Matthew Jeffery, talent leader at global giant SAP and a true visionary in the field, puts it well: ** read quote **
Make no mistake, that sort of thinking is not just the domain of huge companies. That’s the future of recruitment for all of us.
How many of you have bought a pair of Nike shoes in the past few years? How much of that purchase decision was made before you arrived at the store? For some people, the answer would be 100%. It was just a matter of going into the store to make the transaction.
For many people, the decision wasn’t entirely made in advance, but it certainly wasn’t all made in the store either. They went in with a lot of information already in their minds. Nike’s reputation as a sport shoe innovator, their association with leading athletes in numerous sports, their universally known logo and its associated rallying cry “Just Do It”. All this moves people toward selecting Nike before they reach the store and influences their perceptions when they begin to compare. All things being equal, they are probably more likely to purchase Nike than a similar shoe from a lesser known manufacturer.
It’s no different with the many other consumer purchases you make. Brand moves you toward certain cars, electronics, and countless other products well before you make the ultimate purchase.
Car makers have massive advertising budgets because they know you aren’t going to test drive the dozens of cars in your price range. You’re going to be heavily drawn toward the brands you identify with, and if they don’t build a brand relationship with you, you’re never going to set foot inside one of their dealerships.
Don’t think this means that it always has to be about a more senior title or a bigger paycheck. That might be the case, but those aren’t the only things that motivate career change. Generally they aren’t even at the top of the list.
Enticing opportunities to change the trajectory of a career come in many different forms, depending on the individual and what they value.
Developing a clear employee value proposition and engaging top talent in a conversation about their intrinsic motivations enables you to find that powerful match. The right person for the right opportunity. When the fit is there it’s an exciting opportunity for the company and for the individual.
It’s no different with B2B sales. The Corporate Executive Boards says that more than half of a typical purchase decision is made before the first conversation with the supplier.
That presents a huge challenge to many B2B sales organizations, focused as they are on solution selling. The usual approach has been to conduct some sort of discovery process with a prospective customer. Develop an understanding of their pain points, their desires, and their budget. Once you know that, it’s just a matter of proposing a solution that addresses those needs and fits within their budget.
Increasingly, sales organizations are encountering buyers who have done a lot of research in advance. They’ve already formed a pretty strong picture of what you offer, and when they’re ready to engage they’re leading the conversation.
Getting out in front of this is now a priority for many companies. Content marketing gets lots of high value information online and anywhere else these potential customers may go looking for it. It’s vital to engage and inform where, when and how the prospect wants to receive information. Failure to do so, failure to understand how the buying process is changing, puts sales organizations at risk.
So… consumer purchase decisions are substantially made in advance…
Business purchase decisions are substantially made in advance…
Do you think people treat career decisions any less seriously?
If you want to hire the best, you’ve got to get out in front of this too. You’ve got to educate and inspire the talent marketplace about your organization and what makes you different from your competitors.
You’ve got to think and act like a marketer.
If you don’t do this and your competitors do, who’s going to be talking to the best and the brightest?
Back to our car discussion, you might make the best best car in the world but if people don’t know you and don’t bond with your brand, very few shoppers are going to step into your dealership.
The third reason why understanding millennials is important is because it focuses you on the meaning of the work your organization does, and that’s at the heart of an authentic talent brand.
Can you clearly enunciate what your organization stands for? How you are different from your competitors? What it means to work for your company?
Most companies aren’t going to change the world, but getting to the heart of what you stand for is vital to building and projecting a powerful, authentic talent brand that will enable you to attract, engage, and hire those people who share similar values and motivations.
That’s thinking like a marketer.
Who do you want to attract (and who do you not want to attract)? What do they value (and what do they reject)? How are their needs and motivations aligned with what you stand for? How can you find them, engage them, and ultimately bring them on board?
Every organization; every recruiter, increasingly needs to think like a marketer because marketing is at the heart of today’s war for top talent.
Sales people don’t wait for a product to roll off the assembly line then go out and try to sell it. They’re always selling.
Great recruiters aren’t waiting for reqs to open, they’re always recruiting top talent. They’re anticipating the needs of the organization. They’re at the table with their business partners, understanding where the business is going and what the talent needs are going to be.
They’re building a pipeline of top performers for future growth, and to mitigate the risk of losing key people. If you lost a mission critical employee today, are you already engaged with the sort of people who could step in and fill those shoes?
Great recruiters sleep very well at night because they know they’re well ahead of the plan and prepared for the unexpected.
** read slide **
For many, the focus is the funnel. Fresh opportunities go in the top of the funnel and progress through toward an eventual sale. A keen understanding of funnel analytics enables the organization to look well into the future to ensure they are laying the foundation today for sales tomorrow.
Perhaps they know, based on historical data, that they need 22 qualified prospects in order to identify 10 with real need, willingness to engage, and budget to act.
