Key Questions to Ask When Researching Sourcing Tools

How to figure out if a sourcing tool is right for you

September 29, 2022

Questions to ask about sourcing tools meta

Proactively sourcing candidates has become a recruiter necessity, even for the top dogs in talent acquisition. LinkedIn Recruiter has long been the go-to for many recruiters when it comes to finding talent, but now TA teams need more efficient ways to build qualified talent pipelines.

Sourcing platforms have risen to the occasion; in fact, there are now dozens of tools specializing in finding passive talent. If you or your recruiting team are investigating sourcing software, you’ll want to understand the differences and similarities between each tool. So where do you start? When doing demos and speaking with potential platforms, ask the questions below to help you discover the tool that’s right for your organization.

Where do you source candidates from?

Recruiting sourcing tools run the gamut from general to specific; if you’re primarily recruiting engineering candidates, you’ll want to make sure the tool you choose is a platform that has been successful in sourcing engineers.

Part of understanding which tool will be the right fit for your sourcing strategy is understanding where your candidates live online, and if that tool has access to those candidates. For instance, marketing and sales professionals are generally active on LinkedIn, but medical professionals like doctors and nurses are less so. Some may specialize in a specific industry, like logistics or hospitality, so find out which sourcing tools are pulling from the right places to accommodate your search criteria.

How up-to-date is the candidate information?

With outbound recruiting, candidates aren’t necessarily providing you with their most up-to-date information via an application. Some tools act as databases of their own, collecting candidate information and re-serving to recruiters when appropriate for a search. In these instances, you’ll want to understand how often data is refreshed or enriched, so you have an idea of the information’s accuracy. It can also give you an idea of how often you’ll have to chase down additional information or contact information on your own.

Other platforms (like Fetcher) are dynamic in gathering new or enriched information for each new search. Candidate info is pulled from an updated, dynamic source like LinkedIn, Github, and/or an online portfolio. This typically means fewer gaps in data and fewer chances that you’re reaching out to an old phone number or email address.

How do you ensure candidate quality?

Sourcing for quantity is important to expand your reach and fill your pipeline. However, at the end of the day, 10 quality candidates are more likely to end in a successful hire than 100 so-so candidates.

When looking at sourcing tools, ask about the quality control processes. Are candidates vetted at all before you see them? Is contact information verified? What metrics are available to understand quality? This could be approval rating on the recruiter’s side, or open and response rates on the candidate side.

What does success look like with automated sourcing? Check out our GR0 case study to learn more about how the marketing agency saved hours a week and grew their SEO team.

What information is provided about candidates?

The more details you have about a candidate, the more you can personalize your outreach and screening interviews. However, hunting down everything you need to make a determination usually means scouring several different sites.

Find out exactly what details are available to you for each sourced candidate. For instance, are you provided with business or personal email addresses? Is it easy to access links to other sites where they have a presence online? On demos, notice the consistency of info provided for each candidate profile - are there some with a lot of blank fields? Additionally, ask about integrations - is there information you’re provided easy to sync with other tools in your tech stack? Make sure you’re choosing a tool that makes it easy to manage your data throughout the recruiting process.

How specific can I make my search criteria?

Your value as a recruiter stems from your ability to understand human experiences and pick up on subtext. Many candidate sourcing tools today rely heavily or exclusively on machine learning and AI to find and deliver qualified candidates.

Tech does make sourcing more efficient and minimizes the need for recruiters to use complex boolean strings to uncover talent. But, TA teams still need to teach algorithms to think like they do. AI sourcing tools can turn up a ton of results for a “product designer” search but will leave you filtering through a broad talent pool. Ask the platforms you’re investigating how they handle more complicated requests – i.e. a product designer with at least three years at a startup.

What’s included, and what’s not?

Make sure you understand the elements of each package that a certain platform offers, and which one will best suit your needs. Pricing models vary from platform to platform; often they’re based on the number of users and/or the number of roles you are actively sourcing for. Some recruiting tools require a one-time set-up fee, while others do not. Some are primarily providing access to a platform, and others offer hands-on support and regular follow-ups with Customer Success, along with platform access.

Come to your demos or discovery calls with at least a rough idea of your recruiting budget and your upcoming hiring needs, so you can work with the account executive on what makes sense for your organization.

How do you minimize bias in candidate sourcing?

Top-of-funnel diversity and representation are just as important as diversity further down the line in hiring. There is no shortage of conversations around human vs algorithmic bias, but hands-on recruiters need a practical understanding of how their sourcing tools approach diversity. Where is the available demographic information pulled from? Is it self-reported, or aggregated from databases/surveys? What measures are taken to keep human and machine-learned insights accountable?

Diversity and bias in recruiting tend to be sensitive topics, but don’t be shy about letting any sourcing platform you partner with know that it’s a priority for you!

At Fetcher, we source qualified candidates for top talent teams every day, but we’re more than just a sourcing tool for recruiters! All packages include automated sourcing and outreach, full recruiting analytics, access to our Chrome extension, and top-notch support and guidance from our team to help you succeed. Have more questions for us? Reach out to schedule your demo today.

Check out our other blog posts for more talent acquisition tips and insights into recruiting trends.

About Fetcher

At Fetcher, our mission is to connect companies to the people who will help them change the world. Our full-service, recruiting automation platform automates those repetitive, top-of-funnel tasks, so you can focus more on candidate engagement & team collaboration.

Simplify Sourcing. Optimize Outreach. Hire Top Talent. Learn more at

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Recruiting Strategies