

Let's note that sourcing is an activity that is also supposed to affect passive candidates, who are certainly present in the IT industry. This means, of course, that the offer being constructed must be attractive and lucrative enough that the candidate being interviewed is willing to give up his existing position. Of course, it is relatively easy to convince a candidate with money and many companies simply choose to offer very attractive wages, but this is not the only bargaining chip.

According to our experience, selling points must be differentiated according to the age of the candidate. Generation Z representatives are much more focused on interpersonal relationships and friendliness of the environment, while their older counterparts are more likely to seek stability and certainty. How does this translate into reality? A younger candidate needs to be mentioned, first and foremost, about opportunities for growth and the potential for more raises, while someone born 20 years earlier should be mentioned, for example, about the possibility of being hired on an employment contract with a long notice period and paid vacations, which has been coming back into favor in the last year.

Building a candidate database

The itMatch database, which we have been building for a decade now, contains more than 40,000 candidate profiles, which allows us to contact specialists in almost any field within the broadly defined IT industry. In the vast majority of cases, we are supported by active searches on platforms such as Linkedin, github, stack overflow and GoldenLine anyway. Unfortunately, however, in this case, there are no shortcuts - effective and qualitative recruitment forces sourcers to spend many hours searching, by means of which they slowly build a database of candidates, including their personal contact information and a brief description of their competencies.

Contacting candidates

This is essentially the key element of the entire recruitment process. Before a candidate thinks longer about a job change and arranges a screening with a recruiter, you need to make any kind of contact with them. 

The first message to a candidate is incredibly important. According to quite well-known studies, our opinion of a newly met person is formed in just 7 seconds and, unfortunately, this also very much translates into business relationships. It is definitely worth taking care of the quality of the first message - over-formalization, stiffness and any mistakes, especially regarding names, are absolutely unacceptable. Of course, recruiters contact dozens of people a day and sooner or later some mistake will appear, but you should minimize the risk - it's better to spend a few seconds more and make sure that a mistake hasn't crept in somewhere. Let's admit it, probably every programmer has received a message on Linkedin that was either addressed to a person with a different name or to someone with clearly different competencies.

You also need to keep in mind the technological limitations - messages sent to candidates via Linkedin must be relatively short - the character limit is only 1,900. This forces us to include only the most relevant points of the offer, which will give us the best chance of generating interest. Less than 300 words, because this is the quantity we are talking about, usually allows us to convey the most relevant information (brief characteristics of the company, the technologies used, the form of contract, salary range), but forces us to be concise and precise.

Sourcing in recruitment from the technical aspect - sourcing tools

We must, at least briefly, discuss the technical aspect of sourcing. Contrary to popular belief, the search for candidate profiles does not just consist of constantly browsing Linkedin using various keywords.

First of all, sourcers use various tools to support them every step of the way.

In addition to the aforementioned industry and business websites like Linkedin, even Facebook groups are used from time to time. The topic can also be approached more analogously - remember that university career fairs are even a goldmine for a recruiter. It's definitely worth going to events, as you can find many young and extremely talented people there, often still studying.

Advantages and disadvantages of sourcing

The fundamental advantage of sourcing in IT recruitment is its effectiveness in building a pool of candidates - passive resume collection generally doesn't work when looking for niche specialists or people with years of experience. By opening up to seniors and unique talents, we are better able to meet our client's business goals, which is obviously in their interest.

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It is also an opportunity to nurture the candidate experience - courtesy and friendliness on the part of the recruiter always make a good impression, and even if the candidate is not persuaded in this particular process, he or she is a person who can be contacted in the future.

On the other hand, sourcing involves quite significant resources - the search for candidates can take many days, which of course costs money. Although the only cost is the time of the recruitment / sourcing team, large-scale sourcing campaigns can be really expensive. Of course, expenses increase drastically when trips to all kinds of events are also involved, as promotional materials and travel costs must also be factored in.

A mishandled candidate search process can also hurt in terms of reputation. Knowing the importance of properly conducted employer branding, no rational Hiring Manager should allow candidates to form a negative opinion of the company. Mistakes, incompetence or lack of diligence on the part of the recruiter can bring dire consequences and measurable losses.

Why should itMatch take care of sourcing candidates for your needs?

The answer is basically simple - because no one will do it as quickly and as well as we do.  Thanks to the dynamic structure of our organization, more than 1,300 completed recruitments and one of the largest databases of candidate profiles in Poland, we are able to deliver the first candidates within days of starting cooperation, taking care of the highest possible level of their competencies and matching them with the culture in your company. Whether you are looking for a DevOps Engineer or a security specialist, we can help you!


Nowadays, sourcing is the only solution for companies seeking to hire highly qualified specialists in unpopular fields. While this recruitment technique involves a large use of human and capital resources, it is difficult to find an alternative to it. However, it is worth maximizing its effectiveness by working with the leader in the Polish recruitment market, itMatch 🙂

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