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How to build a talent operation

Amal Ravindran
December 19, 2022
Lessons from Contentsquare’s talent team

In our Scaling Stories podcast, we caught up with Yanilda Gonzalez, head of Global Talent Acquisition Operations at Contentsquare, the leading platform in digital experience, intelligence and analytics. Contentsquare recently closed a $600m growth investment round, and any recruiter – especially those working in a company experiencing hypergrowth – will be interested in what Yanilda has to say about operational excellence in hiring.

Yanilda oversees all the tools, systems and processes within Contentsquare’s Talent Acquisition (TA) function, and describes a TA operations team as “the engine that ensures that the Talent Team and recruiters are empowered and efficient in their roles in order to meet ambitious hiring goals”.

One of Yanilda’s great insights is that hiring is not just about headcount – it’s about finding a way to “be more operational and structured”. As Yanilda explains:

“I remember coming in and it was growth, growth, growth, and hiring, hiring, hiring, and I was like okay, but some things just aren’t working. And I know [people] think, ‘we don’t need to put in thought and energy into being more operational or making sure there’s more structure because who cares about structure?’ … But I’m like, no, that’ll make us even better. And that will help us deliver two or three times what we're delivering now… I think at some point, you really do have to pause.”

‘Making hiring more human’

Under Yanilda’s guidance, the mission of Contentsquare’s TA team has been to “make the hiring experience more human”. This includes having a “best-in-class candidate experience” based on setting expectations and being as communicative as possible.

What does this look like in practice? The below visual from Beamery gives a nice representation of where talent ops’ responsibilities can overlap and align with your recruiting in general.

Ultimately, every company wants ROI on people, processes and technology. But of course, it’s one thing to have the tools, and another to make sure it syncs, with consistent, company-wide hiring processes that reflect the values of the organisation.

Tips on building a winning talent team

How can you build a strong and consistent talent operation? Here are just some of the pearls of wisdom from our discussion with Yanilda:

  • Consider building a university recruitment programme (which Yanilda is busily developing at Contentsquare).
  • Have a sourcing team that is “dedicated to the top of the funnel” and “building that candidate pipeline”.
  • Aim for “relationship based collaboration between the hiring manager and TA” – this can include “enablement sessions and training”, and holding office hours so that anyone can ask questions.
  • Set targets, review your teams’ capacity, and introduce a hiring manager survey – these are just some of the “guardrails and processes to ensure that people are doing things the way they're supposed to”.
  • Think global. Yanilda’s sourcing team is “fully distributed” – from Tokyo to Tel Aviv – which helps them “break into markets” and “hone in on those niche roles”.
  • Embrace “streamlined standard onboarding that’s consistent across the board”. This means that regardless of where your recruiters are based, they’re aligned and have access to the same training and data insights.
  • Embed tools – Yanilda’s team embraces channels like Gem, Phenom and LinkedIn Recruiter to “augment and expand our reach”. While HR is often seen as the last place to digitise (compared to sales and marketing ops which have been around since the dinosaurs), embedding tools company-wide can have a huge impact if hiring managers use them properly.
Should hiring teams operate like sales teams?

Some final food for thought – it’s worth remembering some of the lessons from the Hypergrowth Playbook, authored by Dipti Salopek, VP of People at Synk. Dipti argues that companies should look to “model the inhouse recruiting team on a typical sales team”. Under this theory, such a “workforce plan” means assembling the following: 

  • “Recruiters (quota carriers)”
  • “Sourcers (top of funnel)”
  • “Coordinators (interview scheduling, offer letter generation)”
  • “Recruiting operations (systems, tools, planning and scalability)”.

Do we want our hiring teams to resemble a lean and efficient sales function, or is sales a little too ‘spammy’ for the way a hiring team operates? There’s no right or wrong answer, so we’ll let you be the judge. 

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