o source candidates to fill a position for his client. A few weeks had passed and in our “small word” moment learned we had both joined Freescale Semiconductor as contract recruiters. We collaborated virtually for nearly a year until we finally met after my first visit to Freescale’s corporate office in Austin. We managed to have our ‘team building event” that evening after a series of meetings at a fine eatery known as “Bone Daddy’s” and then made a long night of it with the team – it was a memorable occasion. What was more memorable however was my first impression of Kal’s stature. You see, Kal stands 6’4 – or looks it, and is about twice my width in a pure wall of body building mass. I spend much of my time looking ‘up’ at people in the real sense, and with Kal you do that instinctively both as a colleague and by necessity. His imposing stature aside, you are immediately put at ease by his southern charm and accent and realize he is a product of the finest of traditions of Texas.
Kal is a Professional staffing consultant and internal recruiter with over +12 years of industry experience. He is an excellent Negotiator (90%+ closure rate on candidates) and also venerable for his Sourcing expertise. His specific talent niche has been in Semiconductor development: (ASIC, Microprocessors, Microcontrollers, Analog/Power IC, RFIC, Mixed-signal IC, Applications, Embedded Software, R&D Scientists, etc.), in addition to System Hardware and Software, and Storage technology.
What I learned about Kal then and recalled in our interview, is that Kal is the first recruiter I have known who was fortunate enough to learn the art of the deal and relationships by his venerable father. I look up to Kal, but Kal always spends his time looking up to the source of passions and wisdom handed from father to son. We could all be as fortunate in both our professional and personal life.
Q & A with Kal Luben
Six Degrees: How many applicants at your present employer do you estimate are hired from your corporate website as compared to how many are hired through referrals?
Kal: I would say about 10% of our hires come from our website. They are in the process of rejuvenating what is currently out there. Referrals would be stronger, but our bonuses suck….wait can I say that?
Six Degrees: What is the source of the "Most Hires" collected from at your present employer? (In terms of Quantity #)
Kal: Most of our hires come from tools used on the internet.
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?
Kal: I would say Linkedin
Six Degrees: What talent niche groups do you target and are these particular talent areas specialized under your review?
Kal: Semiconductor- Analog and RF
Six Degrees: What types of training in sourcing/recruitment are available to you and have you taken advantage of?
Kal: AIRS, MRI corp. training, job boards, and mostly techniques I have learned from industry experts: my father, Shally, Mendoza ;o), some of my past bosses, etc.
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?
Kal: Linked in is my favorite, peopleclick (which I am not recommending), and Google. These are all global tools.
Six Degrees: What tools (technology or old school file folder, for example) did you first encounter early in your recruitment career?
Kal: When I first started recruiting with my dad I remember using and “ACT” database and a tool that was revolutionary at the time “resume grabber”.
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?
Kal: I used to listen to my dad recruit people on the phone before I ever got started. I used to think how cool it sounded, and how easy he made it sound. I soon found out what a complicated game of chess I was playing. I think we all remember those first few sketchy phone calls.
Six Degrees: Worst mistake, biggest goof, lousiest practice you thought would fly but didn’t…and how that was a learning experience?
Kal: One of the biggest mistakes I have made and still struggle with is email. I have made multiple mistakes though out my career facilitated by email. The lesson, never email someone when you are up set. Always double check the contents before sending.
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.
Kal: I expect to facilitate change at Freescale by bring the knowledge of an agency and third party consulting to a corporate environment.
Six Degrees: “Best practice” you are most proud of developing (now or in the past) in your recruiting career?
Kal: Always networking- always be looking for the next deal, recruit, etc….
Six Degrees: What are some of the frustrating aspects/obstacles to your day to day as a staffing professional and in general?
Kal: Deal with corporate politics and bureaucracy.
Six Degrees: What are the most common themes of strategic and/or tactical mishaps involving past or present HR/Staffing org?
Kal: Disconnect between HR/Staffing and the clients we serve.
