5 Proven Methods for Sourcing Quality Science Candidates

admin June 21, 2018

Talent pipeline empty? Struggling to fill high-profile positions for your client? If you’ve answered ‘yes’ to either of these questions it may be time to reevaluate how and where you are sourcing candidates.

Recent employment research suggests the current job market is prime for recruiting opportunities, but capitalizing on them may require a shift or fundamental change in how you approach sourcing candidates. There is no doubt your ideal candidate is out there and is willing to hear from you. It’s time to put the struggles aside and consider the following methods for sourcing top-notch talent.

Opportunity Knocks

Good news! According to LinkedIn’s 2016 US & Canada Talent Trends Report, an overwhelming 89% of all respondents expressed interest in hearing from a recruiter. Whether they are an active or passive job seeker, candidates are open to proactive communications to discuss new employment opportunities.

Prospective candidates do value the insights and perspectives of industry-specific recruiters, and the data suggests they really want to hear from you! When opportunity does knock, your candidates will open the door and listen to you. The key is to be the opportunity!

As an inspiration for your sourcing strategy, we have collected five proven sources, along with specific techniques, to reach these scientific talent pools and start filling your pipeline.

  1. Social Media

Statistics show that social media is both the present and future for candidate search and sourcing. Most likely, if you are a recruiter, you are already using social media in some capacity to find candidates. However, many recruiters do not take full advantage of social to proactively engage with candidates, and instead only use it to post job listings.

Here are several practical features and ideas to help maximize your recruiting efforts on major social networks:

LinkedIn: Albeit a paid service feature, LinkedIn Recruiter is an excellent tool to help you zero in on the perfect candidate profiles. LinkedIn Recruiter provides users with enhanced search capabilities as well as 150 InMail messages per month per team member. Given that only 14% of LinkedIn viewers check their LinkedIn profile regularly, the InMail feature provides more direct access to your potential candidate by reaching them outside of their newsfeed..

Another excellent sourcing option on the LinkedIn platform lies in science related groups. As a recruiter, you can join many of these topical groups and start engaging in discussions – and with prospective candidates. Some will also have specific areas where you can post listings as well. You should also think outside the box. In addition to science groups, consider exploring the university alumni groups as another potential targeting angle for finding relevant candidates.

Facebook: With approximately 2 billion monthly users, Facebook represents the largest social network and a prime supply point for sourcing diverse candidates, in all age groups, experience levels, and geographic locations. It also has 15x more active users than LinkedIn, which provides further evidence that Facebook should be a key social media channel for recruiting. Using Facebook’s Jobs Bookmark or Graph Search feature, you can identify candidates and either attempt to reach out through mutual connections or take the candidate’s information to Google and search for other ways to connect. Similar to LinkedIn, Facebook also has many science related groups where you can further expand your sourcing reach within the world’s largest social network.

Twitter: Younger Americans are more likely than older Americans to be on Twitter, so If you happen to be looking for a millennial scientist, consider sourcing candidates using this powerful social media platform. According to Pew Research, some 36% of online adults ages 18-29 are on the social network, more than triple the share among online adults ages 65 and older. Furthermore, Glassdoor found that 86% of millennials will use social media platforms like Twitter to look for jobs and research employers.

If you’re serious about sourcing younger candidates on Twitter, it would be a worthwhile endeavor to review all of your Twitter followers via your account’s analytics. See if you can identify potential candidates based on their profile attributes. If you find them, don’t shy away from reaching-out and engaging via Twitter direct messaging.  Millennials might appreciate this proactive style of communication, and it could create a fruitful channel for sourcing up-and-coming scientists. Just be sure to consult your company’s social media guidelines before contacting potential candidates directly.

Another creative sourcing strategy on Twitter would be to identify and follow science-oriented accounts or media publications, and then start sifting through their list of followers to see who might fit your ideal candidate persona. Your perfect candidate might be just a tweet away!

  1. Career Fairs

The value of in-person interactions cannot be overstated, and being able to source from science-focused career fairs is a proven tactic in candidate sourcing strategy. Consider attending career fairs at universities with well-respected science programs, ACS National Meeting Career Fair, or consider hosting your own career fair at the employer campus.

To put a creative twist on your next career fair, consider hosting an informal happy-hour event that brings together employees and candidates. This is a great way to communicate the employer brand and company culture to potential candidates. Recruiters have had success with these events both locally as well as at national scientific conferences such as the ACS National Meeting & Exposition and PITTCON.

  1. Digital Advertising

When it comes to sourcing candidates in the digital era, many recruiters and employers are investing in digital advertising tactics to continuously build a talent funnel that produces high-quality candidates. Digital advertising simply increases your odds of targeting your message to the right candidate pool at the right time. Of course, this access comes at a price, but the potential benefits of landing the perfect candidate could be well worth the Price Per Click (PPC).

Many recruiters have found success sourcing candidates using Google AdWords, social media ads, and popular scientific publications. Digital advertising is a valuable tool to utilize in your niche candidate sourcing efforts.

  1. Employee Referral Program

The data is overwhelmingly positive for recruiters that have developed an incentive-based employee referral program.

In comparison to other candidate sourcing channels, employee referrals produce a higher volume of applicants, lower cost per hire, higher retention rates, and faster onboarding times. For employee referral programs to be successful in the long-term, they really need proper and fair incentives to keep the program active. Typically, employee referral programs have bonus incentives that range between $1,000 – $2,500 per qualified hire, depending upon the position being filled. A small price to pay for finding your next great employee.

There is hardly a better sourcing channel than employee referrals and it should be a core element within every employer’s sourcing strategy. Like any company-wide program, it is critically important the employee referral programs have clearly defined expectations and regular communications with employees are maintained to keep them updated on open opportunities.

  1. Niche Scientific Networks & Associations

When it comes to the scientific profession, niche scientific networks and associations provide a wide-range of valuable resources to their members. In many cases, these networks and associations help their members by promoting career advancement support and services. By joining and participating in these science related networks and associations, recruiters are exposed to a multitude of ways to connect with top professionals looking for career advancement.

Here are a few of our favorite niche science networks and associations for potential candidate sourcing: of course our own American Chemical Society, Association for Women in Science, and NOBCChE. Many of these network and associations also have job board services facilitating the connection between the recruiter and the candidate.

The Scientific Method  

Embracing the core principles of the scientific method, recruiters should continually challenge, test, refine and evaluate their sourcing methods for candidates. The ever-changing digital landscape is always unlocking new ways to connect with others, and recruiters need to consistently be on the watch for them, – and making sure they’re breathing new life into the tried-and-true tactics.

Happy sourcing, and may your talent pipeline overflow!