Labcast: How to Build an Internal Recruiting Team

June 6, 2013

An in-house recruiting team can help save you time and money, but is your company ready to develop its own “talent factory?”

For growing tech companies, finding the best talent to join new or rapidly expanding teams is both a top priority and a significant challenge. After all, making the right hire at this point can mean the difference between launching the company forward or setting it two steps back.
During the earliest stages, recruiting and hiring is something a founding team can (and probably should) handle on their own, but once the company begins to grow — and responsibilities begin to multiply — that no longer remains such a feasible option. Many companies turn to outsourcing at this point, but in certain circumstances creating an internal recruiting team may in fact be a significantly cheaper, faster, and more effective solution.
In this week’s labcast, Senior Talent Specialist Lindsey Gurian shares her experiences as a member of OpenView’s talent team, and explains what it really means to build your own “talent factory”.

Key Takeways

  •  What is a talent factory? A group of internal recruiters who are constantly scouting for the best additions to your company. [0:46]
  • Evaluate your company before creating a talent factory. Internal recruiting can help save you time and money. However, it may not be the best idea for a company in its early stages. [1:55]
  • Know what you want. Develop a strong, cohesive vision of how you want your company to be viewed by applicants. [2:55]
  • Organization is key. Create a system to document your recruiting process. [3:17]
  • Hire a Director of Talent. If it’s within your budget, a Director of Talent can be instrumental in building and managing your talent team [5:18]
  • Stay tuned for an upcoming eBook in June. OpenView’s talent team is working on an ebook that explores the keys to building a successful talent team step by step. Look for this latest addition to the OpenView eBook library in June. [7:50]

“When you have the recruiters in-house, they know your company better than anyone else would.”

Listen Here:

Labcast 108_ OpenView Talent Specialist Lindsey Gurian Explains How to Build an In-House Talent Factory


