In my recent articles on direct sourcing, I have discussed some of the core components of a successful direct-sourcing program, like talent and talent brand. One additional foundational element of a mature direct-sourcing program is technology, which can be tricky to explore as there is a vast market of diverse technology options that are appealing in different ways. This final article on direct sourcing covers the various types of direct-sourcing technologies that are emerging in the market and how they can add value to your business.

Talent pools and candidate relationship management, or CRMs. One of the first areas of technology to explore are talent pools/platforms and CRMs. These tools are the backbone of most direct-sourcing programs by helping to manage the talent that is being curated and engaged. In a similar way to how a VMS system manages the lifecycle of staffing engagement, these platforms are designed to manage and give visibility to the processes specific to direct sourcing.

These systems are key to redesigning the interactions between your business and talent by putting the resource in the driver’s seat to control their contingent labor opportunities directly with the end buyer. These platforms — such as LiveHire, WorkLlama and Shortlist — are becoming more commonplace in the market and while they are all designed with the same general function, they each bring their own nuanced approaches to supporting a direct-sourcing program.

Market intelligence tools. When your organization takes on a direct-sourcing function, it’s important to be smart about how you source and recruit talent. Depending on the type of information and intelligence you are looking for, there may be a technology solution to connect you to the data. These intelligence platforms, like Engage by Workforce Logiq, can help you to recruit smarter by identifying where you can find the ideal population of talent and even what influences talent’s decisions whether to join a company.

Another common challenge for a direct-sourcing program may be identifying the ideal rate for unique talent and/or markets. In these situations, a program may leverage a tool like PeopleTicker from Pro Unlimited or TDX by Brightfield that helps to show noteworthy rate trends that inform what the right price should be. Regardless of how you deliver this data to your program, market intelligence tools help your program to work smarter, not harder.

Automation tools. A great way to add efficiency to your direct-sourcing program is to consider some of the sourcing and engagement automation tools available. While some tools encompass the direct-sourcing lifecycle fully, others focus on specific areas of the process. And then there are tools that zero in on optimizing one specific task like the candidate interview and assessment process. Many programs struggle to differentiate and shortlist candidates and may even be losing out on candidates due to the time invested in long interview and assessment processes. Now, with tools like Traitify and Glider AI, a direct-sourcing program can better baseline the abilities/aptitude of candidates, automate and consolidate the interview process and even build a deeper match to potential work. A mature program may even apply software like Textio to craft an ideal job description to ensure its business attracts the best candidate while transforming its hiring culture through the process.

Talent acquisition tools. Before you explore a unique technology solution for your contingent direct-sourcing program, you may want to consider what your talent acquisition team already owns. Many tools in the talent acquisition suite, like Avature, Bullhorn and Beamery, have all grown beyond the traditional applicant tracking system into full talent engagement platforms with most of the functionality your direct-sourcing program requires. With their focus primarily on employee engagements, it may be a challenge for these systems to scale across all workforce engagements or for programs to adapt the existing functionality to contingent workforces. There are, however, a few platforms like Adepto or TalentNet that may be ahead of the Total Talent curve by appealing to an organization’s internal and external workforce.

As you create your technology roadmap, it may be challenging to pick just one technology even though the functionality of these systems may overlap. Be sure to consider how these systems interact with each other to best create a seamless, optimized process. Try to be agile with your technology and don’t be afraid to update and evolve your tech stack as your focus changes.