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null Direct Sourcing at CWS Summit, North America - Three key takeaways


In my previous post, I examined the top three themes and takeaways at the CWS Summit that took place in September. Much like the two previous years, Direct Sourcing made the list of top themes. 

If you polled delegates at the Summit, there would be several different interpretations of what Direct Sourcing is to them. We at Hays define it as: “building and nurturing, an often-proprietary talent pool by leveraging the brand and value proposition of the company”. 

Showcases at the Summit shared stories with varying degrees of success with one organization achieving 11% of hires after one year against a target of 20%. Hays’ own session “Why Your Direct Sourcing Program Will Fail,” highlighted stories of other projects that have effectively failed to launch altogether. Although, it should be noted these weren’t managed by Hays. 

So, what were the common themes of the successful, and less successful, programs? 

If you build it, they (may not) come

To mis-quote the film Field of Dreams, even an attractive and high-profile brand, when combined with a website and job site marketing, may not be enough to generate a steady stream of qualified talent. Despite - or perhaps even reinforced by - the recent pandemic, talent in business-critical functions like digital, projects and change and sales remain in high-demand. The best talent will now have multiple opportunities and an expectation to be “found” rather than to “apply”. But it doesn’t stop there - you need to build engagement through multiple touchpoints. The tired, “I saw your profile and you look like a good fit for...” approach won’t typically elicit a positive response anymore. This is where a true “find and engage” program is required, and where the less successful programs have either failed to embrace the approach or underestimated the expertise and resources required to deliver it.  

It isn’t a coincidence that some of the more successful Direct Sourcing programs are managed by companies with a heritage in staffing, or organizations with a track record in volume Talent Acquisition for permanent hiring. 

It’s not (just) about technology

While technology is a core part of any successful Direct Sourcing program, it is not the answer on its own. Our showcase with Mya focused on how the two companies have combined Mya’s technology with Hays’ people all while overlaying the knowledge and insight of both parties to build a program that was both efficient and effective. 

It also focused on how the expectations of all stakeholders have increased. This in turn means any engagement must also deliver a great experience. Bringing us again to the answer of combining the people “art” and the technology “science”. 

One size does not fit all

A common feature of successful programs was a clear strategy based on demand segmentation. Either segmenting by discipline, location, business criticality or a combination of these, we found this was the key to identifying a core segment where a critical mass of demand and supply could be generated and return on investment demonstrated. An example being Hays’ recent launch at a financial services company. By focusing on a few core locations and one business critical function, Direct Sourcing has become the primary source of talent in those areas within four months of launch, all while retaining a committed supply structure elsewhere. 



Robert Moffat
Senior Vice President – Global Head of Solutions and Americas Head of Sales, Solutions and Marketing, Hays Talent Solutions

With a 25 year track record of designing, implementing and managing talent services Robert has a wealth of knowledge on the challenges and opportunities facing employers in maintaining a competitive advantage in talent acquisition, engagement and retention.

As Global Head of Solutions Robert is part of the global leadership team responsible for innovation and product development and as Head of Sales, Solutions and Marketing for the Americas he is responsible for growth of the region. Having lived and worked for Hays in Europe, Asia Pacific and the Americas he is able to bring a diverse range of thought and experience to the new challenges in the world or work.

He has a passion for new ideas, markets and opportunities and has been instrumental in a number of Hays’ recent global projects including the roll out of a Global Operating Method, Supplier Engagement Strategy, the evolution of our direct sourcing approach and a quick deploy RPO service for start-up and high growth companies.