Meet Russ Moon, Sourcing Samurai: "Warrior in the War for Talent"

This profile is one in a series titled Monday Member Showcase. It was originally published on, a recruiting and HR community, where I am a featured contributor. To read the whole series please click here.

“In the war for talent, characterizing recruiters as 'warriors' may be an apt metaphor but, it is still a metaphor. Russ Moon on the other hand is the real deal. He drives for excellence in his profession and, the intensity with which he hones his skills to produce outstanding staffing results has few peers. In the war for talent, I want to have Russ leading the campaign on my side.”
Gerry Crispin

"Tenacious and determined in his drive to succeed Russ applies his vast intellect and deep energy resources into efficiently solving problems. His curiosity, a natural born willingness to learn, propels him into the ranks of Master CyberSleuths while his propensity to share his knowledge makes him a trusted friend.”
Shally Steckerl

“Russ has channeled ex-military diligence into recruiting & quickly moved into the elite levels by networking with the recruiting research/sourcing industry's leaders & putting in the time to learn & incorporating best practices into his daily work. It's paying off in his results & those in his circle benefit from his sharing of fast-growing expertise in all aspects of full life-cycle recruiting.”
Glenn Gutmacher

• Russ Moon
• Sourcing Consultant, Talent Find LLC
• Richmond VA
RecruitingBlogs Profile
• Office: 804-643-8604
• Mobile: 804-402-2364

If I were to be limited to a single sentence to describe Russ Moon - the professional, I would preface that he is a "seasoned, world-class, internet researcher possessing both an MBA and technically advanced sourcing skills." To be more verbose and genuine to his daily mission however, Russ is indeed a leading Sourcing Consultant for Fortune 500 companies; delivering his own brand of specialized content development and delivery for sourcing training programs. Market Research, Social Media - Analysis and strategic direction, Training - Recruiting and Sourcing, Sourcing Scorecards, Sourcing Programs, Job Board Training, Work Aid development, and Hiring Demographics. Russ, however, is a man of many titles and distinguishing characteristics. Let's start with the ones we tend to be less familar with:

  • One the top, highest ranked cadets of the prestigious military academy, The Citadel; graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree. Recipient of the Renee Clark Memorial Scholarship Awardee, Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal (2 Citations), and President's Advisory Committee. A First Lieutenant and US Military Veteran of the United States Army and a Disabled Veteran with a Service Connected Disability. Russ earned his Senior Parachutist Wings (Jumpmaster), Air Assault Wings and Honduran Airborne Wings until he broke his ankle in three places jumping an experimental parachute.
  • A renown Sourcing Tool Beta Tester; i.e., Broadlook Technologies, Zoominfo, Jigsaw, CareerBuilder, PureDiscovery, AutoSearch.
  • Earned every AIRS Certification offered ACIR,CIR,CDR and the CSSR (Certified Social Sourcing Recruiter)
  • The only non-employee Broadlook Technologies Black Belt
  • A SourceCon veteran, Russ will be co-facilitating a unique Firefox lab March 15, 2pm in San Diego as part of SourceCon 2010. We will be sharing the best of best “add-ons” to maximize your browsing productivity and experience. This unique format will deliver real time results as well as an opportunities for attendees and blog supporters to continue their sharing via a select community to be announced at the conference. Post a suggested add-on at my blog and secure your invite.

Gerry Crispin said it best, "In the war for talent, characterizing recruiters as 'warriors' may be an apt metaphor but, it is still a metaphor." Russ Moon is indeed a warrior, and for those who know him well his intensity is characterized interchangeably with "ferocity." He is the man whose booming voice laughs with the most savage wind instrument, he is the friend who calls out your name reminding you owe him a hug and does so with pronounced loyalty to the physical effects of a "Bear Hug." Breathe in deeply, my friends, as his stride breaks new ground - Russ Moon has brought UFC to the staffing world. It is an event to see him, to work with him, to share with him. In all things, the term warrior is more apt with a hyphen; he is the consummate warrior poet. A man with deeply held passions to each of his loves in life, be it his wife, his profession, his friendships, and to the world he calls his oyster. It is an open world, where knowledge is the battle cry.

