By Dave Mendoza

Miguel Terrizzano,
CEO at PierPoint Profile
Linkedin Profile
Office: 408-997-9886

I was introduced a few years ago to Miguel by Shally Steckerl at an ERE Conference. Since that time we have had a running quasi-joke (you are not off the hook my friend!) about how Miguel owes me empenadas. You see few in the world who understand empenadas would argue my contention that Argentina has the best of these pastries among latin countries. That said, he promised to have them shipped to me. I saw Miguel at the Recruiting Roadshow and he informed me that a world famous Argentine chef had just opened a restaurant in Silicon Valley and that I was invited to delight myself with a taste I missed as a lad. Of course, it happened to be the day I flew back to Denver. (Note fist in air ..."This will not be the last my friend Miguel! Grrr!)

All quasi jokes aside, we can agree I made clear either that I have an unnatural hunger for a pastry or that Miguel has an excellent sense of humor and I feel comfortable making a few jabs at a CEO I have grown to respect. The answer is equally in the affirmative.

Miguel has run a global RPO for several years now. He has been keen to appreciating the significance of sourcing as a value added solution for his customers, before it was popular - and he has therefore been always attentive the latest in JobMachine techniques and innovations. In a nutshell, Miguel 'gets it' - so much so he was featured in Fortune Magazine recently.

Few recognize an opportunity in a storm like he does and, that said, those that do, win. Today, meet my Argentine friend, a regular exhibitor at every conference ... Miguel Terrizzano

Q & A with Miguel Terrizzano

Miguel : I met my wife – Alyssa Thatch – in 2001 when I was working at Cisco Systems supporting WW Sales. She was a recruiter supporting Corporate Finance. Once the tech bubble burst Alyssa was one of the first casualties of the downsizing of our 800 strong global recruitment team. I got to know Alyssa more as I helped her with her new job search. We were married in September 2002, and recently had our first beautiful baby Emma on the 14th of July which of course if one of the happiest moments of my life. In addition to being a loving wife Its great to have a person with knowledge of our industry who I can trust to provide advice on my business. I have one lovable and hard working border collie named Tango who joins me for my daily jog in my San Jose, California neighborhood. Alyssa and I usually go out for dinner when she gets home from work and we love trying all varieties of food from Vietnamese, Chinese, Japanese, Thai, American, Malaysian and Mexican etc.

My hobbies are the four Fs: in no particular order that translates into food, family, friends, and that all encompassing word…F U N. As far as community support goes I currently provide employment for hundreds of people in several countries and generally err on the generous side. I love the fact that my family and I spend 65% of our time in the states and the remaining 35% abroad. I really like to run in the early mornings.

Six Degrees: How many years as a recruiter?

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

Miguel : I was selling and installing cellular phones at a time when they were not a commodity but rather a luxury item which only the “privileged” few could afford. As such, the bulk of phones I installed usually ended up on the dash of upscale cars. Now being the curious person that a recruiter needs to be, I would usually ask the owner what they did for a living. I was surprised to hear that a fair number were recruiters. Now I thought to myself that the Army must be desperate for new recruits given the tremendous salaries they are paying recruitment sergeants who are now driving luxury cars with installed cell phones. Anyway, I told my branch manager that I wanted to be the one selecting the new sales people and installers since I knew the business, was college degreed and a “people person”. The bosses agreed and I was on my way to becoming a full fledged recruiter.

I began my recruiting career with GTE mobile division in 1992, then joined an east coast professional services organization in a professional services sales capacity, followed by corporate recruitment for PeopleSoft in 1996, before moving on to Siebel Systems, and Cisco from 1999 through 2003. I established my own company Pierpoint in 2004 and have been doing so ever since. By January of 07 I had opened my 4th delivery center and hired my 227th Pierpoint sourcer.

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

Miguel : The systematic expulsion of an 800 strong staffing team while I was at Cisco Systems in favor of an RPO implementation. I was one of 30 that survived the 2 year onslaught. I learned quite a bit in those 2 years as we implemented the new RPO. I learned what worked from what did not work.

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

Miguel : Erlina Rusty formerly with Peoplesoft, now with Intuit. At my first job interview with her she quickly came to the conclusion that I would be most effective servicing the SVP of sales and provided great support throughout my three year tenure there. I have kept up with Erlina over the years remain very strong friends.

Six Degrees: Yell us about your position as CEO and more about your staffing organization:

Miguel : I am the CEO of Pierpoint, a global sourcing and candidate pre-screening company, and take a strong leadership role in our global sales and marketing efforts, in addition to overseeing our ongoing operational delivery centers of excellence for our global clientele. We traditionally have upwards of 100 in house employees and another 50-100 contractors who source, telephone screen and profile candidates, then tee them up to internal recruiters so they don’t have to spend valuable time doing it themselves. As CEO my job is to set overall direction, delegate to those that know more than I, over communicate with existing clients and always look for areas of improvement.

Six Degrees: What recent general news story or industry trend do you feel will have an impact on your work in the future? Why?

Miguel : The trend is for companies to do away with any task or function that is not core to the business and to reduce fixed costs wherever possible. This is where the Hybrid RPI (recruitment process integration) is going to thrive. Companies will not want to go full RPO because they know they will lose control, hard to implement and implies getting rid of your best in-house recruiters. I say keep the very best recruiters in house but outsource the time consuming and repetitive portions such as background checks, sourcing for resumes, telephone pre-screening, offer letter writing, rejection notices etc. Once candidates are narrowed down from say a 100 raw stack to a manageable 10 who are interested in the position, compensation and travel compatible, technically sound and culturally fit then those few 10 are handled by the internal recruiter. An internal recruiter should not spend the greatest part of her day on repetitive and monotonous work. We recruiters need to be focused on what is truly important to our internal clients and that is not to spend all day reading resumes, making countless phone calls and sending rejection notices.

Six Degrees: Tell us about speaking events, awards, publications, where you have you represented your company:

Miguel : IQPC conference in Arizona where I co-presented with my client, the Aimco corporation, recipient of countless awards at the 2007 ERE. I usually attend the ERE shows with a booth and have sometimes thrown a party but have not done much in the way of marketing or mindshare. The bulk of my business has come from my rolodex and referrals.

Six Degrees: What is your next career goal? What do you need to do to get there?

Miguel : I would like to grow Pierpoint even larger by being able to offer our sourcing and pre-screening services to every corporate recruiter who does not have the bandwidth or desire to engage in candidate identification and telephone pre-screening. As a former corporate recruiter I relished those wonderful times where the corporation(s) had a sourcing partner that could go through stacks of resumes and make the initial contact for me. It allowed me to have more meaningful dialogue with my internal clients as well as being able to concentrate on closing the right candidates and not spend my life finding resumes, then sorting through stacks to only then have to put out 50 calls to get 5 people on the line.


Six Degrees: Tell us about Your Company

Miguel : Pierpoint International specializes in candidate sourcing and telephone prescreening with a delivery emphasis on the Americas and Europe. We have several delivery centers with a fluently multilingual workforce.

Six Degrees: How was Your Company Founded?

Miguel : After going through two very large but unsuccessful RPO implementations on the client side I always wished there would have been a solution available like Pierpoint, so, when I was let go during on ongoing HR downsizing at Cisco I realized now was the right time for me to create and “build a better mousetrap”. When I was a corporate recruiter my peers and I were often working on 25 or more requisitions simultaneously with only 50 hours in the average recruiter’s workweek. Once the meetings, reports, and other tasks for the week were subtracted there was not a lot of effective sourcing and screening we could do in the hour or so had left for each requisition. So the first item we focused on when partnering with our clients was to help them manage the critical but time consuming tasks of sourcing and prescreening candidates. When we tame the wide end of the recruiting funnel by furnishing them with candidates we ensure that effective and thorough screening and sourcing is actually being carried out allowing the client’s recruitment team more time for higher value activities with their internal clientele. If you don’t get the sourcing and screening bit right you inevitably end up hiring more of the wrong candidates and increase your 30, 60, and 90 day turnover raising havoc in your business. We only focus on the time consuming but critical services which should be outsourced and which do not require lengthy implementations, overly complex contracts, and over priced add ons.

Six Degrees: Where did you go and find investors?

My own personal savings since what the investor community wanted at that time was to take control for peanuts.

Six Degrees: Your Company’s Value Proposition

Miguel : Pierpoint helps internal recruiters source, telephone and pre-screen candidates so they don’t have to. Our on demand model is easy to implement and is scalable up or down with the flick of a switch. So we boost your recruitment horsepower and effectiveness while saving you money. Recruiters are bogged down with too many reqs and too many reports and meetings. They are in constant reactionary mode. Pierpoint helps them be more strategic.

Six Degrees: What is the pricing structure for your services/products?

Miguel : We charge an average of 30$ USD per sourcing and pre-screening hour for the United States, 25 Euros for Europe regardless of region, $30 Canadian and $25 USD for Latin America. The prices include the costs of all boards and sourcing tools, including our own proprietary search tool Candidate Hunter. The price also includes day to day management and reports.

Six Degrees: What is the future for Your Company?

Miguel : We will keep growing organically, hopefully opening our 4th sourcing center in 09, and letting companies know that there is an alternative to full RPO where they can simultaneously lower their costs and retain a core internal staff. It’s a very similar model to a company’s legal department where in house counsel is both a vendor manager to the external law firms while at the same time a trusted business partner to their internal clients. When a case comes forward requiring outside expertise then the internal counsel will “outsource” that particular expertise to their external law firm. I envision being able to open many more centers with trained sourcers that are up to date on the latest sourcing methodologies, tools and technology, and recruitment best practices.

Six Degrees: Do you blog?

Miguel : Unfortunately I do not currently blog. I know I should, just like I know I should probably exercise more.

Six Degrees: Tell me something others may not know about you.

Miguel : My iPod has AC/DC, Stones, Lynyrd Skynyrd, some American Idol moments, and even some Madonna/Dido/KidRock thrown into the mix. I run ever morning religiously regardless of location, weather or time.

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Great showcase today. Nice to learn about you Miguel. Cisco is a great company.. as a matter of fact, I am learning a bit about Cisco CTO at the moment following her on Twitter. Also, good to hear more about Aimco corp as I am familiar with them.. know at least one other that works for Aimco and she has been very supportive. About blogging - I see what you mean.. I haven't set up my own blog site just yet.. and it's just like you wrote.. great analogy to exercise - I know it will be good for me.. but can't seem to prioritize (just the same with my exercise regime schedule - signed up for Yoga.. and how many times can I "really" go.. that's been tough :) Thank you for sharing. Best wishes to you w/Pierpoint. ~ Susan
That was an awesome interview Dave. Miguel's success is something we can all learn from. Congratulations and best of luck with your new company.

BTW - thanks to Dave for this showcase.. another great post. Best wishes ~ Susan
Dave/Miguel - makes we want to know more about the business model.... here in Europe we need to look at providing a similar service, its obvious!
Wow. Great article Dave. Thanks for sharing. I am eager to connect with Miguel.
Soy tambien argentina y conoci a Miguel en ocasion de una entrevista para posicion en Cisco Systems Argentina. Miguel es una persona muy agradable, muy "people orientated" como el mismo se describe y me alegro mucho de leer sobre el y el desarrollo de su carrera. Vamos Miguel! Nora desde Wellington, New Zealand
Nice interview!!!!!
I love this guy- Miguel is sui generis. He shared some anecdotes with me that I still use in conversation at least once a month when discussing RPO. His spirit is huge- but he is not just a cheerleader- he knows how lucky a man he is, which is something we have in common !
Great interview and solid insight into the company and core proposition of value add. I think a good deal of companies, including mine, have suffered from lack of an internal precise value add statement. I enjoyed seeing his clear vision and understanding of what he was offering. Thanks for the interview and insight - great read.

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