Employer: Microsoft Alumni
Position: Sr. Technical Recruiter
Employment Summary: Microsoft, HP, Ingersoll Rand
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Over the last several years I have been connected to Michelle Bennett via various networks and we have at least 49 contacts in common on Facebook. It was over the last weeks as I saw chatter pick up with the massive corporate staffing layoffs that a particular note made an impression on me. It was candid, it was positive while taking ownership of a life changing event and it reflected on what she took away from an experience during an otherwise sobering day:
"I worked at MSFT for the past few years until my name was added to the list of positions eliminated last January. Shouldn’t I be angry? Curiously, I remain loyal to the end as I write this on my official termination day. OK, the company isn’t perfect but I loved hanging with the amazing brains and I can say I’m a better person for my time there. So I offer thanks to the powers that be. I appreciate the opportunity, the many lessons, and the generosity. Yeah, I’m still a PC and proud of it!"
I knew I had to know Michelle Bennett better, but I couldn't keep it to myself, so today, let's all get to know someone above and beyond someone who jokes about her labor statistic designation. Today, Iet's get to know a class act my friends:
Most recently, Michelle has served as a staffing consultant at Micosoft over the last four years. Her primary focus was to source and qualify technical candidates for Microsoft’s MBD and STB organizations, where she oversaw efforts to hire the best Program Management and Development talent for the Server and Tools Business, located at Microsoft’s HDQ in Redmond, WA. She created and implemented a strong staffing strategy to meet business needs, including competitive intelligence, talent market research and niche targeting. Michelle Sourced passive candidates through networking, cold calling, internet searches and research., in addition to on-line databases, contact lists, internal databases, etc. She partnered with business leaders to increase employee referrals and HR partners on ways to recognize and reward such efforts. Michelle also managed HR and Staffing projects at Microsoft from defining the scope to completion.
As a staffing consultant at Hewlett-Packard, Michelle performed full cycle hiring process for the SMB sales organization. She sourced and recruited talent through internet, job boards, user groups, cold calling, candidate targeting and networking. In addition, she executed college recruitment campaign, including circulation of job announcements, local campus recruitment, and developing relationships with the directors of universities offering a Sales Excellence program.
As a Senior Staffing Specialist at Ingersoll-Rand, Michelle was responsible for performing the recruiting and staffing process for supported locations, including; Sales, Marketing, Engineering, IT, and support in international and remote locations.
Q&A with Michelle Bennett
Six Degrees: Tell us of your home world.
Michelle’s Recent Facebook Announcement: I’m still a PC, even though I’m no longer paid to be: “I worked at MSFT for the past few years until my name was added to the list of positions eliminated last January. Shouldn’t I be angry? Curiously, I remain allegiant to the end as I write this on my official termination day. OK, the company isn’t perfect but I loved hanging with the amazing brains and I can say I’m a better person for my time there. So I offer thanks to the powers that be. I appreciate the opportunity, the many lessons, and the generosity. Yeah, I’m still a PC and proud of it!”
I’m married to a phenomenal man that I met while we worked at the same company in Colorado Springs and now live in Austin, TX. We have a too-smart-for-her-own-good German shepherd that is spoiled beyond belief. A perfect example of this is how she persuades me to follow her to the refrigerator and give in to her demands whenever there is Rudy’s smoked turkey leftovers.
I thoroughly enjoy living in the ‘Live Music Capital’ and can be found on any given night trying out one of the hundreds of locally owned restaurants, enjoying great food, wine and music with friends.
True to my birth sign, I love being around water! One of my favorite activities is sailing and I hope to live on a sailboat someday, traveling from island to island. My hubby and I bought a 25 year old sailboat last year to help us learn the systems the hard way – by fixing and replacing them! Seriously though, it’s been a great lesson and we’re usually out on Lake Travis every weekend.
Six Degrees: How did you get started as a recruiter?
I’ve been in the staffing industry for over 15 years and like the rest of us, I never really planned on becoming a recruiter. I landed my first gig as an On-site Contract Manager at a nuclear plant by being at the right place at the right time. Volt Technical needed someone and I needed a job. I stayed on the agency side until five years later when I started with Oracle in my first corporate recruiter role and have been “corp” ever since. Most recently, I was a Staffing Consultant at Microsoft focusing on finding technical talent for their STB (Server & Tools Business) organization.
