Like many aspects of your CW program, there are varying levels of direct sourcing maturity. Not every program needs to have a fully mature direct-sourcing model, but even the adoption of some candidate engagement concepts will help build program capabilities and ensure sustainability through the changing demands of our labor market.

Direct sourcing tends to be a vague concept until you start to carve out the components that are most important to your organization and bring the most value for the investment. When engaging candidates, there are several emerging strategies that can be leveraged independently or collectively to provide the most accurate return.

Targeted recruitment. The first approach may look very similar to how many traditional staff augmentation programs operate today: creating and implementing a targeted recruitment strategy when a talent need arises. The key to this approach is to find opportunity above and beyond the existing traditional model where most staff augmentation suppliers have excelled. This requires a direct-sourcing program to be faster, cheaper or more accurate with its sourcing effort as compared to vendors whose core competency is recruitment.

Brand-attraction. Another more passive approach that becomes appealing is creating a pool of brand-attracted talent that is collected from job postings or a company’s career portal. This method allows candidates to pursue the client and express their interest in supporting them but may not always bring the most accurate or qualified resources. When taking this passive approach, the burden comes in trying to move volumes of candidates through the engagement funnel to determine if they are a good fit for your contingent roles.

Bench model. The last approach to build your candidate strategy comes through proactive sourcing of skill sets and talent that has a high likelihood of being consumed. This pipelining, or bench model, enables you to build specific recruitment campaigns and stay focused on one area of talent that your program can most successfully supply to the business.

Talent Pools: Public vs. Private

A good starting point in creating your candidate strategy is inventorying the available repositories of talent that are available to your CW program. Often, an organization’s talent acquisition team may be ahead of this strategy and managing an applicant tracking system of historic full-time candidates or licenses/access to relevant job boards/platforms where applicants can get exposure from multiple clients. Both options can be advantageous in different situations.

  • Private. Private talent pools bring the potential of presenting talent that is known, pre-vetted or qualified, and interested in working at your organization. While this talent may be some of the best value to your business, it takes work to identify, assess, engage and maintain these candidate relationships.
  • Public. When evaluating public talent platforms, the value comes from the low burden to engage and the convenience of pre-built public talent communities. However, it may bring some risk when engaging unknown talent.

Ensuring ROI. Which talent sources are most viable? Not all candidates bring the same value. It is important to understand which populations have the most opportunity to be engaged to ensure an adequate return on your direct sourcing investment. Some basic conduits of talent — like a career portal on your company website or applicants returned from a job posting — may be easier to administer but may not always bring a successful candidate.

Vetted candidates. To increase your sourcing confidence, it may be best to look at more quantified resources that the organization has already partially primed, such as referrals and silver medalists. Both groups often come with some level of completed vetting or insight to quality level. The most advantageous group to explore are alumni talent, people who have previously engaged with your company. This population is acclimated to your environments, aware and interested in your opportunities and often has proven abilities and skills.

While we often think about capturing alumni within a talent pool after their engagement ends, we shouldn’t forget about the active resource nearing the end of their engagement as well. As programs become more fluent at managing the candidate lifecycle, they begin to unlock some of the untapped potential of their human cloud with concepts like crowdsourcing and workforce-as a-service models.

Direct sourcing is appealing in part because of how versatile and flexible it can be. As you focus more on the talent that is completing the contingent work across your organization, different opportunities may arise. Whether you are looking to collect captive, brand-attracted talent or leverage networks of talent, it is important to build an effective candidate strategy that adds the most value to your business.