Are companies being too strict with finding “the ideal” candidate? Maybe it’s time to lower expectations a little.¬† Research from McClean & Company weighs in with their findings on the recruiting environment. The goal of their research is to help HR leaders expand candidate pipelines – despite high levels of turnover and increased competition for top talent. Their report, Elevate Talent Sourcing, was built based on industry research, survey insights, and data collected from 2019 to 2022.

Talent shortages driven by external environmental changes, tightening labor markets, and rising candidate expectations have made sourcing talent increasingly challenging. According to McLean & Company, combating these obstacles requires rethinking traditional sourcing activities.

Need Bigger Talent Pools

“Redefining what makes a ‘quality’ candidate is crucial to finding stronger, more diverse talent pools,” says¬†Laura Ribadeneira, Director, HR Research & Advisory Services at McLean & Company. “It’s important to prioritize the transferrable skills and experiences candidates bring, rather than relying on historic job requirements. This means talent acquisition specialists must have the skills, tools, and organizational support to influence a shift in hiring practices and decisions.”

The latest research from McLean & Company shows that recruiting has remained the number one priority for organizations since 2020, though HR departments’ effectiveness at enabling recruiting has decreased by 8% despite HR spending 25% more of their time on talent acquisition compared to 2021. Sourcing talent for onsite roles is proving particularly challenging, with organizations unable to provide remote or hybrid work options being 1.5 times more likely to experience candidate ghosting and 1.3 times more likely to experience decreased job applications.

Relying on methods that worked in the past is no longer enough as the world of work continues to change. In order to attract and retain top talent, McLean & Company recommends HR leaders challenge historical perceptions of qualified candidates to ensure inclusivity and remove barriers for potential applicants to expand candidate pipelines further.

four steps to improve sourcing activities and channels

To assist HR teams in diversifying their talent pools, McLean & Company’s newly released blueprint outlines four steps to improve sourcing activities and channels:

1. Assess the current state of sourcing.

Collect stakeholder feedback on sourcing effectiveness, complete a sourcing analysis and uncover pain points, identify challenges requiring solutions beyond sourcing, and then set goals and metrics.

2. Optimize key sourcing activities.

Consider specific sourcing activities to improve and elevate things like intake meetings, success profiles, souring plans, job ad, and a nurtured talent pipeline.

3. Identify specific sourcing channels to improve.

Determine which channels meet current and future needs, explore other sourcing channels to integrate, and decide whether to elevate, maintain, remove, or build key sourcing channels. Consider adding additional talent programs or focusing on an alumni program or campus recruitments. And increasing social media presence is also helpful.

4. Implement changes to sourcing activities and channels.

Create a roadmap of planned changes to sourcing activities and channels and communicate planned changes to stakeholders. Partner with other functions to leverage existing knowledge and build skills, and then evaluate success and continually monitor effectiveness.


You can access the full report on the McLean & Company site.

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Jillian Hamilton has worked in a variety of Program Management roles for multiple Federal Government contractors. She has helped manage projects in training and IT. She received her Bachelors degree in Business with an emphasis in Marketing from Penn State University and her MBA from the University of Phoenix.