Meet Scott Wilde, Sourcing & Diversity Specialist at American Family Insurance

Scott Wilde PHR CDR CIR
Sourcing & Diversity Specialist
American Family Insurance
Madison, Wisconsin
Phone: 1-608-242-4100 ext. 30464
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Scott Wilde is a Sourcing & Diversity Specialist at American Family Insurance. Hisfocus is workforce planning, strategic sourcing, project management, community and college outreach, and diversity programs. Recent projects that he has led include designing an employee referral program, Web 2.0/social networking and a national diversity recruitment strategy. More specifically, Scott has led project and program teams that led to increased volume of candidates through employee referrals and diversity channels. The employee referral program showed a 495% annual increase in referrals and a 5% increase in the number of hires. He provides Research and identifies candidate sourcing avenues while evaluating effectiveness based on successful recruiting. Scott provides guidance to Staffing Specialists to provide guidance and direction to develop depth and diversity within candidate pools. In addition, Scott Leads activities which support school and community outreach including membership of executive committees and best practice consortiums

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

Scott: I have been married for 12 years to my lovely wife, Melissa. If anyone else out there married a person they met on a blind date, let me know. It was not what I expected from a blind date, but she is the best. Since then the family has grown to include two strong willed young girls who make me laugh and turn my hair gray. Mostly a lot of laughing at the humor they have along with the way they constantly challenge my thoughts - and are right.

While most of my free time is reading, I also love to travel. Most of the recent trips have been to water parks in Wisconsin, but my most memorable trip was to the Soviet Union before it disbanded. If you can picture me in a large glass room in the middle of a foreign airport, that was my introduction to international travel. Who knew that wrong visa dates would be that much of a problem? LOL. Well since then there have been other trips mostly to the warm weather Caribbean. Oh yeah, a few trip to northern Wisconsin is sub zero temperatures too.

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

Scott: It has been ten years of recruiting. I still remember when I was offered the position in 1999 to be a corporate recruiter. When I walked in on my first day, the receptionist asked if I was here to interview for an internship. Well, I did end up hiring many interns. She and I still laugh about this.

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

Scott: My start as a recruiter was interesting. My wife took a position in the headquarters for the company so we got the opportunity to move to Madison, WI. At the same time a staffing position was listed in the same office. I applied, interviewed, and got the position. It was somewhat of a mystery to me what a recruiter did, but I found out quickly. Since that start, I have hired for just about anything. Some of the areas have been finance, actuaries, accounting, claims, customer service, marketing, human resources, and legal.

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

Scott: The event that had the biggest impact on me was in my first few months as a recruiter, I was asked to lead a project to hire 80 people. This was a great honor to be asked and it gave me additional confidence in my ability as a recruiter. Being able to create a strategy, lead coworkers, and guide several managers in the process was all new to me. Many things were just as we had planned and many were not. It was the best opportunity to learn through mistakes and recognize that I really loved this. There were a lot of long hours and hard work to get this completed, but I had a smile on my face every day. At that point, I knew what I wanted to do the rest of my career.

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

Scott: I do have a mentor. She and I have known each other since the first day I started as a recruiter. She was one of the four people who interviewed me when I was first hired into Human Resources. Since then she has been a teacher, coach, guide, manager, and most of all, a good friend. She has always been there with a positive attitude while being direct and honest. I could not see myself in the same place without her. Thanks Lori.

Six Degrees: Tell us about your position.

Scott: I am a Sourcing and Diversity Specialist American Family Insurance. My focus is to understand the talent needs of the company and build relationships with people and organizations to find the talent needed. I also am involved with the referral program and web 2.0 efforts in LinkedIn, Facebook, and blogs. What I love about the position is networking and building relationships across industries and across the nation.

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

strong>Scott: I really admire a company with a good college internship program that compliments professional level hiring.

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

Scott: The most impactful trend is the downturn in the economy. This has touched every aspect of recruitment. There are fewer positions available while more people are looking for a job.

Six Degrees:Tell us about your involvement at speaking events, awards, publications, where you have you represented your company:

Scott: Recently I have spoken at the New Economic Opportunity Network (NEON) luncheon in Illinois. In the near future I will be presenting social networking to a few conferences, but I need to get those presentations ready yet.

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

Scott: My next career goal is to get into a role that combines recruitment with talent management. It is exciting to understand the trends for a company and build a strategy to meet those needs. To get there I need to continue building on my understanding of the complete talent management cycle to integrate it with recruitment activities.

