Direct Talent Sourcing – more valuable insights for your organisation


Direct talent sourcing: it’s an increasingly popular talent strategy for finding, engaging and managing the best possible talent for your business. And in today’s tenuous market conditions, where cost savings and process efficiencies are desperately sought, it’s a highly attractive hiring option, when approached with strategic rigour.

Earlier this week, we showcased four crucial elements, of a successful direct talent sourcing program. Today, I’m adding to this direct sourcing checklist with additional insights that will make your direct sourcing program succeed.

Firstly though, let’s quickly recap on what is a direct sourcing program.

What is a Direct Talent Sourcing Program?

Direct talent sourcing refers to the process an organisation undertakes to find, attract and engage new talent, most commonly without the assistance of a staffing firm.

It’s a strategy that offers real cost savings and process efficiencies when executed with insight, strategic planning, and collaboration.

In the absence of a third-party staffing partner or recruitment firm, the organisation can adopt a host of direct sourcing strategies to find workers. These strategies can be from both internal and external networks and talent groups.

And with more and more workers opting to work contingent, organisations have far easier and more efficient access to more temporary workers.

As such, direct sourcing program offers the organisation access to a significant talent pool of contingent and permanent talent: one that isn’t always accessible via recruitment firms. And, this is a talent pool including both active and passive candidates: those that know you’re hiring, and those who haven’t heard of your business before.

Today, I’ve provided the second and final segment of this direct sourcing 2-part series. This second instalment offers an additional four crucial components to our direct sourcing ‘checklist’; components that could significantly improve your ability to hire quality talent, and faster.

talent sourcing

talent sourcing

POINT 1: Build a reputable, memorable employer brand

Employer branding: it’s a crucial component of every direct talent sourcing strategy. This is the strategic process an organisation undertakes, to build a strong, credible, reputable talent brand; a process much like that undertaken for their main – or corporate – brand.

The employer brand provides an opportunity to engage marketplace talent and establish an image, reputation and promise as an employer. The employer brand provides a robust foundation for candidate communications, engagement and, if true and genuine, a sample of what working in the organisation is really like.

Deloitte describes employer branding as…

An employer brand…seeks to encapsulate the total value that employees gain from their relationship with an employer. By articulating and promoting an employer brand, a company can communicate the value of an integrated portfolio of benefits, helping employees appreciate the full scope of what the employer offers and enhancing the attractiveness of the employee-employer relationship.

Central to the employer brand is the ‘employee value proposition’ – the insights held by workers of the experience of working for your company. This is both empirical and perceived. The EVP signals to prospective hires that this is a great place to work.

A few of the key benefits of a successful employer brand include the following:

  • Ability to attract more quality candidates that fit within the culture and structure of your organisation
  • With a true EVP, candidate retention and rehiring (for contingent workers), is consistently high
  • A positive employer brand builds credibility with staff, investors, partners and other business stakeholders
  • Branded recruitment speeds up the hiring process, giving candidates confidence and certainty about both the hiring experience and the organisation
  • Your cost of recruitment declines; your brand and employer marketing starts doing more of the hiring legwork

Importantly, all the strategy in the world means nothing if the employer brand isn’t making a difference. So, establishing the right metrics to keep your employer brand performing, is an integral part of employer branding the process. And will directly impact your direct talent sourcing approach.

The critical measures of success for your employer brand are:

  • Ability to attract quality talent, with the best technical and cultural fit
  • Talent retention and ability to rehire
  • Consistent employee referrals
  • Engagement with your employer brand on social and digital media
  • Declining cost-per-hire
  • Fast and efficient time-to-hire and time-to-productivity
  • Offer acceptance rate that’s higher than the industry average
  • Satisfaction with hiring and line managers
  • Talent output, productivity and impact on the bottom line

A successful EVP and employer brand will be evident in the results (such as the benefits listed above). You’re then in a position to land your employer brand on national and global lists of ‘Employer of Choice’. That is an additional marketing tactic to boost the awareness and success of your employer brand (and your EVP).

