How to build a direct sourcing strategy for frontline hiring

Author Mike Marschke Date May 02 2024

Did you hear that? It’s your frontline job applicants dropping from your funnel because your hiring process is too complicated. But did you know that you can tailor your direct sourcing strategies to entice the right applicants who are more likely to follow through with their funnel journey?

When you source directly, as opposed to passively, you’re reaching right into the heart of the talent pool and uncovering the highest quality talent, bypassing the third-party sourcing strategy that tends to take up too much time and resources.

Scale Hiring

Direct sourcing channels can include advertising on job boards, sourcing via social media, asking current or former employees for referrals, and even dipping back into the pool of candidates who were initially rejected.

In this post, we’ll discuss how direct sourcing can benefit your frontline business, how to source quality candidates directly, and how today’s hiring technology can help you get your sourcing strategy up and running in no time. 

Why HR teams use a direct sourcing strategy

Depending on which frontline recruiter you ask, how many people are on their team, and the extent of their resources, direct sourcing may be the better option for your hiring needs. 

When you use direct sourcing, you’re able to more accurately target the job seekers you want for your open roles. This is especially important when you’re hiring for a specific industry, like healthcare or hospitality

Direct sourcing also lets you cut out the intermediary and gives you direct access to your applicants, which can have a small but cumulative impact on your time-to-hire.

woman writing on sticky notes

A final benefit of a direct sourcing strategy is the built-in compliance knowledge. While third-party vendors may be up to speed on national labor regulations, they may not be as well-versed in the labor laws of your specific geography. When you implement your own direct sourcing strategy, you can ensure this knowledge is applied to hiring practices from the start. 

Learn how to simplify your HR compliance practices.

Where to source quality candidates directly

If you’re sold on the idea of using a direct sourcing strategy as part of your hiring process but you’re not sure where to start, you’re in the right place! Keep reading to learn about the channels you can use to source the most qualified candidates.

  • Previous candidates. Your previous applicants are some of the best places to start implementing your direct sourcing strategy because you already know they are interested in working for your company. Consider reaching out to ask how their job search is going and let them know if you have new openings they might be interested in. 
  • Social media. Beyond traditional job boards, many frontline workers are also looking for jobs on social media channels. Instagram and TikTok are some of the more popular channels to source candidates.
  • Employee referral programs. Your existing employees can be your best brand ambassadors when it comes to sourcing new hires! Ask them to reach out to their network for potential candidates, and don’t forget to offer referral bonuses if one of their connections gets hired!


  • Job boards. If push comes to shove, traditional job boards are still great resources for sourcing, especially when you’re using a direct sourcing strategy that doesn’t require someone from an agency to do all the work for you. 
  • Professional organizations or networks. If you’re in an industry that has professional organizations, consider making a connection within those networks and inquiring about the opportunity to advertise jobs.

Strategies for direct sourcing at scale

When you’re ready to kick-start your direct sourcing strategy, here are a few things to keep in mind before you get started.

Source before you need to hire

If you have a busy hiring season coming up or you’re looking to scale sooner rather than later, make sure you have an ironclad sourcing strategy in place well before you need to actually extend offers. The fast turnover in many frontline industries means that once your strategy is ready to go, all you need to do is press start!

Stay aware of your brand identity

Your direct sourcing strategy should exude elements of your employer brand. This will ensure prospective applicants can familiarize themselves with what your organizations stands for and what they can expect if and when they join the team. 

Provide an excellent mobile-first experience

When directly sourced applicants are ready to apply, you need to make sure the process is as easy as possible for them to complete. To start, use a hiring process that is mobile-friendly since the majority of frontline workers spend their time on their phones.

blurred image of a person holding and using a mobile phone

Diversify your sources

The list we provided above includes examples of direct sourcing resources, but that’s only the tip of the iceberg! Gather your HR team and brainstorm other ways you can employ direct sourcing strategies. 

Track and measure your success

Any solid direct sourcing strategy should have built-in metrics that allow you to measure efficiency and success, such as the number of hires you’re able to make from one particular source. 

Keep refining your process

Using the metrics mentioned above, track your progress over time and make adjustments to processes that aren’t delivering you the results you need.

How software leads to more direct sourcing

Unless you’re brand new to the HR tech space, you likely know all about the capabilities and functions of an applicant tracking system (ATS). An ATS with AI-enabled features can make a world of difference in simplifying your ability to source.

AI can take care of certain tasks like posting jobs to sourcing channels, communicating with candidates, and, once they’re in the hiring funnel, facilitating document exchange and uploading forms. 

To learn more about how AI can help you stay competitive when it comes to sourcing and hiring, click here.

The Fountain approach to a direct sourcing strategy 

Fountain is full frontline hiring solution that leverages automation, customization, and AI to source the right candidates for you when you need them. Our best-in-class solution has been built for frontline hiring, allowing companies like yours to attract the right people, keep them engaged, and scale as operations grow.

To learn more about how Fountain can help you exceed your frontline hiring goals, click here to talk to us today!


Elevate your candidate sourcing strategy.

Unsure where to start when it comes to sourcing? Browse our top 15 candidate sourcing strategies to learn how to attract your industry’s top talent.

Source more applicants

About the Author

Director, Strategic Programs

Mike Marschke

Mike Marschke is Fountain's Director of Product who has a passion for innovation and optimizing talent acquisition strategies, enhancing candidate experiences, and driving organizational growth.