Talent acquisition professional at work

Partner Profile: Opptly’s Direct Sourcing AI Elevates Your Extended Workforce Strategy from Jobs to Skills

If you have been involved with talent acquisition and/or the extended workforce, you have heard about direct sourcing. While the concept has been around for at least a decade, advances in machine learning and artificial intelligence, along with long-term talent and skills shortages, have pushed direct sourcing solutions to the forefront of talent acquisition strategies.  


Did you know 84% of organizations are now either using direct sourcing as part of their workforce strategy, or plan to explore it within the next two years? 1



What is Direct Sourcing?


According to Staffing Industry Analysts, an early definition of direct sourcing is “the process by which a company leverages its own candidate pool…to place within the company as contingent/temporary employees.” For the extended workforce, direct sourcing usually has three components:


1. Sourcing technology to identify and attract candidates 

2. Curation of talent communities on behalf of the business 

3. Compliance mechanisms for ensuring timely payment and appropriate classification 


While early applications of direct sourcing applied specifically to the extended workforce, the desire to optimize talent acquisition resources and employer brand has given rise to the notion that direct sourcing should also be applied to the hiring of regular FTE’s.

How Does Direct Sourcing Impact Your Total Talent Strategy?


Direct sourcing can be seen as a gateway to a unified workforce strategy that includes all FTE and non-employee categories.  I recently had an opportunity to spend some time with Jason Safley, Chief Technology Officer at direct sourcing solution provider Opptly. We discussed the Flextrack-Opptly partnership and dove deep into the inventive and accessible technology that powers Opptly’s solution.


We will be sharing some clips from  our conversation via our LinkedIn page and YouTube channel over the next few weeks. One topic, the vectorization of candidate profiles, is particularly relevant to a major trend in talent acquisition today. 


Profiles, Vectors and Skills-based Talent Acquisition 


According to a recent report by Deloitte, over 98% of business executives are planning to increase the use of skills over jobs when making decisions about their workforce.  Currently, 90% of organizations are actively experimenting with skills-based strategies to build organizational agility, address long-term talent shortages, and achieve diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging goals.  


The transition from jobs to skills has led to a boom in workforce technology focusing on people’s skills as the level of analysis. While this includes direct sourcing, not all approaches and algorithms are equally valid and useful in making hiring decisions.  


Visualization of talent acquisition data collected


The Opptly Difference 


Opptly’s approach is to convert the details from candidate resumes into mathematical representations, or vectors, to develop a comprehensive profile of their skills and capabilities.  


Here is a brief overview of how they do it: To gain this comprehensive candidate profile and to understand the difference between listing a skill on a resume and applying it in a role, Opptly develops both long and short vectors for each candidate profile. A long vector contains the entire work history of an individual to create a maximum mathematical representation of that person’s career. Short vectors isolate aspects of a person’s career to get a better representation of what they can do on the job.  


The result? Vectorization of candidate profiles captures the comprehensive skills taxonomy of a person instead of keywords and job history. This allows matching with a vectorized work opportunity as well, comparing broader and more robust numerical representations of the work and the individual rather than the semantic skills match that has been popular in the past. 


One of the most important aspects of vectorization as applied by Opptly is in the training of its machine learning model to be able to tell the difference between listing a skill on a resume and applying it in the role. Opptly’s technology can determine this difference by looking more closely at the frequency and proximity of words on a profile as well as how they are being presented by the candidate. In turn, this skill set is projected over multiple dimensions to determine similar skills and develop a comprehensive profile for any individual. In other words, Opptly’s model identifies skills in a candidate’s background and brings the context of those skills to find accurate matches quickly.   


What does this mean for you? 


Opptly’s technology goes far beyond keyword searches or role similarities to find a greater number of more accurate matches for opportunities in a shorter amount of time.


This allows the curators and recruiters to spend more time developing experiences and relationships related to the company and the opportunity rather than trying to identify and confirm needed skills in a profile.  


Opptly’s skills vectorization technology directly enables skills-based hiring for both FTE and extended workforces, helping to accelerate a transition to skills-based people management. Of course, several additional factors, such as skills-based compensation and skills-based career development need to mature to fully realize the benefits of a skills-based organization. Much of this quickly growing as identifying differences in market rates for skills and skills-based career planning, is already underway.  


Getting Started with Skills-Based Hiring


In a sense, recruiters have been working on skills-based hiring for decades. Initial resume and candidate screens may have focused on work experience and job history, but often, a clear and valid assessment of skills was made during the hiring process. Now, with the advances made possible by machine learning, artificial intelligence and direct sourcing, skills are coming to the forefront of hiring.  


Why not take an easy step toward skills-based organizational transformation and add a direct hiring capability to your extended workforce program now? The fractionalized nature of contingent work and the relatively rapid work cycles make your extended workforce program a great place to start building your skills-based hiring and people management capabilities. 


Want to know more about direct sourcing, how AI identifies skills and how you can get started with skills-based hiring for a contingent workforce?  

Contact our team for a demo.  


1 “Workforce Solutions Buyer Survey 2022,” Curtis Starkey/Staffing Industry Analysts, 2022 

Jeff Mike

Jeff Mike

Head of Insights and Impact, Flextrack

Jeff Mike works closely with HR, Procurement and IT leaders to design extended workforce ecosystems that fuel and future-proof enterprise talent strategies. Jeff brings over 15 years of experience leading HR functions, along with five years leading global HR- and workforce-related research, to combine the best thought leadership, business practices, and platform technology into purpose-built solutions.

Jeff Mike