What Tool, Website, or Program to Use and When

The vast amount of sourcing tools, websites, systems, and programs can be very overwhelming for any recruiter or sourcer. When and what should I use, is a popular question that I am frequently asked. With so many options, there can be an issue in recognizing when what, and how to use it. Adding to the ever long list of variables, each job requisition, each company, the industry, and the candidate, all help mold and define which tool to use, and when a sourcer should be using it.

To illustrate this, I am going to use a methodology that Glen Cathey and Martin Warren spoke about on their blog posts “Boolean Black Belt” and Martin Warren on Sourcecon. All positions fall into one of four categories; Low Demand-Low Availability, High Demand-Low availability, Low Demand-High Availability, and High Demand-High Availability.

Keeping these categories in mind, it becomes more apparent what to use and when. For instance, if we are looking for something that is Low Demand-High Availability, meaning there is not a huge need and there are a plethora of candidates in our ATS/CRM database, people will general be attracted to your requisition through traditional means and job boards. However, if we are looking for something that is High Demand-Low Availability, meaning there are a lot of people looking for this role and not a lot who can do it, we will need to be more creative. When this category exists, we can generally use social sourcing or even “deep web” or “darknet” (below dark web) sourcing. Of course, by using these techniques, you will need to use tools to scrape data and then find contact info, etc. Your task will become more tedious.

Each of the positions and categories I mentioned will determine what tools, sites, or programs you should use. The best way to begin this process is to list all of your available tools, websites, and programs into different categories defined by actual usage. In my second example, one category of tools would be scrapers, and another would contact finders, and so on. For my personal use, I use the following categories with examples for each:

  • ATS/CRM-Taleo, Smashfly
  • Boolean tool (BT)-Bool, Job Vention
  • Resume Boards (RB)-Monster, Dice
  • Social Sites (SS)-Twitter, Facebook
  • Search/Sourcing tools (SST)-Sales Search, PropelIQ, Datanyze
  • Scrapers (S)-Data Scraper, Scrape Similiar
  • People Aggregators (PA)-Prophet, 360Social
  • Contact finders (CF)-EmailHunter, Contact out
  • Engager Helpers (EH)-Crystal, Headline Analyzer
  • Mail System (MS)-Outlook, Gmail
  • Office Tools (OT)- Word, Excel

Now typically, the tools listed in each category are listed in order of how good I feel they perform. That said, the order changes regularly as tools change, go away, new ones come up, etc.

Utilizing the Staffing Life Cycle and the model outlined above, taken from Glen Cathey’s and Martin Warren’s blogs, it is easy to match what tool, site or program to use and when. In the example of High Demand-High Availability, there are a lot of candidates, so the only tools you need is your ATS/CRM, your jobs page, and maybe a job board. In the case of High Demand-Low Availability, there are not a lot of candidates, and everyone wants them, so you will need to look in places and on websites that are less used. This will likely mean that you will need more tools to find, and gather the info needed. You will also likely need social sites, search/sourcing tools, etc.

Also remember you might decide to have more categories than I do. For example, User Groups. I do not have a specific category for them, mainly because I put them under Social. However, you might want them in a different category depending on your sourcing preference and your sourcing strategy.

Let’s get back to the Staffing Life Cycle. The Staffing Lifecycle (SLC), is basically the complete process from start to finish in staffing a position. Now keep in mind, the SLC can be different from company to company, and position to position. It all depends on the process being used. So let’s look at it. It is very simplified, and in some cases, you may have extra steps. For an example, where there are an A and B, means variables that may happen. In the first few steps, I put tools you might use as an example:

  1. Your HR team (sometimes), say your development manager, or any Hiring Manager, and you have met and have determined there is a need for a new hire.
  2. You all determine the level, salary, group, relocation, visa, diversity, internal, Hiring Manager (HM), responsibilities, etc. You and the HM, write a Job Description (JD). Tools: Sales Search, Datanyze to do competitive intel on salaries, JDs, Word to write JD, etc.
  3. You and your HM discuss sourcing strategies, you make a Standard Level agreement (SLA), and introduce him to whatever process, method, or model your company uses for staffing. Tools-Word for SLA, Outlook to send SLA and meeting notes to HM,
  4. You post the job and begin sourcing. You may even source with your HM. Tools: ATS/CRM for posting, Bool for Boolean string, Monster for job boards.
  5. A: you screen sourced candidates. B: you share sourced candidates with HM for review and to decide who should be screened. (here you might get legal, relo etc. involved)
  6. Those candidates that pass the screen go to the HM for review.
  7. A: Candidates that the HM likes are submitted for face-to-face interviews. B: Those candidates the HM likes to get tech screens scheduled. (here you might get legal, relo etc. involved).
  8. Candidates that pass the tech screen and are submitted for face-to-face interviews.
  9. Face-to-face interviews are conducted, and hiring decisions are made, and offer/s created.
  10. A: Candidates not to be hired are closed out and told thank you. B: (sometimes references are checked here) candidates selected for offers, are notified and offers are made. (Here you might get legal, relo etc. involved).
  11. A: Offer accepted, are noted in ATS, other groups needed to complete hire are notified, such as legal for visas, relo for relocation, etc. If not already done, references are checked here and any background checks are initiated, and HM is notified. B: offer declined, and annotated in ATS.


To reflect, we have our SLC structured. We also have identified what tools we might use in those steps, and we have our designation identified based on demand & availability. The steps of the SLC that do not involve finding or engaging candidates will be easy to decide what tools to use, as your organization will have standard tools such as Microsoft Word.

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The parts of the SLC (steps four and five) will be the hardest, and most time consuming, are where the designation part needs to be categorized. If, as I stated earlier, it is a position that is Low Demand-High Availability, then you can simply use your ATS/CRM, applies, and Job Boards.

In the beginning of this post, I mentioned each role, each company, each industry, will help determine which tool or website to use and when. Where the company comes into play, is with regards to what toys, tools, systems, programs, or websites they are willing to provide. As it relates to industry, it is related to the fact that not all “toys” are relevant to all industries.

In summation, I recommend not get overwhelmed by all of the shiny tools and toys in the staffing world. Just remember the SLC, and the model from Glen Cathey and Martin Warren. Take time to categorize your toys and you will be fine.