By Dave Mendoza, ""
Master Cyberseluth, Affiliate Partner,

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Heather Gardner, friend and regular visitor to RBC was kind enough to introduce me to one of Volt’s senior executives.

Pat Cronin has been in the Staffing Industry for 20 + years in various roles. His career began as a Recruiter. Pat was ranked 5th out of 300 + recruiters. After many successes was moved into management of a large group of Recruiters. He relocated and joined Volt Services Group as a Sales Representative where he was awarded "Rookie of the Year." Very quickly Pat was promoted to Manager and then Area Manager. He relocated and took a position as Regional Director for another large staffing firm. Pat returned to Volt in the role of Professional Placement Program Manager. He supports offices throughout the United States in their Professional Placement endeavors. The areas of expertise in which his division recruits are Life Sciences, Information Technology, Engineering, Technical, Accounting/Finance and Administrative. His current title is Vice President Volt Professional Placement. Pat is also a Six Sigma Black Belt.

Six Degrees: Tell us of your home world.

PAT CRONIN: My domestic Partner, Brian Barnes, and I have been together for 7 years. Brian is a Deacon in the Episcopal Church and has his own bodywork therapy business focusing on Myofascial Release techniques. We met in San Francisco while I was on a business trip visiting from Seattle. After a year of commuting back and forth, we purchased a traditional San Francisco Victorian home in the heart of the city. Truth be told, Cooper, our dog, and Cecil, our cat run our home. They just allow us to reside with them.

While in college I became a PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) certified Scuba Diving Instructor and taught classes to many friends and Fraternity Brothers. Scuba Diving was a large part of my childhood as my father was President of U.S. Divers Corp and founded PADI. Rather than following in his very accomplished footsteps, I decided to make a name for my self on my own and stumbled into Recruiting. Years later, I did re-engage with PADI…I sit on the Board of Directors.

When I first moved to the Bay Area, I volunteered as a Chaplain at San Francisco General Hospital. It was incredibly rewarding yet emotionally draining at times. I would work all week and then on Friday nights would spend 4 – 6 hours in the emergency room helping the marginalized population of San Francisco. Nothing could have prepared me for the trauma victims I would encounter in this setting. Most people were grateful to have the company of a Chaplain during such a stressful time in their life. You get to see human nature at its “rawest” when people are in crises. I do remember one rather humorous situation….a woman came in for a minor treatment. I came into her room and said…”Hi my name is Pat. I am a Chaplain here at SFGH.” The poor woman immediately panicked and said…”A Chaplain, why do I need a Chaplain? I only cut my foot. Do you know something I don’t know? Am I going to die?” I laughed and reassured her that no, she would be just fine. People react very differently when they are scared and facing an emergency.

Six Degrees: How many years have you been in the staffing industry

PAT CRONIN: I started in the recruiting business in 1985. (I hate saying that because it makes me sound so old. I was right out of college…..honest! )

Six Degrees: How did you get started as a recruiter?

PAT CRONIN: I got into this industry by chance as many of us do. I had a friend who worked for a staffing firm. She told me about her job and I thought it sounded interesting. I also had an ulterior motive. I thought it would be a great place to find a “real” job. My thought was to look at all the positions that came into the office and if and when I found something that sounded more interesting, I would pursue that career. I know it sounds a little corny, but even after 23 years nothing is more fascinating that the search industry. In my years in the staffing industry, I have worked both Contract Staffing/Temp side and Search.

The first 5 years of my career, I worked a desk in Southern California. In 1992, I moved to Portland OR and came to work for Volt. I was an outside sales rep for the temporary division. It was so different from the search side. I learned about account development and how to work in a fast transactional environment. I was “Rookie of the Year” and was promoted to Branch and then Area Manager. During my time in Portland, I was able to develop an on-site managed program for a large Bank. I left Volt for a short period and took a position as a Regional Director of another very large staffing firm. With in two weeks I knew I had made a gigantic mistake. While I was gone, two of the Senior Vice Presidents at Volt decided they wanted to develop a Professional Search strategy for the company. I returned to Volt in the role of Professional Placement Program Manager. I began collaborating with the incredibly talented people through out Volt to creating all the tools, infrastructure, policies and procedures, training and development, which helped Volt enter the Professional Search segment. In 2002, Volt was the first Staffing Firm to fully embrace Six Sigma and I entered the Black Belt training program. In 2005 I was certified as a Six Sigma Black Belt. Shortly after that I was promoted to Director of Professional Search. Using Six Sigma tools, we ran a Six Sigma project to determine how we could increase our market share in Professional Search. I am currently the Vice President of Volt Professional Search. The group of Professional Search Recruiters I work with each focus on niche specific positions nationally and are separated into distinct Search Groups