In all things, I am glad to call him a friend, an "inner circle" friend - and a colleague. It is an honor today to introduce one of our own, Russ Moon.

Q& A with Russ Moon

Six Degrees: Tell us of your home world, Russ.

Russ: Married 2.5 years to Diane Sinnatamby Moon,MD Internal Medicine/Infectious Disease. I was in the middle of my MBA taking an advanced marketing class and thought “Why am I not using my internet skills to help identify my life partner? Why can’t I use some of this knowledge I am learning to help myself be happier in life? So I used my skills of research on and found Diane in less than 4 hours.
After about 35 e-mails in which she asked me about everything from my family history to what I eat each day, she finally felt comfortable sharing her phone number. She was enroute to a medical meeting and I met her in the lobby of her hotel. I knew prior to meeting her that we had already learned a great deal about each other, but when I saw her I was pleasantly surprised to find as a bonus she was really attractive! I walked over and introduced myself, she suggested we go find somewhere quiet where we could sit down and talk …then reached out and held my hand. I literally almost cried. About a month later she said she thought I was “The One” and I felt the same way but was afraid to say the words because I didn’t want to frighten her or for her to think I was some type of weirdo.

We decided to date another year and if our feelings were the same we would revisit those words. One year went by and our feelings for each other greatly deepened, we were engaged and now have been married 2.5 years. She had just taken an assignment about 1.5 hours from me to work in a medically under served area for three years to earn her green card so it was tough making that work, but I think it strengthened us in hindsight. We are very close, she is literally my best friend and I could not ask for a better partner. Never thought I would have wound up with someone like her but it just went to show that you can’t plan everything and it is important to recognize opportunity when it is staring you in the face. I have enjoyed learning about the Asian culture and Sri Lanka in particular. We have many common interest but the cultural and professional differences provide for a great deal of diverse viewpoints and experiences.

As for hobbies, I have several I am passionate about: Kettlebells – I discovered them January of 2009, have immersed myself in learning more, lost 25 (lost the weight then gained some muscle) pounds in the process while dramatically increasing my strength and endurance. Largemouth Bass Fishing – I am on a “safari” to catch a VA State Citation size largemouth bass. Guitar – two Fender Stratocasters that I enjoy playing for myself - just like the way they sound. Biking – Love to ride my bike, just upgraded a year ago to a nice Lemond road bike and love it. Reading – I rotate several books and read them simultaneously. Something people might not associate with me. I sent two Bibles to my sister who just finished 6 months in Africa on a mission to give to people she trained to speak English so they can help carry on the work.

Six Degrees: How many years have you been in the staffing industry?
Russ: 9 years directly with other jobs where hiring was a big part of my role

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

Russ My start in recruiting was involuntary. I was serving as a Pharmaceutical District Sales Manager in Chicago and used zip code data to develop 12 new territories to generate more business from my assigned area. The VP of Sales smiled, signed off on my data after the Sales Information guy said “These numbers check out and would support additional reps.” Then the VP looked at me and said “Russ I want you to personally go select these people.” Total panic, but I would up making some strong choices including several diversity hires and a couple “mavericks”. We wound up ranked #2 in the nation for sales the next year in essentially a new district which was pretty significant. I later landed a role managing brokers serving the mass, grocery and general merchandise markets and recruited my broker team to sell our general merchandise line. Most of the reps had been with the owner a long time and were content to just cash their monthly commission checks without hunting for new business. So I called all the key accounts I wanted to sell and simply asked “Who is the best broker who calls on you for general merchandise?” Once the same name came up a couple times I then recruited them to join our team selling our product lines.

My next job was a formal recruiting role where I led 4 business units serving the Power Generation industry on a global scope. We increased contract billings 356% in the first 6 months and I began to realize I liked recruiting and was good at it. Later I moved over into the sourcing side during my MBA because I didn’t think I could be on the phone at night with candidates and have enough time to study for my homework. So I learned Sourcing, realized that suited me even better and just kept honing my craft through intensive training, mentoring and increasing demanding practical experience.