POINT 2: Employer marketing

Employer branding is one thing. Employer marketing is something quite separate (yet related).

Once you’ve built a quality employer brand, getting that brand and the associated messaging out to market, is next. This is where the fun begins.

I could write a book about the multitude of employer marketing ideas. For now, I’ve picked out the ideas we’ve seen achieve the greatest traction. There are many more:

  • Firstly, write a marketing strategy to fulfil the current and future talent requirements of your business
  • Social hiring: undertake campaign activity on both professional platforms (like LinkedIn), and those typically pegged for B2C activity (such as Instagram). Some of the most successful Facebook campaigns have been about hiring. These include:
  • Write compelling job descriptions. Feature the personality of your employer brand as much as is feasible. Don’t bore your audience with dull lists from the job spec
  • Optimise the job titles on your website and blog, using relevant keywords likely used by candidates in Google search
  • Use candid, compelling, targeted email marketing campaigns to the relevant talent on your ATS
  • Write blog content about the experience of your workers, in the execution of their duties. Such as success stories, client satisfaction stories. Ensure your EVP is present in this content marketing

Targeted employer marketing is a key success factor for your direct talent sourcing program.

POINT 3: Design a quality candidate experience

Building a community of engaged prospective hires requires intentional thinking from the talent’s perspective about the experience and benefits of working with your organisation. Poor experience design and inconsistent engagement in the process will mean your direct talent sourcing program is unlikely to resonate with the marketplace. Worse, those that end up working with your business are unlikely to last.

The best way to mitigate this situation is by offering a well-designed experience throughout your direct talent sourcing program. This includes analysing the existing skills needs of the business, followed by the development of talent personas and mapping out the relevant value propositions for each job family. Finally, the actual stages of the sourcing process are to be carefully crafted and tested, for the duration of the talent lifecycle.

Alongside a well-designed experience for your direct talent sourcing program, you’ll need to define its fundamental structure and those organisational policy decisions that will govern day-to-day operations. These include the people, policy, operational and technical elements of your direct talent sourcing program.  Identifying and addressing these components is fundamental to the program’s success. Most organisations approach these decisions on the fly, as opposed to a larger strategy or outcomes-driven initiative.

POINT 4: Establish a robust talent screening process

Screening talent sourced via your direct talent sourcing program will become a fundamental of its success. Provided here are some ideas that will help your business not make poor hiring decisions. This list makes the presumption that you’ve already eliminated talent that are obvious non-starters:

  • Utilise the ‘work sample’ method, for relevant job families. This is the process of asking the candidate to complete an actual piece of work. It’s a strategy that’s particularly useful for technical, financial or digital job families
  • Talent exercises: a popular approach used in group interviews, the candidates are asked to complete an exercise collaboratively while the organisation undertakes careful observation
  • Gamification: especially in these times of COVID, remote interviewing and talent assessments are the dominant strategy used today. Gamification tools, enable employers to judge the cognitive abilities of candidates via games
  • Contests: run contests for short-listed candidates to participate in. Managed externally (or remotely during COVID), these are a great way to assess the ingenuity, creativity and intellectual dexterity of potential hires
  • Company problem-solving: give candidates an example of a real-life problem your company has faced in the past (or in the present), for them to resolve. And don’t limit their means for doing so. This is an innovative strategy to uncover the lateral thinkers

Direct talent sourcing is a proven strategy for successful hiring in today’s market. Full engagement in the process is crucial – at all levels of your organisation – as organisational buy-in will fuel the program’s growth and success.


As one of the world’s leading providers of contingent worker management solutions, CXC is well positioned to optimise all elements of your contingent workforce strategy. With operations in more than 50 countries across five continents and decades of experience, we can assist with every aspect of your program.

If you would like to find out more about how we can help please contact us here.