NOTE: This blog was derived from Episode 004 of The Rep's Journey podcast. To watch it, scroll to the bottom of this page, or click here 📺.
Stimulus checks, The Great Resignation, Demand Outpacing Supply - these things are all leading to a very difficult recruiting landscape for traditional employers let alone companies independent contractors great opportunities. We will layout X steps you can take to drastically speed up your recruiting pipeline and just make recruiting easier!
There’s three words that can send shivers down the spine of any hiring manager: The Great Resignation. Our company works in the direct sales space, so we have gotten a front-row seat to the pandemic’s impact on hiring. It just seems like there’s not enough labor to fill all of the openings out there, and smaller startups are giving recruits more options than ever. This pressure is felt particularly by those that operate in the opportunity/contract-based realm. In short, it’s getting harder to recruit sales reps in this crazy talent shortage.
The Opportunity + Why Should I Listen to You?
Here at ConveYour we have worked with a wide range of companies in the direct sales space for years. With all of this exposure to different methods around hiring, we get to see what’s working. We see successful hiring managers that can still bring people in. It’s possible to overcome — and even thrive in — this labor shortage. We also understand the urgency of correcting the problems in your hiring pipeline. After all, if other companies are figuring it out, soon enough they’ll find themselves with a competitive advantage over you.
1. No-Think Referrals
Often, we find that companies with large contract sales forces leave a lot of the recruiting process up to the individual or area manager, logically allowing them to grow their own team. However, this risks producing back pressure, or a painful experience where both the hiring managers and prospect reps have to expend energy worrying about where they’re going or what they’re saying next. When there is back pressure, managers don’t feel as much of a desire to build their team due to these processes.
An easy way to remedy this is to make the process of setting up a referral prominent and easy to access. If a manager can quickly access a form to enter prospects’ information, which then begins setting that prospect through a planned, automated recruitment process, it becomes much less of a task to ask for and enter that referral. The less people have to think, the easier it’s going to be.
This principle applies to many of the duties of the manager. They shouldn’t have to waste their energy wondering how to follow up with prospects, what the funnel looks like, or who referred whom. This is information that can be made easily accessible, and so it should be. Freeing this up allows your reps to focus on how they can shine in the role, and managers can focus on talking about opportunities, handling objections, and motivating and inspiring the team. That’s what they do best.
One last piece to consider with no-think referrals: Have you given an incentive? Reps need to understand not only what benefit a referral gives to them, but what you’re going to do with the referrals’ information. Reps are staking some of their reputation on these referrals, so making this clear will remove a lot of trepidation for them.
2. Building The Funnel
Everybody has a hiring funnel, whether you’ve designed one or not. Your funnel is your current framework for how you process recruits and how you make them part of the team. Regardless if you’ve made one on purpose, it’s there.
Intentionally building the funnel refers to taking the time and mapping, designing, and automating the recruits’ journey to relieve pressure on managers and make recruits comfortable. When the funnel has been intentionally constructed, managers will no longer feel that back pressure that comes along with having to think so much about the process.
Here’s an example: A prospective rep fills out their contact information in an application and instantly receives a text with a link to the company’s mobile portal. In the portal is a video about the job opportunity, and at the end the prospect will see a poll asking what they want out of a position. Based on their answer, the next step will send a message to double down on what their priorities are (flexible hours, pay, etc). Then they receive an in-portal invite to a recruiting event. If they don’t reply or sign up, the system sends an automated follow up email or text message in a week.
When streamlined and automated in this way, nobody has to worry about getting lost in the process or having to find the next step. Those who have worked in marketing can probably identify these strategies essentially as marketing automation, but for recruiting. This is on purpose! There’s a chance that the marketing automation software you’re using right now can accomplish much of this automation.
3. Adaptive Recruiting
These processes apply to companies of all sizes. One of our clients has about 62,000 recruits moving through their funnel, while others are only managing a few dozen reps. Even if you have high amounts of recruiting going on all the time, the best way to retain more reps is to treat each one like they are the only one you want working for your company. Doing so is going to move your culture to a more empathetic focus, and recruits will last a lot longer.
