ConveyIQ Spotlight: International Recruiting With Will Thomson, Rosetta Stone

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ConveyIQ CEO Danielle Weinblatt sat down with Will Thomson, of Rosetta Stone, to discuss best hiring practices at the language-learning company.

Will, please tell us a little bit about your background and role at Rosetta Stone.

Thomson: I have about 20 years of experience in sales and recruiting and am very passionate about the social media aspect of recruiting today. In my current role at Rosetta Stone, I have the opportunity to hire some of the most sought-after talent around the globe.

As the company’s Global Sales and Marketing recruiter, this is really the pinnacle of my career. I get to recruit great talent in London, Brazil, Mexico, Canada and across the U.S., and it’s exciting to be part of this company as it continues to grow and evolve into a real learning company.

At the end of last year, Rosetta Stone made some major acquisitions. We not only provide offerings around languages but have also expanded to literacy, children’s applications, and brain fitness. We’re also focusing on the Software as a Service (SaaS) and mobile aspects of delivering our products. This has been a transformational year, and I love being a part of that.

What’s the greatest challenge you face in recruiting great sales and marketing talent?

Thomson: You can’t always tell on a resume whether someone will be a great fit for a position. They need to be a good cultural fit as well. In IT, for example, it’s a little more black and white: you have the skillset necessary for the job, or you don’t. In Sales and Marketing, candidates may have the experience and worked for the right companies, but they need to be able to work with multiple people with different personalities; it’s really important to their success that they mesh well with the team members and also the clients that they will be serving.

Also, in Sales people tend to switch positions a lot, but some stay with their companies a long time. That can be a positive indicator of their success, but you also want to ensure that their skills aren’t stagnant as a result. You want to find someone that grows within their company, and that they produce results and achieve quotas and objectives as well.

Whether you’re finding candidates through social media or referrals, it’s important to really dive into their past history to determine if they’re a good cultural fit. I can’t tell you how many times a candidate has looked great on paper and then didn’t get along with their boss or the company’s customers.

When you’re dealing with Sales and Marketing recruiting, it’s a very networked community. So, first and foremost, you know someone that knows someone that worked with the individual you are screening. Their reputation likely goes everywhere they go, and that’s one way you can gain the insight to determine whether they’re a good fit for your company.

How are you using social media to recruit great talent? Do you have a favorite social platform for recruiting?

Thomson: LinkedIn is the white pages of finding job candidates. I find that sourcing on LinkedIn is still the best way to find sales talent. Engaging with those individuals on Facebook and Twitter tends to be  another effective way to find talent.

While a lot of Sales talent hasn’t fully bought into Twitter just yet, they’re starting to pick it up. Marketing talent tends to be more active on social networks – they’re always sharing something – and you can find them through hashtags.

And it’s really amazing how much Facebook is evolving from a social network to a social and professional network. It shows us that, as recruiters, we can’t just put all our eggs into the LinkedIn basket.

What recruiting metrics do you see as the most important?

Thomson: Time-to-fill is an important metric to watch. If a position has been out there too long, we know that there’s either something wrong with the job description or who we’re targeting. In Sales and Marketing recruiting, you should be able to fill a position quickly with your networks. If it’s taking too long then we’re marketing it incorrectly.

You also want to make certain that you’re getting the most bang for your buck. Recruiting sales talent can often come with a high price tag, and you want to ensure the company is getting the right return on its investment. Within sales, you often get a higher ROI by finding people who have the right skills and traits to sell effectively, but may not have been proven results just yet. These individuals have the potential to be high performers.

What are some of the most promising industry trends that you’re seeing in the recruiting technology market right now?

Thomson: I think you need to be involved with the social recruiting atmosphere. If not, you’re well behind the curve.

Some of the hottest trends that will be relevant include big data and how it will advance sourcing. The ability to find candidates quickly and efficiently through technology won’t make recruiters obsolete, our jobs will just change. We won’t need to spend thousands of dollars on sourcing candidates because that process will become more efficient; candidates will be identified much more quickly. We can then focus on the other aspects of recruiting around engagement.

Mobile recruiting is another huge trend. People are using their mobile phones at all hours of the day, every day. Any way that you can connect with a candidate on mobile as a talent acquisition professional is really important.

Because you recruit for Rosetta Stone, we have to ask, how many languages do you speak?

Thomson: I do get asked that all the time. Two:  English and Spanish. 

Where can people find out more about careers at Rosetta Stone?

Thomson: They can visit our Careers page at jobs.rosettastone.com; our Facebook Careers page; or our Twitter Careers handle @Careers@RS.

To learn more about Will follow him on Twitter @WillRecruits.

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