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What is Direct Sourcing? Building a Future-Ready Workforce

What is Direct Sourcing

Today, MSP’s ( Managed Service Providers ) and direct supplier relationships offer the same results they did five, ten and even twenty years ago. These reactive processes do little to change the makeup of stagnant partnerships that ultimately lack the outcomes each party desires. While Direct Sourcing is a newer concept in the staffing industry, it has yet to achieve its full potential. By analyzing what hasn’t worked and why, we can easily see the changes needed for a wholistic approach that produces quality results.

Direct Sourcing is has primarily been used by enterprises through technology implementation only. The expectation from these technology affiliates is that the enterprise will provide their own resources to manage a talent community program. Although on its surface this seems to be a viable option, and can provide some value, often the technology platform does not solve for the proverbial ‘resume black hole’ effect unless a structured service program is put in place. This kind of program, however, requires multiple resources and added cost to the client that is not often considered in the buying process of the technology alone. The need for resources is one of the primary reasons as to why said clients typically engage with and utilize an MSP to solve for their direct sourcing programs, as internal headcount allocation is not financially feasible.

While we have seen a rise in direct sourcing service partners over the last 12-24 months, the definition of curation varies from company to company. Unfortunately, at its core, they do not offer an end-to-end solution that creates quality experiences for the user, both candidate and Client Manager alike. In the end, the client is left with a reactive talent acquisition process that has done little by way of cost savings or offering efficiency. It is for this reason that total talent management has yet to be accomplished. By creating a service model that provides targeted methodology around talent acquisition while leveraging a direct sourcing platform, a Managed Direct Sourcing solution can deliver a proactive strategy that paves the road for achieving total talent management.

Direct Sourcing Differentiators

Staffing Industry Analysts (SIA) defines direct sourcing as the process by which a company leverages its brand and its own internal candidate pool(s) as a source to fill temporary/contingent roles. Once selected for a role, the candidate is onboarded and paid by a third-party payroll & compliance provider to manage risk at the enterprise level. This solution is typically delivered by a 3rd party direct sourcing provider to allow for the enterprise’s talent acquisition team to remain focused on full-time candidate fulfillment. When considering the composition of a Managed Direct Sourcing solution, we must breakdown its three key elements, and understand the criticality of having all three included in an enterprise strategy to achieve long term sustainability and success.


Employing the right tools to bring administrative ease is the first key building block in a direct sourcing solution. By incorporating AI driven technology, an organization can build a private talent community with clearly defined talent pools that are capable of being segregated by worker classification, skill vertical, geography, and even hiring manager/team requirements. A Direct Source platform allows the end user to realize efficiency in fulfillment on a more proactive basis. Critically as important is the enablement the platform provides to Curators to engage omni-channel communications that help keep the talent base warm with regular cadence.

People Driven Process

While technology bears weight in the solution equation, its significant value can be best seen once it has been paired with a detailed process that is powered by a human element. By defining, documenting, and establishing the methodology for fulfillment, an organization can ensure compliance, accountability, and structured workflows. Once a process has been created, the technology can then be configured to meet the fulfillment demand based on the client and Curator need. This sustainable model can now be measured and repeated.

Direct Source delivers with a white glove treatment approach to fulfillment. The team responsible for driving direct sourcing must be dedicated to its talent pool curation and enhancement, safeguarding the company brand, cost savings & avoidance, and overall program development, all while delivering an exceptional experience to every candidate that is a member of the talent community.

Additionally, key success factors that will transform an average program into a best-in-class are:

  • Brand governance
  • Direct contract between the DS provider and the enterprise (this ensures proper governance of brand and risk mitigation)
  • Sharing internal candidate lists of “known” resources and former applicants to initially seed the population
  • Allowing DS provider access to the Client Managers so that individual talent pools can be created according to specific business requirements
  • DS provider would receive window of exclusivity to maximize cycle time improvements and cost savings

This strategy provides innovation to recruitment marketing, and a true partnership that buyers can scale to increased adoption. Quality should not be diluted simply to drive cost savings, and in a time that requires both, Direct Sourcing is the initiative needed by an enterprise organization in order to build foundational roadblocks that drive total talent management.

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