Meet Mark Rinovato, Broadcom's Corporate Staffing Pioneer of Sourcing, SEO, and Employee Branding - Goes Solo

• Mark Rinovato
• President, EMR Search Partners
• Location: Laguna Niguel, CA
RecruitingBlogs Profile
• Website:
• Office: (949) 218-0133
• Mobile: (949) 395-9593

Ever live "down the street from someone" and only years later, thousands of miles away reintroduced yourself and communicated and learned what an exceptional innovator you missed a coffee or a lunch with when you had the opportunity? Of course you have; these are digital times, but alas, the virtual handshake allows us to recover bona fides. In this instance, a staffing manager who was an early disruptor within corporate walls was only a few miles away when I lived in Irvine before I escaped to the Rocky Mountains. Today, I give thanks to RecruitingBlogs Monday Member Showcase series for the opportunity to share a discovery of a true industry innovator, Mark Rinovato. This week, I am honored to feature his extraordinary legacy of achievements during his tenure at Broadcom; mainstreaming sourcing efforts, in addition to introducing SEO and employee branding as a vital strategic staffing component.

Mark served as Manager, Strategic Sourcing at Broadcom, he oversaw a budget of $1.5M where he initiated the creation of the strategic sourcing function and managed a team of eight Sourcing Specialists dedicated to passive candidate identification and pipeline generation through sourcing channels. He created the company’s first Employment Brand that is now used in all career-related advertising and communications in order to convey the true company culture. Mark implemented Search Engine Optimization technology for the career site that resulted in Broadcom’s open requisitions landing on the first page of Google search results. His efforts translated into the Successful development of identifying over 5000 qualified engineers to the database within six months.

As Manager of Global Staffing at Broadcom, he managed a budget of $3.5M and directed a global team of 28 including recruiters, sourcing specialists and coordinators in support of the Broadcom’s recruiting strategy and execution worldwide. He created Broadcom’s Employee Referral Program that produced a third of all company hires. His staffing organization grew Broadcom from 2,500 employees in 2004 to over 7,000 employees in 2008. In all, Mark’s efforts averaged over 1400 hires per year for four years, - exclusive of acquisitions.

Recently, Mark has initiated his own contingency search firm, “EMR Search Partners” which provides talent acquisition solutions to the high technology industry. EMR provides search services on a retained, contingency and contract basis. He has diversified his clientele with start-up venture funded firms as well as large established companies.

Q&A with Mark Rinovato

Six Degrees: Tell us of your home world.

Mark My wife, Edie, and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary in Februrary on the island of Bora Bora, Tahiti. It was spectacular. We met in Los Angeles, where I was starting out my recruiting career with an employment agency on Wilshire Blvd. She was working for a restaurant located in the same building. We know we made a great team. My wife is Hungarian born and actually escaped from communist Hungary in the 70’s with her mother and eventually made their way to Los Angeles. That’s an entire novel in itself! As it turned out, we started our own restaurant in Los Angeles, a Hungarian/Continental restaurant, and it was quite successful. I found myself recruiting by day and helping with the restaurant at night. I would not recommend this. We sold it 4yrs later, but the marriage is still going strong.

Six Degrees: What's a day in the life for you Mark?

Mark My main hobbies are golf, music and movies. I don’t have enough time to play a lot of golf, but I get out when I can. I’ve been to many PGA Tour golf tournaments, including the US Open at Torrey Pines in 08. It was a spectacular event. Having been in the restaurant business, my wife and I also share a love of gourmet cooking and wine, and we love to entertain friends. We also love to watch classic movies. As far as music, my tastes are pretty eclectic, and include folk, rock, jazz (especially latin jazz) and classical.

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

Mark: I’ve been in the staffing industry for over 30 years, so I’ve seen a lot of changes, especially with the technology. When I started in the industry the most innovative technology was the phone system. Come to think of it, we may be coming full circle with smartphones and the mobile internet.

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

Mark I was asked by a friend in Los Angeles, who had just been hired by an employment agency there, to talk with this agency about getting into the business. This was a small firm just starting up, and I was about the 6th employee. I ended up being with that agency for 7 years going from a Recruiter to Management, and we grew from one small agency to 5 agencies with 20 employees each. The success I experienced there was very exciting, especially for a young man in his early 20’s, and really set the tone for my career in this business. I was hooked. I still am.