They know that engaging those 10 will result in issuing five proposals and, ultimately, one sale.
If that’s the nature of their funnel, then it’s pretty straightforward to work backwards from the number of sales they need to make and determine how many qualified prospects need to enter the funnel each month.
They also know that weakness at the top of the funnel today will mean insufficient sales a few weeks or months down the line. They even know when because they understand the length of their average sales cycle.
The recruiting funnel is no different.
Sales minded recruiters and recruiting teams identify the top talent in relevant fields. That’s the top of the funnel.
They then set out to engage them, whether they are looking for work or not. Remember, sales people don’t start by wondering if someone is “looking to buy”. Why should recruiters start with wondering if someone is “looking to make a move”? If a product or service meets important needs and is aligned with important values a sale is always a possibility.
Sales-minded recruiting is no different. Most people are open to a conversation about their favorite topic… themselves! Once you get them talking it’s a matter of understanding their values and motivations, understanding what is and isn’t working for them in their current role, and what it would take for them to consider a move. Together, you determine if there might be a fit with your organization.
A full funnel is a powerful resource, enabling the company to grow, to quickly respond to opportunities, and to fill critical roles quickly and with high caliber talent.
Do you know what this is? It’s an InMap. A visual representation of one individual’s network on LinkedIn. You’re at the center of your InMap and all of your first degree connections are represented by a dot, color coded based on how you know them. You can make your own if you go to www.linkedinlabs.com. It’s pretty amazing to see your network laid out before your eyes like that.
I guarantee you that if you employ engineers, there are a lot of other engineers in their networks. If you employ sales people, there are a lot of other sales people in their networks. One can hardly progress through their career without meeting and forming relationships with others in similar fields and with similar interests.
That fact, together with the fact that the number one activity on LinkedIn is viewing the profiles of your first degree connections (those in your network) creates a very powerful dynamic. Not only are a LOT of people viewing your employees’ profiles, they are very often people with the same sorts of skills and experience that you want to hire!
When your employees have robust LinkedIn profiles, full of passion for what they do and pride in who they do it with, they aren’t just making themselves look good… they’re making the entire organization look good!
Remember, people want meaning… they want engagement… they want their work to matter, and where better than at a company filled with passionate, engaged coworkers and leaders!
Ensuring that you and the rest of the recruiting team have great profiles is a vital first step. You need to engage and inspire candidates, and set an example for others in your organization.
A professional photo; a headline that goes beyond your title and speaks to your audience; an inspiring summary that will engage and excite readers.
Remember, your profile isn’t your resume. It’s your professional brand. It is a reader-focused look at who you are, what your organization does, and why the audience (in your case, potential candidates) should care.
Keep brand in mind, and making a strong profile is easy.
Have you ever been asked to find a purple squirrel? A seemingly impossible hire?
The hiring manager says the right person for this role absolutely, positively must have a laundry list of qualifications that you know are going to be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to deliver on.
It could be the multi-lingual Ivy League grad with 10 years of experience in particular key roles at particular top tier companies. You get the idea.
Often, these conversations go pretty poorly, as does what follows. You end up frustrated with each other, lots of time ticks away, and there’s a lack of clarity about what the problem really is and what to do about it.
Data can make this conversation entirely different.
LinkedIn Recruiter is a great tool for quickly assessing the talent pool for any desired criteria. In minutes you can present the hiring manager with the data.
That purple squirrel he wants? Perhaps there are three of them in the country. Here they are. The info is right in front of us. We can certainly reach out and see if we can engage them, but three at the top of the funnel is pretty likely to be zero at the bottom.
Now try removing one requirement and see what happens to the talent pool. Maybe now there are 19. Getting a bit better. Still a really tough challenge, but certainly better than three. Remove or alter another requirement that maybe isn’t so vital after all and now we’re up to 71. That’s definitely something you can dig into with a much greater likelihood of success.
Add and subtract requirements. Change requirements. Measure the pool. That’s real partnership with the hiring manager. That’s setting the stage for mutual success. And that can all happen in minutes at the first meeting.
That’s the power of data.
Or let’s say your organization is planning to open an office in another city. Would talent acquisition be at the decision making table? They should be.
What’s the mission critical talent you’ll need to hire for a new operation? How plentiful are they in each city you’re considering? How deep is the local talent pool at various seniority levels? Various skill sets? Various education and prior employment backgrounds?
A talent acquisition leader armed with this data isn’t a req filler, they’re a valuable strategic partner.
for today’s recruitment opportunities
“Recruiters’ 10 years from now will be preoccupied
with marketing, PR, community building, and
employment branding. The ‘War for Talent’ will
be a ‘War of Relationship Marketing’.”
Global Head of Talent Strategy & Innovation
HR Talent Acquisition, SAP UK Ltd.