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Larry Gonzales is actually a colleague I worked with when I consulted at Palm. Unfortunately, as a virtual sourcer I never had the honor of meeting Larry face-to-face, but his reputation then as it remains now was well established as a 20+ year veteran of the staffing industry. I was well informed of Larry's formidable resume - a man of all seasons: experienced in the design, implementation and administration of recruiting strategies, staffing planning, and process improvement programs.

Larry has managed a recruiting departments, including budgeting, metrics reporting, and recruiting technology. He has a broad working knowledge of HR practices including compensation, performance management, diversity, branding, and employee retention. Larry is proficient in federal and state employment practice regulations, applying and interpreting employee-relations policies, Affirmative Action, Diversity Hiring, EEO-1, VISA Processing and employment law. His Specialties include the following:

Mobile Device Engineers, Human Factor Design, Media Designers, Mobile TV, PC-TV, Embedded Software Engineers, Home Entertainment Solutions, RF Engineers, CDMA handset, Risk Management, Sarbanes Oxley Compliance, SAS70, Specialized areas of finance (AML, FAS109/123R, SOP97-2, and SEC Reporting), Sales/Business Development, and Product Marketing.

Q&A with Larry Gonzales

Six Degrees: Tell us of your home world.

Larry: I am fortunate to be married to a beautiful and wonderful “Texas Girl”. My wife and I were born and raised in Texas and regardless of how long we live in California, we will always be Texans! Our fourteenth wedding anniversary is coming up next week and I thank God for blessing me with such a great partner in life.

I have been involved in charitable fundraising since I was in Middle School. Although the charities and my levels of participation have varied over the years, I feel it is important to give back. My minister always reminds us that “We are blessed, so that we can be a blessing”. I am a cancer survivor. I was diagnosed with cancer in January 2003 and through the efforts of prayer, positive attitude, and the fantastic physicians at Stanford Medical, I have been cancer free since May of that same year. After my full recovery from chemo and radiation, I focused on supporting the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society through TNT. I decided to train and participate through Century Bike Rides. I hope to become a mentor next season and help train (mentally and physically) new participants to the program. I am an avid reader of fiction/mystery along with many business periodicals.

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

Larry: I have been in the staffing industry for over 20 years dating back to index cards, real cold calls, and ruses.

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

Larry: Like many of us, I never expected to go in to the recruiting. I had been working for AT&T, designing and selling telecom systems for the transportation industry. I primarily handled air transportation to include airports, airlines, and airline sales offices. I was referred to a “headhunter” that was looking for someone with my background. When the opportunity did not materialize, my recruiter asked me if I would be interested working for her company. I told her that I would rather be a “pimp, than a headhunter”. Famous last words! Needless to say, the reputation garnered by headhunters in those days was less than respectable. She nurtured the relationship and had me meet with the owner of the firm, which was based out of Atlanta. I also meet with all (12) of her colleagues in the Dallas Office. I found myself drawn to the group and to the challenge the job represented. About 90 days later I ended up working for her firm.
Since then my experience has included agency, professional services, corporate, and RPO environments. I have held individual contributor, director, and managing partner roles. Regardless of title and responsibilities, I have always been a hands-on contributor.

I am a person that gets easily bored, so the ever changing world of technology has been my salvation. To be successful you have to stay abreast of technology trends, understand the industry and known how it applies to business. This requires research and a certain amount of trial and error. Typically, experience helps you shorten your ramp up time to production. You have to continually learn to excel.

One of the keys to my longevity is that I always try to specialize. I choose the hottest or up and coming technology and become a subject matter expert. Through the years, I have supported specific software and hardware technology. I get involved in SIGs, Alliance Groups, and conferences. I do not want or expect to be everything to everybody. A “Jack of all trades is a master of none”. However, my experience allows me to talk intelligently across many disciplines. I am equally adept at discussing the hardware design of mobile devices to financial audit and SOX compliance. Right now the mobile device industry is still very strong and within the Silicon Valley area you have a large mix of industry leaders and start-ups. Even with the high unemployment, almost all of my candidates have multiple offers. Find your niche and work it.

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

Larry: Moving to San Jose in January of 2000 and suffering through the highs and lows of the dotcom era probably affected my life the most. I relocated from Texas and had never really gone through a downturn in business. The economy in Dallas was very diverse and not dominated by any one industry. Even the oil and gas industry represented only about 10% of the total employment population. So when one industry stalled, you had others as backup. 2002 was a rough year. You saw many recruiters leaving the industry (for the mortgage broker industry!) and we see what inevitably happened to them. You also had a large group of recruiters that held on to the belief that they were actually worth the outrageous rates they were being paid before the bust. They would not even think about going to work for less than they were previously making. I find that arrogance is a very ugly trait. I think that it is a combination of at least 3 of the 7 Deadly Sins (Greed, Vanity, and Pride). I think most of us in the recruiting business learned or reinforced our idea of the value of humility.