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

Mark That’s a tough question. There have been so many important events. But I would have to say that starting my own agency was the most important. There is something about going out on your own, with no support other then your belief in your own abilities, that really defines who you are. It requires you to be creative and do more with less, but it also gives you the freedom to do all of the things that you could not do working for others. As an example, the first firm that I worked for was slow to adopt the PC, networking and recruiting software that was then coming available, pushing it off into the future because of the expense. When I started my own business I immediately bought a software package designed for search firms and automated my business. It happened to be on the Mac as that was the only GUI available and I couldn’t deal with DOS.

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

Mark Actually, there were two individuals that I would say I modeled my career after. The first was the owner of the first agency that I joined and was with for 7yrs. I saw how he ran his business and how successful he was, and that inspired me to learn recruiting and start my own business. The second was a corporate staffing manager with a Fortune 100 corporation who helped me transition into corporate recruiting. He gave me an opportunity and opened up that side of the business for me.

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

Mark I spent the last 8yrs at Broadcom Corporation, a $4.5 billion communications semiconductor company. I started out as a contract recruiter, and eventually progressed to Manager of Global Staffing and then Manager, Strategic Sourcing. The teams that I hired and managed were instrumental in growing the company from 2400 employees to just over 7500 employees in 4yrs. Most of these hires were highly skilled engineers, hardware and software. The staffing department had 25 recruiters and sourcers at one time, and we were an excellent team, but recent budget cuts have eliminated most of them. It’s the worst time I have ever seen in our industry.

Six Degrees: What talent niche groups do you target and are these particular talent areas specialized under your review?

Mark The talent groups that we focused on at Broadcom were primarily design engineers with either IC design, systems design or embedded software design expertise. Within these groups is quite a bit of specialization, as the company has over 22 different product lines. But those are the basic talent hubs, and they were all supported by my teams. We also recruited for other support functions, such as finance, IT, HR, etc.

Six Degrees: What types of training in sourcing/recruitment are available to you and have you taken advantage of?

Mark We had access to a lot of good training. The three primary training courses for staffing were:

The Adler Group – full cycle recruiting, including interview and assessment.
JobMachine – Sourcing
AIRS Xtreme - Sourcing

All of these vendors did an excellent job of coming on site and conducting professional training sessions that had a great deal of benefit to my teams.

Six Degrees: What recruitment software tools do you use in your day to day recruitment activities & do they translate effectively within all of the different countries where you recruit?

Mark The main tool was the ATS system, from VirtualEdge, and that system was implemented worldwide. We used all the typical job boards. Job boards were a tool worldwide as well, but only Monster worked reasonably well overseas. Most countries and regions have there own local boards that do better then Monster, CareerBuilder, Hotjobs and Dice. Of course, everyone had a LinkedIn Recruiter account, which is quite effective everywhere. Other sourcing tools included ZoomInfo, Broadlook Diver and Profiler, InfoGist, TalentHook, and others. We also used Search Engine Optimization and built an SEO site with TalentHubs.

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

Mark Microsoft is a name that keeps popping up on everyone’s top ten list. Also, I hear a lot of good things about Ernst and Young. We had a Broadcom employee leave to go to work in E&Y’s college program as a recruiter and described the experience in glowing terms. A lot of industry leaders in sourcing seem to have come from Microsoft.

Six Degrees: (B) In what aspects are they superior?

Mark Most companies with superior recruiting functions have the support and commitment of top executives who understand the importance of recruiting to the company’s success. This translates into budgets that allow staffing leadership to hire the best recruiters and sourcers, and implement the best tools and methodologies. The best recruiting departments have a strong strategic approach to staffing, along with a superior process.

Six Degrees: Worst mistake, biggest goof, lousiest practice you thought would fly but didn’t…and how that was a learning experience?

Mark Most of the big mistakes I have made were the result of lack of communication. Nothing leads to disaster like making decisions in a vacuum. Probably the best example of this happened when I became enamored with Web 2.0 job boards and thought that I needed to add one to my company’s toolbox. I did my due diligence, checked out all the top contenders and made my selection. I even had a small team of 2 recruiters who also participated in the demo’s, and they were also positive, so I was comfortable with my final decision. I was so sure that this was a great product that I failed to involve the larger team of recruiters and sourcers who would be using the product on a day to day basis. It turned out that, even after extensive training, they were not getting the results from this new product, and simply stopped using it. I had wasted tens of thousands of dollars of the company’s money and valuable training and recruiter time. The result was no results, and no ROI. No matter how cool a technology seems, you need to make sure that it can produce the desired results and that you have buy in from the majority of users before going with it.