Kevin: Hello, and welcome to this edition of Labcast. I’m Kevin Cain and today I’m joined by my colleague, Lindsey Gurian, a Senior Talent Specialist here at OpenView Labs who’s here today to talk to us about what it means to build a talent factory for your company. Hey, Lindsey, thanks so much for joining me today on Labcast. How’s it going?
Lindsey: Good, Kevin. Thank you for having me.
Kevin: Yeah, so as I said in my introduction, today we’re talking about this whole idea of a talent factory and why expansion stage companies need to build one, and I thought it would be a really interesting thing, first of all to hear from you is what exactly is a talent factory, and what are some of the benefits of building one?
Lindsey: Sure, so here at OpenView we actually have defined a talent factory as a group of recruiters, in-house recruiters of the company that are tasked with really building out your employee force at your company. So essentially what it is, is you’ll have a group of recruiters who will just hire for your company. So if your company needs engineers or sales team members, whatever the case may be, they are constantly sourcing and finding best talent and attracting them to your company. The benefit of having one is actually it saves you a lot of time and money in the long run. You’re not outsourcing positions to agencies, recruiting agencies. You’re not spending a lot of money on executive level searches. You have the recruiters in-house, and they know your company better than anyone else would.
Kevin: All right. Well, that all makes sense, but does it always make sense to actually build a talent factory? At some point it’s going to cost some money to do this. So does it make sense to just hire or outsource your recruiting to agencies? At what point is it worthwhile to actually build a talent factory?
Lindsey: Kevin, that’s actually a really good point. I’ll make the note here that, if you’re really early on in a company you have 50 employees, it probably does not make sense to actually hire a bunch of recruiters at that point. When it really makes sense is when you’re noticing that you’re overloaded with requisitions, that money’s kind of flying out the door either using, external sources or that also maybe your hiring managers are strapped for time, an outside agency isn’t getting it done, or they’re not able to fill the requisition on their own. At that point you make the determination that you can hire for a talent factory.
Kevin: And so, let’s assume that you’re at that point, what are some of the factors that determine whether or not your content factory succeeds? Is it all about hiring the right people? Is it about having the right processes in place? Is there something else that’s going to make or break the success of an in-house talent factory?
Lindsey: In order for your team to be successful, to have a successful talent factory, the most important thing you really need to think of is first how you want your company to be communicated to the outside world, to applicants, to people you’re trying to recruit. Make sure you have that down pat first. That would be your employee value proposition. Make sure that’s clear cut.
Second, make sure that you’ll be able to have a repeatable process once you have a talent team in place. That means making sure that you have a way to document things. A lot of times, what companies have is what we call an ATS or an Applicant Tracking System in which case they can keep close records on anyone who has applied and when they’ve reached out to referrals, whatnot. Making sure that you’re able to have a buttoned up process, that you have the money to do so, and the resources, too, is very important to have in place prior to even thinking of having a talent team.
Kevin: I can imagine that all these preparations, but often all these best laid plans run into hitches and problems. What are some of the most common pitfalls that you see talent factories in-house at different companies making? What are the sorts of stumbling blocks that they run into?
Lindsey: I think the most common one that we see is either that they is no clear direction. Maybe, you have recruiters coming in and they are recruiting on requisitions, but they’re not necessarily clear as to what the end goal is–how many hires need to be made, what metrics it is they need to hit. It’s important you give every recruiter on that talent team within your talent factory clear, set goals that they need to attain. And they need to work closely with the hiring manager. A pitfall again, is if there’s a lack of communication between the hiring managers and your talent team. In that case, a talent factory won’t work.
And lastly, I mentioned this in your previous question, but making sure you have a way to document everything; otherwise there’s no way to tell if your team is being successful. It’s the same way that you would with any kind of sales team or anything like that. You need to have some documentation in place to ensure that the process is repeatable.
Kevin: So it sounds like a lot of these issues are things that you need someone to oversee and to manage. And I know here at OpenView that role is largely filled by a director of talent. Can you speak a little bit to what that type of role is versus a general recruiter?
Lindsey: Absolutely. At OpenView that particular role is basically a management of the recruiting team of the recruiters; but also to be kind of the face of recruiting and put in place processes for the team. For our portfolio companies or for other expansion stage companies, the important thing if you are hiring a director is that you need to make sure you know what you need, first and foremost. If this person’s going to be just focusing on recruiting, then it’s important that they’ve had a very solid recruiting background. If they’ll be doing some of your HR, obviously you’ll need to hire someone with that experience. But most importantly, before you can even hire a talent factory, you do need to make sure that you have a clear understanding of who they’ll be reporting in to, who will deal with the impediments on the team, who will deal with senior management at the company, and will deal with the hiring as well. So that is a good point; I do think that you need to make sure that you have a clear understanding of who’s directing the team.
Kevin: And so, is that really the best place for an expansion stage company to get started with building a talent factory? Is that hiring that director of talent, or is there another way that a company who is listening to this podcast could start implementing their own in-house talent factory?
Lindsey: If the company obviously doesn’t have a director at this point and it’s within the budget to do so, I would say it was within reason. It’s definitely a good idea to have your recruiting team, your talent team reporting in to someone who knows recruiting cold. So not necessarily into operations or whatnot, but someone who very specifically understands how to build out a recruiting team and what the value of that is. If that’s not possible I’d say that a good way to do this is making sure that your applicant tracking system is able to monitor all of your recruiters’ work; that the expectations of every team member are crystal clear in terms of how they’ll interact with candidates, how they’ll get feedback from hiring managers, how they’ll extend offers. All of those things need to be thought of and need to be repeated, and you need to make sure that there’s consistency and continuity across the board on those things.
Kevin: So you’ve kind of given us a really good high level overview today, and I know that you and your team, Lindsey, have put together a much more compressive document in our talent factory e-book. Would you mind just telling our listeners a little bit about that and when they can expect to see it come out?
Lindsey: Yes, the OpenView Talent Team has actually been working very hard over the past quarter to put together the best practices that we’re going to have as building out your talent factory. So it’ll really appeal to expansion stage companies; it’s an e-book. And what you can expect from that is kind of an A to Z guide on where to start, what a talent factory should look like, what to do if you have a director in place, who to hire if you do not, and basically how to get everyone onboard for hiring a talent factory. It will be officially, I think up, on the website in June, and we’re really looking forward to sharing that with everyone.
Kevin: Great, Lindsey. Well, I really appreciate your being here today and giving us a preview of what it means to build a talent factory and of your talent factory e-book. Thanks so much.
Lindsey: Thanks, Kevin.

Share your experiences with in-house recruiting teams. How have they helped your business grow?

Photo by: Jed Adan

Senior Corporate Recruiter

<strong>Lindsey Gurian</strong> is the Senior Corporate Recruiter at <a href="">Acquia</a>. She was previously a Senior Talent Specialist at Sonian, responsible for recruiting initiatives at both the firm and its portfolio companies.