V2’s Recruiting Special Sauce: Dare to Invest Heavily Up Front

In 2009, I joined V2 after having established a successful recruiting career for a New York City based investment bank. Early in my tenure at V2, I quickly recognized an unanticipated challenge: finding top-notch talent who possessed agile project management skills, strong business acumen and Salesforce.com experience to join our technology-focused agency. Simply put, traditional means of recruiting were not providing sufficient results and we needed to find more innovative ways to attract and retain stellar talent. The days of scrolling down a list of names and cold-calling in the hopes that at least one person will not only take your call, but also be a qualified candidate who fits the criteria for an open requisition are gone. With the social media frenzy exploding recruiters, like myself, now have access to thousands of candidate profiles both active and passive. Sourcing now involves mining databases such as LinkedIn and building a candidate pipeline for current as well as future needs. Although the act of sourcing still takes time, I now have the ability to conduct more focused searches based on specific skills, years of experience and industry expertise through the process of social networking.

Over the past year, we made a decision to leverage our social networks and heavily invest a significant amount of time in the initial stages of our recruiting process to learn about our candidates and educate them about V2. By adjusting our strategy and tactics we have been able to successfully meet our aggressive hiring goals. As our dedicated recruiter, I continually search our connections and referrals, leveraging our social network and ultimately source best-fit candidates. Once sourced, those candidates must “pass” an extensive pre-screening interview conducted by myself to ensure they meet the minimum job requirements and believe in our core values. Provided the initial pre-screen is successful, candidates will then often meet our President for him to assess a fit and to allow candidates to ask a range of questions about company strategy, core values and the challenges we face in the industry. While this may sound time intensive for the President, he sees it as the most important part of his leadership role in the company. The final step in our interview process requires the candidate present a Salesforce.com demo to the executive team. The added value of this demo allows the candidate the opportunity to understand and gain exposure to what a role at the company entails on a daily basis, and enables us to better measure those skills and core values we are looking for such as general business acumen, knowledge, technical aptitude, presentation and project management skills.

While our collaborative interview process lends to the success of our recruiting strategy, it is just as imperative that I truly embrace and sell the corporate culture consistently from the initial point of contact through the offer stage. This holds especially true when speaking to passive candidates. I have found that by having a consistent message I am able to set myself apart from other internal recruiters and external headhunters. In this economic environment, it is my experience that many candidates are more concerned about stability and long-term growth verses compensation and job title. I am able to describe a clear plan for their role, and the opportunities where they can go within the organization. All of these conversations take place through the interview and offer stages, allowing candidates to feel extremely confident and excited about accepting a new opportunity with V2. As a result, we have been able to better assess fit up front, candidates have a much better idea of what it is like to become part of the V2 family and the onboarding process allows for increased productivity of new team members leading to extraordinary gains for the Company.

Let’s have a discussion, leave a comment below on ways you leverage social networks to recruit top talent.