The Importance of Brand in Direct Sourcing Software

Using your brand to attract the best freelance and contract talent makes a direct sourcing strategy an attractive proposition for large organisations. There are significant advantages in areas of skill shortage and opportunities to make significant savings over other recruitment models.

An organisation’s choice in direct sourcing software can have significant on its employer brand and often these considerations are overlooked.

In this guide:

  • The importance of brand in an overall direct sourcing strategy
  • How software is often overlooked as a branding concern
  • Comparing current branding options for direct sourcing software

The importance of brand in an overall direct sourcing strategy

As our guide to direct sourcing in recruitment shows, there are some very attractive benefits for an organisation to include direct sourcing in its end-to-end talent strategy:

Reduced recruitment costs
By directly re-engaging existing talent, managed in private talent pools, an organisation can reduce the cost of recruitment or staffing fees.

Reduced time-to-hire
Re-engaging existing talent reduces the time to hire significantly.

Better long term engagement
The investment in direct sourcing helps foster and create a more compelling employer brand and value proposition. This helps set the organisation up for longer term advantages in attracting the best talent, especially in areas of talent shortage.

Implementing an effective direct sourcing strategy, however, places much greater importance on an organisation’s employer brand. Attracting and retaining external freelance and contractor talent requires investment in employer branding and value proposition.

An Employer Value Proposition (EVP), or an increasingly common Freelancer Value Proposition (FVP), defines the reason why a person should choose to work for your organisation above all others. It is a clearly defined set of rewards, benefits and standards that communicate what someone who is engaged by your organisation receives in exchange for their skills, experience and commitment.

The EVP/FVP becomes critical as without the added support of intermediaries (and their pull and reach), the success of a direct sourcing strategy rests largely on the shoulders of the organisation.

How software is often overlooked as a branding concern

According to a survey of global employer branding trends, when large organisations were asked what they believed to be important branding initiatives, the overwhelming majority answered:

  • Social Media presence
  • Careers website (primarily for permanent employees)
  • Alumni program
  • Newsletters, Brochures
  • Referral program

This is understandable but worrying. It’s easy to see why the majority perceive ‘branding’ to be a synonym for ‘advertising’, and therefore placing the focus of their employer branding on grabbing the attention of prospective talent.

However, acquisition is just one component of scaling a successful direct sourcing strategy. Equally important is the brand experience of onboarding and ongoing engagement.

As our guide to overcoming the challenges of a direct sourcing strategy explains, “a direct sourcing strategy for engaging contingent workers is only going to be successful while you retain an engaged talent pool.

The simplest route to engagement is to ensure every freelancer, consultant or contractor in your talent pool is working on a project. However, whilst this is the simplest route, it's not the most practical.

At any given time, there will be a portion of your contingent talent pool without any work to do for you. To ensure these workers are there and available for the next time, you need to regularly engage with them.”

During the onboarding and (re)engagement process, the brand experience is just as critical and often this responsibility sits with the direct sourcing, or on-demand workforce software.

Comparing available branding options in today’s direct sourcing software

Given the investment in employer branding during the ‘acquisition’ of contingent talent, it is surprising the levels of concession organisations are willing to make to the brand experience during the onboarding process and ongoing relationship with its freelancers and contractors.

To deliver an excellent ongoing brand experience, here are the important elements for organisations to consider:

The freelance/contractor ‘careers’ website
The global employer branding survey showed how important it is for an organisation to have a compelling careers website. However, the typical careers site is primarily geared to permanent recruitment opportunities. An organisation should have an equally compelling website experience for freelancers and contractors. “Careers” in inverted commas because the word isn’t correct for that portion of the workforce but the principle of showcasing the benefits and opportunities for freelancers and contractors to work on projects with the organisation.

What Talon offers:
  • Bespoke ‘careers’ microsite for each client, supporting branded images, video and a live feed of available projects
  • Hosted on an organisation’s branded domain e.g.,

What other direct sourcing software providers offer:
  • Templated microsite, with stock imagery and no support for custom video content
  • Hosted on software providers domain e.g.,

The onboarding experience
Once the freelancer or contractor decides to apply to work on a project, they typically begin an onboarding process. The onboarding steps guide the freelancer/contractor through the necessary compliance and vetting steps to ensure a good fit with the organisation and its requirements.

During this onboarding experience, the freelancer/contractor should feel they are still dealing with the organisation’s brand. They should feel connected with all of the brand traits they experienced before they clicked ‘sign-up’.

What Talon offers:
  • Fully branded application experience, including logos, typefaces, colour palettes
  • Branded labelling
  • Customisable taxonomy and architecture of projects so they fit with brand definitions
  • Custom, brand-specific terms and conditions and privacy policies

What other direct sourcing software providers offer:
  • Little control over ‘look and feel’, often limited to placing a logo on a standard template
  • Generic taxonomy and architecture
  • Generic terms and conditions, which often means the user is signing up to the software providers terms

The ongoing relationship
At any given time, there will be a portion of your contingent talent pool without any work to do for you. To ensure these workers are there and available for the next time, an organisation needs to regularly engage them.

Through this ongoing, regular communication, the freelancer or contractor is repeatedly exposed to the organisations brand.

What Talon offers:
  • Fully branded system notifications around the project lifecycle (alert, application, update, confirmation)
  • Integrated email marketing functionality to schedule and trigger personalised email messages
  • API connections to external marketing automation platforms

What other direct sourcing software providers offer:
  • Generic system notifications


To deliver an effective direct sourcing strategy, an organisation should ensure an excellent end-to-end brand experience, that incorporates onboarding and ongoing engagement. To do this successfully, working with the right direct sourcing software is a critical decision.

Useful resources

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