How to Build a Talent Sourcing Stack on a Budget

Building a talent sourcing tech stack on a budget is like trying to build a house with only a hammer and nails. It’s possible, but it’s going to be a lot of work.

That’s why we’ve put together this guide to help you build a talent sourcing tech stack that’s both effective and affordable. We’ll show you how to choose the right tools for your needs and get the most out of them.

Before we dive into how you can begin building your sourcing tech stack, let’s look at some of the biggest pain points and challenges this stack should solve. As a recruiter for a staffing agency or small recruiting team, you know that the economics of sourcing are just as important as the outcomes. And finding the sweet spot between frugality and high-impact sourcing outcomes is like finding a needle in a haystack—or a competent candidate on LinkedIn.

What is a Sourcing Tech Stack, Anyway?

A sourcing tech stack is the collection of tools and software that form the foundation of the recruiting side of your business, including:

  • Candidate search tools (think: resume databases, job boards, social networks)
  • Candidate outreach tools (think: email, InMails, and text messages)
  • Candidate relationship management (CRM) tools 

Think of a “stack” as a perfectly synchronized orchestra. Each piece of software should harmonize with the others, working together seamlessly rather than existing in isolated silos.

Why Is Your Candidate Sourcing Stack So Important?

Not to be dramatic, but the tools you use are pivotal for your business.

And if you’re using cobbled-together solutions or experimenting with free trials, we totally get it.

However, it’s crucial to evaluate your sourcing tech stack and avoid defaulting to tools simply because they are convenient. Now, let’s look at why you should consider building your sourcing tech stack with purpose and intent.

Drive Scale and Growth

This is a game-changer. Integrations and automation can help you simplify and streamline talent search and engagement.

Think about what happens when a new requisition comes in, or you’re tasked to find a candidate for a niche role. How quickly can you build a list of great-fit candidates? Is your outreach strategy consistent, or do you find yourself improvising?

With the right sourcing tech stack, you can automate these processes and make them more efficient – allowing you to scale and focus on more high-value tasks like tailoring candidate engagement. 

Reclaim Your Time (and Your Sanity)

Simply put, sourcing software can automate tedious tasks and eliminate time-wasters from your team’s schedule.

Food for thought: Teams using sourcing software reduce their time-to-fill by 27% and cost per hire by 20% (Capterra). When you have a candidate database that instantly helps you get verified candidate emails, you can focus on more high-value tasks like tailoring your outreach or screening candidates.

Gain a Competitive Advantage

In recruitment, having the right tech stack is your secret weapon. It’s the difference between staying ahead or falling behind. You need to level up if your competitors have tools that provide richer candidate data or shorter response times.

Every sourcing tech stack is unique. What works for an enterprise will not work for a startup or a staffing agency: you need a combination of tools that makes sense for your business context.

What’s the Foundation of a Robust Sourcing Tech Stack?

The recruitment tech marketplace is noisier than ever, and finding solutions that work for you can get overwhelming. A simple search for “sourcing tools for small teams” will fetch you hundreds of recommendations.

Of course, it’s not practical (or even necessary) to demo every tool available. 

Your priority is building a stack that aligns with your requirements and budget. Below, we’ve outlined the components of a successful sourcing tech stack for you.

Candidate Search Tools

To start with, you have the fundamental tools that help you find candidates. These tools help you cast a wide net for open positions, from candidate databases to job boards and beyond.

Candidate search tools help you search through millions of candidate profiles in seconds, which would be impossible to do manually. For example, ChatterWorks helps you unify all your candidate profiles, workflows, and communications in a single place, saving you time over logging in and out of individual platforms to manage these functions.

Candidate Outreach Tools

Here in your sourcing journey, you’ve already compiled a list of candidates and want to initiate a conversation with them.

This is where professional networks like LinkedIn and email sourcing tools come in handy. Providing accurate and verified candidate information and messaging capabilities, outreach tools serve as the centerpiece of your sourcing tech stack. 

