Best Candidate Sourcing Tools - November 2019

The Best Talent Sourcing Tools, ROI Calculator, Questions to ask vendors, and More

Are you looking to fill the top of your hiring funnel? What about closing hard to fill job reqs, or building pipelines of diversity talent? If so, you should definitely take a look at adding a sourcing solution to your HRTech stack. These offerings will allow you to reach new talent pools, and quickly engage relevant people to close your hardest to fill reqs.

Sourcing software is great for teams that need to augment their existing sourcing capabilities, or to fully outsource the process. They also work for companies of any size or industry - the main criteria to get value of out these tools is that you must have a need for hard to find talent.

We’ve done a few hundred hours of research into this recruiting software category so that hiring teams pick the right vendors, and avoid common pitfalls. We hope the below is useful, good luck!

We spend hundreds of hours researching the best B2B software so you don’t have to. We never take money from vendors during our research phase and rely heavily on practitioners and experts to help us recommend the right software. More than 90% of the vendors featured on our site have no commercial relationship with us. Read more


Top Candidate Sourcing Tools

We track thousands of HRTech solutions, these are the best Sourcing tools and services per our research and expert council as of November 2019

vSource’s specialty is in finding qualified candidates who meet your criteria so that your recruiting and sourcing team can reach out. This solution is designed to provide a predictable pipeline of passive candidates to give your recruiters a running start each day. vSource is big on customer service, and prides themselves on working with companies to refine the people who will be a good match for your reqs. Their customers include Pandora and Cisco.

Worth Checking Out: vSource can also help with talent mapping for companies who are trying to determine where to put their future offices.


Fetcher is a tech focused automated sourcing solution that uses a combination of AI and humans to find and engage people who will fit your open req. Their offering drastically reduces the time it takes to hire and as a result they’ve been able to land customers like Shopify, Reddit, and Peloton.

Worth Checking Out: Fetcher can start putting interviews with qualified candidates on your calendar within days, that’s compelling.


Hiretual has a massive database of candidates that is perfect for sourcers and recruiters who are looking for hard to find candidates. As a user, you can run searches to find people to reach out to, and then put them into an outreach campaign.

Worth Checking Out: In addition to sourcing, Hiretual allows for candidate re-discovery in your existing databases.


TopFunnel offers an automated sourcing solution designed to augment your recruiters’ outreach so that they can focus on talking to candidates. It’s offered both as a tool or managed service and boasts customers like ZeroCater and Coinbase.

Worth Checking Out: You can play around with a free version of TopFunnel on their website.


With Entelo, you can search for candidates that meet your criteria, and then automate your outreach all from one platform. Their new Envoy platform even promises to deliver qualified candidates directly to your inbox. Big name customers include Wayfair, Sony and Paypal.

Worth Checking Out: Entelo has figured out a few ways of using machine learning to improve D&I sourcing by inferring the skills people have by their work experience.


Why Talent Acquisition Teams Use Sourcing Tools

We live in a world where unemployment continues to hover around 4%.  Realistically, it’s much lower for the hard to find talent that you’re looking for: engineers, diversity candidates, experienced sales reps, etc.

Over the past decade, many companies have developed internal recruiting and sourcing functions to find the right talent.  As the market got tight, companies could either rely on expensive third party recruiters or start to do the work themselves.

However, even these internal teams can be stretched thin as the demands of a growing organization take their toll on your recruiting team. This is where sourcing tools come in, and recruiting software in general.  This software/services category is all about building the top of your recruiting funnel with quality passive applicants.

Some of these tools are trying to be better and/or cheaper than a LinkedIn Recruiter license.  Some are trying to be your outsourced sourcing team.  And some are doing both. All of them are what we’d consider to be part of an elite group of the best candidate sourcing software.

Regardless, these tools are all looking to increase your ability to build relationships with and hire the right people for your hardest to fill roles through AI sourcing, social media, .recruitment marketing, and various other talent sourcing methods.

Talent Sourcing Tool ROI Calculator

If you’re looking to buy a tool or service to augment your sourcing capability, here are our thoughts on how to calculate the return on investment. Some key points in this calculator:

  • How to capture increases in recruiter productivity

  • How decreases in time to fill affects the organization

  • How sourcing tools can decrease agency fees

We highly suggest your use the video to the right in order to best understand how to use our calculator!

You can make your own copy of this google sheet here, or download in excel here.

Beyond the dollars and cents, there are also some non-economic benefits of using talent sourcing tools.  For example, the vast majority of recruiters we talk to do not like sourcing.  The idea of sending cold emails, and then playing phone tag with the people who are interested is very unappealing.  Optimizing or outsourcing these tasks means more time for your team to do the things they like, as well as think strategically.


