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Help Me Hire Better and Faster

December 28, 2016 | By Nancy Maluso

  • In today’s candidate-driven market, the average time to fill any open position is 52 days – sales positions take even longer
  • The adage “time is money” is never more true than in sales recruiting; every day a territory remains open is another day with lost sales
  • A multitude of tools and applications can help with sales recruitment

Effective recruiting requires a well-defined need, a process for assessment and a pool of candidates. The first and second of these are fully within the control of the hiring organization and critical to effective recruiting. However, my goal is to use this blog post to discuss the third need – a pool of candidates – and the tools that can be used to recruit talent faster. Beware: If you don’t have defined competencies and a process to assess against candidate competencies, then the tools won’t do anything but make it possible for you to hire the wrong person faster. Let’s look at the available tools for various steps of the process:


Many recruiting tools are geared toward HR and, therefore, integrated with more robust employee management systems and payroll-related systems. Sourcing tools allow you to get the word out about a new opening as well as search and find candidates. Sourcing tools include job boards, social networks (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter), employee referrals, events (trade shows/job fairs), employer/alumni lists, competitive employee lists, and Boolean searching through Google or another Web browser. Keep in mind that posting positions will not help you find the passive high performer, 96 percent of whom are not currently looking for a new position. However, you can use sourcing tools to find prospects who you can nurture for future positions.

Here are some new technological twists that exist in the sourcing arena:

  • Enhancements to search techniques include “like mapping” and Google distance techniques that allow you to find similar candidates.
  • Reverse auction sites such as Hired.com that allow candidates to put themselves up for bid.
  • Social network aggregation and posting tools like Hootsuite allow you to post a message to all of your social networks. Tools like JobTarget, Scout, SmartRecruiters and ZipRecruiter post to hundreds of boards at once.
  • Tools like 360social aggregate social information. Connectifier (now part of Microsoft) combs social media and Web sites to get insights into each candidate, including contact information. Jobvite has deep social tool functionality that invites candidates to consider the company.

Applicant Tracking

A key aspect to effective recruiting is managing the logistics of the process by tracking applications through the process, including scheduling interviews. Applicant tracking tools provide dashboards and reports to track progress against hiring objectives. The systems typically scan and parse résumés into databases. (Some are more accurate than others – PDF and newsletter-style résumés make this more difficult.)

Ideally, the tool enables job profile creation based on competencies that can be weighted and put into scorecards. Notes and attachments for each candidate should be standard, along with tools to communicate with candidates, including email, social media and video. Examples in this area include traditional providers such as ADP, Lumesse, PeopleFluent and SuccessFactors, as well as emerging providers such as Bamboo HR, Compass, Greenhouse, Lever, Namely and Workday.

Candidate Nurturing

Ideally, hiring managers are constantly identifying prospective top talent. As they do so, they need to capture contact information and allow the organization to nurture these candidates before requisitions are opened.

There are a few tools that provide nurturing models. Examples of these tools, also known as talent relationship management systems, include SmartRecruiters, Technomedia and the Connect application from iCIMS.

Candidate Assessment

Candidate assessment tools enable companies to test for a variety of candidate attributes. SuccessFactors, for example, has a competency-based assessment tool to support this effort. IBM Kenexa also has robust tools in this area. Some tools allow companies to add pre-screening questions to the process when applicants apply.

There are also dedicated testing companies that test mental competencies most closely aligned with sales, including reasoning and learning skills, work ethic and emotional intelligence. Most recently, situational judgment tests have come into vogue. These tests provide the applicant with real-life selling scenarios and ask him or her to select the best and worst course of action from a list; each question also tests specific sales competencies. Examples of these assessment tools are the Sales Preference Questionnaire (SPG*GOLD), Sales Achievement Predictor, PEAK Sales Consulting and Wonderlic.

Additional functionalities to consider with any recruiting and hiring technologies include:

  • Mobile support to enable candidates to interact with the hiring company
  • Candidate interaction recording that identifies all candidate interactions (both machine and human) and includes video interviews, etc.
  • Downstream integration with payroll and onboarding systems
  • Integration with – or modules to support – onboarding/learning management

Technology is a good thing – it helps automate much of the recruiting process. However, the first step toward implementing technology is to define competencies and job profiles, as well as a solid assessment process and a scorecard, then layer in tools to help automate the process.

Nancy Maluso

Nancy is a VP, principal analyst in the Emerging Growth Sales Research Service at SiriusDecisions. She is a seasoned practitioner with more than 20 years of experience in sales leadership, sales enablement and product management, along with marketing roles at organizations of all sizes. Follow Nancy on LinkedIn or Twitter @nmaluso1.

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