Despite the global pandemic and high unemployment, hiring continues to challenge certain sectors. The need for specific skill sets, background, certifications, and experience, coupled with a call to increase diversity, equity, and inclusion, has organizations struggling to find the right talent to advance outcomes.  

Further complicating matters is the state of sourcing. Taken as a whole, the tech landscape is fragmented and complex, with countless point solutions to choose from, all claiming to make hiring more efficient and more effective. But for those doing the work, the question is, how? Or, perhaps more importantly, where and when? It’s enough to make your head spin.

Technology helps, serving as a buttress and making it possible to ensure a seamless candidate experience and expedite the process. But without a keen understanding of what’s available – and how solutions fit together – today’s tech landscape can make sourcing candidates harder, not easier.

Given the circumstances, here are the pros (and a few cons) of sourcing technologies to consider for 2021:

Job Boards

Employment websites, the grown-up alias of job boards, have come a long way in recent years, thanks to aggregators like Indeed and specialty search engines like Dice. These inbound recruiting tools work to draw candidates in, a tactic that’s particularly effective when looking to make multiple hires for the same position. You can post jobs or search resumes, even inputting your very best Boolean strings.

But as far as usefulness goes, that’s about where the sourcing story ends. The practicality of job boards still favors candidates more than employers, especially given the addition of forward-facing career development resources, insights, and advice all focused on getting hired.


While there are different models, curated hiring marketplaces for outbound recruiting, like Hired, use machine learning and data to help connect employers with vetted candidates who are ready, eager, and willing to engage. These platforms can be extra useful for those in-demand tech roles where candidates are harder to source.

Say you’re looking for a Boston-based programmer with a bachelor’s degree in computer science, 5+ years of industry experience, AND fluency in React and Python. You can filter for these exact preferences and sift through a curated selection of active job seekers who match the criteria. Added bonuses include bias reduction features, candidate wish lists, salary calculators, and role-based assessments.


Of course, not all candidates are actively looking, which makes recruiting all the more challenging. Database tools can uncover passive candidates and lead to previously undiscovered talent pools, making it possible to get a first-mover advantage on anyone thinking there might be a better opportunity out there. These often boast access to millions of profiles that aid in building out pipelines plus integrations with a host of other solutions to ensure a seamless experience after the sourcing stage.

GEM Recruiting AI

Like job boards, there are even specialty database options out there, such as Hiretual’s Healthcare AI Sourcing Solution, which collects data from vertical-based platforms including Healthgrades, Zocdoc, RateMDs, and more. The major drawback is whether or not the information provided is accurate and up to date as there are no guarantees the phone numbers and email addresses that databases find are still active.

Staffing Agencies

For rapid or more flexible hiring needs, staffing agencies like Adecco can serve as a point of contact and intermediary, matching qualified candidates with current openings. This approach can save busy recruiting teams time and money by contacting and screening job seekers on their behalf, filling both temporary and permanent staffing opportunities.

However, using an external party to supplement internal efforts sometimes leads to friction or more work for the in-house recruiters, left to educate and onboard this resource. It’s not a perfect fix, particularly when you look at the price, but with the right partner and a well-developed relationship can prove fruitful in select scenarios.


For organizations that receive hundreds or thousands of applications, an applicant tracking system with candidate relationship management integration can mine their existing candidate base. That’s right, your ATS and CRM serve double duty as a sourcing tool if you know where to look.

You will need to start by refreshing the data in place to determine which applicants to keep warm, nurture, and engage, which can be taxing and requires smart segmentation to be most effective. Still, if done correctly, leveraging these tools will not only help you source but also promote your employer brand and provide a pleasant experience for all (even those previously turned down or lobbed into the dreaded black hole).  

In an ideal world, sourcing would be simple. Picture it: jot down a short job description, post it online, read through a stack of resumes, interview a few candidates, and make an offer to the top pick. They accept the job and start in two weeks—a recruiting miracle.

Reality, of course, remains a lot more complicated. The job market will fluctuate, hiring managers will ask to see more candidates, even after they’ve met the best ones, candidates will lose interest or get poached by the competition, and so on.

The game continues. But as the saying goes, the best defense is a good offense, and in recruiting, that starts with sourcing – and sourcing technology.

Ryan Leary

Ryan Leary helps create the processes, ideas and innovation that drives RecruitingDaily. He’s our in-house expert for anything related to sourcing, tools or technology. A lead generation and brand buzz building machine, he has built superior funnel systems for some of the industries top HR Tech and Recruitment brands. He is a veteran to the online community and a partner here at RecruitingDaily.