The Champion Challenge: A #SourceCon Case Study

Editor’s note: You may recall at the last SourceCon conference in Washington, D.C., a group of people performed a funny skit during Earl Mann’s presentation. These individuals were brand-new sourcers from Champion Recruiting Associates, and over the coming months, they will be sharing information on about how attending the conference has changed the way they are approaching their sourcing and recruiting processes. This will be an unfiltered glimpse into the inner workings of Champion’s business, and they hope that sharing their activities will show the immediate as well as the long-term benefits of applying learned techniques and attending and participating in conferences and other continual learning opportunities.

Look for their challenge to YOU below… 

The Players

Kelsey, a Potomac, Maryland native and graduate from the University of Dayton, majored in Public Relations with a minor in Psychology. Kelsey was involved in the University of Dayton community, as she was an active member for the Alpha Phi Fraternity Zeta Si Chapter and an employee of a local family-owned fine dining Italian Restaurant. Kelsey was attracted to the position at Champion, as the culture of the company inspired her and she was excited about the idea of joining an amazing team where there was opportunity to be challenged and work hard to reach success.

Jordan, a Chester, Virginia native and graduate from the University of Virginia, majored in Anthropology with a concentration in Environmental Science.  Jordan was a student-athlete on the Men’s soccer team, which captured the 2009 Men’s National Championship, as well as a member of the ACC All-Academic team.  After a stint with the Richmond Kickers professional soccer club, Jordan relocated to Washington, D.C.  He was attracted to the position and found that many of his future colleagues’ athletic experiences were shared and successfully applied to the business world.

Scott, a Palos Verdes Estates, California native and graduate from Georgetown University, majored in Marketing & Management.  As a four-year starter on the Men’s soccer team, Scott also was a four-time Big East Academic All-Star.  Scott decided to continue his time in the Washington, D.C. area after connecting with Champion and receiving an invitation to join the team.  He quickly found a home among other former student-athletes who also aspired to excel in business.

The Company

Champion possesses a culture built on an attitude of service and a passion for matching top talent with top clients to create a winning combo. Champion, formally referred to as Champion Recruiting Associates, was founded in March 2009 by Caitlin Banks. Caitlin, a Long Island, New York, native brings a history of success specializing in corporate recruitment with Fortune 500 companies. Caitlin is a University of Virginia graduate where she was a member of University of Virginia Women’s Lacrosse team (2004 NCAA National Champion; 2004 ACC Champion). Caitlin is a natural leader, coach, and enthusiast. Joe Mann, Champion’s (CEO) and active Managing Director brings over sixteen years of executive leadership from Fortune 500 Sales and Consulting organizations, including Thomson Reuters, Merrill, Cisco, and Sprint. He spearheads national operations at Champion. Joe’s enthusiasm for the business and the team’s personal development and winning attitude is infectious!

We are a unique human capital and consulting firm located in the heart of Bethesda, Maryland. Champion specializes in delivering impact players in every facet of Sales and Consulting to our clients. Our culture and team is unique. Champion hires attitude first! Joe and Caitlin always say, “Give me Attitude and Passion and we will create a Champion.” Kind of corny, we know, but they really believe this stuff! Our team consists of former Division 1 collegiate athletes, top academic performers, and business executives that bring with them a passion for winning. While we work hard, we also play hard. We work out together two times a week. Power cleans, long runs, and spinning classes are not optional. Our Friday mornings begin with Philosophers’ notes; “cliff notes” of the top 100 inspirational books, which allow us to be in the right mind frame to reach success. We hold trust and loyalty as our deepest core values and we work hard every day to win, but most of all, to become wholly better as individuals and as a team.

