I get asked quite often, “How many names do I need to order to make this telephone names sourcing thing work?” The answer is deceptively simple: “Usually 30-50 names will effect ONE IMMEDIATE HIRE. Usually,” I warn.

It’s a big “usually”. It depends on the veracity of the names sourced, of course; but it also depends on the skill level of the recruiter. I can only bring you the names – what you do with them is entirely up to you. In most fields, though, 30-50 names of the truly passive candidate (the one insulated between the walls of a company doing the work you need him to do for you) will result in a hire if you are an average skilled recruiter. I know I have my detractors in this space, and to give them due credit, I acquiesce that there are some fields where this general rule of thumb doesn’t work. It doesn’t usually work in pharma or bio or in defense; it is challenged in sourcing out of the “Final Four”. It may be a little on the high side for positions in call centers or inside sales.

But for the most part, 30-50 names can do it, and the formula works amazingly well. Following is an up-to-date assessment of what I believe it takes these days to accomplish ONE IMMEDIATE HIRE out of telephone sourced names. Keep in mind, this DOES NOT speak to how many Internet-sourced names you need to accomplish the same thing. I have seen estimates from esteemed Internet sourcers that place these numbers at about twice, sometime sthree times the numbers of Telephone-sourced names.

These numbers come from what my customers report back to me, my own experience in the sourcing process, the size of my average jobs and my intuition. Nothing scientific, mind you. The industry is also very important, in general, the hotter the industry, the more people you’re going to need. Location is important. You’re going to need less people upfront if you’re not going to have to move them. If you do have to move them be prepared to see your names need estimate numbers double, maybe even triple depending on the desirability of the location. Warm climates attract more people than cold, so if your job location is cold, you’ll probably need more (than for a warm clime) if you have to move them in. It’s a common sense thing. You have that, right?

Remember, these “telephone sourced names” are coming out of specific companies that you choose – it's a given here that you know what companies contain the types of employees you covet most. I tell my customers that choosing an appropriate target list is half the battle of any search.

I remind you, and I can’t stress this enough, these estimates are entirely predicated on what industry you’re working in. The more highly paid the individual, the more implanted ( stock-optioned) he/she is in the company, the brainier the candidate needs to be - all these things impact your Sourcing Needs. If I had to pick a number, I tell people 50 names, nine times out of ten, if worked properly, should produce a hire. The if worked caveat is important – make sure the names you source get called! It’s amazing to me that some names just seem to fade away – the recruiter never gets around to calling them. I can’t understand this thinking, so I’m at a loss to explain it.

How Many Names Do I Need For One Immediate Hire?
Outside Sales Reps 20 - 40
Inside Sales Reps 20 - 30
Sales Managers 30 - 50
Construction Supervisors 40
Marketing Managers 30
Group Marketing Managers 50
Sales Engineers 50+
Note: Rare skill set – these people with sales and technical expertise facing customers in one package!
Engineering (Software) 30 - 40
Engineering (Hardware) 40 -100
Note: really depends on skillsets/level of technology you’re seeking- Radar? Fergeddabout it! Order 200 and cross your fingers.
Engineering (Mechanical) 50
Engineering (Chemical) 75
Engineering (Civil) 40
Research & Devt (Pharma) 75 - 150
High Yield Research Analysts (Fin’l) 50
Disability Examiner 30
C Levels 50 – 100 Note: depends on the C (CEO, COO, CIO, CSO, CFO, etc.)
Call Center workers 20
Financial Analysts 30 – 50 Note: really depends on market vertical
Commercial Underwriters 25 Note: dropping because of the current mortgage meltdown
Consultants Big (Final) 4 50++ Note: really depends on industry vertical
Biz Development Managers 30-50
Patent Attorney 50 - 100
Commercial Loan Officers 20 – 30 Note: dropping because of the current mortgage meltdown
Defense/anything seems like 1000
Note: one of the toughest sectors because of the current political climate

To work the dollar metrics into this, very simply, to hire not-so-easy-to-find Business Development Managers at a per-name rate of $45 per name for 50 names:

*For $2250, an HR department can put 50 on-target real-life summaries of individuals into their stream of savings for their future hiring needs. These 50 names will, in all likelihood:
produce 1-3 immediate Business Development Managers
produce 2-4 more Business Development Managers over the next six months
produce 4-8 Business Development Managers over the entire first year
produce 6-10 Business Development Managers over two years
*These returns are predicated on a harder than usual position to fill.

Remember, you’re pipelining these folks, staying in touch with them and most importantly, cultivating them effectively. This is the real challenge in most staffing organizations that experience high turnover.

For $2250 original, raw cost? What CFO wouldn't do back flips over that?
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