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?
Kal: The greatest recruiter in the world my father and my beautiful family
Six Degrees: What one thing do you ideally hope to accomplish in 2008?
Kal: In 2008 I will continue to build my network in Semiconductor and find the best talent for Freescale.
Six Degrees: Anything you want to plug?
Kal: Recruiting is very passionate and is almost like being in love. Give it an honest effort and you will reap the benefits.
Six Degrees: How Are You Going To Change The Recruitment Industry?
Kal: By presenting candidates that are happy and motivated. Finding better lives and careers for people, one at a time.
Recommendations for Kal Luben
“Kal is a skilled recruiting professional who is capable of handling the most difficult challenges. Kal has worked with multiple organizations at Freescale, and has always provided exceptional results. His ability to bring in the expertise of a recruiting agency, and merge it with the corporate recruitment requirements makes him a valuable asset for the team. I would recommend Kal for any recruiting team.” June 28, 2007
Bill Fulton, Staffing Manager for the Americas, Freescale Semiconductor
“Kal is my internal business client at Freescale. We work together on various staffing needs within his organization. In my Sourcing role, it's been a relief to work with an Internal Recruiter such as Kal who understands his requirements, communicates his needs to me clearly, and is able to provide me with timely and constructive feedback from the team, which in turn helps me fine tune what types of skills I am looking for. He's been great to work with and is a huge asset to our recruiting team.” April 25, 2008
Cecile Fusco (Nguyen), Contract Recruiter, Freescale Semiconductor
“Kal Luben has a keen understanding of the recruiting process and tremendous skill in our competitive marketplace. Kal is a top professional in every respect. I have great respect for him.” April 24, 2008
Richard Winn firstname.lastname@example.org, Global Lead, Executive Recruiting, Freescale Semiconductor
“Kal is a pro's pro in the recruiting business - very impressive and a great guy to work with. Rick Smit” February 4, 2008
Rick Smith, Owner & Founder, Rick C. Smith & Associates
“Kal is a high energy and very effective recruiter who uses networking and relationships to find top talent rather than agencies. He takes a lot of pride in his work and results. Has demonstrated ability to be strategic, is highly organized and very collaborative.” January 8, 2008
Paul Gray, Director, HR MBGs and CDO, Freescale Semiconductor
“Kal is always thorough, professional, and a wealth of knowledge regarding candidate fit and alignment with our business strategy. With Kal as my staffing partner, I have been confident that we are seeing the best candidates and making the best offers to secure our top recruits.” August 13, 2007
Wendy Middlebrook, HR Manager - Talent and Culture, Freescale
“Kal Luben has been very helpfull and professional in my search for a position that allowed me to use my skills and knowledge. As a result the position with the best fit was found at Freescale Semiconductor.” July 9, 2007
Vadim Kushner, Engineer-Intern, Motorola…
eme enough it’s a wonder I survived it—as in, if I didn’t die in the process it could only make me stronger. The prison experience was described earlier on this Forum (in my contest entry for the best RBC Recruitment related Horror Story). It tested me on many levels and was dangerous beyond my full realization of how much in harm’s way I actually put myself in--but it was only one of four of my challenging exposures that put me in recruitment roles over the past forty-one years working in the discipline. I promise I won’t bore you with all four. I’ll touch on just two here.
My first experience in formal recruiting came about in the Army. Not as a recruiter of candidates for induction into the military, but as a recruiter of civilian staff to work in positions reporting to hiring managers who happened to be military officers in the Officer Personnel Directorate (OPD) assigned across fourteen Pentagon level Army Branches, e.g., Adjutant General, Finance, Infantry, Quartermaster, Aviation, Air Defense, Military Intelligence, Signal, Military Police, Logistics, etc. The role of the OPD was to identify, select and appoint officers, of all ranks, to assignments worldwide—many of whom were in combat zones.
