The process of scaling teams intrigues me because of my background as a growth marketer. There are common themes running through both: high creativity and a utilization of automated tools to expedite the process as much as possible.
Parallels don’t end there because hiring teams employ growth marketing tactics like auto-responders, contact scrapes on Facebook and LinkedIn, and split-tests of their job templates or emails as well.
And, in the end, the goal of growth marketing and recruiting at scale is the same: construct an engine with as much automation as possible, but execute in a way to make candidates feel they are the sole focus of your efforts.
While I have years of experience as a candidate and have recruited/hired for various projects, I am by no means an expert on the internal intricacies of hiring. Rather than writing what I believe I know, I reached out to five highly-experienced executives for their thoughts. I received a ton of actionable insight to share with you, along with their tool stack and one process they believe is a key component to their success. Enjoy…
Michael Ferguson, CEO of Rainmakers.co on utilizing marketing automation in your recruiting efforts:
To kick this off, I wanted to highlight some growth recruiting strategies used by a new career salespeople marketplace called Rainmakers. Rainmakers connects top sales talent with high growth start-ups. Think Hired.com, but exclusively for salespeople. I connected with their CEO Michael Ferguson, who is a 3rd-time founder with an exit. Here is what he had to say:
Q: What is one tactic you can share that you don’t expect most recruiting pro’s are implementing in their processes for finding and/or acquiring quality candidates?
A: “Nova.ai is an AI-powered sales automation tool that we use. They allow you to quickly add personalization to your emails. These emails have a ~30% higher open rate and you can personalize the emails in 15-30 seconds. They also integrate natively integrate with Salesforce.”
Q: What tools and processes do you suggest recruiters use to best automate their recruiting processes from start to finish?
A: “We use a variety of flows. A primary flow that we use is as follows-
- Connect with candidates on LinkedIn
- Export our candidates from LinkedIn into Hubspot CRM. We prefer CRM’s to ATS’s as they integrate better with more sales tools. Hubspot is relatively inexpensive and easy to use. We have all important data setup as attributes so we can easily search.
- We export candidates as a .csv from Hubspot and update their Hubspot status.
- We import the .csv into Nova.ai and run email campaigns from here. Nova.ai is a sales automation tool that uses AI to allow quick personalization to each email.
- We Bcc Hubspot on subsequent emails so message gets added to Hubspot.”
KEY TAKEAWAYS from Michael:
- Leverage marketing automation to optimize and personalize outreach.
- Try using a CRM as a compliment or even in place of an ATS.
Tony Restell, CEO of Social-Hire.com on scaling social recruiting:
I would like to start with the social recruiting and a talk I had with Social-Hire.com’s CEO, Tony Restell. Tony’s utilization of social media strategies can be deployed throughout the recruiting funnel. Tony elaborates his top strategies for recruiters on his blog. Here is our discussion:
Q: What is one tactic you suggest teams do to start hyper-focusing their social audiences on potential candidates (as opposed to an audience who are generally interested in their content)?
A: “I would recommend that recruiting teams focus on creating a “lead magnet” or lure to entice people who are interested in a career move to show their hand. This could be an invitation to participate in a remuneration survey, to register for a career networking event, to have their CV / Resume reviewed, to gain access to some gated content or to a members-only area of the careers website, to sign up for a career-focused webinar… By providing valuable insights to people who are thinking of a career move, this “lead magnet” helps convert your social media audience into candidates you can potentially work with. Better still, lots of those you convert will be “passive” candidates and so far more likely to join your business should the right opportunity arise.”
Q: What is one tool you have used or suggested clients use to scale social recruiting processes after the process is proven to work?
A: “Very few recruiters are taking advantage of the retargeting marketing that platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn have made possible. In consumer marketing, it is a well-established fact that by re-marketing to people who have shown an interest in buying it, the sales conversion rate can be significantly increased. Now apply that to your recruitment activities. Most candidates visit your careers pages and leave without ever having registered their details or applied for a vacancy. But now imagine if, over the weeks that follow, your company repeatedly encouraged those candidates to return to the site and browse the latest openings or register for a jobs-by-email alert. Well that’s exactly what retargeting on social media sites makes possible – and it can help to scale the results that your team is starting to get from social media.”