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

Larry: I often recall the story about the headhunter that got me in to this business? Her name is Dee Jabaut and she exemplifies all that is good in our industry and in life. She is a valued and loyal friend and everything that I would hope to be in life. She is a consummate professional, wonderful parent, always gracious, diligent, charitable, and patient.

Six Degrees: Tell us about your position, (responsibilities, size of your staffing organization) :

Larry: I have spent the last three years primarily in an individual contributor role. My responsibilities have included project management, client manager relationship, sourcing, recruiting, and new business development.

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

Larry: Without firsthand experience, it would be hard to designate who has the best recruiting practices. If you look at the top 25 in Fortune’s Best Companies to “work for list”, I had heard horror stories about some of their staffing organizations. Regardless of the success of the company, I think that the overall candidate experience is vital to managing employee branding. Whether or not the candidate is hired, what they tell their circle of influence is ultimately important to the future of their recruiting. I think that this is even more magnified with the advent of applications such as Twitter and Facebook.

I think that it would be a healthy, although not practical exercise, to make corporate recruiters interview externally at least twice a year. This would remind them how it feels to be on the other side of the equation.

I also feel that the true measurement of recruiting comes 90-180 days after the hire. Measuring employee and manager satisfaction, employee performance, and attrition are key metrics.

There are definitely some companies that stand above the rest, companies where employee and customer loyalty rank high. I admire companies like Southwest Airlines, Whole Foods, Frito Lay, Qualcomm, Ernst & Young, and Boston Consulting.

(B) In what aspects are they superior?

Larry: Branding, internal and external. Treatment of employees, quality products, and customer satisfaction.

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

Larry: More tech firms innovate in Silicon Valley but sell overseas! Companies that focus on mass market (China, India, Africa, and South America) are finding greater success. “In down economic times, every company should be thinking: Do I have my balance right? Instead of spending so much money on marketing in some of these depressed markets, some of that should be diverted to parts of the world that are not as negatively impacted.” These markets have typically been ignored. Successful examples are companies like Telegent Systems, Ruckus Wireless, UTStarcom, and Legend Silicon.

Six Degrees: Tell us about your broader involvement within the staffing industry:

Larry: Outside of local SIGs and affiliations with IEEE (The Consumer Electronics Society and The Antenna and Propagation Society), I have been regretfully reticent. I have been focused on international recruiting to include EMEA, Africa, India, APAC, and South America. I do plan on attending the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona next year.

Six Degrees: Can you detail how the recession has affected your particular industry niche?

Larry: I am fortunate that my current client has not been greatly affected by the global economic downturn. We have been actively hiring for the last 14 months and have aggressive hiring goals throughout 2010.

Six Degrees: Aside from simply the generic term “Networking” what specific efforts have you made on your own behalf, or on behalf of colleagues to broaden your opportunities.

Larry: Over the last three years I have intentionally built out my Linkedin network by industry segment, targeted companies, and international exposure. That foresight has allowed me to actively search for my current needs. It is an evolutionary process or one might say intelligent design! It is better to be in a revolutionary rather than reactionary mode.

Six Degrees: Given your own Trial and Error experiences as a Networker, what advice do you have for your peers on what NOT to do?

Larry: Don’t be afraid to ask for help! Most people are willing to help you achieve your goal if you ask politely. Aristotle stated that “man is a political animal, meaning an animal with an innate propensity to develop complex communities”. By nature we want to help people, preferably if that help doesn’t require a great exertion of time and energy. Using Linkedin as an example, if you use the route of requesting an introduction in order to present an opportunity, most people will forward that introduction when approached professionally. Granted, the degree of assistance increases with the proximity to the person we are helping. Of course for expediency, you should simply try calling your intended candidate.

People are also more willing to help if you are offering value to their cooperation. Whether that is an offer to help a friend, an offer to help them in the future, a monetary offer, or sometimes a simple thank you. Remember not to be demanding or too persistent. I prefer the term, gently persistent while trying to achieve a goal.

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

Larry: Ideally I would like to secure an opportunity as a staffing director/manager. The best position I have ever had was managing and mentoring a staffing organization. I like being responsible for the overall talent acquisition process. There is a great deal of satisfaction growing your own company. That is the one element missing from project based staffing.

I need to find a start-up or small company willing to give me the opportunity to run their staffing organization. Either that or a regional staffing management position for a large international corporation.