Upon graduating from college in 1971 I enlisted in the Army. Vietnam was still hot with no end in sight. So, like my father, uncles and brothers, before me—in time of war--we all volunteered to get into the fight (Korea for my father; WWII for my five uncles; and Vietnam for me and my three brothers). BTW my mom was part of the war effort herself—working in the war factories in the ‘40s when her brothers went to war.
After graduating from Army Boot Camp and Advanced Infantry Training (AIT), I was set to get orders to go directly into combat in Vietnam--as did all graduating AIT classes did from Fort Polk, La--for the previous six years. However, as fate would have it--that order never came down. Instead, I was sent directly to Washington D.C. for assignment to the Presidential Traveling Team (the advance team that arrives ahead of the President’s arrival anyplace in the world to secure his safe arrival and departure). Due to my VOLAR (volunteer) status in a time of war; my recent college degree, high test scores and strong performance evaluations the Deputy Commander for the Officer Personnel Directorate (OPD) pulled my file and requested that I be reassigned directly to the Pentagon to the OPD Administrative office to take over Civilian Staffing; the Army Suggestion Program; and Special Projects.
The Colonel who assigned me, back in 1971, to my first recruiting role had a civilian GS 13 level employee retiring and felt I could handle an Action Officer’s Desk—which I did…well. Facilitating the recruitment, promotions and transfers of key civilian talent that worked in support, and in liaison roles, with military staff and leadership during the Vietnam War was an honor, a privilege and a duty for me at that time. In war time, or staying in conflict readiness, when I think of how all the roles in an Army depend on each other to bring forth successful missions I truly appreciated how important the role of a recruiter is for mission success, particularly when life, death and safety issues hang in the balance. That three year experience cemented my love for recruiting and launched me into what I do today—recruiting.
Entering the Danger Zone:
When the Vietnam War ended in 1973, and the military build-up was now downsizing--I was recommend for Officer Candidate School (OCS) but elected to leave the Army when my enlistment commitment was up the following year. It turned out to be bad timing because the stock market crashed and with the ongoing effects of the 1973 Oil Embargo added to the misery of a great recession. Jobs were scarce so I worked in temp jobs until my Uncle alerted me to a Grant Project that was failing in the California Department of Corrections. The Cooperative Training and Employment Project (CTEP) was a Federal & State funded project administered by a minority not-for-profit community based organization called the Mexican American Opportunity Foundation (MAOF). CTEP was designed to stem the high recidivism rate for minority inmates in particular—but was open to all inmates interested in participating.
Unfortunately, CTEP was set to be defunded due to the failure of two previous Directors and high staff turnover. Working in prison with a no-hostage policy clause (see my horror story) for all who enter there; and working for a not-for-profit (very low pay) did little to attract job applicants--so there it was. And there I was—at the time with my college degree, great Army/Pentagon level experience and high recommendations—pumping gas at gas station in La Jolla, CA. I was rooming with my brother in San Diego—both of us doing casual labor jobs until the recession showed signs of recovery. So on my uncle’s recommendation I applied and landed the job.
Landing in prison, as it were--by choice, however was a decision that bothered my family and friends for obvious reasons—and was unsettling for me at first because my life was threatened on the very first day I was “in prison” addressing the inmate leaders (see RBC horror story) regarding the rehab program. Nevertheless, I volunteered to do the job and to this day I’ll tell anyone—I’d still be there if it wasn’t for Prop 13 which was the California Tax Revolt that defunded CTEP and other social services programs at the time in California.
The short version of this experience is that—yes, it’s not for everybody. Most say prisons are for punishment and I agree. But I also feel that the majority of people in lockup today will be getting out at some point down the road. And if they are only going to be part of the revolving door process—how does that help them, their families; future victims and society at large? My decision to go there was based on the simple grasp of the situation--to be part of the solution. Bottom line, who wants to be a future victim, directly or indirectly? I felt here was a unique opportunity to attempt to make a difference and to stem predictable outcomes. Yes, my staff and I were in considerable danger—but that’s partly what won us respect on the yard—the fact that we would risk our safety for their benefit because we were there to help them help themselves through training, counseling and job placement. Yes, recruiting candidates from the general population didn’t sit well with inmates who were rejected. And some were happy to express their unhappiness with our decision. We were briefed and given assurances that help was available but “you enter this prison at your own risk” was clearly understood—and it all worked out.
