PNC Case Study at SourceCon: Four Steps to Developing a Successful Sourcing Team

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Oct 17, 2011

Jillian Snavley has built a phenomenal sourcing function at PNC Financial Services. And she has the data to prove it, as she very effectively demonstrated during her keynote presentation at SourceCon on Friday morning. This is something that sourcing leaders, practitioners, and corporate executives alike need in order to justify the very existence of a sourcing function within a company. Conference attendees were treated to a stream of useful knowledge to bring back to their individual companies to help build a case for both developing a new sourcing function as well as investing into existing ones, based on the successes shared by Snavley during her presentation.

Snavley appropriately divided her presentation, titled “Revving Up Your Sourcing Function,” into four “laps”: Building, Developing, Strategy, and Refining. Each “lap” of building PNC’s sourcing function (which was non-existent at the beginning of the process) presented challenges which were overcome by providing business cases, data and metrics, and examples of success from other areas that have led to a highly successful and very unique group of sourcers, who have earned the designation of “in-house agency” partners for various business units.


Snavley, who is the VP, Senior Recruiting Manager for the Centralized Resource Center, began building her business case for a centralized sourcing team by looking at the current challenges that needed to be overcome. These included:

  • A massive expense in agency spend
  • Recruiters who were buried in reqs, had virtually no time to source for openings, and whose sourcing skills needed sharpening
  • Identification of what alignments would make the most sense based on similar job families and/or geography

By identifying the appropriate challenges, she was able to achieve buy-in with the decision makers by making compelling arguments that a centralized resource center would help reduce agency spend, allow recruiters to focus on recruiting, and align business units effectively and efficiently. By hiring the right kinds of individuals into these new sourcing roles (Snavley prefers to hire those with business experience; for example, one of her best sourcers used to be a branch manager at a competitor), she began the process of developing what would be referred to as the “in-house agency” to focus on positions requiring ongoing pipelines of candidates.


With the right people in place, the next step was to provide appropriate training. Snavley focused on technology as well as process – ATS, LinkedIn, job boards, and Boolean as well as developing SLAs, cold calling skills, and compelling messaging. She also introduced a unique role: the Talent Scout. Those in this role would be responsible for being the “eyes and ears” in targeted growth markets – partnering with business units, attending industry-related events, and developing relationships with new acquaintances to continually feed the talent pipeline in those market areas.

With things in place, metrics were established to track success and find areas for improvement. PNC eventually used a CRM to track conversations and conversions of passive leads to active candidates. The focus was always on quality over quantity, and in 2010 the percentage of hires that were the right fit was an amazing 97%. All this from a database that was built up with passively sourced talent.

Initially, sourcers were not invited to intake sessions but this changed when business units realized the importance of involving sourcing in these information meetings. Sourcers derived benefit from learning what competitors to target, how to sell the company and the position, and also how to establish expectations of results from sourcing efforts as well as follow-up conversations. These intake meetings also proved to be important for further development of trusting relationships between sourcer, recruiter, and hiring manager.


Snavley’s goal was to make the central resource team a consultative partner to the individual business units. In doing this, she focused not just on dollars that would be saved from reduced agency use but also on the additional value that would be derived through competitive intelligence gathering and internal relationship development. Some of the ways in which she saw value that would be created through a central resource team included:

  • Pipeline building
  • Prospect sourcing
  • Labor market research for future needs
  • Consultation and training/development of sourcing best practices

Additionally, with the reduction of overall agency spend, Snavley was able to re-engage valued agency partners for high level searches and further develop external relationships with these individuals. She noted that there is definitely still a need for agency search engagement at PNC but that it simply needed a more defined and streamlined process for it to work properly.

With these revised strategies, recruiters were able to focus more on recruiting, time-to-fill was reduced, sourced candidates were better fits for the open positions, and PNC saved more time and money while improving the overall quality of the recruitment process.


The best way to generate efficiency from a total business unit is to allow specialization and then combine all specialties to create a whole working unit. PNC’s centralized resource center’s secret to success lays in its combined parts – screeners, sourcers, and recruiters, both internal and external. This group’s new point of entry is screening. By bringing screening into the centralized resource center, Snavley has been able to develop a career path for those individuals to learn sourcing and strategies to identify top talent for PNC.

Business units have begun to see firsthand the value that sourcing offers in competitive intelligence gathering, and this in turn has allowed PNC to improve its candidate – as well as employee – experience. The company has greater ability to adjust its products and services to meet industry and market changes and demands. And finally, sourcers have improved their overall knowledge of the marketplace and can therefore present more compelling messages to better-targeted prospects.

This entire process from start to finish has taken Snavley approximately three years. And to date, she has had zero turnover within the sourcing department. By anyone’s standards, this is an impressive accomplishment for a team that did not even exist when the process began.

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