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AUSTIN, Texas—If recruiting teams are run like sales teams, with a strict division of labor and a reliance on metrics, then they are more likely to be successful, according to Jon Bischke, CEO of social sourcing and talent analytics software company Entelo, based in San Francisco.
"The most effective recruiting organizations I have seen operate very similarly to the most effective sales organizations," he told attendees at the Human Resource Executive Talent Acquisition Tech Conference.
Division of Labor, Changing Roles
Bischke noted the increasing specialization of roles in sales over the last decade.
"In the past, the salesperson would do everything—prospecting, closing deals and checking in on the customers once the deal closes. They were end-to-end full-cycle salespeople."
Now, most sales organizations are starting to split the role into different categories, such as:
Modern recruiting is moving to a similar model, Bischke said. "Yesteryear's model was a full-cycle HR professional, responsible for hiring as well as post-hire duties. We're now seeing a lot more sourcers at the front of the funnel, the equivalent of your sales lead generation people."
Sourcers identify talent for recruiters to evaluate and select from, in cooperation with hiring managers. HR then focuses on onboarding, development and training after the hire.
In addition to splitting sourcers from recruiters, companies are adopting the notion of introducing more people with marketing expertise to talent acquisition teams.
"Rather than trying to retrain somebody that's been thinking one way about the industry for many years to think about it differently, bring in someone who does think about it differently and apply their knowledge to recruiting," he said.
Focus on Metrics
The most successful companies use recruiting metrics that very closely match the ones used by sales-driven organizations, Bischke said.
[SHRM members-only toolkit: Benchmarking Human Capital Metrics]
The Power of Good Data
Similarities extend to the conversion funnel. Bischke explained that in sales, inbound and outbound leads are generated before being converted into qualified leads. A proposal will eventually be made, and the deal will be closed.
"There's a very similar dynamic in recruiting," he said. Recruiters either source candidates or contact applicants, and then send qualified candidates through a phone screen, an onsite interview, and a salary negotiation before a hire is final. "As you have more data and can sit down and have a conversation about the conversion funnel, where it's leaky and where you can improve it, you will be more empowered and have more leverage. If you understand how many hires you need, you can walk it back up the funnel and know exactly how many people you need to pour in to the top of the funnel. At a more granular level, you can find out how many people you need to pull in through sourcing, or how many you need through an agency."
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