Meet T. Reed Gary, 17 Year Veteran Blue-Chip Corporate Recruiting Consultant

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Reed is passionate about the art & business impact of Talent Acquisition. He has a track record of crafting recruiting strategies; candidate sourcing and candidate development; plus, pre-closing candidates & increasing offer acceptance rates. Reed’s experience includes 17 years in corporate Human Resources plus 14 years of Contract Recruiting with focus on: US Government / Public Sector; PhD, MS, & BS Engineers; subject matter experts in Information Technology; territory & large account Sales; and, market research; brand; analysts relations; SEO specialists in Marketing.

Reed started with EDS after college and later that year decided to apply his math & analytical competencies to a career other than computer programming. Recruiting was a logical match due to his “shy” personality and quite demeanor. After a year in healthcare recruiting, Reed moved to Unisys for 10 years while recruiting for military systems & enterprise IT solutions. He then moved to MCI for 6 years while recruiting Sales & Marketing; after a layoff in 1995, Reed moved into providing Contract Recruiting services and started Gary Associates, Inc.

For 14 years, Reed has been delivering Talent Acquisition services on projects with Futurestep/Korn-Ferry; Accenture; Microsoft; Sun Microsystems; Motorola; Lockheed Martin; MCI Telecommunications; Unisys; Panasonic; Home Depot (IT Dept); Internap; Blue Martini Software; Aveta; VoiceCom; Conduit Software; WH Smith; and, others.

Six Degrees: Tell us of your home world.

Reed: In 2000, I faced the declining health of an aging parent so I relocated from metro Atlanta and returned to my hometown of Augusta, Georgia. I married Jan Clement Gary - a wonderful, caring woman and strong catalyst to the joy & happiness within my life. We reside in a cottage within one of the historic parts of Augusta and enjoy comedy (Lewis Black) theater; music (; art; travel (or latest Star Trek movie); church; family (ours or hourly rentals); sports; friends; birds (see pic @ bottom); and, gardening (but not the grasshoppers that eat my cabbage & tomatoes).

Our blended family includes 4 grandchildren (McKinsey; Ansley; Trinity; and, Thomas); 2 married sons who are active duty US Air Force; 1 son who is active duty US Marine Corps; 1 adult daughter who owns a small business in the Charleston, SC area; and, another adult daughter who is a majority share holder of our firm

Reed: After Hurricane Katrina I wondered how I could apply my professional skills to help the gulf coast residents. Jan (now wife) & I initiated discussions between our two Augusta & Atlanta churches about pooling resources and quickly set upon recruiting volunteers for monthly church mission trips.

Soon afterwards there were 20-50 volunteers each month heading to Biloxi, MS to feed & nurture people; repair & rebuild homes; and, help transition many out of FEMA trailers.

Six Degrees: How many years have you been in the staffing industry?
Reed: I’ve been in the Talent Acquisition profession for 30+ years; my passions include sourcing candidates; cold-calling passive prospects; developing prospects into screened candidates; plus, applying pre-closing techniques with candidates to increase % of offers accepted. It takes one skill set to source prospective talent within targeted companies; it takes a second skill set to engage communications with passive prospects and develop them into active candidates. It takes yet a third skill set to uncover the relative importance of the candidate’s decision criteria and pre-position the candidate to accept the offer which may be forthcoming.

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

Reed: Programmer was my first job out of college, but after a year of being “the techno-man behind the curtain”, I moved as quickly as possible into a people facing role as recruiter at a large Augusta hospital. I witnessed the tendency of many in my new profession to be “paper pushers” and saw that my analytical & communication skills could be applied to making recruiting more efficient and impactful. I enjoyed digging into what talent was critical versus “nice to have” and crafting staffing strategies to find that talent & engage it.

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

Reed: The greatest impact on my Recruiting career was joining MCI Telecommunications in 1989 while the AT&T / “Ma Bell” monopoly was tied up in the courtrooms. MCI was aggressively building large global sales teams and capturing market share while AT&T and the “baby Bells” were slow to adapt. MCI equipped us with funding; with good tools; with bright people prone to action; and, we were encouraged to take calculated risks based upon the best information available at that time. Recruiters were not penalized for mistakes if you adapted and applied appropriate course corrections; however, one could be penalized for “analysis paralysis” & lack of action. As a Recruiter in this environment I quickly learned the cost to business of lost quota due to vacancies; decision delays; and missed sales opportunities.

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

Reed: Gerry Gorlitz; Bob Greene; Van Treadaway; Troy Knapp; and, Glenn Gutmacher have been Recruiting & Sourcing mentors through the years. Each has been a teacher who demonstrated a strong professional commitment to integrity balanced with an incredible & spontaneous sense of humor. The ancient Greeks once culturally embraced such a balance of mind and body; these days many people have re-branded this as maintaining “good Karma”. By either name it’s a good work / life balance!

Six Degrees: Tell us about your recruitment/sourcing services:

Reed: Gary Associates, Inc. was once a sole consultant, but has subsequently grown into a majority female owned (Jan in Augusta, GA & Liz in Dover, DE) family business. We scale collaborative teams and deliver Talent Acquisition services for international; national; and, regional projects. We provide adjunct services which augment our clients' resources; share "best practices" within the Human Resources profession; and, serve as clients' consultative business partner. Our collaborative teams can consult in talent acquisition; employee relations; conduct skills inventories & gap analysis; perform organizational development & training; implement salary planning & labor cost projections; investigate and respond to employee grievances + discrimination or harassment charges; and, advise on employee corrective action & performance improvement programs.

