Great brands tend to attract great talent. Most companies, however, don’t leverage their brand toward their workforce the way they do toward their customers.

Enter TalentNet, an Ontario-based software company that helps large firms curate and deploy contractors they’ve already attracted. These contractors are already in the company’s database because they have either applied for a job but not been hired, engaged as a temp or just browsed the company’s website. “We created TalentNet because we wanted to provide a way for firms and contractors to engage directly,” explains Justin Lumby, TalentNet VP and partner. “Often, the only two ways to work with a large company as a contractor is through a professional network, where the contractor comes through as a payroller, or else they might get called up by a staffing company looking to fill a requisition.”

So-called “self-sourcing” has been in vogue recently as firms look to save costs in new ways. Because clients don’t pay a markup on individuals sourced directly, it can equate to substantial savings to use such workers. The tool is intended for mature programs with a VMS already in place. When a job is posted through the VMS, it is parsed onto the tool, which then applies matching algorithms to create a short list of candidates, and sends messages to the candidates encouraging them to apply directly. If the response rate isn’t high enough, the tool can push the jobs out (using the client’s branding) to LinkedIn, Twitter and other social media sites. “One of our customer’s corporate jobs site was getting about 340,000-plus unique visitors a month, but they weren’t marketing jobs to those candidates. When we convert even a fraction of those visitors, it impacts the contingent workforce program in a big way.”

There are a variety of solutions on the market for sourcing individuals. TalentNet’s differentiator is the fact it creates separate, white-labelled talent pools for each client, and helps sort the pool into an easily accessible database. Since each talent pool is created specifically for a single organization, it eliminates poaching. The firm charges a percent of spend fee, which is most often bundled with the VMS fee. The firm previously offerred payrolling services, though it has transitioned to providing software only, and encourages clients (or their MSPs) to select a contractor compliance and payrolling firm to supplement the service.

The idea seems to be gaining steam. Founded in 2013, TalentNet now has more than 50 employees, and notes that for every client on the platform more than 18 months, at least 20% of program spend is procured and managed through the software.

The Buzz

A great brand is often viewed as a competitive differentiator. TalentNet is proving that a great brand can also help firms win the metaphorical “war for talent,” and maybe even save some money in the process.