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Market Research: The Start of a Solid Sourcing Strategy

September 19, 2013

Just as brands leverage consumer market research to make marketing decisions, recruitment organizations gather market data to create sourcing strategies. Research including compensation, supply and demand and top performer data build the foundation of a sourcing strategy. Then sourcing specialists contribute to the evolution of the sourcing plan by providing real-time insight on the similarities and differences they’re discovering in the market.

As a sourcing specialist, receiving this market research up front is important for me to get my search started on the right foot. This is how I use some of the data I’m provided and how my insight plays into the overall plan:


While compensation may be a taboo topic for candidates during first-round interviews, it’s an imperative piece of information for sourcing specialists. Understanding the compensation ranges of the variety of backgrounds that candidates may possess lets me streamline my search focus from the beginning. For example, if I’m in search of a warehouse manager, having upfront knowledge of the compensation for similar roles (e.g., operations manager, logistics coordinator, inventory manager) allows me to tailor the search methods and any following conversation accordingly. I’m able to target positions with similar compensation and provide comparisons in the discussion with prospects if necessary.

Supply and Demand

The supply and demand of the workforce is an indicator of how competitive the market is for specific positions. By comparing the number of available candidates with the number of job postings for the position in the identified market, I’m prepared with the knowledge to have the conversation with candidates about competitive opportunities. If there are fewer active candidates than postings, I know I need to take a more proactive approach by utilizing direct sourcing and alternative sourcing methods including niche job boards, industry organizations and associations and social media channels.

Top Performers

An accurate analysis of the top performers – including their work history, education, awards and accolades, industry involvement and personality assessment results – allows me to align potential candidates. I can search for individuals with similar experiences and qualities as the top performers. Although examining the profiles of a select few top performers isn’t a full representation of success, it offers a comparative foundation for the search process. It’s important to set the bar high in the early stages of the search for the sake of efficiency.


Having market research before I start my search certainly helps me to determine which methods will work best, and increases my efficiency. However, as a sourcing specialist, these analytics must be nonstop. It’s vital to take the information provided and compare it to my discoveries. Taking notes on every conversation to better understand the background of great submits or why a quality candidate is not interested allows me to refine my strategy and equips the hiring manager with a more precise understanding of the market.

Market research is integral throughout the entire sourcing process. The data that provides a starting point is essential and actually speaking with candidates and gaining feedback from recruiters and hiring managers helps the strategy evolve and improve. As sourcing specialists, we are data analysts on a daily basis – utilizing our resources to gather data and analyze market research to form a baseline strategy, then adjusting our approach based on the real-world findings we learn only through involvement and experience.

About WilsonHCG

WilsonHCG is an award-winning, global leader in total talent solutions. Operating as a strategic partner, it helps some of the world’s most admired brands build comprehensive talent functions. With a global presence spanning more than 65 countries and six continents, WilsonHCG provides a full suite of configurable talent services including recruitment process outsourcing (RPO), executive search, contingent talent solutions and talent consulting. TALENT.™ It’s more than a solution, it’s who we are.