The Opportunity

Champion’s clients had growing needs and the owners were faced with a question: “Do we hire recruiters with solid experience or do we give these bright college grads an opportunity to learn a business that we are incredibly passionate about?” Champion was presented with an amazing opportunity to help a top software company hire 250-500 people in Sales and Consulting roles nationally. The leaders looked at the current team’s bandwidth and decided they needed to make some additions if they were going to be able to commit to taking on this work. They saw sourcing as a great first step to learning the business and felt the exposure would help the associates catch the recruiting bug. Champion decided to identify energetic, driven, and technically-savvy individuals to make an immediate impact in the sourcing department. Kara Ridgway, the Associate Director, spearheaded the intern program with very little guidance by posting the opportunity on college boards and campaigning with friends and family to strategically grow our team. Previously being collegiate athletes, Caitlin and Joe sent emails to numerous universities’ athletic departments to uncover team-oriented and hardworking seniors who were set to graduate in May of 2010. And were ready for their next challenge.

The Internship

Champion received over 150 applications for five summer internship program positions. The interview process began with a 15-minute phone screen with Kara. Once hurdling with Kara, the next step for us was to submit a 2-minute video introducing ourselves and answering, “Why do you want to work for Champion? Who in your life inspires you the most?”  Lastly, a final on-site, round robin interview day was conducted at the Champion offices to meet the finalists.  Five candidates were chosen to join the Champion team for the internship program, which eventually led to the final trio.  Kelsey, Jordan, and Scott transitioned into full-time associates in September.  To get a better idea of the interview videos we were required to make, check out the video submission from Scott Larrabee.

In addition, for your viewing pleasure, we have also provided a simple video we created during the first half of our internship, at a minimum – great music!

During the first four weeks of our ten-week experience, we knew nothing about sourcing but took the time to understand our clients, the marketplace, and our processes. Networking events, team huddles (Champion lingo for internal committee meetings), Cross-fit workouts before stepping foot inside the office, 2010 World Cup soccer game action, bowling, office relocation (Champion moved within Bethesda to accommodate growth), constant cold-calling, rejection, and success vaguely sums up our summer as Champions.

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Each intern was required to reach out to 50 new candidates per day. Five interns reaching out to 1250 people per week provided an immediate boost to our startup company. Additionally, a metric of six meetings per day per recruiter grew the pipeline immensely.

The Conference (SourceCon)

Inexperience took its toll as we quickly encountered the challenge of connecting with too many people on LinkedIn. We were warned about our behavior, then suspended and threatened to be expelled from our primary tool. As you may have guessed, this significantly hindered our sourcing methods. FIND A WAY OR MAKE IT HAPPEN… SOURCECON!!!

After an invitation to SourceCon in Washington, D.C. from our good friend Earl Mann, we gladly accepted.  We read what incredible talent SourceCon had to offer and realized this was exactly where we needed to be to take what little we knew regarding sourcing to a new level.  Upon entrance into the International Spy Museum, there was no looking back.  Getting a chance to appreciate sourcing and recruiting from the most gifted and regarded professionals in the world was intimidating but eye-opening to say the least.  Expertise using Twitter, LinkedIn, Boolean Search Methods, etc. was an art of work we severely lacked but were keen on understanding. We quickly invested in LinkedIn Recruiter; the tool we have learned to utilize in the most efficient ways through training sessions and repetitive practice.  While we continue to grow as young professionals and slowly depart out of our ‘recent college graduate’ status, we feel we have made immense steps from where we were after starting with Champion one week after graduation.

(If you made SourceCon in Washington, D.C. we hope you enjoyed our beach themed skit!)

The Challenge

As we conclude our synopsis of our lives for the past six months, we would like to present a simple challenge to all who read this.  Make us better.  We are some of the “greenest” people involved in SourceCon (or at least at the D.C. convention!) and we have our entire lives to learn the tricks to success in this role – but why not start now? We are ambitious and hungry; you challenge us! Tell us what we should study and master as we put forth our hard-charging efforts and look forward to attending SourceCon in New York City on February 8-9. We appreciate this effort and are excited to receive every bit of advice!

Here are the current tools we are using and metrics. As you can tell, we have improved from SourceCon but still have a long way to go.

Calls 30 per day
Invites 30 per day
Meetings 6 per day
Territories Broken up by 5 Regions
Sendouts (Candidate Submittals to Client) 2 per day

We look forward to sharing our ups and downs, our successes and challenges, and our overall learning experience with you over the coming months. Stay tuned!