Candidate Relationship Management (CRM) Tools

A CRM system helps you keep track of all of your candidate interactions, including emails, phone calls, and social media messages. This helps you stay organized and follow up with candidates in a timely manner. It can also provide visibility into the progress of candidates through the recruiting process and identify candidates who are not a good fit for the role.

5 Tips to Remember as You Put Together Your Sourcing Tech Stack

If you’re feeling a bit lost on where to begin or how to make your tool selections, don’t worry.

We’ve put together a few points to consider as you build your sourcing tech stack.

1. Budget for free, freemium and paid tools alike

You can build a surprisingly powerful sourcing stack with free or freemium tools alone. Especially, if you are a small team or a staffing agency. 

Speaking of which, testing the waters with free trials and demos is a great idea.

Ideally, consider tools that can grow with your business as it expands. 

That said, don’t shy away from investing in more advanced tools when necessary. The key is to weigh their cost against their impact on your business. 

Remember that managing multiple SaaS licenses can be a big drain on your budget. As your stack grows, so does the potential for overspending.

2. Assess all-in-one solutions versus individual tools

All tools are not created equally. Some tools are “unitaskers” that address a specific need, and some are all-in-one solutions that can help manage multiple tasks.

All-in-one solutions are typically more expensive, although they keep you from switching between a bunch of different apps. Sometimes, investing in solutions that your team is already familiar with is easier. The important thing to remember is – you shouldn’t be paying for tools or features you don’t use.

3. Consider integrations between your existing tools

Remember: You want to build a well-organized stack, not a chaotic assortment of tools. 

Fortunately, many sourcing solutions offer built-in or third-party integrations to foster seamless connections. Integrations play a vital role in preventing notification overload and eliminating unnecessary bottlenecks. 

For instance, consider a tool that seamlessly integrates with ATS’ and CRMs to streamline hiring without having you   jump between multiple platforms.

Be sure to check what other tools and platforms are supported for integration to save some valuable time.

4. Prioritize “needs” over “wants” when it comes to sourcing

Reality check: you can’t have everything when it comes to sourcing.

You need to distinguish between your “wants” and “needs.” Let’s face it, you can’t have it all, and trying every tool is just not feasible. 

To stay focused and budget-conscious, consider these questions when evaluating new tools: 

  • What specific benefits will this tool bring, such as more candidates or filling specific roles?
  • Will it support a select few team members or the entire organization?
  • Is achieving the desired outcome possible with an existing solution?

These questions can help you make informed choices and avoid impulse purchases. 

5. What’s the real cost of onboarding?

This is the one thing often overlooked when assessing the “cost” of a sourcing solution.

While the financial aspect is crucial, don’t overlook the time investment. 

Introducing your team to a new solution can be time-consuming, especially with a larger team. Frequent app switches can disrupt workflows and reduce productivity. 

Don’t overlook the importance of user-friendly onboarding when exploring recruiting tools. For example, at ChatterWorks, we provide our new users with comprehensive resources to get started and make the most of our software.

An image summarizing the 5 tips for building a sourcing tech stack

Building a Potent Sourcing Stack on a Shoestring Budget

Now that we’ve covered what a sourcing stack is and the most important considerations when building your stack, let’s dive into the main event: building a powerful sourcing tech stack to drive your competitive advantage.

Our assessment methodology is pretty straightforward: we’ve dissected the three core sourcing activities that form the foundation of your outbound strategy and offer our top tool recommendations based on the challenges they solve and, most importantly – pricing. 


This is one of the most widely used networks to find candidates, and even with a basic (read: free) account, you can filter for specific criteria.

Use the ‘people’ filter at the top of the homepage to search for candidates based on keywords, location, job title, company, and more. You can also filter results using industry, language, and education level.  

A screenshot of LinkedIn search panel

What’s included? Up to 1000 profile searches for free and $170/month onwards for premium features and searches. 

