August 19th, 2016 | by

Five years ago, I was asked to lead a recruiting department for the first time ever – and to double the size of the company within 6 months!

Since I didn’t know any better, I figured that I might as well build the recruiting engine in the same fashion that I built a marketing engine, and it turned out the approach worked.

Applying just a few of the techniques learned as a marketer made our recruiting engine 10x more productive and successful – and we hit our goals a month ahead of schedule.

What lessons did I learn through this experience?

Here are the 5 key ways that recruiting teams can leverage sales and marketing tactics to maximize hiring success:

1. Build a Recruiting Pipeline Funnel with Clear Goals For Each Candidate Stage

In order to hit target hiring goals, we needed to create a recruiting pipeline funnel and we needed to understand our conversion rates from application to testing to interviews to offers to acceptances.

We were trying to hire 100 people in 6 months (and mind you – the company only had 80 at the time!), so if we didn’t stay on top of our overall candidate flow, we were never going to hit our numbers.  This pipeline funnel looked very similar to a marketing pipeline funnel, and we built it from the ground up with solid data on our conversion rates at each stage of the hiring process.

2. Identify How The Pipeline Funnel Changes For Every Role

The funnel built showed that we needed something like 4,000 applications to hit the target of 100 hires, but if all of those applicants came for the same 3 positions, that did us no good.

In fact, conversion rates through the funnel were 5x better for software and support associates than they were for sales and marketing candidates, so we had to develop a funnel for each role – driving a certain number of candidates every week per position.

3. Build a Multi-Channel Traffic Plan to Drive Inbound Candidates

There was no way that simply sourcing great candidates (although critical!) could get us the volume of candidates we needed. We had a to build a multi-channel candidate attraction plan to drive candidate traffic.

That plan included online job boards, social recruiting, job fairs, networking events, referrals, and a great careers website. Then, we used data to determine whether we these activities drove a positive ROI, and whether we should adjust our investment levels.

Recruiting and Marketing are Similar

4. Learn How to Message and Motivate Like Sales and Marketing

Recruiters have a tough task to act as both a marketer and sales rep- attracting candidates and closing the deal! Our team had to deliver a compelling message and experience that would make someone want to join our team.

Think about it – when we sell products, we are selling something that our clients will use, at most, 4-5 hours a day.  When we are selling a job, we are selling a life experience – an experience that will shape the vast majority of our waking hours.

In a world where tech talent in particular is hard to find, we knew we had to stand out in the crowd.  So, we set up training for recruiters to help them message and speak about the company’s strengths and differentiators just like we did for sales and marketing; the training involved role-playing, one-minute pitches, email messaging, cold call prospecting, and SLAs for response times.

On the Job Hunt Yourself? The Definitive Guide to Landing a B2B Sales Job

5. Actively Source and Prospect into Passive Candidates That Fit Target Criteria

Passive job seekers are often the best talent – employees well valued and compensated by their current company because they are doing a bang-up job.  That doesn’t mean they can’t be persuaded to leave – it just means they probably won’t answer that job board listing.

I remember that we were having a particularly hard time filling the Senior Architect role and had to aggressively source passive candidates.  We used a variety of tactics – referral bonuses, LinkedIn InMail, and technology networking events, but you know what worked best?  Cold calls.

The fact that we took the time to pick up the phone indicated to the candidate that we were serious. In fact, it has been documented by SocialTalent in their 2016 Global Recruiting Survey that candidates are 25% MORE likely to respond to a phone call than a LinkedIn InMail.

How Can You Improve Your Strategy?

So, why are only 5% of recruiters using the phone to reach out?  There are a variety of explanations: lack of training on how to effectively cold call, lack of wanting to sound “pushy,” or simply lack of access to direct-dial phone numbers.  None of these explanations are good enough to excuse the lack of cold call prospecting in recruiting.

Recruiting leaders should build a prospecting training plan, AND they should invest in technology that provides their recruiters with the information they need to effectively reach out to passive candidates.  This includes a solid Applicant Tracking System, LinkedIn InMail, and a detailed contact database including direct numbers.

With direct-dial phone numbers for 96% of our expansive contact database, DiscoverOrg has proven to be a powerful tool for leading corporate recruiting departments looking to accelerate team growth. In fact one of our recruiting clients summed its value up in one simple phrase: “Amazing ROI, Great Passive Talent Database.”


Read more recruiting content: Top Recruiting Blogs You Should Bookmark


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Katie Bullard
About the author

Katie Bullard

As Chief Growth Officer (CGO), Katie brings 15 years of marketing, product, and strategy experience in global, high-growth technology businesses to her role at DiscoverOrg. She has a bachelor’s and masters degree from the University of Virginia.