Organic Sourcing for a Fair Hiring Process

Organic sourcing runs counter to many recent trends and long-practiced techniques in the talent acquisition industry. But its time has come.

Organic sourcing is a new idea that runs counter to many of the recent trends and other diversity, equity, and inclusion tactics based on sourcing. But it’s one whose time has come, especially now that organizations are putting more emphasis on fair hiring practices. 

What is organic sourcing?

Organic candidates are those who find a job and apply through common job boards like Indeed and LinkedIn or on an organization’s careers page. They are not found on LinkedIn or referred by an employee or friend. Organic sourcing is a method that focuses on attracting those candidates through inclusive job posts.

Organic sourcing is the most equitable form of candidate sourcing because it gives all qualified job seekers the opportunity to apply. It’s also one of the most efficient because it casts the widest net, attracting large, qualified, and naturally diverse candidate pools. 

In practice, organic sourcing means writing inclusive, welcoming job posts and publishing them on job boards that everyone can access. It emphasizes inclusion over exclusion. It’s not about creating a box and fitting the ‘right’ candidates into the box. It’s about making the box big enough for all qualified candidates. They only need a resume and a way to submit an application.

Organic sourcing prioritizes fairness

Organic sourcing runs counter to the latest trends in recruiting. However, it’s more in line with the latest trends in diversity, equity, and inclusion.

These days, you can read a lot about talent acquisition ecosystems, sourcing networks, referral bonus platforms, crowd-sourcing, on-demand sourcing, and other techniques. These methods involve actively seeking out candidates and relying on ‘closed’ networks, such as a third-party recruiter networks, to attract them. And while they’re great for finding candidates, they’re not so great for providing a fair hiring process.

Another thing that hinders fairness, as most recruiters know, is the goal of the hiring team. Hiring teams that prioritize speed will use processes that net the most candidates in the shortest time. Teams that prioritize ‘culture fit’ will go to the same well again and again to hire the same type of candidate based on past success. 

But what happens when fairness is the top goal? Organic sourcing places fairness over other concerns such as speed and cost. In other words, traditional priorities such as time-to-fill and cost-per-hire take a back seat. 

Organic sourcing is the foundation

Contrary to the notion that organic sourcing is time-consuming or expensive, it can be very efficient. If hiring teams know they have high-quality candidates in their organic funnel, they will be less likely to prioritize sourced candidates.

No diversity hack will check both the diversity box and the speed box, but there are many ways to create a more equitable hiring process. Companies can use organic sourcing as the foundation of a fair hiring process. And they can do it primarily with the most fundamental element of any hiring process, the job post, along with general branding and online content.

By prioritizing inclusive job posts on common job boards, organic sourcing puts heavy emphasis on the quality of your job posts. To continue with the box metaphor, your job posts need to bring every qualified job seeker into the box, not just the ‘right’ ones. Welcoming all qualified candidates becomes the goal. 

That means using industry-standard titles that job seekers can find in searches. It means including all of the important content that job seekers want to see (i.e., a diversity statement, benefits). And it means avoiding any language that can turn job seekers away (i.e., inadvertently gendered or racist language).

A fair hiring process

Organic sourcing is the democratization of the hiring process. Job seekers don’t have to belong to a certain social network or know someone at your company. They can simply find and apply to your job on the same job boards that everyone else is using.

Meanwhile, organic sourcing can simplify your hiring process and make it more equitable. With just five to 10 minutes of effort, hiring teams can make job posts more inclusive. They’ll spend less time scrolling through LinkedIn profiles and more time sorting through qualified, naturally diverse candidate pools.

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