A valuable checklist that supports implementing a Direct Sourcing Program


Has your business considered establishing a direct sourcing program for new talent? Firstly, let’s look at why you’d possibly consider this strategic approach.

When an organisation is able to successfully source a new hire, the potential impact on their bottom line can be powerful. This is particularly so if the hire remains with the business for any period of time. So, it stands to reason, that the organisation who can achieve an efficient turnaround of attracting quality talent via their own means and resources, will enjoy even more bottom-line success.

Today, the traditional means for sourcing temporary or permanent workers – via recruitment or staffing vendors – is being increasingly displaced with direct-to-candidate sourcing strategies. Or what we like to call, a direct sourcing program.

What is a Direct Sourcing Program?

Direct sourcing refers to the process an organisation undertakes to locate, attract and engage new talent into their business, typically without the assistance of a staffing vendor or external partner.

It’s a strategy that poses significant time and cost-saving if done correctly.

Without engaging a third-party staffing partner or recruitment consulting business, the organisation typically adopts any number of strategies to find workers, from a multitude of internal and external networks and talent groups. We’ll get to those in a minute.

Interestingly, with an increasing number of workers opting to work contingent or temporary in today’s marketplace, organisations have far easier and more efficient access to more contingent workers. Online talent marketplaces and the multitude of internal and external networks are all proving lucrative sources of quality workers.

As such, direct sourcing program offers the organisation access to a massive talent pool of contingent and permanent talent: one that isn’t always accessible via recruitment partners or similarly traditional hiring approaches. 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.

I have put together the first of a 2-part series, where I’ve provided a talent sourcing ‘checklist’ (of sorts). Those factors that we consider critical to any successful direct sourcing program.


direct sourcing program

POINT 1: Plan your sourcing strategy

Establish a strategic framework before embarking on your new direct sourcing program. And think big. In building a talent pipeline, talent sourcing is actually just one component of the candidate relationship lifecycle.

If you’re looking to establish a strategic, effective, end-to-end talent supply chain, your centralised program needs to also consist of:

  • Talent attraction strategies
  • Talent sourcing
  • Engagement processes and tactics
  • Talent management
  • Re-engagement solutions

A strategic direct sourcing program will connect the organisation’s workforce needs – and specifically those of the relevant line managers – with a proven, pre-vetted, pre-qualified talent pipeline. The best practice attributes of your strategy will factor in the following:

  • Establish the agreed metrics, KPI’s and reporting requirements of the program’s deliverables. How successfully has the program consistently delivered high-quality talent? Has this been achieved across both permanent and contingent workers?
  • There is support from the business leadership team. There is also support throughout every level of the organisation
  • Obtaining internal buy-in from managers, and an ongoing communication plan to keep them informed and aware of the program
  • The program delivers talent with the skills and capabilities sought by the business

POINT 2: Understand job and skills requirements, business-wide

With established buy-in from managers across every level of the organisation, you’re in a good position to glean the critical factors pertaining to:

  • Current open roles
  • Future-scoping roles for all key departments
  • Skills gaps
  • New or diversified departments of the organisation: requiring roles the business hasn’t needed before

Your ability to engage with the relevant managers in the business will provide a sound baseline for establishing the technical requirements of open roles.

Importantly, this relationship will also offer insight as to whether your colleagues are flexible in their criteria for roles they seek to fill. For example, would they consider candidates who aren’t as senior or experienced as the open role calls for, but have true potential to be there in the short-to-medium term.

In addition, a successful direct sourcing program will also tap into the knowledge and experience of experts in specific roles. Think about these probing questions for people in your business who have intimate knowledge of the skills, sector or job family:

  • What are the topics of interest to this category of talent, right now?
  • What are the typical career trajectories for these workers?
  • Where do talent with these skills hang-out online?
  • Professionally speaking, what are the preferred brands, products and services for workers with these skills?
  • Who else hires for these roles? Who has the best reputation?
  • What are the job titles for people in these roles? Are there multiple titles? What are the titles of people in this career path, at each level?

POINT 3: Source talent from your Applicant Tracking System (ATS)

With an open role, companies that commit time and energy to sourcing talent don’t merely conclude their search with a filled position. What they have as well, is a host of ‘silver medallist’ talent, who didn’t make the cut.

These candidates – be they contingent or permanent – are already pre-qualified. Your team have invested the time, company resources and effort to establish that these potential hires, would make the grade. So, the first move in any direct sourcing strategy needs to start with your ATS.

There are key tactics to deploy, so you can leverage the past hiring activities of your team:

  1. Make sure you provide a great recruitment experience for all candidates. This will improve the chances of candidates wanting to re-enter into hiring discussions with your organisation. This includes maintaining open communication channels with candidates regarding their status throughout the hiring process
  2. Keep candidate information properly maintained. This includes tracking their career and education or professional development after their initial attempt to join your organisation
  3. At the conclusion of their initial attempt to join your company, provide constructive, objective and informed feedback. Candidates place great value on this approach. According to LinkedIn hiring statistics, unsuccessful candidates are four times more likely to consider your organisation as a prospective place of work, after a failed recruitment attempt, if they’re given quality feedback.

POINT 4: Tap into online talent networks

In the traditional approach to recruitment – where the organisation engages a recruitment or hiring firm – these operatives have their preferred channels to source candidates.

Korn Ferry research found that over 50% of recruiters turn to their professional network in the first instance when searching for talent. A further 28%, turn to LinkedIn as a first move.

But, there’s a broader online base of opportunity for you to tap into.

Niche and broadcast talent marketplaces are prolific and can offer valuable hiring ROI especially for short-term contingent talent. Examples of these platforms for contingent talent, to support your direct sourcing program, include:

Another strategic approach is to consider where candidates congregate online, and try a semi-unconventional outreach, as a hiring representative of your organisation.

We know most workers are passive candidates – and are open to conversations about career opportunities. A direct, personal approach is a proven tactic in this regard. Consider platforms that are niche to the technical expertise of the potential talent: platforms specific to Tech, HR, finance, marketing. You get the picture.

Later this week week, I’ll take you through the final points of our checklist, on building a comprehensive, successful direct sourcing program.

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.