min read

AI Sourcing: the ultimate data driven recruitment tools

AI sourcing tools help drive data-driven decision making and eliminate manual repetitive taks in the recruitment process.

July 25, 2021
Yuma Heymans
April 26, 2024

Candidate sourcing is a process with a lot of repetitive steps.

Think about it, every time you want to find, screen and engage candidates pro-actively, you go through an almost fixed set of activities to reach your goal.

Finding candidates: listing keywords, including (Boolean) search operators, correcting keyword typos, including keyword synonyms, setting filters

Screening candidates: validating the matching quality of the search, checking for information you couldn't filter on, analysing skills

Engaging candidates: finding contact details, writing your outreach message, sending your message at the right time, checking for deliverability and replies

Often all manual activities.

The promise of AI Sourcing tools and technologies is that these manual processes can be automated, at least for a big part.

And next to efficiency, AI sourcing can also bring a more data driven way of working to the recruiter, which can mean more informed and smarter decisions about which candidates to reach out to, when and with what kind of messaging.

In this guide we’ll walk you through the following topics:

  1. What is AI sourcing?
  2. Why is AI sourcing getting more important?
  3. How to start using AI Sourcing
  4. AI sourcing tool overview

1. What is AI Sourcing?

In short, AI sourcing is the use of artificial intelligence to help find, screen and engage talent. AI sourcing tools search the internet for potential candidates, using parameters like job titles, skills, keywords and location to find the best matches for your open positions.

Once the pool of candidates has been narrowed down, AI tools typically help you to contact potential candidates in a partly automated way.

AI sourcing tools are becoming increasingly popular in the recruiting world because they take a lot of the legwork and guesswork out of finding candidates. 

Manually searching for qualified candidates can be extremely time-consuming, and often results in recruiters only being able to reach out to a small number of people.

With AI sourcing, on the other hand, you can quickly and easily identify a large pool of qualified candidates, which gives you a much better chance of finding the right person for the job.

Additionally, because AI tools can automate many of the manual tasks associated with recruiting, such as building searches, screening applicants and sending messages, they free up the recruiter’s time to focus on the work where they can make good use of their brain and interpersonal skills, like talking to candidates.

2. Why is AI sourcing getting more important?

There are a few reasons why AI sourcing is becoming more important for recruiters. 

First, recruiting is becoming increasingly competitive. With more demand than supply of quality talent, recruiters need to find smarter and more efficient ways to source candidates. Recruiting methods that used to work don’t work anymore. Candidates respond differently to outreach. Expectations in terms of candidate experience, speed and job offering are higher than ever. You need to be able to reach and convince the 0.0001% that is best suited for the job that you have to offer.

Second, the rise of social media has made it easier for candidates to research open positions and apply. This has led to an increase in unqualified candidates applying for jobs, which causes job boards to become increasingly saturated and job posts less effective. In order to find the best candidates, recruiters need to be able to source them pro-actively from a variety of different places. AI-powered sourcing can help by scraping the internet for data on potential candidates and delivering it directly to recruiters. This allows recruiters to search in a more targeted way and reach passive candidates who they may not have otherwise found.

Finally, with the remote trend the talent market has become a global market where the entire world has become the available talent pool. Making data even more important to narrow down candidates to a shortlist. With an ever-growing pool of candidates to choose from, resume screening has become a time-consuming process that often yields subpar results. With AI the pre-screening can be done more effectively so a smaller and more accurate selection of candidates is left for the recruiter to review.

AI sourcing is a growing trend in the recruiting industry that shows no signs of slowing down. As the global talent pool becomes more competitive and people are more easily connected to each other, it's increasingly important for recruiters to find efficient ways to source qualified candidates. 

3. How to start using AI Sourcing

Before you start using AI sourcing

There are a couple of things to take into consideration before you start implementing AI sourcing in your daily recruiting activities.

AI sourcing brings a lot op opportunities but also has limitations. The human brain is still unprecedented in its ability to see relevant patterns and make decisions regarding who is the right person for a job. When you know how to use AI sourcing as a tool next to your human brain and your own abilities, only then you can fully leverage the power of AI sourcing.