Our work on behalf of inmates who wanted to better themselves also won respect from correctional staff and administrators…and employers because we were job placing parolees who were doing well enough on the job that employers came back for more candidates. Without getting into too much detail the training and rehab program was a remarkable success over a three year period given the negative statistics that haunt corrections in any state with high recidivism rates (50%-70% in some places) and the high costs for incarceration. Our job placement rate was in the low 92% range with a 9% recidivism rate compared to California’s 50%-60% return rate.
White/Black & Hispanic inmates participated and those who survived the prison experience and benefited from our program eventually paroled and were placed in viable jobs across the State of California w/IBM, XEROX, Hewlett Packard, JC Penney, etc. The results were getting positive press and we were ramping up to expand the program but unfortunately ran into the famous, or infamous, depending on your stance on such matters—Proposition 13 (the Tax Payers Revolt in California). Prop 13 cancelled funds for many social services programs like CTEP.
Yes, I love recruiting and my military and prison experiences enhanced my ability to make a positive impact in corporate America as a recruiter and Staffing Manager. And now, as an independent Recruitment Consultant, I continue to make a difference for candidates and clients who go on to make their mark as well.
oose the software even if it is one of the pricier ones out there. I chose it despite that fact because after that investigation it certainly looked one of the best in terms of what it offered. We can afford it and you are correct, I did understand the costs full well and entered the contract with 'eyes wide open' so that was my choice. To your point about 'when value is felt', I suppose from my side it is difficult to completely disregard the cost of that value you are seeking, and the greater the cost the more you feel that 'lack of value' so I think those two things are difficult things to separate. I just can't see beyond the belief that we shouldn't pay for something we couldn't use. If it is the way 'SAAS' vendors operate, it is in desperate need of a change. I was speaking to a good friend who works for a company that specialises in compliance and trade order systems for the financial services industry and he was telling me that clients pay half of the fee on installation of the software, and the remaining half on go-live. It is sometimes debatable as to what constitutes go-live, but they tend to base it on the date on which the client is able to derive sufficient benefit from the system and in deriving that benefit are happy to sign-off the acceptance of that software. I know SAAS systems are different and don't require an installation as such, but the way they operate shouldn't be that different to older installation-based systems as to charge people a full fee before they are able to derive any benefit from it. Anyway - I think we may agree on that point.
2.) IMPORT - Perhaps I could have run one or two more tests before spending the time preparing the data for import. I have worked as an IT consultant and I haven't worked on many projects where some issue comes up and one bemoans the fact that one could have done more testing. However, I spent a considerable amount of time in my 'planning', based my data preparation on what I researched in the Bullhorn Support Centre in conjunction with a lot of questions to tech support, and so believe I was pretty thorough in my approach. I appreciate that imports are complex affairs, particularly as client data and requirements differ markedly from one to another and so to get an import carried out successfully, vendors need to make sure they can cover their costs and so fees are high. However, in providing tools that allow clients to carry out a simpler import, the tools really need to work. I did readily admit that to their credit Bullhorn eventually agreed to do the import for no charge, but it did take a very long time to come to that conclusion. The recent attempt at import has uncovered a few more bugs in the import tool and I really think that a professional organisation should have a tool that works properly. If not clients that are offered this tool as an option, will always face issues and have to revert to Professional Services which will incur a cost that wasn't expected.
