3 Ways to Evaluate Sourcing Tools for Your Team

April 17, 2015 at 1:29 PM Kathleen de Lara


Choose wisely – the tools of the hiring trade hold the key to how your company makes or breaks its future.

For a seasoned recruiter, evaluating hiring tools is a familiar undertaking, some preferring to stick with a select list of tools throughout their career. Those who are new to the game might find a jumbled, confusing mix of options rife with bells, whistles, and genuinely helpful features.

Not sure where to start when deciding which candidate sourcing tool works best with your hiring goals?

Closing out the last days of #WGS15, we asked Gamemaster Ronnie Bratcher to share his wisdom from 15 years of tech sourcing and recruiting. Here’s how he evaluates the next best thing.

If you’re just starting out building your hiring toolkit, keep in mind product trials can very likely be your best friends. Otherwise, how would you get a hands-on understanding of whether or not the product is the right fit for your team’s hiring goals? Learn the key differences between a tool and their competitors, demo products, and if it looks like something that could work for you, don’t be afraid to sign up for a trial. You’ll be able to point out what you like and don’t like to build your case for whoever ends up writing the check for the tool.

Search capabilities

Run some candidate searches to find out what types of candidates turn up in the results. Try a mix of complicated and simple, natural language searches. Use filters to exclude job titles, to include certain companies, to scour through particular networks, and to test tool-specific features, like a diversity filter, for example. How does this product’s search results compare to what another product pulls up? Is the data accurate? Is the data relevant to your org’s industry? Keep a lookout on the type of contact information included in search results. The more personal, the better – you’ll be able to tailor your outreach to improve candidate engagement.

Product stability

Measure product usage. Ronnie recommends monitoring the product for three weeks. At the beginning, use it heavily on a daily basis. Track data points of your searches based on specific candidate criteria, including:

  • The source of the results Where is a majority of candidate data coming from? Is there a balanced mix of popular and not-so-familiar networks?
  • The repeatability of the search How frequently are the same candidates showing up on the results pages?
  • The quality of the results Did you get who you asked for? 

What you’re trying to find out is if your search results are accurate, relevant, and varied in the long run. Remember: Competitors are using these tools, too.

Speed and ease of customer support team

A great product should be backed up by an equally great customer support team. Your team will inevitably run into a few bugs with a tool and will need help figuring out how to use some features. Do your research and browse through the company’s Support page to see how the CS team addresses user issues and questions.

  • Is there a knowledge base with solutions to common problems, and an FAQ section?
  • Is the support team available around the clock or only during traditional working hours?
  • Can the support team be accessed by email, phone, or both?
  • How quickly and effectively can they solve your issue?
  • How important is on-site or virtual product training to your team?

Evaluating the quality of the support team comes with poking around the product long enough to know how it works, and where it falls short of your expectations. This can also help you gauge how closely the company’s support and engineering teams work together to customize a search tool for users, a fairly common request. Can the company make its product work better for its customers?

Customer testimonials offer proof and credibility for a product’s worth and usability, but ultimately what matters is if the tool is right for the types of candidates the company’s looking for and how well the product integrates with your current hiring process.

How else does your team evaluate new sourcing tools? Share your tips in the comments!

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