Six Degrees: What is the source of the "Most Hires" collected from at your present employer? (In terms of Quantity #)

Scott: Referrals are a great source of hires. Most other recruiters I talk with agree this is the best source for hires.

Six Degrees: What is the source of your "LOWEST COST OF HIRES" - (least amount of invested resources for the easiest hires, regardless of quality) at your present employer?

Scott: Referrals again. Referrals should be a strong focus in any organization.

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

Scott: I target any skill set that related to insurance. The good news is there are many careers in insurance that most people I talk with would fit well in the industry. Claims, actuaries, underwriting and sales are careers people often relate to insurance, but there are so many more positions as well. Over the years, I have been fortunate to hire for every part of insurance.

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

Scott: AIRS, ERE webinars, conferences, SHRM events and many more. Training is key to keeping up with new trends.

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?

Scott: The tool that I use most often in recruitment is Linked. I also use an applicant tracking system and plenty of homebuilt spreadsheets. I am not sure how these tool translate in different countries, but I have built relationship with candidates all over the world.

Six Degrees: What tools (technology or old school file folder, for example) did you first encounter early in your recruitment career?

Scott: I love this question. When I started, there were still paper requests from managers to fill a position. Today I cannot even imagine waiting for a manager to fill out a form and sent it to me. The communication from the managers to me is now instantaneous.

Six Degrees: How did your expectations of being a recruiter compare to the actual, first time you got on the phone or in the cubicle? In your opinion, how do people's assumptions about our vocation differ from reality?

Scott: When I started recruiting, my thought was all I would need to do is talk to people. Well, I do talk to a lot of people, but there is so much to recruiting. The actual interviews are just one small slice of what a recruiter does. There is planning, metrics, project management, reporting, advertising, networking, public speaking, and a whole list of other things. One person who job shadowed with me could not believe all the work that goes into recruiting.

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

Scott: I should have a good answer for you since I have had plenty of “Learning Experiences” in my career. One that comes to mind was a person I hired over eight years ago. I can still remember making the offer and taking about vacation time. I miscalculated the days off and offered an extra week of vacation. Everyone was happy, but five minutes after I hung up and realized my mistake, I was on the phone again. It was not an issue with this person, but it was embarrassing. To this day, one of my coworkers still gets me with this example. If he makes a mistake, he will say “at least I didn’t offer them an extra week off.” It is good to know old mistakes are not forgotten.

Six Degrees: How do you personally expect to facilitate change within our industry, and/or at your place of work? If you started that process, outline the problem, your solutions, and the vision.

This is not something new, but I really like to focus on data when looking at staffing efforts. Using data to understand trends and results helps guide my decisions. While there are many activities that are challenging to measure, I do try to put some type of measurement to it. It can be qualitative or quantitative as long as there is some way to measure success.

Six Degrees: “Best practice” you are most proud of developing (now or in the past) in your recruiting career?

Scott: A best practice that I am most proud of was leading a great team of peers to revamp the referral program. The effort put out by each person was wonderful. In the end the new referral program showed results way ahead of anything we had seen in the past.

Six Degrees: What are some of the frustrating aspects/obstacles to your day to day as a staffing professional and in general?

Scott: The most frustrating aspect is there is so much to do and limited time to do it. This does not seem like an obstacle, but a good sign of the value being placed on recruitment.

Six Degrees: Considering all of the frustrations you have experienced in your career as a recruiter, -- what inspires you as you continue in your career?

Scott: What inspires is helping people and the company at the same time. Nothing feels better than watching a manager and a new candidate really hit if off. When you know that you have helped someone find their dream career while making your company stronger is what I love.

Six Degrees: What one thing do you ideally hope to accomplish in 2009?

Scott: In 2009 the biggest accomplishment will be planning and attending the National Black MBA Association conference in New Orleans. Planning is well underway to attend. I can’t wait to meet some great people there.

Six Degrees: How Are You Going To Change The Recruitment Industry?

Scott: My view to change the Recruitment Industry is one contact at a time. While there is a need to communicate to large numbers of people, I strongly believe in making those times I talk with someone memorable and valuable. To me it all comes down to building a relationship. The question I need to ask every time I get involved in a sourcing/recruitment process is how am I going to add value to this person or process.

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Replies to This Discussion

Scott is one of the best corporate recruiters I know. I met him at a sourcing conference last year and I respect and admire his commitment to finding the best and brightest candidates, and his approach to doing so. His work with opening up diversity recruiting and expanding referral programs is worth noting as well.

Well done Scott!



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