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

Russ I had a period about 6 years ago when I was very heavily engaged in both attending professional training sessions while simultaneously receiving mentoring from multiple sourcing thought leaders. The impact of that condensed learning and the subsequent impact on my career progression embedded “continuous learning” as a mantra. When I started to see what was possible it changed my mental outlook on sourcing and talent acquisition forever. Happy to say I am repeating that cycle again right now, on an even more intensified level.

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

Russ There is no one person, my philosophy has been to scan the talent horizon and lean towards gleaning the most desirable attributes from a diverse group of talent acquisitions professionals. My end goal being to become an amalgamation of those attributes which then constitute my unique offering. A Retired Sergeant Major I met while at The Citadel, taught me to “Take the best from each person you meet, leave the rest, move on to grow and evolve.” It was truly sage advice.

If I were to name someone specifically, Shally Steckerl (thinks big, pursues knowledge), Eric Jaquith (leverages technology, generates more speed than anyone I have personally observed), Glenn Gutmacher (Ivy League IQ scientifically explores and knows the logic behind what he is pursuing, Tim O’Connor, (willing to try new things and put himself out there ), John Turnberg (genius, another expert at leveraging tools and techniques), Rithesh Nair (fire, ready , aim a first adapter who jumps out there and discovers things well prior to the masses..knows how to couple sourcing and the recruiting pieces exceptionally well. Suzy Tonini – (deeply respect her, knows what she speaks about willing to step outside her comfort zone and does so on a regular basis. On the consulting side Gerry and Mark from CareerXRoads have consistently provided practical, actionable and candid feedback. I have had the opportunity to work on a couple projects with Dr. John Sullivan and deeply respect his intellect and ability to break down complex topics to the molecular level. Kevin Wheeler is someone I am getting to know better who I am impressed with and would like to learn more from. Phil Hendrickson at Starbucks, Kim Warne at GE....I tend to gravitate to people with ample intelligence who are leaders...that seems to be the common thread. I know this implicitly they all leave pieces of their DNA with me with every e-mail, phone call or personal visit and I would not be who I am without people like them in my professional sociosphere.

Six Degrees: Tell us about your present professional endeavors:

Russ: I just wrapped up three years at Wachovia as the lead internet researcher supporting all lines of business on a national scope. I am offering my services as a sourcer/consultant for short term gigs of (2-12wks) working remotely from my dedicated work studio located in the downtown of Richmond, Virginia outside my home known to my inner circle as ”The Hive”. Loads of computers, more tools than the Batcave I have everything I need to do some serious ”digging” and all those tools come with me at no extra charge. So you get me, the tools and someone who knows how to use them. Hence the Sourcing Samurai, theme to my shortly forthcoming podcast radio show, which I encourage people to tune into. Nothing like it out there, its going to break new ground and reveal learnings not previously available to the general public or for that matter to most anyone. My guests who have been exposed to the concept are stoked about it and the select ground of Senior Talent Acquisition leaders I have test marketed the concept with have said ”I want this like not just for me but for my entire recruiting organization.”
No joke....and those comments literally took my breath away.

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

Russ Recruiting operations at Microsoft, Starbucks, and Dell are innovators, however, I am sure there are many others I am not intimately aware of. No one person can have a monopoly on information so no slight intended to the people out there bringing their best, these are just top of the mind groups I am aware of at the moment.

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

Russ: They all share the common attribute of ‘common sense oriented’ sourcing model that is delivering valued product to their business groups. Microsoft – They “get it” and have amassed a solid team of people who can actually execute the strategy. “Get it” – my definition is they are consciously competent, they know what they are attempting to achieve and they have a solid common sense measurable process to track their progress towards the goals…all while innovating. Starbucks – forward thinking, aggressive, understand workforce planning. Dell – I have been following Kim Rutledge and her team for some time -- they deliver.

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

Russ: Social Media – not everyone has adopted, so much untapped potential, room for massive growth and utility. No secret the space has exploded and is continueing to explode. Where there is chaos (massive change) there is also opportunity.

