Two young female professionals looking at a screen are discovering ways to optimize their talent strategy with new VMS technology.

Supercharge your talent sourcing: Break down old school thinking and technology to keep up with a challenging market

An effective talent sourcing strategy needs to be multi-pronged. Hiring teams need to be able to connect with a whole ecosystem of suppliers that have different reaches, aims, markets or specializations—including diverse and underrepresented groups. Businesses need to be able to switch suppliers and add new ones quickly, depending on their needs and as talent markets evolve.  The sourcing strategy needs to include new talent technology solutions, like direct sourcing suppliers, as well as traditional staffing suppliers. This transformative thinking changes the mindset to focus on constantly looking for new sources and new suppliers as opposed to accepting a given configuration of solutions and moving to another topic.

Digital technology is reshaping talent sourcing

The number of direct sourcing technologies available in the staffing market continues to increase year-over-year.  This coincides with how 60% of contingent leaders expect that direct sourcing will get implemented within their programs in the next couple of years. These developments should be no surprise, as a lot of this new technology is a result of the digitalization that has occurred in the staffing industry.  In addition, the competition for talent right now is greater than ever. Staffing suppliers are looking at how to digitize their recruiting functions to be more efficient at reaching talent and to provide compelling candidate and hiring manager experiences.

Originally designed to help staffing suppliers, direct sourcing technology is increasingly being sold as a stand-alone service. Organizations can incorporate this direct sourcing technology into their extended workforce programs to better access their internal network of candidates, technology-provided candidate database resources, and even the public marketplace. A critical component of this multi-pronged strategy is a technology solution with the ability to quickly change suppliers and connect with the new and niche providers as the organization’s talent strategy dictates.

Vendor management systems (VSM) in talent management 

Most vendor management systems (VMS) have a strategy to incorporate direct sourcing solutions into their platforms to meet client needs.  Some have native tools that offer a basic solution that addresses the needs of certain organizations, and can also integrate with third-party platforms.  Unfortunately for most VMS solutions, creating APIs–the modern integration interface of platforms–with a legacy SaaS codebase is time-consuming, requires maintenance, and increases overall technical debt. This makes it difficult to incorporate new solutions and therefore can be limited to the type and the number of talent technology solutions deployed to enable your talent sourcing strategy.  

Fortunately, with the right architecture, it’s now very easy for organizations to access these value-added third-party solutions and embed their extended workforce strategies to get the same effect these staffing suppliers realized.  New VMS solutions architected as a platform-as-a-service (PaaS), like Flextrack, are designed specifically to unify a variety of technologies to achieve a single mission: to help organizations get the talent they need to be successful. 

The core assumption of a PaaS strategy is that one technology solution can’t solve all your problems. With PaaS you no longer have to settle for less than best-in-breed technology or a single solution to address your talent sourcing and management needs. The right infrastructure encourages that ecosystem approach. The variety of integration tools included in a PaaS make it easy to quickly add new sourcing channels for talent. This integration just doesn’t make it easier for an organization to work with a supplier–it makes the supplier more efficient and effective in providing customer support.   

Integrating solutions is one aspect of an agile talent sourcing strategy. Another aspect is how to manage these new relationships. I’ve mentioned that this mindset changes the thinking to be constantly looking for new sources and new suppliers. Therefore, a critical component of this mindset is to have effective tools to track performance.  Service-level agreements (SLAs) and other key performance indicator tracking need to be available and in real-time to both the buyer and suppliers in any talent solution.      Gaps in service delivery need to be identified and escalated as they occur–not during a subsequent executive service review months after the fact. 

Adapting to change and innovation


Flextrack has written about creative destruction recently as a way to help develop the new mindsets needed for success in current markets. The idea behind creative destruction is you don’t want to blow up everything you know and start over, but you have to be deliberate in breaking down old ways of doing things to ensure the old isn’t holding you back.  This is clearly applicable to rethinking your relationship with talent sourcing channels. 

Talent sourcing has changed dramatically since the early 2000’s thanks to technology. This has revamped how suppliers source talent and has made them more effective. Organizations can better leverage their supplier network by integrating with this new technology and should not be limited to the constraints of their legacy VMS provider. It’s time to break old ways of thinking about how to integrate talent technology solutions, and that can be accomplished through an organization’s VMS. 

Mark has over 25 years of experience in the workforce solutions industry. Mark has been responsible for implementing, operating, and transforming contingent workforce solutions for hundreds of organizations worldwide. Mark has also led technology teams that built and managed VMS solutions and other technology solutions to digitize and transform extended workforce solutions

Mark Zolkos

Managing Director, Flextrack