Candidate Sourcing in a Niche Market

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Niche, in a business sense, refers to a “specialized market.” I like to think of sourcing in a niche market as finding a purple squirrel for every job opening. It’s like starting with your back against the wall every time – and it’s hard. Before you feel overwhelmed and frustrated, here are some tips.

Become An Expert

The first step in sourcing in a niche market is to become an expert. Research everything, learn everything, KNOW everything. Become one with your niche. Now this part is crucial: create a sourcing map. This map will list every competitor, niche job board, community, conference, allegiance, Meetup group, personal connection, connection of connections, LinkedIn group, Facebook group, Twitter list, and every-single source that could possibly assist your recruiting effort in any way. Save that list. Study that list. Know where these people come from, what they do, how they do it, and who they do it with. I repeat, become one with your niche.

Fig. 1: Sample Sourcing Map

Diversify Your Sources

If one thing about sourcing in a niche market is certain, it’s that your talent pool is going to dry up. Quickly. Like a watering hole in the desert during a drought. Take your list from Step One and USE IT. That industry conference that happened a few months ago? Find the attendees. The industry specific LinkedIn group? Connect with everyone. Keep your sources on rotation and challenge yourself to not use the same source multiple times in a row. Diversify from the start, diversify often, and squeeze every bit of life from all the sources you have. Oh, and always find more sources.

Stay Current On Layoffs

Set-up Google news alerts to monitor news on your niche market, as it happens. You’ll be notified when anything major happens in your industry and when you are, react. Did you see news that your major competitor is laying off 100 people? Contact all of their employees on LinkedIn. Even if they’re not part of the lay-off, or not currently qualified, they’ll appreciate you being there for them (and it wouldn’t hurt to suggest that they join your talent community!)

Fig. 2: Sample Google Alert for Niche Sourcing

Get Your Jobs Out There

Post your jobs everywhere. Remember, any qualified applicant you get is one less person you have to source. Niche job boards, general job boards, LinkedIn groups, Twitter, Facebook, local newspapers, I’ve even sent job postings to local industry certification classes to print and post on their bulletin board. You can also try this with conferences and local Meetup groups.

Candidate Management

Start a talent community and use it. It is absolutely crucial to keep candidates warm in a niche market. If a candidate is not qualified or interested when you initially reach out to them, suggest they join your talent community. Plant the seed and water it. Send newsletters often with exciting news about your company, hot new positions, and industry insight. Market your company as an industry leader and the best place in the industry to work.

Fig. 1: Sample Talent Community

Sourcing in a niche market is not easy but these tips will make it easier. Remember, every lead matters. Happy hunting!


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