3.) CONTRACT - I think you're spot on when you say that contracts exist as a tool of last resort. In one of my final discussions with Bullhorn on the matter, the contract was referred to right upfront in the conversation with the Bullhorn representative telling me that as a signatory on the contract I should have understood it and must therefore pay. I said that I understood this full well but that having been a business owner myself, when one of my clients had raised a situation where a contractual term did not make complete sense or possibly threatened a fruitful ongoing relationship, we had carefully considered their case and when required had moved outside of the strict contract terms to maintain a good working relationship. I suppose what I felt continually through the process is that they had not carefully considered the facts of our particular case and were going to the contract and it's terms long before they needed to.
4.) SHARING MY EXPERIENCE - You mention my one-sided, self-serving story Martin. Clearly you disagree with the sharing of my experience with others? I consider myself a reasonable person and have tried to keep strictly to the facts of my experience. Bullhorn are welcome to share their side of the story too. The crux of the matter is that I really feel strongly that they have not tried sufficiently to understand the extent of my frustration. At no point has anyone ever picked up the phone and called me and said 'Let's try and come to some kind of resolution on this'. Aside from the one telephone conversation, which I requested many times, I have only received emails with a pretty hardline, reasonably unapologetic attitude, informing me that as a signatory I am responsible for what I sign. When dealing with a software vendor, after-sales support and customer service is most often more important than the functionality of the system itself and on this side of things, in my experience, Bullhorn fall horribly short of what I think are my reasonable customer expectations.
Thanks again for your response.
Martin H.Snyder said:
Nobody likes to see Bullhorn screw up more than I do, but Justin, I'm afraid to say that I think you had a hand in creating the problems and that you responded disproportionately to those problems. The quote for the conversion was high, but at least on the planet. Conversions are craft-jobs that require extensive quality communications to achieve great results. That’s costly no matter who does the work.
All vendors know that not every new customer can afford that service, and there are always smaller import/export jobs that need doing, so the good tools all have robust tools to help end-users with DIY projects.
In your case, you found a legit bug in the import tool, but a pro import analyst would have run test loads at the earliest stages of the project- the initial map- which would occur prior to massaging the bulk of the data for import. So their bug and your inexperience led to an obstacle. Your expectation was that they would move heaven and earth to see you through the job, and when they failed to do that, you became angry. Then, to their credit, they ended up doing the job at no charge anyway.
So to fully understand customer centrism, we need to know that when pro services are out of reach financially for customers, vendors should then just step in and do the job anyway. I guess I get it…..but how good do we want vendors to be to customers other than ourselves?
Next up is a misunderstanding of the financial obligations. You say that, sure, there is a contract, and yes, it does spell out the start and end dates of the payments. I will guess that customer centrism means payments are only due when value is felt and contracts are for the other guy? With the former, I can agree 100%. We would never try to sustain an account charge when a customer could not get value. Contracts exist as tools of last resort in a business relationship. When Bullhorn goes to the contract first, that’s a big mistake and something they will have to fix, but clearly, you signed it, and you are obligated to pay it and then recover for their breach.
Withholding payments due is your breach, regardless of their breach. That said, most people understand that the accounting functions and customer service functions of smaller businesses (and Bullhorn is still a small business) are often quite separated. They ended up doing the right thing, again, as would be expected. And here you are, filling search engines up with your one-sided, self-serving story, trying to hurt them because they would not bend as fast as you wanted them to.
Sometimes firms screw up. Lucky we are in a business where life and limb is not on the line. Sometimes disputes take on personal or emotional baggage, and one side is clearly unhappy but for difficult to understand reasons. Customers are the life of any business, but they are not always right, and they have ethical obligations which exceed the mere handing over of money.
