Direct Sourcing Needs to Be Redefined, Now

Direct sourcing has been around in various forms for decades. What started as companies directly sourcing candidates for roles versus recruiters or staffing agencies doing it on their behalf has advanced with the rise of social media and technology. What hasn’t advanced like it should is the focus on talent. Sourcing is only the beginning; organizations must focus on engaging, nurturing, hiring, redeploying, and garnering referrals from a community of people who are committed and excited about their brand.

Direct sourcing needs to be redefined because there are massive gaps in the market and in technology that only provides automated outreach with little to no focus on the candidates themselves. This means strategic, targeted, tailored, relevant outreach that not only gets talent excited about working for an organization, it puts them at the center.

What is direct sourcing?

Simply put, direct sourcing is leveraging your brand to access and retain talent of all types across all regions and skills. It is a proactive, meaningful talent strategy that bonds you to a talent community that is invested, ready to work, and provides a better candidate experience than other talent channels.

Direct sourcing pillars

Most heads of HR, procurement, talent acquisition, and strategic sourcing have had conversations about direct sourcing with their VMS, MSP, strategic partners, or staffing agencies. You’ve likely heard the process is one they are intimately familiar with and have been doing for years. But if those direct sourcing discussions don’t include the following, we’d argue they aren’t strategic enough to develop a scalable, automated talent approach.


  • How your brand is being used to attract, engage, and nurture candidates starting the first time they interact with your brand
  • Ownership, redeployment, and referrals of candidates
  • How your roles are prioritized amongst potential talent and other clients
  • The role of DE&I in direct sourcing
  • The role of social media in direct sourcing
  • The difference between talent pools and talent communities
  • Technology automation


Employer Branding:

Establishing a strong and positive employer brand is essential for direct sourcing. This involves showcasing the company’s culture, values, mission, and benefits to attract potential candidates. This helps create interest and buzz amongst talent in the market and motivates them to want to work for the organization. This is also what begins to fill your future pipeline because you are engaging and nurturing potential candidates before specific positions become available (what some refer to as skills-based recruiting).

Candidate Engagement and Experience:

Providing a positive, memorable candidate experience is fundamental to successful direct sourcing. This involves effective communication, timely feedback, curated content, resources, and a streamlined application process, all driven by automation. Engaging candidates throughout the recruitment process and treating them like customers means retaining top talent now and in the future.


The talent shortage has created a significant deficit in highly skilled candidates. Many organizations are relying on contingent labor to help close the gap, but it can still be difficult to find qualified candidates. Referrals can help to close that gap. The highly skilled talent you already have in your talent communities has an extended network of other highly skilled talent, and doing this in an automated way means faster time-to-fill, lower costs, and a scalable approach to this broader network.


By integrating with talent communities of diverse talent, including minorities, blind/low vision, neurodivergent, single moms, refugees, and other marginalized groups, companies gain access to untapped, experienced talent that is ready to work. It also means having unlimited access to a diverse talent pool automatically, giving organizations an immediate new talent channel aligned with their DE&I goals.

Social media:

Leveraging social media platforms in an automated way is crucial in direct sourcing. How organizations connect with talent on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, and professional networks allows organizations to reach a broader audience and engage directly. Meeting talent where they are (not where you expect them to be) matters and being able to do so in an automation way means a better experience for all.

Talent communities vs. talent pools:

Talent pools and talent communities are often used interchangeably; however, they are anything but. A talent pool is a disparate group of people who either are—or at one time—were looking for work. Think of it as a talent database a recruiter may dip into if they have a role they are looking to fill. Alternatively, a talent community is a group of people brought together with similar skills, interests, and abilities that is continuously nurtured. Talent communities also put talent at the center of the equation. It starts with asking why talent would want to be in the community, and what does an organization’s brand/culture/fit have to offer them?

Direct Sourcing Technology:

Employing the right technology is essential to support direct sourcing in an agile and scalable way. AI-powered platforms can streamline the hiring process, improve candidate engagement, and enhance overall efficiency. Direct sourcing platforms provide all the benefits of direct sourcing, plus data. These platforms should integrate advanced omnichannel communications (WhatsApp, mobile, SMS, etc.) into your talent strategies and simplify the process through automation, talent marketing, branding, and building dynamic talent communities.

At WorkLLama, talent engagement and direct sourcing is at the center of everything we do. We strive to help organizations develop a robust direct sourcing strategy that enables them to attract, engage, nurture, hire, and redeploy top talent directly with the goal of creating consistent, everlasting connections in an automated, personal way. For organizations, this means an improved talent experience (translating to higher retention, referrals, and redeployment), quicker time to hire at a lower cost, and efficiencies at scale.