Recommendations For Larry

“Larry is an excellent and very professional recruiter. He is very dedicated, hard working, committed, and driven to results. I’ve had the chance to work with him at Palm as a technical recruiter for my system electrical engineering design team. He was very thorough in his search for potential candidates and has successfully provided quality candidates. He is excellent in identifying good candidates and recognizing their talents and the fit in my team. He is very proactive and follows up with the candidate regarding interview schedule, information about the position, feedback, and negotiating offers. He also is very good in communicating with me regarding progress and updates. He is definitely a pleasure to work with and an asset to a company!” November 11, 2008
Bernadette Lozano, Hardware Development Manager, Palm

“I worked with Larry in two different ways. First of all, he was instrumental in getting me hired to my current position at Palm. Larry was in Palm's HR/staffing department but it almost seemed like he was my own recruiter. He always kept his promises, followed up on time, and worked hard to meet or exceed my requests. Even after I accepted the offer, Larry followed up with me and wanted to know if there was anything he could do. This has definitely been my best recruiting experience so far. Secondly, Larry also helped me find candidates for an open position at Palm. I have been very pleased in his abilities to provide me with candidates that matched the job description.” August 25, 2008
Thorsten W. Hertel, Sr. Antenna Design Engineer, Palm

“I am appreciative to Larry's consistent and thorough search for candidates during this critical time for our project to find qualified candidates. Larry did an excellent job following up with the candidates to arrange for interviews, giving feedback and negotiating offers. Worked closely with us and he is proactive in returning e-mails and phone calls.” July 13, 2007. Top qualities: Expert, On Time, High Integrity
Sameer Haddad, Sr Staffing Consultant, Spansion

“I had the opportunity of working with Larry at Spansion, a leading supplier in flash memory. Larry is a seasoned recruiting professional who brought leadership and stability to Spansion’s recruiting team. As a senior technical recruiter Larry’s focus was in the device space, which is a very difficult area to recruit for in the semiconductor industry. Larry established solid relationships with hiring managers, was a valued business partner and was able to consistently met expectations. Larry was definitely a team player and a pleasure to work with.” October 30, 2007
Wayne Widdig, HR Manager, Spansion

“Larry supported our Connected home and mobile device business at Motorola. In a short period of time, Larry was instrumental in making several critical hires on a high profile project. I found Larry to be a strong E2E staffing professional. Moreover, the clients (hiring managers) found him to be a valuable asset, identifying highly qualified candidates for hire.” October 23, 2007. Top qualities: Great Results, Expert, On Time
Nick Mailey, Staffing Manager, Motorola

“Motorola hired Larry through his company i-Hire to do some recruiting for us in the N. CA and S. CA areas. I found Larry to be very professional, have good technical knowledge and deliver great customer service in a timely manner. I would work with Larry anytime.” July 22, 2007. Top qualities: Personable, Expert, High Integrity
Lynda Harris

“Larry is excellent to work with and is results oriented. He is very responsive and professional and knows his business.” July 13, 2007. Top qualities: Personable, Expert, Creative
Leo Barnes, Staffing/Business Development Manager. RemX IT

“Larry and I worked together to staff one of my projects. I found him to be a joy to work with under demanding deadlines in a high pressure environment.” December 28, 2006. Top qualities: Great Results, Expert, High Integrity
Scott Wright - hired Larry more than once

“Larry is a professional in the true sense of the word. He has an uncanny ability to communicate and understand conceputal issues at all levels. Larry gives 110% to ensure the project you are assigned is satisfactory. It has been a pleasure working with Larry and I will be glad to do so in the future.” August 2, 2006
Manoj Goyal, Independent Consultant, Squar Milner Reehl Williamson, LLP

“I relied on Larry to staff two critical roles in my company's Marketing organization. Through Larry's diligent search capabilities, his attention to my specific criteria, and his follow-up throughout the negotiation process, I recruited two "anchor" members of our current team. They significantly deepened my team's bench, and both exhibit the capability to advance to higher leadership roles.” January 9, 2006
Kristin Jordahl Hansen

“I have had the pleasure of working with Larry over the past year. He is not only well polished but also has a high level of integrity. Larry has proven to be a very effective recruiter and account manager and thus is within the top 2% of producers at our company.” April 13, 2005
Chris Stewart, Account Manager, RemX IT Staffing

“I was first introduced to Larry when his company brought a recruiting plan to my organization to help us source hard-to-find technical jobs and fill positions that had been vacated due to the dot-com frenzy. Larry led the effort as project manager and offered workable solutions that allowed us to surpass our hiring goals. Larry gets results because he is a professional recruiter who knows technology and offers exceptional customer service.” October 2, 2007. Top qualities: Great Results, Expert, Good Value
Brenda K. Brown, MS

“As a manager and leader, Larry is someone who is committed to developing your skills and knowledge. He's the type of leader that likes and wants to help you out as much as he can. He's a great listener and is very empathic. I know that he has grown a lot of valuable relationships because of these characteristics. As a Sr. Level recruiter, Larry is the best I know. He's a great networker, aggressive, and is very creative in finding the right candidates.” October 1, 2007
Racquel Cariaso, CIR, Recruiter, eJobs

“Larry is always focused on the task, ready to do whatever it takes to get the job done. He's an exceptional leader, as well as a committed team player.” June 22, 2007
Garry King, several, Ejobs

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