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

Russ: Yes. I intend to increase the frequency of my visibility in the future. In the last two years I have served in various capacities throughout the speaker circuit, including each of the following:

Fall 2007 SourceCon Panel – “Internet vs Phone Sourcing”
Spring 2008 Electronic Recruiting Exchange Expo – “Cultivating Your Organic Research Team”
Fall 2008 Kennedy Recruiting Expo Panel – “Where the Corporate Sourcing Function is Headed: Expert Views from the Trenches”
Spring 2009 CareerXRoads – Atlanta Colloquium – Diversity Sourcing
Spring 2009 Kennedy Recruiting - “Becoming a Strategic Partner in Your Organization, Workforce Planning”

I had made a mistake of spending too many long weeks head down at the desk churning the work out and not mingling enough to keep my name out there appropriately, to physically cultivate time with my ”inner circle” to feel the vibe....that was feedback from a mentor which I took to heart and I am correcting that error with vigor 

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?


ERE Expo is a winner, plug into the events you will have amply opportunity to learn just about anything you wish.
Kennedy – the after hours dinners are great to start building real relationships
CareerXRoads – you learn at the colloquium, but the relationships and the ability to pick up the phone and get near instant response from global talent acquisition superstars…still wows me.
My personal circle – humbling myself and saying “help teach me” has gone a long way
• My webpage, homepage, blog and upcoming radio show.
• Keeping my inner circle informed of my proposed marketing efforts and being open to collaborating with them to leverage their expertise. Realizing that where they know more it is wise to listen to the expert and it shows them the proper respect.
• Perioidically ...try not to lose your breath laughing here but I recognize to those who really know me I constitute free entertainment...but pick that phone up even briefly to let people know you are thinking about them, ask them how you can help them, what’s changed since you last spoke doesn’t have to be a marathon conversation but I am rediscovering how fruitful it is to connect more frequently albeit more briefly.

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?

Russ: Networking for me has been about a consistent nurturing of relationships.

To – Do’s: Find ways to add value to your network, be organized, do what you say you will do

Not to Do’s: Our sense of urgency is not necessarily your networks, take that into account. Don’t overdraw your account balance (ie. Taking way more than you give back.) Don’t quit, just keep trying to grow your network and determine who you really want to share your personal journey with.

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

Russ: My next career goal is working as a consultant where I can leverage my ability to take in information, diagnose root causes and then develop/implement solutions. I want my clients to know they can count on me to deliver, to be knowledgeable and candid, to attempt to be the calm place they can anchor to know that in 2010 I am already on a pace that will allow me to reinvent myself to become more authentic, more informed, more productive and a better partner. One they will want to seek out. The technical, physical and mental program I am embarking on is the most strenuous one I have ever attempted and I am very interested to see what the lump of clay I am starting with this year will look like in 3,6,9 months. Not to mention what that person is going to be able to do...exciting. I have publically and privately committed myself to bringing my very best and believe my very best will be something I can be proud of. As humans we will never be perfect, I will never know it all, but I can tell you this I am going to really move my own needle in 2010 and the people I am drawing to me are seeing the front end of this program and the results already....did I say that I was excited about that ? 

(1) Sourcing: To start putting to the test a host of new techniques that I am really excited about. Thrilled to be in a situation that will support my leveraging all this technical learning mode in a situation where I can bring more of those learnings to bear to add value.
(2) Teaching: Seeking some opportunities to teach others as I travel the path, teaching is sharing, sharing is learning.

What do I need to get there ? People who:

1. “Get it” – The people who understand the dynamics of talent acquisition and sourcing, what is realistically involved in achieving their objectives. For those who are playing catch up and that is not a criticism I myself am playing catch up in a couple areas, having the self-esteem and personal security to be able to say “I want/need to learn more, I know I don’t know, but I need you to help me.” People who do what they say they will do. Playing catch up is easier said than done, it can be intimidating or humbling to have to candidly say to someone “I don’t know but I want to learn.” I have felt that feeling and it is a tough mechanism to overcome, but it is truly empowering when you do. Given the number of times I have been in that position in the last two to three weeks I can say from my experience it becomes easier and certainly is empowering.

2. Senior Talent Acquisition leaders - it all starts at the top. So important for them to stay up to date even though the demands on their time are at all time peaks because ultimately they lead and to lead effectively you need to have enough personal understanding to weigh all your viable alternatives. Difficult to overestimate how important that is.

