7 free candidate sourcing tools to attract top talent

Author Sean Behr Date Jan 18 2024

In today’s competitive job market, finding qualified candidates can be one of the biggest barriers to meeting your hiring goals. But thankfully, advances in technology mean there are more ways than ever to source applicants and get the right people on board, fast.

Sourcing candidates in the past used to involve placing ads in newspapers or hosting a booth at a job fair. Now, there are a plethora of free candidate sourcing tools that can handle a hiring team’s sourcing duties. 

To get started with your foolproof (and free!) sourcing strategy, we’re sharing a list of our seven favorite free sourcing tools. These tools will do the heavy lifting for you, delivering quality candidates fast while freeing up your recruiting teams to focus on making real, valuable connections.

Where to start with free candidate sourcing tools

The HR world is full of sourcing tools that can help narrow your search based on extremely precise criteria, but not all of these sophisticated sourcing tools are affordable, readily available, or applicable to all hiring teams’ needs. That’s why we’re only presenting free candidate sourcing tools that don’t require too much reconfiguration of your existing processes and policies. 

man at a workplace holding a sign that says "hiring"

When you have a solid sourcing tool on your side, your recruiting team should notice a huge chunk of time has been given back to them, time that they can use to spend on more meaningful tasks that require human input and interaction.

Free candidate sourcing tools can help make your hiring process more:

  • Mobile-friendly
  • Diversified
  • Tech-savvy and forward-thinking
  • Automated 
  • Malleable and scalable

What is direct sourcing? Click here to learn more.

Let’s dive into our seven top free candidate sourcing tools for hiring teams of all recruitment needs, budgets, and volumes!

7 free candidate sourcing tools

In this list of our top 5 free candidate sourcing tools, we include options for real-world sourcing (i.e., sourcing IRL), online search tools, and social networking tools to offer you a wide range of sourcing options based on your organization’s unique needs and available resources.

Real-world sourcing

If your business operates from a brick-and-mortar location, you have a unique opportunity to source directly from your shop. 

On-site promotion

Signs, posters, and placards that advertise job openings can catch the attention of foot traffic and inform passersby that you’re looking for quality staff.

Aside from minimal printing costs for any signs you might want to hang, this type of sourcing is one of the easiest and low-spend ways to spread the word to your local community that you’re hiring. 

Pro tip: Want the chance to bring even more job seekers to your location? Host an open house where you invite applicants to stop by, drop off an application, and speak directly to your recruiters. As a bonus, offer incentives like free swag, beverages, or snacks. 

Employee referral program 

Employee referrals are another effective (and real-world) option for your candidate sourcing strategy. Referrals yield above-average candidates, have the highest interview-to-hire ratio, and are less likely to leave the job, which will have a positive effect on your staff turnover rates

To incentivize employee referrals, enroll your existing employees into an incentive program that rewards them for every new worker they refer who ends up getting hired.

Job fairs

A traditional job fair can sometimes be just what you need in your candidate sourcing strategy. The people who attend these events are people who probably already know your company and have been waiting for an opportunity to work with you.  

Search tools

Digital search tools allow recruiting teams to get granular in their search for the perfect candidates. Tools like online search engines tailored specifically to the workforce can narrow search results by geography, skill set, and other parameters to ensure you get the candidates who are ideal fits for your open roles. 

Indeed organic

With Indeed, recruiters can post job openings for free, which can be seen by thousands of people on the platform. Indeed’s sophisticated matching and hiring platforms allow you to post jobs, source quality applicants, communicate with candidates, and extend offers, all within the platform. 

You also can filter for top candidates based on your hiring criteria, be selective with who can proceed through the hiring funnel, and even interview candidates from anywhere.  

Pro tip: With Fountain’s Indeed integration, you can link your Fountain job postings to your Indeed account, creating a seamless connection between the two platforms. 

Elevate your sourcing strategy with Fountain’s enhanced Indeed integration.


Another free search tool is ZipRecruiter, a leader in the industry of online job search tools. On ZipRecruiter, hiring teams can post their job openings and publish them to multiple job boards. Their technology matches recruiters with the top candidates whose skills, education, and experience align with the job duties and responsibilities. 

Once the match has been made, recruiters can invite top candidates to apply and use personalization to catch applicants’ attention. Other features include programmable screening questions and mobile-friendliness. 


Adzuna is the third free candidate search tool we recommend. Adzuna is a data-backed sourcing platform that offers intelligent analytics, mobile capabilities, and insight into national hiring and salary trends that can help inform how to source your industry’s top talent.

Social networking 

Social media networks are more than just a place to vent about life’s inconveniences or connect with former friends. Social media is the pinnacle of virtual networking, and the various platforms can be an ideal place to find passive candidates, or candidates who may not be actively searching for a job but who might be intrigued by a company’s online presence. 


Social networks like LinkedIn offer multiple benefits: Not only can you source applicants for your job openings, but you also can work on building your company brand.

Through this medium, you can tell a story about how your company started, what your mission statement is, and what your organization is hoping to accomplish with the right people. 

An impactful social media profile will show potential candidates what your company values and, hopefully, get followers excited about the prospect of working with you.

LinkedIn is also a beneficial free candidate sourcing tool because of the “Skills & Endorsements” section in user profiles. In this section, users can list skills they have built in previous careers and experiences. Users’ connections are also able to endorse their skills, which means you can get third-party verifications of potential candidates’ capabilities.

While LinkedIn does offer the option to put spend behind your job postings, you also can post links to job openings for free. 

group of young adults sitting at a table and working on their laptops

LinkedIn gives you the added advantage of being a career-focused social media platform. Most users on LinkedIn are there to expand their network and maybe to search for jobs (both actively and passively). If you plan to post to only one social media platform, LinkedIn is your best bet.  

Want more ideas? Read 15 of the best candidate sourcing strategies for any business

Free tools have their limitations for frontline hiring

Not all of the free candidate sourcing tools mentioned above are equipped to deal with the high volume hiring demands of some organizations. It is not unusual for companies that hire hourly or frontline workers to recruit several hundred people at one time, which adds an extra layer of complexity to sourcing. 

When you’re competing with hundreds of other companies who are employing the same sourcing strategies, free versions of these tools may not be enough to attract the attention you need to your openings. You may find yourself having to devote a small portion of your recruiting budget in order to move your openings up in the search results.

You may also find that free sourcing platforms don’t allow for the granularity you’re hoping for in your search. This also may require a bit of sourcing spend to ensure you’re able to narrow your search results to your liking.

The beauty of free candidate sourcing tools is that you can test them out, see what results you get, and tinker with your strategy over time.

How Fountain can help

In case a list of free candidate sourcing tools wasn’t exciting enough, we have more good news: All these sourcing tools are supported by Fountain Hire! 

Fountain Hire sources qualified candidates at scale with the least effort required on your part. Integrations that post to select job boards on your behalf can slash the time it takes you to do the same task manually. 

However, if you want to widen your net, you could set a budget and we will post your job to paid platforms. All you have to do is sit back and review the candidates in one easy-to-use dashboard.

Want more free candidate sourcing tips? Click here to download our e-book 5 Sourcing Tricks We’ve Learned from Gig.


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About the Author

Chief Executive Offier

Sean Behr

Sean Behr is the CEO at Fountain and has served in leadership roles at STRATIM (acquired by KAR), Adap.tv (acquired by AOL), and Shopping.com (acquired by Ebay). Behr also advises, mentors, and invests in entrepreneurs and early-stage companies.