Become a power user: 

  • Optimize your profile on LinkedIn: Use keywords to indicate the positions or roles you frequently hire for.
  • Use Boolean search strings: You can use Boolean search on LinkedIn by combining keywords with operators like AND, NOT, and OR.
  • Join LinkedIn groups to connect with candidates: Leverage LinkedIn’s active community of job seekers by joining groups related to the roles you typically hire for. In addition to the rich discussion threads, groups are also great places to engage with potential candidates.


The largest job site in the US, Indeed is a great place to find your next hire. With millions of resumes to search from, you can find candidates with the skills and experience you need and contact them directly.

Indeed Resume’s simple search interface makes it easy to find candidates with the qualifications you’re looking for. Simply enter keywords, skills, certifications, language fluency, or company names to find the perfect candidates for your job opening.

Here are a few tips for using Indeed Resume to find the best candidates:

  • Use specific keywords in your search. The more specific you are, the more relevant your results will be.
  • Narrow your search by using the "What" and "Where" fields. For example, you can search for candidates with specific certifications or who have worked at particular companies.
A screenshot of Indeed's search bar and settings
  • Use the “Advanced Search” features to refine your search results further. For example, you can search for candidates by salary range, experience level, or education level.

Once you’ve found some potential candidates, you can contact them directly through Indeed Resume. You can send a personalized message or invite them to apply for your job opening.

What’s included? Indeed has a freemium model where you need a subscription to unlock advanced search and other features like filters, resume downloads/sharing, and resumes by email. Prices start at $100/month.


GitHub is a free and popular platform for software development, making it a great place to find technical candidates.

GitHub is used by millions of developers around the world to share code, collaborate on projects, and showcase their skills. As a result, it’s a great place to find technical candidates who are passionate about their work and have the skills and experience you need.

Here are a few benefits of sourcing on GitHub:

  • It’s free. There’s no cost to create a GitHub account or to search for candidates on the platform.
  • It’s easy to use. The GitHub search bar is simple to use, and you can filter your results by location, skills, and other criteria.
  • It’s effective. GitHub is a popular platform with serious developers, so you’re more likely to find qualified candidates there than on other job boards.

Become a power user:

  • Search for users by keyword, skill, or location. You can use the GitHub search bar to find users based on their username, email address, location, or other criteria. For example, you could search for “users in Denver with experience in Python.”

  • Search for repositories by keyword, skill, or language. You can also use the GitHub search bar to find repositories based on their name, description, or language. For example, you could search for “repositories in Python with the keyword ‘machine learning’.”
A screenshot of GitHub search console and filtering criteria
  • Use GitHub’s advanced search features to narrow down your results. GitHub’s advanced search features allow you to filter your search results by language, follower count, fork count, and other criteria. For example, you could search for “users in Denver with experience in Python and at least 20 followers on their repositories.”
A screenshot of GitHub's candidate search results based on filtering criteria
  • Once you’ve found some potential candidates, you can contact them directly through their personal email or LinkedIn profile.


We’ve saved the best for the last! ChatterWorks is incredibly powerful for candidate search, giving you access to over 500 million verified candidates. You can use the ChatterWorks browser extension as your social search co-pilot or dive deeper into the data with our web platform. 

Use Boolean strings and advanced filters to find the candidates you need across industries, job roles, locations, companies and more. 

A screenshot of ChatterWorks' search console and filtering criteria with Boolean

What’s included? A 14-day free trial, after which you can access all features at $50/user/month (billed annually) or $600/user/year.

Become a power user:

ChatterWorks browser extension:

To get started, simply download the extension from the Chrome Store. Once it’s installed, navigate to the candidate’s social profile and click on the blue ChatterWorks logo at the side of your screen. You’ll now have access to a variety of contact details for this person, including work experience, featured skills, and other social profile links.

A screenshot of ChatterWorks' chrome extension on a LinkedIn webpage

Pro-tip: Take your ChatterWorks experience to the next level - click the Settings button to download the candidate’s ChatterWorks profile as a PDF and a screen slide to switch the extension to the opposite side for a personalized browsing experience!

A screenshot of ChatterWorks' download to PDF feature in action for the Chrome extension

Using the web app:

Add your criteria to the search pane on the left-hand side to run a candidate search. Watch the results appear on the right, updating in real-time as you refine your search. The more specific your criteria, the more precise your results. And yes, all fields support Boolean logic.

A screenshot of ChatterWorks' web app search console

Save your customized search by clicking ‘Click here to save this search’ in the top left corner for easy access later.

A screenshot of ChatterWorks' save search feature in web app

When you find a candidate who fits your requirements, click on their name in the search results. Instantly, their profile will pop up, showcasing details such as contact information, work history, social media links, and key skills.

Download the candidate’s profile or copy their profile link for seamless sharing using the buttons in the top right corner. Add personal notes about the candidate and slot them into relevant projects to keep everything organized and efficient.

A screenshot of ChatterWorks' candidate search results and instructions on downloading candidate profile

Sourcing Metrics: The Only Numbers That Matter

Imagine a world where you could know exactly which sourcing strategies are working best and which ones are wasting your time. Imagine identifying your top channels and tactics and replicating their success. Imagine making data-driven decisions about your sourcing strategy and seeing the results in real-time.

That’s the promise of actionable sourcing metrics.

Sourcing metrics are the lifeblood of your outbound recruiting strategy, allowing you to track your progress and help you validate the success of your efforts. They can tell you how many candidates you're finding, how many are qualified, and how many accept your offers.

But with so many sourcing metrics, it can be hard to know which ones are the most important.

In this section, we’ll look at the only sourcing metrics that matter. We'll show you how to track, measure, and use them to improve your sourcing strategy.

#1: Time to fill

Time to fill is the number of days you take to fill an open position. It's a critical metric for staffing agencies to track because it helps you identify areas of improvement in your sourcing workflow.

For example, a longer time to fill indicates that your cold outreach campaigns aren't attracting enough candidates or that your interview process is too long and complicated.

Here’s a simple formula for calculating your time to fill:

Time to fill = (Total number of days to fill all open positions) / (Number of positions filled)

#2 Source of hire

Source of hire is the method or channel through which you find and hire new employees. It’s essential to track this metric because it can help you to:

  • Identify your most effective sourcing channels
  • Improve your recruitment strategy
  • Hire top talent more efficiently

Here’s a simple formula for calculating your source of hire:

Source of hire = (Number of hires from a particular source) / (Total number of hires) x 100

For example, if you hired 100 new employees in a year and 20 of them were hired through email outreach, then your source of hire for sourcing emails would be 20%.

By tracking your source of hire, you can ensure you’re investing your time and resources in the most effective sourcing channels. This will help you to optimize the economics of sourcing even further and achieve faster fills.

#3 Applicants per role

The applicants per role metric in talent sourcing is the average number of candidates who apply for each open position. It is calculated by dividing the total number of applicants by the number of open positions.

Here’s how to calculate applicants per role.

For example, if you have 10 open positions and receive 100 applications, your applicants per role metric would be 10.

Why is this metric important?

The applicants per role metric is an important indicator of the demand for your open positions. A high number of applicants per role suggests that there is a lot of interest in the company and the positions you are hiring for. On the other hand, a low number of applicants per role suggests that there may be less interest in your company or the positions you are hiring for.

By tracking the applicants per role metric, you can identify trends and opportunities for improvement. For example, if you have a low number of applicants per role for graphic designers, you may need to adjust your job posting channels or outreach strategy.

#4 Cost per hire

Cost per hire is the average amount of money you spend to fill an open position. It’s calculated by dividing the total cost of hire by the number of hires you make.


Cost per hire = Total cost of hire / Number of hires

The total cost of hire includes all the expenses associated with the hiring process, such as:

  • Recruitment fees
  • Advertising costs
  • Screening costs
  • Interviewing costs
  • Onboarding costs

Why is this metric important for you?

By understanding your cost per hire, you can make necessary adjustments to the hiring process to make it more efficient and cost-effective.