KEY TAKEAWAYS from Tony:
- Use lead magnets to attract passive candidates – those quality hires who are employed and not surfing job boards but would leave their company should they be offered the right position.
- Leverage list or cookied browser retargeting to get the latest message candidates on the channel they prefer.
Nadia Giblin, Director of Recruiting for Evergent Group on team recruiting strategy:
Now that you heard from someone experienced in helping hiring teams scale using social channels, let’s talk to an actual recruiter:
Meet Nadia Giblin, PHR, SHRM-CP and the Director of Recruiting at Evergent Group. Here is what she had to say when I asked her:
Q: What is your software stack you use to achieve high-frequency placement?
A: “We use Indeed, CareerBuilder, Monster, LinkedIn Recruiter, and attend various industry related networking events and professional groups to create a strong and consistent pipeline of candidates so we are always prepared for quick and high volume placements.”
Q: Is there a step to your process you think most recruiters do not take that you can say is a key component to your success recruiting at scale?
A: “Our biggest advantage is the culture we have created amongst our recruiting team. We work together to make placements and to do what is best for our clients. We work together as a team instead of competing internally. We make sure to get multiple recruiters assigned to a client when we have multiple positions to fill at a time, in order to provide the client with the best service and quality candidates.”
Q: Nadia went on to tell me something very important about their process and why it’s so successful at scale:
A: “Recruiting Manager is in charge of receiving all incoming requisitions from our clients. Recruiters send incoming orders to the Recruiting Manager, she keeps track of the Recruiters’ current active orders and what coverage they have on each position. By doing this, the Recruiting Manager can then assign orders to recruiters based on their availability to get coverage on the role as well as their skill set in filling that specific type of order. This allows us to make sure that all Recruiters have a similar workload and can provide our all of our clients with the coverage needed on their orders.”
KEY TAKEAWAYS from Nadia:
- Have someone there to manage the flow of tasks/jobs/clients to and between your team.
- Get involved in networking events and professional groups to help build your pipeline.
- Focus on creating a team culture as well as work to make placements together.
Yousuf Khatib, Chief Business Officer of VanHack on international recruiting:
Chief Business Officer of VanHack, Yousuf Khatib gives us one compelling statement about international recruiting. Here is what he had to say:
Q: About recruiting process, and how to achieve effectiveness with international recruiting at scale:
A: “Build a community around your candidates. We have had so many successfully-placed candidates mentor each other at different stages. The main goal of our candidates is to relocate to their dream country. They want better lives for their families and more advancement opportunities. With a community, you take away the anxiety of a new place.
There is a world of hidden talent out there for the companies and countries that embrace diversity.”
KEY TAKEAWAYS from Yousuf:
- Build a community around your candidates so they may also help each other.
- Embrace diversity on all levels, especially background and culture (where they grew up).
Jeff Robins, Founder of Yonder.io, on Distributed Workforces:
After hearing from some top recruiters, it’s time to find out from one of the top experts in building/managing distributed teams what he has to say about this trend. This guy also happens to be one of the most interesting people with a storied background…
Jeff Robins, Founder of Yonder.io, on Distributed Workforces:
Q: What would you say management needs to have in place to keep communication and other processes in place while scaling a distributed team?
A: “Most leaders at conventional companies are fearful about the idea of remote work and distributed teams – “How will I be able to trust them if I can’t look them in the eye.” Having different levels of fidelity in our communication can really build that trust. One level of fidelity is the written resume because it can build trust based on the experience. Then get a video interview, which is better than a phone interview for building trust.”
Q: What would you say companies need to have in place to ensure communication, culture and hiring best practices stay intact after becoming distributed?
A: “What seems to come up year after year at the Yonder Conference is that basically everyone is using GSuite and Slack…
One of the things about being a distributed company is that there’s no sort of built-in water cooler or common space that an office based company would have. So it’s important to have places that people can post vacation pictures and pictures of their dogs to build a peripheral understanding of what’s going on with the people who you work with.”