I took the time to pen this because people can learn from it. The original sin was your acknowledgement that Bullhorn is expensive, yet not really accepting what that fact means. Affordability is personal, of course, but when you buy something expensive, the purveyors expect you to be a person can happily afford the offering. When that’s not operative, it’s not automatic trouble, but it takes some patience and accommodation on both sides to work out well. That seems absent here.
te Photography, Cooking, Good Wine, Reading
Interests: College Football, Art (Impressionist, Old Masters, Roden's sculptures), World History
Favorite Music: Everything from The Beatles to Hendrix to Opera to Lady Gaga
Favorite TV Shows: CSI Miami, Csi Vegas, Leverage, Love Saving Grace!, Burn Notice, Damages, Discovery Channel, ESPN,
Favorite Movies: Casablanca, All About Eve, Citizen Kane, Trading Places, Errol Flynn Movies, James Bond, The Princess Bride, Jason Bourne, Tombstone, Armageddon, Army Of Darkness
Favorite Books: James Patterson, John Sanford, Of Mice And Men, Osterman Weekend, Dostyesky, Dante's Inferno, The Prince, The Art Of War
Favorite Quotations: The Proverbs of Solomon: "The only fool bigger than the person who knows it all, is the person who argues with him", "Youth is wasted on the young", "Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something"
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Larry Gonzales is actually a colleague I worked with when I consulted at Palm. Unfortunately, as a virtual sourcer I never had the honor of meeting Larry face-to-face, but his reputation then as it remains now was well established as a 20+ year veteran of the staffing industry. I was well informed of Larry's formidable resume - a man of all seasons: experienced in the design, implementation and administration of recruiting strategies, staffing planning, and process improvement programs.
Larry has managed a recruiting departments, including budgeting, metrics reporting, and recruiting technology. He has a broad working knowledge of HR practices including compensation, performance management, diversity, branding, and employee retention. Larry is proficient in federal and state employment practice regulations, applying and interpreting employee-relations policies, Affirmative Action, Diversity Hiring, EEO-1, VISA Processing and employment law. His Specialties include the following:
Mobile Device Engineers, Human Factor Design, Media Designers, Mobile TV, PC-TV, Embedded Software Engineers, Home Entertainment Solutions, RF Engineers, CDMA handset, Risk Management, Sarbanes Oxley Compliance, SAS70, Specialized areas of finance (AML, FAS109/123R, SOP97-2, and SEC Reporting), Sales/Business Development, and Product Marketing.
Q&A with Larry Gonzales
Six Degrees: Tell us of your home world.
Larry: I am fortunate to be married to a beautiful and wonderful “Texas Girl”. My wife and I were born and raised in Texas and regardless of how long we live in California, we will always be Texans! Our fourteenth wedding anniversary is coming up next week and I thank God for blessing me with such a great partner in life.
I have been involved in charitable fundraising since I was in Middle School. Although the charities and my levels of participation have varied over the years, I feel it is important to give back. My minister always reminds us that “We are blessed, so that we can be a blessing”. I am a cancer survivor. I was diagnosed with cancer in January 2003 and through the efforts of prayer, positive attitude, and the fantastic physicians at Stanford Medical, I have been cancer free since May of that same year. After my full recovery from chemo and radiation, I focused on supporting the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society through TNT. I decided to train and participate through Century Bike Rides. I hope to become a mentor next season and help train (mentally and physically) new participants to the program. I am an avid reader of fiction/mystery along with many business periodicals.
Six Degrees: How many years have you been in the staffing industry?
Larry: I have been in the staffing industry for over 20 years dating back to index cards, real cold calls, and ruses.
Six Degrees: How did you get started as a recruiter?
Larry: Like many of us, I never expected to go in to the recruiting. I had been working for AT&T, designing and selling telecom systems for the transportation industry. I primarily handled air transportation to include airports, airlines, and airline sales offices. I was referred to a “headhunter” that was looking for someone with my background. When the opportunity did not materialize, my recruiter asked me if I would be interested working for her company. I told her that I would rather be a “pimp, than a headhunter”. Famous last words! Needless to say, the reputation garnered by headhunters in those days was less than respectable. She nurtured the relationship and had me meet with the owner of the firm, which was based out of Atlanta. I also meet with all (12) of her colleagues in the Dallas Office. I found myself drawn to the group and to the challenge the job represented. About 90 days later I ended up working for her firm.
Since then my experience has included agency, professional services, corporate, and RPO environments. I have held individual contributor, director, and managing partner roles. Regardless of title and responsibilities, I have always been a hands-on contributor.
I am a person that gets easily bored, so the ever changing world of technology has been my salvation. To be successful you have to stay abreast of technology trends, understand the industry and known how it applies to business. This requires research and a certain amount of trial and error. Typically, experience helps you shorten your ramp up time to production. You have to continually learn to excel.
One of the keys to my longevity is that I always try to specialize. I choose the hottest or up and coming technology and become a subject matter expert. Through the years, I have supported specific software and hardware technology. I get involved in SIGs, Alliance Groups, and conferences. I do not want or expect to be everything to everybody. A “Jack of all trades is a master of none”. However, my experience allows me to talk intelligently across many disciplines. I am equally adept at discussing the hardware design of mobile devices to financial audit and SOX compliance. Right now the mobile device industry is still very strong and within the Silicon Valley area you have a large mix of industry leaders and start-ups. Even with the high unemployment, almost all of my candidates have multiple offers. Find your niche and work it.
Six Degrees: What single event had the most impact on your sourcing/recruiting career?
Larry: Moving to San Jose in January of 2000 and suffering through the highs and lows of the dotcom era probably affected my life the most. I relocated from Texas and had never really gone through a downturn in business. The economy in Dallas was very diverse and not dominated by any one industry. Even the oil and gas industry represented only about 10% of the total employment population. So when one industry stalled, you had others as backup. 2002 was a rough year. You saw many recruiters leaving the industry (for the mortgage broker industry!) and we see what inevitably happened to them. You also had a large group of recruiters that held on to the belief that they were actually worth the outrageous rates they were being paid before the bust. They would not even think about going to work for less than they were previously making. I find that arrogance is a very ugly trait. I think that it is a combination of at least 3 of the 7 Deadly Sins (Greed, Vanity, and Pride). I think most of us in the recruiting business learned or reinforced our idea of the value of humility.
Do you have a mentor to whom you attribute your overall outlook on recruitment, capabilities, and/or model your career after?
Larry: I often recall the story about the headhunter that got me in to this business? Her name is Dee Jabaut and she exemplifies all that is good in our industry and in life. She is a valued and loyal friend and everything that I would hope to be in life. She is a consummate professional, wonderful parent, always gracious, diligent, charitable, and patient.
Six Degrees: Tell us about your position, (responsibilities, size of your staffing organization) :
Larry: I have spent the last three years primarily in an individual contributor role. My responsibilities have included project management, client manager relationship, sourcing, recruiting, and new business development.
Six Degrees: (A) What other companies' recruiting operations do you admire or have heard are best-practice examples?
Larry: Without firsthand experience, it would be hard to designate who has the best recruiting practices. If you look at the top 25 in Fortune’s Best Companies to “work for list”, I had heard horror stories about some of their staffing organizations. Regardless of the success of the company, I think that the overall candidate experience is vital to managing employee branding. Whether or not the candidate is hired, what they tell their circle of influence is ultimately important to the future of their recruiting. I think that this is even more magnified with the advent of applications such as Twitter and Facebook.
I think that it would be a healthy, although not practical exercise, to make corporate recruiters interview externally at least twice a year. This would remind them how it feels to be on the other side of the equation.
I also feel that the true measurement of recruiting comes 90-180 days after the hire. Measuring employee and manager satisfaction, employee performance, and attrition are key metrics.
There are definitely some companies that stand above the rest, companies where employee and customer loyalty rank high. I admire companies like Southwest Airlines, Whole Foods, Frito Lay, Qualcomm, Ernst & Young, and Boston Consulting.
(B) In what aspects are they superior?
Larry: Branding, internal and external. Treatment of employees, quality products, and customer satisfaction.
Six Degrees: What recent general news story or industry trend do you feel will have an impact on your work in the future? Why?