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

Mark Obviously, the financial meltdown and deep recession has had a strong impact on the recruiting industry. No matter what part of the business you work in, you have probably negatively impacted by this downturn. Corporate recruiting budgets have been sharply curtailed. Many friends of mine on the agency side, both retained and contingency, have painted a very bleak picture of the current market. While this too shall pass, I think the severity of it will make companies hesitant about committing to hiring fulltime employees and push them towards more outsourcing and contract labor. The cost of healthcare is also a factor that will encourage this trend as well.

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

Mark The most interesting groups that I have been involved with recently are CSLE (Corporate Sourcing Leadership Exchange) and OCTane, which is a local business group here in Orange County, CA. CSLE is focused on sharing information and stimulating ideas about Sourcing as a center of excellence in corporate environments. It is always enlightening to hear what other top corporate staffing teams are doing internally, especially with regards to sourcing. OCTane is a group dedicated to the branding of Orange County, CA as a destination for high technology and medical technology firms and talent.

Six Degrees: Can you detail how the recession has affected your particular industry niche? Has it effected your job or that of your fellow team members within the organization - If so, to what extent? (If you have been laid off, tell us about the experience, when it happened)

Mark Well, it has affected me quite dramatically. The entire strategic sourcing function was eliminated, along with my position as manager of that team. Many recruiters were also let go, as were other departments in HR. So the recession has had a very negative impact on me, and many of my colleagues. I’ve been through a number of these recessions, and they are always bad news for the recruiting industry, but we always bounce back.

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. Are there specific groups, both online and in-person that have proved fruitful in extending your personal brand and job seeking prospects?

Mark We have some local groups here in Orange County that have been a big help so far. There is a group called HR Connections, which is sponsored by LHH, that brings together local HR talent at monthly meetings. We share job leads and job hunting advice. Also, InContact HR puts together great networking events for HR professionals nationwide. I’ve also joined a few promising groups on LinkedIn such as Corporate Recruiters, Personal Branding Network and Cybersleuths. I’m looking forward to getting more involved in networking and branding through these and other groups.

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?

Mark My advice would be to pick and choose carefully the networks you decide to become a part of, and then really participate as much as possible. You have to give something in order to get results. Not contributing to the networks is a mistake that I have made in the past, mainly because I’ve been too busy, but also because I was did not incorporate it into my daily routine. I plan to change that. LinkedIn has been my main professional network so far. I have used Facebook primarily for personal contacts. And of course Twitter looks to be a great tool that I’m just getting started with.

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

Mark I did a lot of soul searching over the past couple of months as to which direction to go in. I initially thought about going for another Manager or Director of Staffing role in a corporate environment. But I have decided to start my own search and consulting business instead, and I’m in the middle of launching this new enterprise. It may seem an odd time to be launching a business of any kind, let alone a recruiting business, but recessions are often the best times to start a new business. We’ve hit bottom, and nothing but growth lies ahead. I’m looking forward to the challenge.

Happy Holidays, from

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Replies to This Discussion

Congratulations, Mark. You'll do just fine. Your philosophy reminded me of another saying...
"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times..." ~ Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities
English novelist (1812 - 1870)
Mark. I'd love to talk to you about your new recruiting business.

I enjoyed reading this post. In some ways we share similar experiences in regards to being laid off and pressing forward despite the obstacles and set backs. I admire your courage and tenacity and I felt a sense of inspiration and hope after reading your story. Quite often we hear others boasting about their capabilities but, surely the gift of a great craftsman is honed during the most challenging of times. At the end of the day, if we can stand triumphantly, then our suffering was not in vain. I wish you the best of luck in your endeavors!

Kind regards,
Hi Mark.
Thanks for sharing your experiences. I too am learning that when it comes to networking, meaningful participation is the key. I think you’re right, you really have to make it part of your daily routine.

Best of luck in your future endeavors. It can definitely be scary, but it’s never boring!
Hello Mark,

I am having my MBA now and i would like you to be the person to interview for my midterm project.
I would love to learn more about your job and how can i get such a career (thats the purpose of the interview).

Appreciate your reply.

Best Regards,
Lynn Mounzer
Hi Mark,

Congrats on setting up you're own business. Missed you at some of the local OC networking groups and wondered what you were up to. Pease let me know if I can ever help you out in any way. Good luck!


Jerry Miller
Hey Mark,
I just stumbled across this article while poking around on the site. I had no idea you had started your own business. Good for you.

Hope all is going well.

-Craig Beck

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