I’ve worked from a virtual office (remotely) for at least a third of my recruiting career using technology made available by people I’ve recruited along the way. How cool is that?!
Six Degrees: What single event had the most impact on your sourcing/recruiting career?
I’d have to say the single event that was most influential was during the last recession and the value of a strong professional network. During that time I was President of the Southern Chapter of the Colorado Technical Recruiters Network (www.ctrn.org
) and saw firsthand the effect on the whole community as so many individuals lost their jobs. The ones that who recovered the quickest had reached out to their friends and asked them to reach to theirs to make the connection. The recruiters who were most successful were the ones that took the extra step to push a candidate’s resume to others, even when it didn’t result in monetary gain for them. In turn, they received many candidates when needed from sources they wouldn’t otherwise be able to tap.
strong> Do you have a mentor to whom you attribute your overall outlook on recruitment, capabilities, and/or model your career after?
I do but not just one. There are many that I highly respect and regularly connect with for their thoughts and input. I feel blessed and fortunate for the people I’ve been able to meet and work with who are so amazing at what they do.
Six Degrees: Tell us about your job at Microsoft:
I’m glad you asked Dave. Recently I joined a rapidly growing group of recruiters tracked by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That’s right, laid off and unemployed. It’s more or less par for the course in our industry during these slumps and I’m using my free time to help others in a similar situation with their resumes.
Six Degrees: (A) What other companies' recruiting operations do you admire or have heard are best-practice examples?
I admire any company that manages to keep the hiring process simple. More complicated rarely means better. Recruitment is a critical piece of the business and we can provide a greater value to the client by quickly attracting the right talent without unnecessary delays.
I enjoy tracking a few of the great staffing leaders and watch closely when they go to a new organization. Rob McIntosh is one of these individuals that I think ‘gets it’ and also understands how to source the talent.
Six Degrees: What recent general news story or industry trend do you feel will have an impact on your work in the future? Why?
Social networking will continue to be a critical tool for recruiters as it expands with new venues. A great example of this is the growing trend of video resumes on YouTube. As recruiters, we need to stay aware of new tools to access competitive research and to build relationships now with the people we may need to recruit for tomorrow.
Six Degrees: What is your next career goal? What do you need to do to get there?
I plan to continue recruiting for great companies and developing first-class staffing strategies to source specialized talent. Eventually, my goal is to shift gears and focus on HR/Staffing process improvement for a larger organization.
Recommendations For Michelle
“Michele is a strong technical recruiter, who understands account management, partners well with her peers and adds value to any team. I would hire Michele again if I had the opportunity.” March 28, 2009
Elizabeth Martin, Staffing Manager, Microsoft Corporation
“Michelle Bennett is a talented, personable, and extremely effective recruiter who is also a consummate professional. She has proven time and again that she can deliver both quality candidates and a quality candidate experience. She is indeed one of Microsoft's very best recruiters!” August 7, 2008
Frederick Buhl, Staffing Consultant/Recruiter, Microsoft (Contract)
“Michelle; I have known Michelle for many years and found her to be extremely professional. She has been in a number of different industries, which just added to her value and experience. She is the nicest person you will ever have the opportunity to work with. I highly recommend her!” June 3, 2008
Peter I. Heyer, Contract Recruiter
“I worked with Michelle at Ingersoll Rand. Michelle proved to me that she was a very organized, competent and dedicated recruiter. She had great customer service skills, sourcing skills and was always willing to help the other recruiters. Her customers loved her and so did the recruiting team. She has a great sense of humor which is always welcome in the recruiting industry. Jim Hapgood Sr. Recruiter Comcast Spotlight” June 4, 2008
Jim Hapgood PHR, Strategic Staffing Specialist, Ingersoll Rand
“Michelle is a fantastic recruiter, who understands the many facets to finding real talent. She has a great grasp of both the recruiting and HR sides of staffing. Her energy and positive attitude have allowed her to grow to be an expert in her field.” July 3, 2006
Mark Chambers, CEO, TechStart, LLC
“Michelle is a phenomenal recruiter and just a great individual who understands and embraces the importance of strong constructive networks. As peers we collaborated on several workforce teams and I always found her to be someone I could count on to follow through ( a biggie for me!) and who modeled excellence in her leadership skills. I worked with Michele at USA.Net and FRS and I'd be honored to work with her again in the future.” September 10, 2007
Meri Villane, Director of Talent Management, FrontRange