Q: Are there any specific processes that you wanna make sure to have in place before going distributed, not only apply to distributed teams or apply specifically to distributed teams?
A: “Having a leadership team to convey a solid vision for the company. People are working autonomously and need to have some guidance.”
KEY TAKEAWAYS from Jeff
- Have multiple levels of fidelity in your communication channels to keep trust high and everyone on the same page.
- Maintain a “virtual watercooler” where everyone can convene to share what’s going on in their worlds to keep culture strong regardless of interpersonal relationships.
Claire Lew, CEO of KnowYourCompany.com on knowing your new hires during growth stages:
Now that we’ve heard some excellent advice from those directly involved with the recruiting strategies, let’s turn our focus to the post-hire best practices and talk with someone I know you will respect as much as I do for her experience helping founders better understand their new hires during these periods of fast-growth.
Claire Lew, CEO of KnowYourCompany.com and I spoke for 20 minutes about why it is so important to know your new team members as you scale. I’ve paraphrased our conversation below, but you can listen to this full interview here: https://anchor.fm/scale/episodes/b4a488
Q: Regarding the dilemma of culture fit, is there a tool/tactic/strategy you would recommend to any CEO having to step away from the hiring process in periods of growth recruiting?
A: “…The first strategy I recommend when you’re interviewing for new hires is to ask specific questions – the more specific, the better. The second thing is, are you asking about past experiences instead of things they can’t put a real situation to? So, when you’re trying to assess for culture fit, and understanding what their real values and motivations are. It doesn’t do any good to say, “How would you handle the situation very prospectively?” This is more helpful is to ask them; “How did you handle the situation? Tell me about a time when you handled the certain situation correctly.” I think it’s really important to point out you want to make sure the questions you’re asking are rooted in some real-time event. The last thing is just making sure your questions are all lining up to the actual value you’re looking for. I think in hiring it’s often very easy to overlook something.”
Q: What is the impact on the bottom line of limited knowledge and interaction with those new hires?
A: “You lose money because you’re going to lose people and there are high costs for replacing a new hire. I think the last statistic was around $4,000 at minimum, but I’ve seen numbers as high as $10,000 to replace a single employee. We’re not even talking about the cultural implications that happen when someone leaves a company and people start to think –
“I wonder why that person left. Should I be thinking about leaving?”
“If you don’t know what your hires care about, what their preferences are, what their needs are then you’re going to most likely lose them. I believe the statistic that’s known by most folks is twenty percent of new hires leave within the first ninety days.”
KEY TAKEAWAYS FROM Claire:
- Word interview questions more openly and ask questions candidates for concrete examples.
- Do what it takes to know your new hires to prevent turnover or cultural issues.
Through these five interviews, I hope you learned as much as I did about the apparent challenges and strategies necessary to scale hiring efforts while maintaining your processes and culture. Tony explained an awesome technique to separate passive candidates from those engaging with your brand out of curiosity, and Nadia enlightened me on how she uses a recruiting manager to keep her team organized through their distribution. Yousuf advocated for creating a community of candidates to allow them to network and help each other organically. Last, avoiding turnover through an awareness of cultural fit was Claire’s most important point.
The following are links to contact the contributors to this article:
- Check out Rainmakers if you are seeking salespeople or a sales job.
- Book a call with Tony if you need help scaling social recruiting.
- Book a consult with Nadia.
- Get in touch with Yousuf if you need help with international recruiting.
- Contact Jeff if you are creating or have a distributed team.
- Try out Know Your Company if you are growing fast!
To all the hiring teams out there, if you are looking for actionable strategies on how to find/hire/retain candidates at scale, please let me know. I am very interested in ways my experience in growth marketing can be applied to growth recruiting. I write some actionable guides on Linkedin you may find interesting. But connect with me and let’s discuss what your team is doing or would like to do to hire faster/better now.
Alex Glenn, Director of Growth SparkHire.com
About The Author
Alex is a Full Stack Growth Marketer and Marketing Automation Specialist based in Chicago, IL, USA. Find him on: