Meet Craig Campbell, Principal at Talentwoo, Veteran Strategic Sourcing Manager & Industry Speaker

By Dave Mendoza

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Meet our friend, and fan, Craig Campbell. It is a pleasure to feature today someone with as varied contributions and personal appeal as Craig. He has been a talent acquisition leader with 15 years of experience creating strategic talent programs including, but not limited to sourcing, recruitment marketing, college, diversity and workforce analytics. Craig attributes his success to having worked with world class companies such as Manpower International, Microsoft,, Starbucks Coffee Company and most recently MGMMIRAGE. These experiences have afforded Craig a depth and breadth of recruiting insight and best practices across these various industries. If you ask Craig the secret of his success, he will tell you he owes it to his years having an opportunity to showcase effective internal consulting skills, a strong bias for innovation and an ability to connect the dots between business strategy and talent strategy. Jason and I first met Craig in Las Vegas at the Recruiting Roadshow and he has been a ceaseless advocate for our efforts towards building community. I am a fan and a friend, and I see Craig going places as far as his imagination allow him, and I see no limits to that end - only fresh beginnings.

Q&A with: Craig Campbell

Six Degrees: Tell us about your home world, Craig.

Craig: I have a smart, hot girlfriend and I’m the father of beautiful 11-year-old daughter. As of late, I’m really upgrading my daddy skills because my daughter is now a pre-teen and has started wearing a training bra - HELP!

I love to devour good books that are mostly non-fiction. A few of the more recent I’ve read are “A Sense of Urgency by John p. Kotter; a re-read of “The DIP” by Seth Godin, “CrowdSourcing” by Jeff Howe and I’m bouncing around the chapters of Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell. My favorite book is called A Hope in the Unseen: An American Odyssey from inner City to The Ivy League by Ron Suskind.

I’m a sports fan, but not avid because I prefer playing vs. watching. I played college basketball, which deeply influenced my sense of team, my desire to win and some of my approach to recruiting. I’ve dabbled in martial arts over the years, Tae Kwon Jo, Jujitsu and even tried mixed martial arts some years back. I decided to quit the MMA that after a co-worker upon seeing a few bruises on me, came into my office one day and said to me “I know the first rule is that there isn’t one, but are you in a fight club?” I thought it was pretty funny, but a couple of months later I experienced what they call a rear naked choke and didn’t sleep that night because I thought my throat would swell and cut off my breathing. To be clear, I wasn’t naked when this happened, it’s just non technical name for Anyway, after that, lets just say I sought out other hobbies and decided to watch UFC from the sofa. I’m a “geek” and would consider myself a very early adopter of new hardware and software technology of all kinds and In case you were wondering, I’m a Mac with PC roots from my days at Microsoft. I love metaphors and my favorite one right now is one that I read in a guest blog post on cheezehead. Paraphrasing: You have to ask yourself - are your recruiting solutions painkillers or vitamins. I might extend that and add placebos. I’m a fan of painkillers

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

Craig: I’ve been in recruiting for about 15 years and done everything from professional, college, diversity, workforce analytics and branding. I got started by being a recruiting champion when I was working in the insurance industry. It wasn’t my fulltime job, but when they would invite my out to the events, the engagement, the process and end game came very naturally to me and shortly thereafter, I started to explore this profession called with recruiting, which I didn’t really know existed.

The most exposure I had to recruitment was my experience of being recruited for sports in high school, which did and still does influence my recruitment style today. One of the cool things about my summary of experience is that I’ve been able to scale across different industries and functions from temp to perm, software engineers to ecommerce to retail and most recently hotel casinos. I’m primarily a recruiting programs guy, eg. Sourcing, employee referral, college diversity, etc. and my best work zone is start-up, turnaround or growth challenges vs. maintenance.

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

Craig: I think the event that had the most impact on my recruiting career was while I was at Microsoft during the dotcom era. It was fierce direct competition and I loved it. I was a senior member of the college recruiting team and we were as many as 500+ college candidates a year and it seemed as if there was a new start-up attacking our talent pool every week. These were the days when college students were getting huge cash signing bonuses, BMW leases and other crazy tactics to close the best and brightest.

The bottom line is that it was such a sweet intersection of systematic logic; creativity, candidate experience and the tenacity to win that sealed my love for the game of recruiting. What I’m proud of in that experience, is that so many of the individuals that my teammates and I hired during that time went on to become high performing leaders in the organization.

• I would also reference MGMMIRAGE. First and foremost it’s Vegas baby! It was very unique set of challenges that mostly revolved around solving for
• the sweet spot of high touch and high volume
• how to differentiate your employer value proposition in an extremely hyper competitive market in one geographic location
• managing hiring manager complacency around attracting the hourly job seeker
• External factors of housing foreclosures
• Successfully developing and managing the employer value proposition against the perception of the lifestyle of Vegas

These were really juicy, highly engaged challenges that many times were a moving target and I think will continue to be a moving target. It gave me the opportunity to dig deep into these challenges end to end at the property level and collective as an organization. The internal consulting and change management skills were truly battle tested. I think Las Vegas has a ton of runway for recruiting solutions.

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

Craig: I give extra props to the recruiting philosophy and talent mindset at Microsoft during my time there. However, I attribute my overall outlook on recruitment, capabilities to the collective recruiting community more so than any one individual. In addition I tend to be influenced by the parallels of many non-recruiting professions. The just in time (JIT) product delivery models of Dell and Wal-Mart, the brands of Nike and Apple, the customer service/experience delivered by Starbucks and Nordstrom’s, the Porters 5 Forces for strategy and the recruiting prowess and discipline of schools like USC, North Carolina and Duke

Six Degrees: Tell us about your daily duties

Craig: I’ve typically managed small SWAT teams and my primary responsibilities have been focused on the following areas:

Strategy: Utilizing the best workforce analysis to customize and prioritize talent needs Identify the most compelling and relevant employer brand messages
leverage technology to build recruiting capacity.

Sourcing: (professional, college, diversity) Make it my business to know where candidates live, work, and play and I take us there: physically and virtually . Develop and tap into deep and complex social networks

Recruitment Marketing: Build talent channels in the same way the business builds supply chains.Translate the voice of your brand to help candidates understand why they should work for you.

Six Degrees: (A) What other companies' recruiting operations do you admire or have heard are best-practice examples?

Craig: As of late, I’ve been following and really like the execution of Sodexo. Their presence and execution of recruiting in the social media space has been impressive. They are also doing a great job at segmenting and customizing content for their respective talent pools such as military, diversity, college and alumni. The most impressive thing about there ability to launch, execute and leverage these tools is that it requires end to end support and buy in when not everyone “gets it.” Having spent most of my career in big corporations, its not always easy to get these types of strategies and tactics off the ground in the early adoption stage. Shout out to Arie Ball and the Sodexo talent acquisition team.

I would also call out EA and how they’ve led the way in how they leverage a CRM approach vs. core ATS, In addition to that, I like the way in which they use events to transfer the virtual relationships into in person engagements. Shout out to Cindy Nicola and Sean Rehder of Talent Logistics on that work.

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

Craig: As fundamental an effective as it has been for many companies, Employee referrals will continue to have an impact on my work and the industry. Generally, I don’t believe it’s been optimized. Although recently there are some yet to be proven tools on the market that leverage social networking platforms like facebook, linkedin, etc…I think there is huge runway in the employee referral channel.

Six Degrees: List/detail speaking events, awards, publications, where you have you represented your company:

Craig: I have spoken at ERE, NACE and Diversity Best Practices, but no awards to mention.

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

Craig: My next career goal is to build and lead a start-up or turnaround recruiting function that literally leverages the best practices of business strategy, technology, marketing and customer service instead of an aspiration. I the main things that I need is an organization and team with a strong sense of urgency, an entrepreneurial spirit, reasonable resources and the right capabilities appropriately aligned and lastly trust and autonomy. Game on…

Recommendations for Craig

“Craig is a true professional in Human Resources. He is an excellent strategist who thinks outside of the box to develop creative initiatives and processes. Craig has an unique understanding of the importance of "branding" within Human Resources and business in general. His valuable experience and thinking is emphasized with his ability to quickly develop credibility through executive presence and influence skills. I would sieze the opportunity to work with Craig again in the future. He will be an asset to any organization that thinks strategically about Human Resources.” December 15, 2008
Michelle (Bray) DiTondo, VP Human Resources, MGMMIRAGE-New York-New York

“I had the pleasure of getting to know Craig through my teams support of his initiatives - looking back, we learned something new (and important) in every interaction. He has the ability to take very complicated, large scale situations and quickly identify the most critical, though often subtle, details. Then, after creating and analyzing multiple potential solutions, effectively communicates to any level of audience which is the best and why. Craig is strong from strategy to execution, and from C-level to individual contributor. If you're building a team, make sure you have Craig on yours!” October 25, 2008
Mike Inman, Corporate Strategic Sourcing, MGM MIRAGE

“I have working with Craig on several recruiting events, diversity events as well as business planning. In each case, Craig has demonstrated great passion with the ability to generate good ideas. He was very thorough in his work and laid out plans that allowed the group to move forward in a positive direction.” October 7, 2008
Cordell Jones, Lead Program Manager - Microsoft Exchange, Microsoft

“Craig has been a huge asset to our company both from a leadership standpoint as well as supporting our talent initiatives. Craig has brought business intelligence and insights which have been "game changers" for our business. I hope to have the opportunity to continue to work with Craig in the future.” July 3, 2008
Mark Avery, Director Strategic Sourcing, MGMMIRAGE

“Craig is someone who creates a vision, explains the vision, and then delivers the vision. Coming from an exceptional background of work experience, Craig continues to push and to lead his employers in the "talent economy" in new and innovative ways.” June 16, 2008
Sean Rehder, Talent Management Consultant and Developer, MGM MIRAGE

“Craig brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the table. Over the years he has provided me with great advise and support. He is well connected in the recruiting industry and is always willing to share his knowledge with others. I would welcome the opportunity to work with him. Cody” May 25, 2008
Cody Horton, SPHR, Talent Acquisition Manager, Dell

“Without a doubt, Craig gets "it". He truly understands how recruiting impacts business not just from a hiring perspective but from a "bottom-line" perspective. He is extremely creative when it comes to the business of recruiting and sourcing strategies. I am looking forward to working with Craig again in the future.” May 22, 2008
Shea Putnam, Partner and Branch Manager, Coolhires

“Craig is a polished, confident staffing professional with a plethora of knowledge in all areas of the staffing industry. He is able to use his marketing and strategic thinking along with creativity to bring new meaning to outdated programs and processes. His ability to look at the staffing industry out of the box, from a consumer level rather than an employee level, enables him to create innovative programs that are far reaching within an organization. He is a charismatic and engaging speaker who is able to deliver high level information in corporate vernacular or “see spot run” fashion. He has been an enlightening person to work with.” May 21, 2008
Lauren Burke Bennett, Consultant, MGM MIRAGE

“Craig, has been an valuable resource to me. He offers wise counsel and is a big thinker who has helped me identify actionable solutions to staffing challenges (ATS, employee referral program, sourcing strategies, etc.) Craig's quickly understands complex problems and offers thoughtful, clear and insightful solutions. Whenever, I have an idea I want to brainstorm and/or challenge, Craig is the first person I call.” May 21, 2008
Jojuane Porter, Manager, Recruitment Process, Tools and Metrics, Kohl's Department Stores

“Craig is a dynamic professional that has a tenacity to uncover every stone until he locates the ideal result. He possesses the incredible ability to multi task, think out of the box, leverage hard to find resources, and initiate projects with long term benefits to both stakeholders and sponsors within the organization. Moreover, Craig continually brings concepts and ideas that are generations ahead of current corporate models, including time, cost and quality value propositions. Craig offers a relentless approach to extraordinary achievement. I believe that he is a valuable contributor to the MGM MIRAGE enterprise.” May 20, 2008
Lance Greeninger, Div. Corporate Recruiting & Human Resource Initiatives, MGM MIRAGE

“Craig has the ability to not only create a vision, but to see that vision through right down to the tactical level and foresee any operational impact the vision may have on different verticals within the organization. Knowing this, Craig will reach out to these stakeholders and involve them at the beginning stages in order to achieve the critical buy-in to foster the success of the vision/project. Bottom line, Craig brings vision, foresight and attention to detail to MGM MIRAGE.” May 20, 2008
Andrew Heckert, Manager, Strategic Sourcing, MGM MIRAGE

“Craig is a talented,creative, and smart staffing professional. He has the ability to access situations quickly and put together programs and solutions that not only work well, but can scale and be reproduced. He's responsive, proactive and a great person to work with. I'd work with Craig again and I highly recommend him.” May 20, 2008
Jerry Montgomery, Recruiter,

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Replies to This Discussion

Thanks Craig for all of your support!
Great interview Craig. I had no idea you were such a UFC fan. Me too! How about a shout out to your new CRM :-)

Great to see you online. I look forward to your many-many successes to come ;)
Craig - enjoyed the article. Sounds like you have your wish!!! steve

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