As recruiters we get a lot of candidates for various positions through various avenues. Let’s face it – our jobs are all about candidates. The great ones, the good ones, the bad ones, and the “what are you thinking?” ones.

With an influx of candidates coming from inbound applications, outbound sourcing, and referrals which avenue provides the best candidates?

Unquestionably, number one is referrals. If a person is willing to put their name on your candidacy it says a lot about you as an employee and as a person. Generally, candidates are referred by a mutual acquaintance, someone who the recruiter is familiar with and can trust. I have never turned down a chance to interview a referral for a potential position. All the more reason to build your network and maintain great relationships with former employers and colleagues — you never know when they could come in handy.

The second best channel is outbound sourcing. It just makes sense, we saw your resume, profile, or website and we think you will be a fit. Yes, sometimes the recruiter is wrong, or your profile doesn’t go deep enough into your experience for us to be sure, but there was something about you that we think would be a fit, and there’s a good chance we are right. The downfall to this is that you may not be looking for a new job or interested in the position, which does make outbound sourcing frustrating sometimes.

Lastly, there are inbound resumes. Don’t get me wrong, if you are a fit for the position, please apply! Some of the best candidates come from inbound resumes, but that is rare. Recruiters look at every single resume that comes in, and for certain positions we get a flood of applications. The majority of inbound applications are not even closely related to the position. Some are similar, but if the applicant thoroughly read the job description he would see that he doesn’t have the experience we are looking for. Then there is the small amount of applicants who are right for the role. Please read the job descriptions and make sure it is a match for your background before hitting “apply”.

So what is the moral of the story? Maintain relationships! While we consider each and every candidate, referrals have a special place in our hearts and we love getting them. The bigger your network the more opportunities you could have. If a friend or former colleague hears of an opportunity that would be a match for you and knows you’re looking, they will most likely refer you.

photo by: USDAgov