(We are looking for talented Professional Search Recruiters and Search Managers. Sorry, I couldn’t help myself….We are hiring! We have more client requests than we can handle!)

Six Degrees: What single event had the most impact on your sourcing/recruiting

PAT CRONIN: In the beginning, I was horrible. My idea of a telemarketing call was…”Hi, This is Pat Cronin from XXX Company. I am just calling to see if there are any positions I can help you with?” Or, “I just interviewed someone who would be perfect for your position!” I was so green! I honestly could not understand why I was not getting any business. Finally, after a few months, my boss said she did not think I was right for the business. She gave me a final warning. I had one month to produce twice as much as I had ever produced, or I was going to be let go! I remember saying to her….” I am not leaving here. You’ll see, I am going to pull this off.” That was when my career really began. I had nothing but sheer determination. I did not know how I was going to do it, but I was going to succeed. I asked everyone in my office for help. I listened to the best, mimicked them and did everything I could think of to produce the numbers I had to produce in order to keep my job. I loved this business and I would not accept any other result than success. That was the toughest month of my career. There were times where is looked impossible. However, I was determined. It is amazing what power there is in “commitment.” The last day of that month, I made a placement that pushed me right over the goal. I did it! That month taught me more about myself than anything I learned in college. Determination is what makes people succeed. Sounds so simple, but when you really, really “get” that, any thing is possible.

Do you have a mentor to whom you attribute your overall outlook on recruitment, capabilities, and/or model your career after?

PAT CRONIN: I have had many mentors. The first was Wendy Hall. She hired me and helped me personally grow into a business professional. The team of people I worked with back in 1985 all contributed to my success as well. Margie McKay and Christina Harris, both Senior Vice Presidents at Volt gave me the opportunity to create a phenomenal career in Professional Search at Volt.

Six Degrees: Tell us about your executive responsibilities at Volt, Pat:

PAT CRONIN: My role is Vice President of Volt Professional Search. I am responsible for Professional Search for Volt Technical Resources throughout the U.S. and Canada. It is an exciting time at Volt Professional Search. We are developing even more robust and comprehensive infrastructures, which will allow us to elevate our delivery model and break out of the industry norms. We want our attention to remain on the customer and candidate experience while producing respectful financial gains.

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We have done extensive market research, analyzed business trends and emerging markets and utilized Six Sigma statistical business models to identify the best combination of process and talent. All over North America, we are expanding our investment in the most critical aspect of our business….our people. We are re-branding, re-evaluating and re-inventing every aspect of our current model. Our goal is to emerge as a World Class Executive Search organization.
We have our Professional Search Recruiters focused on the following “Niche” business segments.
o IT – Professional, Managers, PMs
o IT – Programmers/Developers
o IT – Networking/Systems/IT Support
o Engineering – Mechanical
o Engineering – Electronic
o Engineering – “Other”
o Life Sciences
o Technical Sales/Consulting

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Replies to This Discussion

Great interview!

I personally LOVED working for Pat - he is one of those great mentors you seek in your career (he taught me how to recruit way back when...). And wow, I always pick up great knowledge reading your interviews Dave - I didn't realize Pat was also diving instructor!

Thanks for another great read Dave!

Pat Cronin? I've worked directly for him for 7 years. In a word, AMAZING. He's forgotten more than I know - and I learn from him continuously. (And I'm old enough to be his "older sister", darn him.)

Sue Danbom
Director of Training
Volt Professional Search

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