As a recruiter looking to get the most bang for your buck, cost per hire is a crucial metric to help identify potential areas of cost optimization and the best approach to resource allocation.

#5 Revenue per hire

Revenue per hire is the average amount of money you make from each hire. It's calculated by dividing your total revenue by your number of hires.


Revenue per hire = Total revenue / Number of hires

This metric is particularly important for staffing agencies to track and optimize because it’s a key indicator of your business’s profitability. By increasing revenue per hire, you can improve your bottom line and grow your business.

It would be best to track your revenue per hire over time to identify trends and opportunities for improvement. For example, if your revenue per hire is declining, you may need to adjust your pricing strategy or focus on different industries or positions.

Imagine what you could do with your extra money by increasing revenue per hire. You could invest in new technologies, expand your team, or offer your clients more competitive rates!

#6 Quality of hire

Quality of hire (QoH) measures of the value your new hires bring to the company. In the context of staffing agencies, QoH refers to the value your agency’s placed candidates bring to your clients.

There is no one-size-fits-all way to measure QoH, as it will vary depending on the specific needs of your clients and the roles you fill. However, some common QoH metrics include:

  • Time to productivity: How long does it take new hires to become productive members of the team?
  • Performance reviews: How well do new hires perform in their roles?
  • Retention rate: How long do new hires stay with the company?
  • Client satisfaction: How satisfied are clients with the candidates that the staffing agency has placed?

You can track QoH metrics over time to identify trends and areas for improvement. For example, if your candidates take longer to become productive, you may need to tweak your screening or onboarding process.

Here are a few tips for measuring QoH:

  • Identify the key QoH metrics for your agency. This will depend on the specific needs of your clients and the types of roles you place candidates in.
  • Collect data on your QoH metrics. This can be done through surveys, performance reviews, and client feedback.
  • Analyze your QoH data to identify trends and areas for improvement.

Why is it important to track and optimize QoH?

QoH is a key indicator of the quality of service you provide your clients. By tracking and improving QoH, you can attract and retain more clients and improve your competitive position within the industry.

#7 Sourcing channel cost

Sourcing channel cost is the amount of money you spend on each sourcing channel to find and hire qualified candidates. You can calculate it by dividing the total cost of the sourcing channel by the number of hires made from that channel.


Sourcing channel cost = Total cost of sourcing channel / Number of hires from sourcing channel

Why is it important to track sourcing channel costs?

Tracking sourcing channel cost is essential because it helps you understand how efficiently you spend your money on recruitment. By tracking sourcing channel cost, you can identify which channels are most effective at producing qualified candidates and which are not worth your investment.

#8 Screen to hire ratio

The screen to hire ratio is the number of candidates screened for a position divided by the number of people hired for the position. It is a measure of how effective your candidate segmentation is.


Screen to hire ratio = Total number of candidates screened / Total number of hires

For example, if you screen 100 candidates and hire 10 people, your screen to hire ratio would be 10:1.

Why is it important to track screen to hire ratio?

Tracking screen to hire ratio is important because it helps you to understand how efficient your hiring process is. A high screen to hire ratio means that you are screening a lot of candidates for each hire. This can be a sign that your candidate research is off the mark or that you are not reaching out to the right type of candidates.

#9 Candidate diversity rate

The candidate diversity rate is the percentage of candidates in your sourcing pipeline from underrepresented groups. You can calculate it by dividing the number of diverse candidates in your pipeline by the total number of candidates.


Candidate diversity rate = Number of diverse candidates / Total number of candidates

For example, if you have 100 candidates in your pipeline and 20 of them are from underrepresented groups, your candidate diversity rate would be 20%.


From improving scalability to driving your competitive advantage, your sourcing stack makes all the difference. 

Building a sourcing stack on a budget can be challenging but once you find the right combination, you can run your hiring workflows more efficiently and increase sourcing performance at the same time. 

Need help getting started? We’ve got you covered.

If you haven’t already, check out ChatterWorks and book a demo today to understand how we can supercharge your sourcing stack!

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