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Ready, Set, Grow: Model Recruiting Like a Sales Team


At Salesforce, trust is our number one value. And it starts from the moment candidates have their very first experience at Salesforce — which often happens with my team, recruiting.

It’s our job to give candidates an authentic glimpse into life at Salesforce. We believe that our employees’ well-being directly affects the company’s success. Part of that well-being involves starting a new job with clear expectations. It builds trust. Similar to selling a product, our recruiters sell the full package experience of each role. That’s part of the reason we model ourselves like a sales organization.

In a high-growth company, recruiting is a critical line of business. When we’re not meeting with incredible talent, we’re geeking out about recruiting data. We fuel our team’s growth by employing sales approaches. For example, we place a huge importance on forecasting. For us, this means headcount — the number of people we expect to be able to hire. Every week you’ll find us swarming our forecast doc to analyze pipeline, week-over-week changes, and new hires. We examine it with the same level of scrutiny you would imagine a top sales leader to have.

Of course, this “recruitment as a sales model” didn’t happen overnight. From our journey of continually keeping pace with the growth of the business, we found new ways to scale how we recruit and run our organization. Here’s an inside look at what we do and how you can apply these to your own recruitment efforts.

Move your recruiting team to talent segments.

When I started at Salesforce seven years ago as a recruiter, I focused on one product team. All of the recruiters were heads down in their own spheres. But to keep up with Salesforce’s growth, we had to rethink our approach and team structure — just like any nimble sales organization needs to do.

We moved into a horizontal model aligned to talent segments. For example, I went from recruiting just for Marketing Cloud (one of our 12 products) to head of recruiting for sales across all clouds. The horizontal model opened up the realm of possibilities for both our recruiters and candidates. Now recruiters could see all open positions. And they could more easily share top candidates.

Moving to a more open and horizontal model also gave us the opportunity to rethink and refine our interview processes across the entire team. As a result, the team became more efficient and empowered to grow the business.

It’s all about standardization and scale — both are critical to growing.

Turn recruiters into sales and talent experts and align accordingly.

As the organization grows, it changes — so must the recruiters’ efficiency and expertise. For example, over the past couple of years, Salesforce has created healthcare, financial services, and manufacturing verticals. We made a strategic bet to align recruiters with each of those industries so they could become the sales and talent experts.

We want to be as close to our customers — for us, the internal sales managers — as possible to ensure we’re in lock step with their business. So as the segments grew, we further aligned by regions. Just like a sales model, we want to make sure our teams are on the ground, hunting for new talent and generating pipeline.

Take a different view on what success looks like.

A few years ago, we established key metrics to measure success and/or identify opportunities. We track recruiter productivity, time to fill a requisition, number of days a req is open, the offer decline rates, and more. While these are still incredibly important, we found the need for different, deeper insights.

Now every recruiter receives an Net Promoter Score (NPS). Very similar to how customers can review the sales team, we ask each and every one of our candidates and hiring managers to rate their recruiting experience. It helps us celebrate wins and identify areas to re-educate the team.

Now, our recruiters have a 360-degree view of how they’re performing with the candidate and hiring manager. It’s an incredibly impactful way to develop recruiters both personally and professionally.

In conclusion, if you want to grow your company from a people perspective, here’s my advice: Build trust. Get connected. Measure success.

Our recruiters sell the full package experience of each role. That’s part of the reason we model ourselves like a sales organization.”

Nathalie Scardino | Vice President of Sales Recruiting, Salesforce

Learn More

How to Craft the Perfect Sales Pitch By Annie Simms,
Account Executive, Salesforce
The Simple Client Meeting Rules Every Salesperson Should Follow By Laura Stack,
President and CEO, Productivity Keynote Speaker and Author, The Productivity Pro, Inc.



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