MITRE’s Secret Weapon for Proactive Talent Pipelining & Hiring Manager Engagement

Jenn Thomas

If hiring hourly workers is a challenge right now, hiring for highly specialized roles must be next to impossible, right? Wrong
 

With the right people, processes, and AI technology in place, recruiters and managers can collaborate to more quickly identify, engage, and hire the right candidates — even for hard-to-fill roles. 
 

Just ask Crystal Stanfield, former Director of Talent Acquisition and Planning for The MITRE Corporation. “When we look at the AI in Phenom and the collaboration between our hiring managers, it really is the perfect recipe for success,” she said.
 

During IAMHR, Stanfield shared how her team overcame sourcing challenges to make an impressive 1,335 external hires — 39% of which were directly sourced in FY21.
 

Watch her 8-minute presentation below, or read on for highlights! 
 


The Power of Collaboration + AI
 

MITRE — a non-profit whose mission is to create a safer world — often hires for niche positions that require very specific skill sets for its seven federally funded research and development centers.
 

Sourcing best-fit candidates to fill their talent pipeline was an ongoing challenge due to time constraints, siloed information, and lack of communication processes. But in FY21, the company was able to exceed 1.3K external hires, 39% of which were directly sourced.
 

How did they do it? “Three things: skills, sourcing, and engagement — all around collaboration,” Stanfield revealed. “We collaborate together on these three areas… to really arm talent advisors with the right information to go after the right candidate.”
 

Sounds great. But usually, the sharing of information between hiring managers and recruitment and sourcing teams is a feat unto itself. By leveraging Phenom’s AI-driven Talent Experience Management (TXM) platform, however, Stanfield found a way for managers and sourcers to routinely communicate skills information, leads, and data — to save time and ultimately fill the pipeline.
 

 


Resource: The 2021 State of Recruiter & Hiring Manager Collaboration


How They Train Their AI 
 

A guiding principle when working with AI is training the algorithm for optimal performance. Ensuring AI is filtering candidates correctly allows it to “learn” what your company is looking for, leading to more accurate results. 
 

“We take a look at the search, the job description, and skills criteria and focus on what we’re looking for… really paying attention to the algorithm in terms of what skills it’s pulling out of the job description. Are those the right skills? Are there redundancies in those skills? And making sure that we eliminate the redundancy,” Stanfield explained.
 

For example, instead of using repetitive terms like “data science,” “data mining,” and “big data” to search for potential hires, recruiters will collaborate with hiring managers to target specific skills that will produce more accurate results. 
 


TA and hiring managers also review leads together to train the AI for accuracy. When the algorithm suggests a candidate complete with that candidate’s fit score, recruiters can guide it further by clicking a “thumbs up” or “thumbs down” button. This indicates to the AI whether or not the candidate it chose is really a good fit for the role.
 

“In terms of the leads that we do get from the AI, we review those together. We really help train the algorithm to know that they are accurate; that this is a good candidate for this role,” Stanfield said. 


Resource: The Definitive HR Guide to AI Recruiting


Performing Advanced Talent Community Searches
 

Which job candidates are quickest to convert? Usually those who have already engaged with your employer brand.
 

MITRE’s ability to load thousands of candidates from their Workday Recruiting ATS into their Phenom CRM gave Stanfield’s team an instant talent community — complete with searchable candidate profiles.
 

Using the platform’s advanced search option, recruiters and hiring managers could then narrow talent pools even further to display best-fit candidates. “From there, we really gained the power of owning our talent community in a way that we didn’t have before. So knowing that we can search on really anything to help pull the right candidates out of our talent community is really powerful.” 
 


Data Sharing Made Easy
 

At the end of the day, recruiters and hiring managers can’t be efficient without the ability to easily share candidate profiles, evaluate interviews and video assessments, and collaborate on team feedback. The more seamless the process, the faster the right candidate will get hired. 
 

When recruiters share information that can help hiring managers better understand the candidate search process, managers are able to make more accurate decisions on who to hire. 
 

“Hiring managers really like to know what we do — they like to see a source and they like to see the data because it helps them understand how they can help us. And really, it’s a win-win,” Stanfield said.
 


Tips To Optimize Collaborative Sourcing
 

In addition to having technology in place to keep all teams on the same page, Stanfield also shared these best practices to optimize collaborative sourcing between TA teams and hiring managers:
 

  • Conduct screen-share meetings 
  • Search your own database first
  • Ask hiring managers for ideal profiles
  • Create a shared project to work from
  • Create Boolean strings for sourcing tools
  • Agree in advance to bi-weekly sourcing syncs
  • Review analytics and market insights
  • Encourage an iterative process 


Stanfield stressed the iterative process: “We really do understand that sometimes, midstream, things can change.” She encourages companies to be ok with that. “Sometimes… it's that pivot that really helps us narrow in on the right candidate.”
 


Taking Collaboration to New Heights
 

Now that MITRE has ingrained collaborative processes with fantastic results, they’re eager to optimize their Recruiter and Manager Experiences even further.
 

“We’ve helped shape the philosophy of how we partner with our hiring managers, but we're going to go further by implementing [Phenom’s] Hiring Manager module. This will allow them to have a portal to assist in skills refinement and really give us their feedback on leads that we’ve sourced,” she noted. 
 

Also on the horizon: plans to maximize Phenom’s Employee Experience to provide current employees the same personalized and streamlined experience that external candidates receive. 


Feeling inspired? Browse all IAMHR sessions by Experience here.


Interested in learning more about Phenom’s Hiring Manager? Get a demo!