Strategic Sourcing at Lockheed Martin: What it Means, What it Takes, What it Delivers

February 24, 2014

peterSo much has been said about the commoditization of sourcing in the Internet and Social age. That doesn’t stop the Peter Bugnattos of this world from being clutch players within their organizations. I sat down with Peter, a 9-year veteran of Lockheed Martin’s recruiting team, to better understand how he approaches pipelining talent, and the type of impact he drives. I left the conversation excited to shine a spotlight on the silent heroes of strategic sourcing.

Lockheed Martin is a widely known and respected name in defense, aerospace and government contracting. Tell us what you look for in potential hires.

We tend to seek, attract and hire people who aren’t so much interested in “finding a job” or “filling a role”, but instead are passionate about solving problems, creating solutions and having an impact. When the stakes are high and the challenges seem impossible, customers rely on Lockheed Martin to get the job done. Whether you’re a Software Engineer, Rocket Scientist, Cyber Security Architect or any of the other thousands of positions we hire for, we stress the Lockheed Martin core values of doing what’s right, respecting others and performing with excellence.

Your title is ‘Strategic Sourcing Specialist.’ What does that mean? What makes the job so strategic? 

The simplest differentiator between what I do and tactical recruiting is that I am not trying to fill open job requisitions. Our team builds pipelines of potential employees who possess the critical skills we need.

How long have you been a proponent of pipelining talent? What difference has it made to your success at Lockheed Martin?

I have been solely focused on building pipelines for various critical skills at Lockheed Martin since 2007, with my primary focus on the Cyber Security pipeline. The success I’ve had with my pipeline efforts has helped build a trusted advisor relationship, not only among recruiters, but within our business units and in the field. It isn’t about just finding resumes. You have to understand the needs of both the candidates and the business units and then make the stars align when the timing is right. It’s about building and maintaining relationships and establishing trust. Success fosters success; the more success I have with candidates, the more the word gets out. Former pipeline prospects that get hired make referrals, which lead to new pipeline prospects, and so on. 

How do you keep in touch with potential candidates in your pipeline?

Like many recruiters, I’ve been using the Talent Pipeline functionality within LinkedIn Recruiter as a CRM by saving profiles to project folders, capturing notes and dialogue, and using tags and status updates to help keep things organized. I import profiles and resumes and I use the “to do” or calendar features to schedule periodic check-ins with people I’ve already contacted  who have opted in to my passive pipeline, as well as with those whom I’m trying to engage.

What metrics do you recommend tracking to gauge pipelining impact?

We continue to measure the size and growth of our pipelines. It’s a moving target, as people alternate from passive to active status. In the absence of assigned job requisitions, we have no direct control over who gets selected for interviews or who gets hired, making it impossible to use traditional, tactical metrics. Yet we track and report on how many of our pipeline prospects we referred, and how many of those were interviewed, received and accepted offers.

This past year we experimented with a new way to determine success. Specifically for Cyber Security, I looked at how many of our pure-play Cyber Security job code requisitions excluding college/entry level were filled by external candidates rather than internal transfers or external incumbent captures. Of those, I looked at the percentage of those jobs filled by candidates developed from my pipeline efforts. From January through October 2013 it was 34%. I think that is significant and is a good indicator of the impact we can have with pipeline efforts. We’ve now established a baseline to measure against for the future. 

What’s the role of the hiring manager in building and interacting with your pipeline?

The hiring manager plays a critical role in defining the current and future needs that allow us to get our initial pipeline off the ground. You really need to build a strong relationship with hiring managers, program managers and others inside the business units who can provide direction - primarily for what is on the future radar screen.

Because our team in Strategic Sourcing targets the 80% (passive prospects) crowd, I try to keep my finger on the pulse of all things Cyber Security-related across the enterprise and engage with programs in advance of the need, whether it’s for proposal efforts, anticipated openings, etc. I like to say that once the job requisition is open, it’s already past me as far as being “strategic.”

Hiring managers are important when it comes to vetting the pipeline so I can adjust my efforts to ensure I’m on target for their critical and strategic needs. At this point, they primarily engage with my pipeline once someone raises their hands and informs me they are now actively looking or would at least consider a new opportunity. However, we’re hoping to develop a Talent Community that would allow hiring managers to interact more with potential candidates.  

You’ve been at Lockheed Martin for more than 8 years now. What keeps you there?

I love what I do. I work for a global company with extraordinary people on exciting and important projects and programs. I get to talk cyber security all day with interesting and talented people and have an impact on their careers, while moving the needle in a critical talent segment across the enterprise.

I love the fact that Lockheed Martin had the vision to create a unique Strategic Sourcing group like ours that allows recruiters to explore new, creative ways to identify and stay engaged with talent, leveraging the most advanced resources out there. I love the challenge when a program calls and tells me about a future strategic need they have for some unbelievably impossible role. I have a great team and I collaborate with phenomenal recruiters in our Talent Acquisition team, as well as industry thought leaders in our cyber security business units.

The world is facing complex challenges that call for innovative solutions - solutions that help defend global security, push the boundaries of scientific discovery and deliver essential services to citizens around the globe.  At Lockheed Martin, we’re driven by a sense of purpose and a passion for innovation to shape the future and solve some of the world’s most difficult challenges.

Complete the sentence, “If I wasn’t in recruiting, I’d be ….”

…Struggling to make it as either a professional golfer, goalie in the NHL, or most likely a ski bum traveling state-to-state in search of an epic day with fresh powder! 

What’s your top prediction for how recruiting will be different 5 years from now?

Technology and automation will continue to improve the candidate experience. Social media and big data will dominate the skills required in staffing. Strategic sourcing will prevail.

* Image by Lockheed Martin