Former Processors, Sales Associates, and Receptionists Are Our Best Talent Recruiters

Bright Talent Guest Blog by Shawna Ford, Director of Talent Acquisition, Loan Depot 

As published on ERE.net

March 10, 2015

I hire non-recruiters who hire more than 1,000 people a year.

Do I have your attention?

If you’re reading this, and you’re a talent acquisition professional, you’re probably asking yourself, ‘what in the world?’ How does it work?

Well, 1,879 hires later, with a team of 12 exceptional, dedicated and talented national recruiters who had no direct previous experience in talent acquisition, it is working just right. And it all started with a simple question.

After becoming director of talent acquisition with my current company in January 2013, I immediately set out to develop a better understanding of each department’s needs among the many hiring managers and division heads in the company. Despite having a staff of capable, experienced recruiters, I went back to basics and asked all of our business partners the same question, “What do you need?” The answer from all corners of the company was clear and consistent: “We need someone who understands who we are.” This spoke volumes. It was so simple.

Back on the recruiting team, only one of the staff members could articulate what the business needed, and it was someone who had previously worked in sales at our company and had moved into recruiting by chance.

Then it hit me. What would happen if more people who were already working for us and had an interest in recruiting as a career became recruiters? What if people from the internal workings of the company transitioned to the front-line recruiting team? And so it became. Game On!

Once the door was open to internal candidates to transition into recruiting, the response was amazing. Imagine the most loyal “all-in” team members you can think of, jumping at an opportunity to continue the growth of your business. These are people who love the company and want to enhance its overall excellence.

So, to find the best suited internal candidates for our new recruiting team, we built standards based on our internal processes and captured Predictive Index personality assessments, cognitive assessments, and performance records. I looked for candidates with a sales background, since the main focus of a recruiter requires the ability to make connections with potential candidates while being results driven.

Management and HR were highly involved to ensure there was support for new hires from all areas of the company.

I rebuilt the recruitment team, reducing it from seven to one and growing it back up again to 12. The current recruiting staff consists of employees from our business contact center, reception desk, management, operations, processing, and sales teams — more than half of which had no previous experience in talent acquisition.

We train, teach, learn, and grow together as a team and, most importantly, with the business. Job candidate experience is always a top priority, and we push ourselves to stay ahead of the latest trends in the industry. The biggest wins from this move have been:

  1. Full buy-in from human resources — we are partners
  2. No one is stuck in “what used to be” or “how it has always been”
  3. Interest to learn is always there; no one “already knows everything”
  4. Loyalty to the company is high
  5. A constant demand from current employees to move to recruiting

Looking back, our company had the confidence and trust to empower me to take a leap of faith on a new approach that can be considered a huge win for everyone — the company, the recruiting department, and the hiring managers.

We also transitioned ourselves from a ‘what do you do for me’ department to an ‘I can’t live without you’ department in two short years. We hired 1,879 new hires in 24 months, hitting our record in 2014 with 1,009 hires. Also impressive: cost per hire dropped 18 percent and time to fill dropped by two weeks in the first year.

Today, our company is home to a non-traditional recruiting team who is loyal, passionate, and committed to caring — not just about the placement of new employees, but about the right placement for the right employee.

This strategy may work well for you and your company if you believe in the adage, ‘No risk, no reward.’

I’ll get into other aspects of this in San Diego, in April. For now, happy hunting!

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