Sourcing Tools vs Managed Services/Automated Talent Sourcing

There are two main ways that vendors in this space help with your top of funnel recruiting.  Some of these companies offer tools that your recruiters and sourcers can use to find and engage with potential hires.  These tools are very similar to LinkedIn Recruiter, but rely on emails vs inmails.

The second way companies in this category can help is by providing a managed service to drive more quality applicants into your pipeline.  You tell them the profile you’re looking for, and they do most of the work until the candidate is ready to interview. The candidate either shows up in your inbox, or on your calendar.

While I think most of us would want to simply have calendar invites appear with the right candidates, there are some tradeoffs to the managed service approach.  The first is price.  The second is a potential loss of control in your process and how your employer brand is being portrayed.  However, we don’t believe this is a major concern as every vendor we talked to wants to work closely with their customers to ensure the right messages are being sent to the right people in order to preserve employer branding.

Here’s What HR Needs to Know About Sourcing Tools

Here are some of the points that we found (some) practitioners don’t understand when they first hear about sourcing tools:

  • These solutions can help you build relationships with D&I candidates by searching specifically for people that meet various criteria.

  • Hiring managers can also use these tools to streamline their own recruiting process, assuming they are taking an active role in top of funnel recruiting.

  • Companies that hire 10-100,000 people per year use recruiters.  Similarly, sourcing tools can help companies of almost any size.

  • No, candidates haven’t opted into this outreach.  Just like sales people can email you out of the blue as long as they follow various regulations, you can (and probably are) reaching out to candidates that haven’t “opted in” to your communication. This tactic is the best way to get in touch with passive candidates and is very common across internal and external recruiting teams.

  • Utilizing a candidate sourcing tool in concert with other recruiting technology such as video interviewing or employee referrals can greatly magnify the effectiveness of your overall recruiting process, and therefore you should be thinking holistically about how you want your talent acquisition tech stack to look.

  • Many applications will not convert down the funnel into hires. Employers that use a recruiting CRM can re-engage and nurture these applicants until they are a good fit for an open role.

  • These solutions can be a replacement for agencies and LinkedIn recruiter licenses. But, it’s more likely they’ll augment your other efforts than totally replace them.

  • A well run sourcing mechanism is great for getting people into your funnel.  But, if you have a poor candidate experience, onboarding, or culture generally, you will constantly be trying to fill a leaky bucket.

Questions to ask Talent Sourcing Vendors on Demos

  • Where do you get your data?  Is your service GDPR and CAN SPAM compliant?

  • Is this a tool or a managed service or both?  What is the pricing difference between the two?

  • What automation features do you offer once candidates have been identified?

  • How do candidates/applications get into my ATS?

  • What are your response rates, and interview rates from candidates? Put another way, what percent of candidates that we’ll be reaching out to respond positively, and what percent want to interview?

  • How will applicants interact with this software during the hiring and onboarding processes?

  • How does the tool know about open positions and prioritize which ones should be actively sourced?

  • Does this solution help with interview scheduling, or integrate with an interview scheduling platform?

  • Can I use semantic search to query the database to find relevant candidates?

  • What analytics are reported to human resources/talent acquisition and on what frequency?

  • How does machine learning and/or AI sourcing play a role in this product?

  • Is your product able to use the analytics from our talent management platform to understand what types of candidates do well in our company?

  • Does this platform leverage social recruiting as one of the sourcing strategies?

Staying Organized

If you’re looking at buying a new sourcing tool, or using one of the managed services we have listed, you need to stay organized. Chances are, you’re going to do at least 3-5 demos. Unless you have a perfect memory, it’ll be tough to remember which tools have which features.

Taking notes is great, but we recommend you do it in a structured way that objectively captures which vendors have which features that matter to you. So, we’ve put together the below spreadsheet that comes with some sample questions, along with an easy to modify structure that will allow you to pick the right candidate sourcing tool for your business.

You can download the spreadsheet here.


Final Advice

Recruiting software can supercharge your talent acquisition efforts. However, it’s one piece of your recruiting process, and doesn’t take the place of a strong human resources team when hiring and onboarding new employees. From the beginning of recruitment through employee onboarding, it’s important to have a human touch that takes into consideration the needs of the humans involved.

That said, leveraging machine learning and AI for your candidate sourcing is a great way to drastically scale your ability to get in front of the right applicants. If your team’s sourcing process lacks technology, you are at a huge disadvantage relative to your talent competition. Moreover, relying solely on job boards or employee referral programs is a surefire way to miss your recruitment goals.

Our advice is to make a list of your priorities, and figure out the 2-3 within your existing recruitment process that need the most help. Maybe it’s adding a recruiting crm, video interview software, or another type of recruiting tool. Whatever the case, we hope this page, and our site generally, is helpful for you to make the right decisions for your business. Enjoy!