15 Tactics for Finding & Hiring Top Talent: Straight From the Pros

Dive into the minds of 15 hiring pros to get their advice on how to hire top talent, from where to apply data to the questions they’re asking and beyond.


“Not currently, but I should.” 

That’s what one of the many hiring personnel we talked to had to say about applying data effectively during the hiring process. 

Wondering what other modern tricks they recommend using for tracking down and locking in the top talent for your teams? 

Then keep reading, because this article will dive into the minds of 15 different hiring professionals to get their advice on how to create ideal candidate profiles, which are their favorite interview questions to ask, the value of overcoming interview bias, and more.  

15 Tactics for Finding and Hiring Top Talent

To put together this ultimate list of tactics for sourcing and hiring the best talent, we sent out a call to anyone involved in the hiring process — and got an overwhelming number of responses from a variety of people. 

Not only is the hiring community generous with their time and advice, but they also come at the task from a plethora of positions.

Tons of the hiring pros we talked to were in marketing; many were founders, VPs, and other high-level leaders; and of course there were plenty in operations, hiring, and talent acquisition roles. One chief scientist even weighed in! 

With a variety of backgrounds, we knew we’d be able to create a list of candidate sourcing and hiring tips that has something for everyone. 

Which of these tactics will you apply to get the best candidates on your team? 

How to Source Top Talent

Although data has certainty become more in-demand in the hiring process — as you’ll see soon — the key tactics that the pros use to find great candidates are still based on well-known best practices and common sense.

Thoughtfully Define What Kind of Candidate You’re Looking For

“To find your ideal applicant, there must be a clear, defining concept of what that ideal candidate actually means. A candidate persona includes the skills, qualities, expertise, and academic background you seek in a candidate for a particular position.” — Steven McConnell, director at Exceptional Resume Writers

“It is essential to have a checklist for an ideal employee when hiring since it creates consistency and equality for all candidates. You should also remember that the best-fit candidate is not determined simply by academic qualifications but also by character and cultural fitness. The best candidate is a qualified applicant who can integrate and fit into the company culture.” — Stephen Curry, chief executive officer at CocoSign

“Hiring is one of the most time consuming and challenging aspects of being a manager, but many steps can be taken to simplify the process. The first step in hiring is establishing your needs and expectations. Define what it takes to be successful in the position and what you would like to see from your candidates. Then make a list of qualities you look for in potential employees such as honesty, communication skills, work ethic and creativity.” — Marilyn Gaskell, founder and hiring manager at TruePeopleSearch

Apply Data to Inform Where Sourcing and Interviewing Processes Can Improve   

“ … Data is extremely important in helping ensure a fair and smooth process on both sides — for the candidate and the hiring managers. Just a few [data points] that we use regularly are:

  • Market map: what is the size of the market, what is the demand for these sorts of roles/people at this level, salary benchmark information to ensure that we are offering a fair salary

  • What are the pass-through/drop-out rates at each stage: indicates blockers/areas of concern in the process

  • Alignment rates between the team: are we aligned on what we are looking for — how many people that we are putting through are actually making it to subsequent interview stages? This helps us iterate our process to ensure that we are screening for the right attributes in each stage so that we don’t put candidates who aren’t a good fit for the role through unnecessarily long processes, and to optimize the process for internal teams. 

  • Ratio of outbound messages to responses: [measures if] is our targeting/messages [is] effective

  • Time to hire: how long did the end to end process take

  • Time to fill: how long did the role take to fill” 

— Gabriella Bailey, senior talent partner at Move

“Data-driven recruiting has completely changed our hiring process for the better. We pay special attention to metrics like quality of hire, candidate experience scores, and cost per hire. We’ve found that by collecting data on these metrics, we’re able to improve our interviews, create more competitive job offers, and communicate better with candidates about the job. It’s improved the quality of our hires and given us new insight to our hiring process.” — Ravi Parikh, CEO at RoverPass

“I have seen that a data-driven hiring process improves the quality of people we hire. The type of data you collect can help you determine various metrics that can be improved during the hiring process. With the right data, we have been able to track the source of our hires and spend our budget on the right channels of recruitment. We have also been able to track the interaction between the hiring team and candidates, to make any necessary improvements in the process. Data has also helped us hire the best candidate for the role based on structured interviews and assessment scores.”  — Colin Barker, CEO at FilterSmart 

Referrals (Still) Rule the Sourcing World 

“A company's greatest bet for finding new personnel is generally his or her current workforce. Recruiting has relied heavily on internal referrals for a long time, and for good reason.  All of your workers have their own personal and professional networks, as well as their own personal and professional peers. Not making the most of it would be an enormous mistake.

“It is possible that a more passive prospect may be reluctant to respond to an email from a recruiter. When an opportunity comes their way via a personal connection, they're more inclined to take it.  If you're looking for more passive applicants, a referral program is a great way to get the best possible prospects for the job.” — Henry Bell, head of product at Vendorland 

“Personal referrals are still very powerful, even within the digital age, your team will always know someone. You should take steps to encourage such referrals, offering incentives where possible. It’s also important to ensure consistency across the hiring team to make sure all sources are being covered. Overall, relevancy trumps all, and numbers shouldn’t be pushed above finding relevant candidates.”  — Tony D’Aurizio, people development manager at Amica Senior Lifestyles

Hiring Processes That Lock In Top Talent

After you’ve used the above tips to source the best candidate, it’s time to take a page out of these professionals’ books and level up your hiring process to close top talent.