Understand the basics of AI sourcing

AI sourcing uses artificial intelligence algorithms to interpret a very big set of data. The amount of data points that an average AI tool can process in seconds is hitting the billions.

AI is often used as if it is this magic abstract concept that will bring you success without any effort. But most AI algorithms are actually based on a lot of already existing technologies.

AI sourcing therefore cannot be regarded as one concept or goal and should always be translated to how it is going to be used by the end user, the recruiter.

Most of the algorithms base their intelligence on a big database of profiles. Every profile has underlying data points like job titles, locations, keywords and other parameters like job switching patterns. AI sourcing tools make interpretations of this data and score every underlying data point. The profiles with the highest total score are ranked on top.

Get set up with an AI sourcing tool

Once you understand the basics of how AI sourcing works, you'll need to get set up with a tool that will help you find candidates. 

The selection of an AI sourcing tool is entirely dependent on your goal.

These are some questions to have answered before you select a sourcing tool:

  • What is the goal of using the tool?
  • Which parts of the process should it facilitate, is it only search or also outreach?
  • Is there a certain focus in terms of profiles it should be able to find, if so what is that focus?
  • How many people will be using it initially?
  • What is the budget available for this tool?

With the answer to these key questions you can start finding the tool that you want to start using.

It is recommended to request a free trial before buying any software so you and your team can try it out for your particular use case before committing.

After trying several tools, you can select the tool that works best for you.

If possible, keep commitments small, don’t agree to contracts of several years since the AI sourcing space is changing rapidly and you don’t want to be locked into a tool when there are better ones available.

Where to apply AI sourcing

There are many different ways that you can use AI Sourcing in your recruiting process like candidate sourcing candidates, screening and engaging candidates.

Here are some tips on how to use AI Sourcing in each of these three areas:


Candidate prospects can hang out in several sources online. AI sourcing tools help to search these platforms and match the right individuals based on your job requirements.

They typically search a variety of platforms like:


Screening is the process of reviewing a candidate's profile and deciding if they are worth your time to engage them. 

AI sourcing tools help to pre-screen profiles on data points like:

  • Knowledge and skills (previous job titles, skills, keywords, portfolio of work)
  • Company fit (the match with company and culture)
  • Job switching pattern (moving frequency of the candidate)
  • Interests and personality (passions, hobbies, personal life) and other screening points 


Engaging is reaching out to candidates and following up with them to make them excited about your company and job.

AI sourcing tools automate a big part of the engage process including:

  • Finding the right contact details: finds contact details like emails and verifies them for deliverability
  • Setting up personalized messages: auto generates personalized outreach messages based on your templates
  • (partly) automate outreach: automates the process of reaching out with message sequences and multiple automated follow ups

4. AI sourcing tool overview

AI sourcing doesn’t exist without the tools made available for recruiters. Below are the best AI sourcing tools per recruitment use case.

Search and engage

There are several tools available for the searching and engaging (passive) candidates. Most of them are databases built up of LinkedIn profiles. Others are real-time search tools that find candidate profiles across a variety of platforms.

Best tool for searching and engaging talent:

  • Tool: HeroHunt.ai
  • Key benefits: find 1 billion candidates real-time, find verified contact details, send personalized outreach, automate outreach
  • Plans: free trial and monthly or yearly premium plan

Screening and assessment

To dig deeper on a candidate profile you may need to validate certain data points like skills, job history, soft skills or achievements. Some AI sourcing tools provide a way of screening profiles based on the data that they can find about candidates and in some cases using additional assessments.

Best tool for screening and assessment:

  • Tool: Pymetrics.ai
  • Key benefits: AI screening with data and assessments, screen soft skills
  • Plans: custom plans

Managing candidate pipeline

When you work with so much data it becomes increasingly important to manage that data properly. There are several tools in the market that manage candidate profiles, underlying profile data and touchpoints throughout the recruitment process in one tool. Typically these tools are Applicant Tracking Systems (ATSs) that have an AI component that brings more intelligence to the tool.

Best tool for managing candidate pipeline with AI:

  • Tool: Lever
  • Key benefits: automated workflows, automated job ad posting, full analytics dashboard
  • Plans: free trial and monthly and yearly plans

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