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

Reed: I have been in recruiting assignments at both Accenture (BIG 4 Consulting) & Microsoft. I experienced that both organizations are open to trying new approaches which work well in similar environments and adapting their recruiting processes as appropriate. Such dynamic environments are quite refreshing compared to companies adhering to recruiting processes for no reason other than they were scripted in prior millennia.

(B) In what aspects are they superior?

Reed: They have a reputation for empowering their recruiting teams with appropriate funding; good tools; good training; plus, building recruiting teams with gifted, intelligent & motivated professionals who frequently think outside the box seeking fresh approaches.

Six Degrees: What recent general news story or industry trend do you feel will have an impact on your work in the future? Why? Reed: Stimulus; development; and, investment monies are coming into our local Augusta, GA economy: The US Army; the National Security Agency; the Veterans Administration Hospitals; the Department of Energy; the Savannah River Site; the Ray and Joan Kroc Foundation / Salvation Army partnership; the Medical College of Georgia; and, The Southern Company (Plant Vogtle). The estimated combined impact to the Augusta, GA economy is $14+ Billion & 8000+ permanent jobs.

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

Reed: As much as possible I attend meetings; events; and/or, stay on top of articles of interest by Technology Association of Georgia; ERE; RecruitingBlogs; SHRM National; Kiwanis; JobMachine; IACPR (Int'l Assoc for Corp & Prof Recruitment); Metro Atlanta Recruiters Channel; SourcersGuild; NING Groups; LinkedIn Groups; Goggle Groups; SourceCon's Social Network; Yahoo Groups; and, (most importantly) The Bible.

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

Reed: I was laid-off twice (by MCI & Unisys) and learned that one’s full time job becomes finding the next job. Unfortunately, recent double digit unemployment seems to commoditize the talent acquisition profession and drive recruiting rates down. State unemployment claims are at a 25 year high; corporation’s employment offices are receiving a daily Tsunami of applicant resumes requiring more time reviewing & processing paperwork versus hunting the best talent. Some recruiters will be forced to quit the profession; many may consider survival by entering into random “split arrangements” and/or offering fee based “outplacement / coaching” services to the unemployed.

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.

Reed: I’ve invested greater amounts of time; energy; and, money networking (online and through local Kiwanis Clubs) to identify and communicate with the Talent Acquisition leadership of select local employers. Each day I seek to identify Talent Acquisition points of contact; then I craft a communications strategy to open a line of communication with that leadership. When the very nature of the organization precludes such, I try to work with the organization’s procurement process to position Gary Associates, Inc. as an approved minority owned vendor of Talent Acquisition services.

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?

Reed: Don’t trash people (online or in your mind) for trying to network with you to find work. Offer them words of encouragement to hang in there; tell them you’ll pray for them and do it! It’s our country; our economy; our foreclosures; interest rates; and, aggregate credit card debt. Treat people as you would like your family to be treated if they lost their job; their home was reposed; they lost their retirement investments; and, were trying to re-enter the workforce to survive. Share leads and be generous to people you don’t even know; pay it forward.

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

Reed: My immediate goal is to survive; to get there, I need a new recruiting assignment within commuting radius of Augusta, GA or an assignment open to virtual arrangements.

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Replies to This Discussion

Great article Dave. I hope that Reed gets a new gig soon. I am pulling for you!
I have known Reed Gary for more than fifteen years! He operates from a place of integrity and with a warm heart. If you EVER have the chance to work with him on a project you will gain more than you could have imagined. Reed is truly one of the stellar recruiters of our time and I am honored to know him.
I had the pleasure of being teamed up with Reed for most of my final year on Microsoft's Global Central Sourcing Team. He is everything this interview implies, and more. Super-talented phone sourcer (not too shabby with online methods, either ;-) and recruiter. Great guy, great worker and teammate. We helped land a healthy share of truly top talent for MSFT (not all of which he was properly credited for) and probably they're still hiring some we sourced! Would be *very* happy to work with him again... and so should you, if you're hiring recruiting talent!
Reed is a great person and recruiter. I would recommend him, if you need a recruiter or know someone who is looking for a contract or full time recruiter.

Amy Evans
I've had the pleasure of knowing Reed for over fifteen years. I agree with everything everyone has said about him in their replies and then some. We have shared several recruiting assignments over the years and I thoroughly enjoyed each of them. When I decided to break out on my own and become a contract recruiter in 1994 my first assignment was with Reed. He took me under his wing and showed me the ropes and I have sought his advice and counsel ever since. Reed is the most honorable and ethical person and Recruiter I have ever known. He deserves the best life has to offer.
If I was asked by a company who I would recommend as a contract recruiter, there are very few people who I whould recommend. Reed is definitely on that short list. If you have an opportunity for him, call him. You will not regret it.
Way to go Reed. I am glad you were picked to share your story. Honesty and Integrity in recruiting are not just words and Reed you personify them each and every day. Sticking together, sharing experiences is the only way we will get through the tough times hitting out sector.

Congrats to you, and your family, hang in there.

All the best Linda
Reed is truly a gentleman, a scholar, and a very good recruiter. He's results focused and gets the job done with hard work, dedication, know-how, and expereince. He's a great guy as well. I value his camaraderie and friendship. Van
Reed is one of those truly dedicated and devoted people, not only in his work, but in all aspects of his life. He's a devoted employee, citizen and true friend. I've known Reed for nearly 20 years now and consider him a great and dear friend. I've also had the pleasure to work with Reed on recruiting projects at various times in our respective careers. You could not ask for anyone who would work harder or in a more conscientious manner for you. Reed, you're going to get something very soon, I can feel it. Good things always come to good people.

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