Prioritize and De-Friction the Candidate Experience

“My number one tip for hiring candidates is to prioritize the candidate experience. During the hiring process, you’re interviewing your candidates as much as they’re interviewing you. You want to make the best impression that you can in order to win them over — even if they aren’t the person you hire. Doing this reinforces the importance your organization places on the people at the entry-level level and provides a standard for other employees to emulate throughout the hiring process.” — Andre Kazimierski, CEO at Improovy 

“ … we are utilizing data to enhance the candidate experience. Available data helps us determine whether our hiring steps are inconvenient, redundant, or too time-consuming for most candidates to complete. As a result, we are able to remove the roadblocks and begin to evolve and refine our candidate experience.” —  Jonathan Tian, co-founder at Mobitrix

“Get relentless about eliminating redundancies and unnecessary steps. Does the candidate really need five different interviews? Are pre-employment tests necessary for the job? Do you need to call four different references and hope they get back to you soon? Are you using tools like one-way video interviews that often turn candidates off?” — Sara Causey, owner at Causey Consulting LLC 


Craft Questions to Get at the Traits You Want to Uncover 

“I have 3 questions that I love to ask at any interview. 

“I ask people what a great working day looks like to them, because it helps you understand the goals your candidate orients themselves around, and what motivates that. Are they solution [oriented], do they enjoy collaboration, or are they more data focused?  

“I ask people what makes them different, because I believe it is our differences that drive innovation and creativity, not our similarities. Celebrating differences is also one of our corporate values. 

“And finally, I always ask people for one of their greatest career achievements, as it gives the candidate a chance to show their passion and talk about something they can be proud of. Which is especially important for hybrid roles, as the onus is more on the employee to be their own motivator, and to remain passionate - even when working away from the office.” — Nabila Salem, president at Revolent 

“ ‘Tell me about a time you’ve failed or made a mistake at work, and how you resolved that situation.’ This question goes beyond asking ‘what is your weakness?’ to gauge their ability to self-analyze and recover when things go wrong. Every employee makes mistakes, but you want to hire the candidates who can recover quickly and learn from those errors to avoid them in the future.  

“ ‘What about our company or the position made you decide to apply?’ With this question, you’re learning what the candidate wants out of their workplace or job, and that can be very useful in deciding if they’re a good fit. It also demonstrates whether they’ve done their research, or if they’re simply looking for any job.” — Jon Hill, CEO at The Energists

Find Tools to Eliminate Bias and Boost Team-Wide Diversity

“Hiring for diversity grows your talent pool, is great for your employer brand, and will make you appeal to a broader range of candidates. Further, companies with a diverse workforce are more innovative, report better financial results, and have better performance and productivity.” — Ryan Yount, founder and human resources director at LuckLuckGo 

“AI software is essential for a smooth and effective recruitment process. Artificial intelligence may be trained to search a vast pool of applicants for certain abilities or attributes, suggesting only those who pass this screening to the hiring team. This frees up hiring managers to focus on what matters most in the recruiting process: engaging with the top prospects. As an extra plus, AI is opening the path for more workplace diversity. Prospective applicants will be appraised solely on the basis of their talents and experiences, thanks to the elimination of prejudice and the use of technologies to screen applications. This implies you'll be able to hire the greatest people and have a stronger corporate culture.” — Taylor Murchison, SEO growth director at On The Map Marketing

While we certainly find ourselves nodding along in agreement with all the tips provided here, we want to really zoom in on this last set of tactics from the hiring community. Eliminating bias to boost diversity, which we also believe is a key way to improve your business, is one of the pivotal reasons we built Hume. 

Try This All-in-One Platform to Leverage Data, Eliminate Bias, and Hire Top Talent

Hume is a tool for talent leaders that records, automatically transcribes, and tags interviews. The metrics dashboard provides insight into filler word usage, listening vs. speaking times, and more. And, once the interview is complete, it’s easy to quickly create a highlight reel and share it across the rest of your hiring team within Hume. 

What is it that makes these features from Hume so crucial for a successful hiring process? 

Hume is the best kind of interview companion — one that enables you to rely on replays, not on recall. With Hume, interviewers have freedom from note taking so they can truly engage in the interview process and uncover everything your company wants to know about candidates. In addition, interviewers can quickly look at past interviews to make sure they’re asking consistent, bias-free questions that enable them to make equitable and diverse hiring decisions. 

And, Hume’s easily-shareable highlight reels get everyone on your hiring squad on the same page fast, so that you can shorten your time to hire and beat your competitors to winning the top talent on the market.

With Hume, hiring professionals can finally unlock the wealth of data they’re gathering during the interview process, and use it to make evidence-based, not bias-based, decisions when hiring. 

And if what Hume’s features reveal is that your hiring process could use a little shaping up, the platform can also be used as a coaching resource! 

Use the playlist feature to turn Hume into your own personalized hiring manager training platform. Build a library of video clips that coach your staff on everything they need to know to become stellar interviewers, such as how to eliminate bias and add consistency to the questioning process, tips on successfully selling your company as well as the role, strategies for prioritizing diversity, and more. 

With Hume automating the most time-consuming, monotonous, and bias-prone elements of the hiring process, you’ll have more time to apply your favorite tactics for finding and hiring top talent.

Want to see how delightfully easy it can be to understand who to hire, and why — every time? 

Then don’t waste any time getting on the waiting list on our homepage and following us on LinkedIn to get early access to Hume’s smart interview companion.