300 Open Positions? You’re Not a Director of Recruiting, You’re a VP of Sales…

Kris Dunn Candidate Pool, Driving Productivity, Kris Dunn, Recruiting, Sourcing, Working With Recruiters

Editor’s Note – This post is part of a Point/Counterpoint series related to an upcoming article in Workforce Recruiting, exploring when and how an organization that must recruit 250 to 300 independent sales representatives every year to cover high attrition rates should consider outsourcing its recruiting efforts.  We’ll link to that article when it goes online…

So you’ve got 300 sales rep spots to fill each year.  Nice.  300 of the same position, and if you don’t fill the spots, the revenue associated with each sales slot goes “bye-bye”.

First up, it’s obvious that this isn’t your normal recruiting challenge.  The normal recruiting Baldwin_glengarry_glen_ross_2 challenge is a job by job fill, each one unique in the needs of the position, the desires of the hiring manager, etc.

Not this one.  This one is a production line.  You want quality, but to hit the number you’ll have to let go of the candidate by candidate focus and get the production line rolling.

Here’s my advice.  Stop thinking like a HR Manager or Director of Recruiting, and start thinking like a VP of Sales.  Why a VP of Sales?  Because you hitting your goal to hire 300 sales reps nationally has nothing to do with your skills as a recruiter.  Instead, it’s got everything to do with how you manage the recruiting equivalent of a SALES FUNNEL. 

Here’s the definition of a sales funnel.  A sales funnel report presents a “snapshot” of your sales function at any given point in time.  It looks at the leads your sales organization is generating, then tracks the conversion rate as those leads are turned into prospects, then gradually converted to the final stage where they become customers.  To end up with one customer at the end of the sales funnel, you’ll need multiple leads.  Knowing how many leads you need to get one customer lets you plan your sales activity to hit your budget.

You can use a similar approach to hit your goal of hiring 300 sales reps.  I recently did a search for approximately 20 hires of the same white collar position nationally.  Here’s how my sales funnel looked:

  1. 423 – Total Candidates
  2. 141 – Viable Candidates (Hard Resume Screens – these have a broad range of experience, but based on the profile are candidates who could be successful (on paper) and can work for the comp we have slotted for the position)
  3. 83 – Candidates who pre-qualified on travel, comp and credit history (the process screens early for factors that cause surprises late in the process)
  4. 73 – Number of Phone Interviews conducted with candidates before scheduling finalists for phone interviews with hiring managers.
  5. 49 – Number of Candidates passed on to Hiring Managers for phone interviews. 
  6. 36 – Approximate Number of Phone Screens Conducted by Hiring Managers
  7. 17 – Number of Candidates brought in for live interviews
  8. 10 – Number of Offers
  9. 9 – Accepted Offers 

Here’s the beauty of thinking like a VP of Sales and having true sales funnel data as a part of your recruiting process.  As you build the reporting, you know EXACTLY what it’s taken historically to fill the 300 spots.  If you know, as I did in the search above, that it takes over 400 raw candidates and 141 “qualified leads” to get 9 hires, then you can easily do the math and figure out what you need to get the 300 spots filled.

Knowledge is power.  With your sales/recruiting funnel in hand, you can make better decisions on how to outsource all or part of your recruiting process for the 300 positions.  If you have in house recruiters, perhaps you make the call to engage a RPO firm to provide you with qualified leads as defined in step #2 or #3, freeing your recruiters to move the candidates through the rest of the process and CLOSE BUSINESS.

The sales funnel provides you with the data you need to make cool decisions about the business.  Do it now, and don’t be held hostage that you necessary have to outsource the whole thing to outside recruiters.  Control your process, know your numbers and do the cost-per-hire math with quality in mind as well.

Always Be Closing…

Kris Dunn

Kris Dunn is a Partner and CHRO at Kinetix, a national RPO firm for growth companies headquartered in Atlanta. He’s also the founder Fistful of Talent (founded in 2008) and The HR Capitalist (2007) – and has written over 70 feature columns at Workforce Management magazine. Prior to his investment at Kinetix, Kris served in HR leadership roles at DAXKO, Charter and Cingular. In his spare time, KD hits the road as a speaker and gives the world what it needs – pop culture references linked to Human Capital street smarts.