There is a common idea in business that “if the barrier isn’t high enough, we won’t get the right people.” This tends to come from managers who didn’t have an easy experience getting recruited, themselves. In a world with so much access to information about job opportunities, other companies are tailoring their messaging for their recruits. This makes it easier than ever to be out-recruited.
This is why the standard recruitment process needs an update. If a recruit doesn’t make it through your funnel, conventional wisdom is that they wouldn’t be able to handle the job. However, maybe they just had so many lucrative opportunities at their doorstep that you failed to stand out. Consider that the barrier of the recruiting process doesn’t need to be climbed by the recruit, but the employer. If they’re enabled to enter the funnel and find that the job isn’t for them, at least it won’t be because they got lost in the process. Any barriers they come across should be directly related to the position instead of not knowing where to go next.
Adaptive recruiting also refers to being responsive to the needs of your individual candidate. If you can build your system to identify what’s important to them, you can tailor your messaging around it, similar to the example above.
If this concept of adaptive recruiting feels too “squishy,” or you don’t know where to start, ask your reps what they value. Investigate what matters to them, and don’t just ask the ones who are still with the company. Ask current and former reps, and even the ones that don’t make it through the hiring process. This research will likely coalesce around a few different factors, and that will help you to shape your funnel.
It’s an old adage, “what gets measured gets managed.” Keeping metrics in this area can help point to a key question - does your entire company have the same pipeline? Often, when job processes are broken into different departments, different things become important to different sections or departments. This can result in loss of prospects in between stages.
To help prevent problems like this, you should make sure that whatever your stages are, that they are based on evidence, not a hunch or feeling. This makes it so anybody who comes in to the company can identify and work with the pipeline stages simply based off of the evidence you’ve gathered.
On the top level, your pipeline could identify total Engagement Percentage. “Of the total amount of candidates, 70% of them engaged in some way” This could be if they replied to a text, opened an email, or watched a video. The next step could be “Showed Interest.” This is anybody who expressed interest after learning more. Next could be “Booked a Meeting,” followed by “Said Yes to the Role,” and “Signed.” Every pipeline looks different, but these stages are an example of simplified, evidence-based milestones that can be easily tracked by everyone in the system. Too much detail or too many steps risks overcomplicating the process.
Metrics - High Level
High-level metrics are used by upper level employees and management to help them decide where to put their resources. They aren’t discussed as much as they should be considering the valuable insight they provide.
Cost to Recruit - What is your effective cost to recruit a rep? The best way to calculate this is to pick a timeframe and add up recruiting expenses, including the working hours paid to everyone involved, and divide by how many recruits have launched in that timeframe. When you do that, you will realize how valuable your recruits are. If you’re bleeding recruits, you’re bleeding that expenditure as well.
Payback Period - The amount of time it takes to break even with a recruit in terms of money generated. This helps you to determine how much you have to spend to start generating the revenue that you want. Say you spent $10,000 to onboard a group of reps. They generated $20,000 in a year. The payback period in this case is 6 months. This metric helps build a timeline and tells you how much more you can put towards recruiting now to generate revenue for later.
When you know how much you’re paying to recruit somebody, and what that person’s payback period is, you’ll have tangible high-level metrics to work with as you invest in your recruiting and keep more reps from churning out of your funnel.
How ConveYour Can Help
ConveYour manages the recruiting pipeline. While the purpose of The Rep’s Journey series is not to plug ConveYour, it is worth noting that we have built our product with these specific needs in mind. ConveYour has the capacity to track recruit status, related contacts and referrals, and we support Kanban boards that help you visualize your pipeline. We also allow for automated emails and text messaging to assist you with follow-ups which will significantly relieve back pressure on your managers.
You can do this and succeed without ConveYour, but we put our money where our mouth is in terms of our product, and want to help you succeed in whatever way we can. Demos of ConveYour are always available, and can be scheduled at any time using this link to our website.
Join the Recruiting Tips Text Line
Get on to ConveYour’s Recruiting Tips Text Line! This line is available for free, and we will be using it to send out content around the rep’s journey, as well as other recruiting tips, via SMS. To get in on the action, just text #recruits to 512-379-5599 and you’ll be added to our channel! With easy access to top tips and expertise from ConveYour, you’ll be beating The Great Recession in no time.