3. Reading a book now called “Lean Six Sigma for Service”- it is all about reviewing the processes to eliminate waste while delivering the value. Zeroing in on what truly adds value, how to identify the value and how to eliminate “waste” (non-value added activities)

4. Establish budgets which reflect their objectives with established leaders in their fields, be it talent attraction, sourcing, etc. to establish the appropriate scale and productivity level worthy of the task. Employing someone like myself, and fellow colleagues who share these objectives to attain their goals are a natural next step in the process. I see savvy leaders engaging someone like myself to reverse mentor them on sourcing, to privately share with them what they need to know to continue to lead from the front.

I take my work very seriously, myself not so much, but those who know me know I guard my personal brand closely and do whatever it takes to get the work done.

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Replies to This Discussion

Very glad to have been mentioned here; everyone gains at least as much from Russ as they give. Wherever he goes next is going to be a lucky organization!
Russ has been great to interact and brainstorm with over the past few years I have known him. He deserves to be written about. Since Russ is on top of all sourcing tools (know that from personal experience, I would recommend Russ to any company that wants to train their sourcing department or improve their sourcing function. He is hands on type of guy. Chandra
Agree with Glenn. Supporting people whose drive is to give as good as they get raises all boats. David, you did a great job capturing Russ.
Really enjoyed this piece! I look forward to meeting you at 2:00 on March 15.
Hi Russ, Congratulations on a nice interview.
I enjoyed reading and it's so well written that I almost feel like I met Russ in person once again.
We share the passion about new sourcing tools and techniques. Very much looking forward to your upcoming session at SC and hopefully many other events in the future.
Enjoying exploring your tools and finding some winners there also. I appreciate your genius and the tools you bring to market and what then enable me to deliver are part of what makes my mental engine redline. Used one new tool recently and literally gasped for breath when it worked, it saved me on a particular assignment. Will explain privately when I speak to you next for now THANK YOU.

chandra bodapati said:
Russ has been great to interact and brainstorm with over the past few years I have known him. He deserves to be written about. Since Russ is on top of all sourcing tools (know that from personal experience, I would recommend Russ to any company that wants to train their sourcing department or improve their sourcing function. He is hands on type of guy. Chandra
Irina - I truly appreciate our similarities and there are more there than meet the eye. I even more appreciate our diverse and different perspectives because they force me to examine what I do and why I do it. Very useful, looking forward to our collaboration of the FireFox panel.

Irina Shamaeva said:
Hi Russ, Congratulations on a nice interview.
I enjoyed reading and it's so well written that I almost feel like I met Russ in person once again.
We share the passion about new sourcing tools and techniques. Very much looking forward to your upcoming session at SC and hopefully many other events in the future.
Gerry and Mark, You both have your unique talents and you both have coached me so superbly. Every single coaching point has hit the mark. Our modeling of a portion of our FireFox session after the colloquium I hope you will consider the ultimate compliment. I did not get your model for so long, until I attended. Heard from another "power hitter" today and was so floored and humbled. When I attended the Fall ERE and noted the number of people who were speaking that I had just recently met at the colloquium I started putting 1+1 together. If we achieve 50% of that level of intimacy and exchange I will consider our session a stupendous success.

Gerry Crispin said:
Agree with Glenn. Supporting people whose drive is to give as good as they get raises all boats. David, you did a great job capturing Russ.
I big thank you to RecruitingBlogs and to Dave, who while facing a medical procedure was up even late last night polishing the interview to deliver the very best to his audience....further proof in my book of why he is "El Dave".
I will not forget your extra effort to help me Dave and the time will come when I will have your back. Count on it.
Glad to be mentioned. Enjoyed the will written interview.. great job Dave.

Thank you for the support of our FireFox Lab at SourceCon 2010 March 15 2pm. I guarantee you will be pleasantly surprised and equipped. Powerhouse team working as one of this to make it happen.

Craig Robins said:
Really enjoyed this piece! I look forward to meeting you at 2:00 on March 15.
I really enjoyed this interview! Especially the part about how you met your wife, I love a romantic story like that. :) Pam

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