What is the Definition of Direct Sourcing?

The Symphony Talent Team
August 31 ․ 6 min read


The economy is strong, unemployment is low, and the recession from last decade is well in the past. Yet, the American workforce, perhaps inherently, is restless. A November 2015 Gallup survey discovered that 51 percent of employees are considering a new job. Given this reality, employee retention strategies become a big issue, but another important question arises that companies must ask themselves: How do we take advantage of this restlessness to secure the best talent for our organization?

Direct sourcing—companies engaging in their own searching and recruiting of talent rather than using headhunters or other third-party means—provides an opportunity to find ideal candidates during this era of occupational flux. Within this definition, “direct” stands out in that any sourcing strategies are an organization’s own, so they must be successful or run the risk of falling behind the competition for top talent. Let’s take a deeper look at the direct sourcing definition and how it can lead to stronger, more productive, longer-tenured employees.

The Quest for Talent

Whatever the economic environment, companies need workers—and not just any workers, but ones who will boost the bottom line, become willing cheerleaders for their employers, and even attract future waves of ideal candidates to the company. In the past, sourcing candidates didn’t go much beyond referrals and placing job ads. Today, the channels where someone might learn about a job opening are numerous, are varied, and may each require unique strategies. Moreover, the candidate experience is more important than ever. Candidates are picky and can afford to be so; not creating an appealing employer brand to guide them on their hiring journey will send them to the competition.

Outsourced Sourcing Is Sometimes What You Need, But Nobody Knows Your Business (and Your Brand) Like You Do

Some enterprises, either philosophically or because of budgetary or staff concerns, don’t want to or cannot handle recruitment and instead outsource their sourcing. Sometimes this is what a company needs, especially if it’s in a time crunch. However, agencies might not always be able to capture the candidate experience, employer brand, or the culture and values you want to project to candidates. The result can be sourced candidates who don’t quite fit with your culture or brand.

The Power of Direct Sourcing

Direct sourcing allows you to create a unified experience for the candidate, which ultimately attracts top talent and strives to keep candidates engaged throughout their hiring journeys. You retain greater control of the candidates you want to attract, the brand you want to project, and the channels that will best produce the talent you are seeking. Your stake in the process transcends the raw numbers (which, of course, are still important) and provides greater flexibility—if something isn’t working or just doesn’t feel right, you change it, no questions asked. Candidates prefer the direct, one-on-one approach as well.

Recruiting industry expert Kyle Lagunas recognized the emerging importance of the entire candidate’s journey—and not just the actual hire—back in 2014:

“What I’m seeing—in the data and in a growing number of case studies—is that organizations that are more proactive in sourcing talent are more likely to incorporate attracting and engaging elements into their sourcing strategy, and therefore more likely to consistently find, hire, and retain top talent.”

Direct sourcing that is more than just search-and-hire offers personalization and engagement that candidates seek but that a recruitment agency simply won’t provide.

Direct Sourcing Doesn’t Mean DIY

Companies that resist direct sourcing may do so thinking it’s too much work—that they need to create their own processes, systems, and platforms. A direct sourcing definition doesn’t strictly mean do-it-yourself, but rather allows you to set a strategy and use whatever tools will best achieve your goals. Third-party solutions can help build and promote your employer brand, use AI to target spend on optimal channels, and create a seamless user experience for candidates. The best solutions unify all these functions and let you focus on the human element of direct sourcing—the “direct” interactions that drive recruiting success.

What does your direct sourcing definition include?

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