Larry: More tech firms innovate in Silicon Valley but sell overseas! Companies that focus on mass market (China, India, Africa, and South America) are finding greater success. “In down economic times, every company should be thinking: Do I have my balance right? Instead of spending so much money on marketing in some of these depressed markets, some of that should be diverted to parts of the world that are not as negatively impacted.” These markets have typically been ignored. Successful examples are companies like Telegent Systems, Ruckus Wireless, UTStarcom, and Legend Silicon.
Six Degrees: Tell us about your broader involvement within the staffing industry:
Larry: Outside of local SIGs and affiliations with IEEE (The Consumer Electronics Society and The Antenna and Propagation Society), I have been regretfully reticent. I have been focused on international recruiting to include EMEA, Africa, India, APAC, and South America. I do plan on attending the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona next year.
Six Degrees: Can you detail how the recession has affected your particular industry niche?
Larry: I am fortunate that my current client has not been greatly affected by the global economic downturn. We have been actively hiring for the last 14 months and have aggressive hiring goals throughout 2010.
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.
Larry: Over the last three years I have intentionally built out my Linkedin network by industry segment, targeted companies, and international exposure. That foresight has allowed me to actively search for my current needs. It is an evolutionary process or one might say intelligent design! It is better to be in a revolutionary rather than reactionary mode.
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?
Larry: Don’t be afraid to ask for help! Most people are willing to help you achieve your goal if you ask politely. Aristotle stated that “man is a political animal, meaning an animal with an innate propensity to develop complex communities”. By nature we want to help people, preferably if that help doesn’t require a great exertion of time and energy. Using Linkedin as an example, if you use the route of requesting an introduction in order to present an opportunity, most people will forward that introduction when approached professionally. Granted, the degree of assistance increases with the proximity to the person we are helping. Of course for expediency, you should simply try calling your intended candidate.
People are also more willing to help if you are offering value to their cooperation. Whether that is an offer to help a friend, an offer to help them in the future, a monetary offer, or sometimes a simple thank you. Remember not to be demanding or too persistent. I prefer the term, gently persistent while trying to achieve a goal.
Six Degrees: What is your next career goal? What do you need to do to get there?
Larry: Ideally I would like to secure an opportunity as a staffing director/manager. The best position I have ever had was managing and mentoring a staffing organization. I like being responsible for the overall talent acquisition process. There is a great deal of satisfaction growing your own company. That is the one element missing from project based staffing.
I need to find a start-up or small company willing to give me the opportunity to run their staffing organization. Either that or a regional staffing management position for a large international corporation.
Recommendations For Larry
“Larry is an excellent and very professional recruiter. He is very dedicated, hard working, committed, and driven to results. I’ve had the chance to work with him at Palm as a technical recruiter for my system electrical engineering design team. He was very thorough in his search for potential candidates and has successfully provided quality candidates. He is excellent in identifying good candidates and recognizing their talents and the fit in my team. He is very proactive and follows up with the candidate regarding interview schedule, information about the position, feedback, and negotiating offers. He also is very good in communicating with me regarding progress and updates. He is definitely a pleasure to work with and an asset to a company!” November 11, 2008
Bernadette Lozano, Hardware Development Manager, Palm
“I worked with Larry in two different ways. First of all, he was instrumental in getting me hired to my current position at Palm. Larry was in Palm's HR/staffing department but it almost seemed like he was my own recruiter. He always kept his promises, followed up on time, and worked hard to meet or exceed my requests. Even after I accepted the offer, Larry followed up with me and wanted to know if there was anything he could do. This has definitely been my best recruiting experience so far. Secondly, Larry also helped me find candidates for an open position at Palm. I have been very pleased in his abilities to provide me with candidates that matched the job description.” August 25, 2008
Thorsten W. Hertel, Sr. Antenna Design Engineer, Palm
“I am appreciative to Larry's consistent and thorough search for candidates during this critical time for our project to find qualified candidates. Larry did an excellent job following up with the candidates to arrange for interviews, giving feedback and negotiating offers. Worked closely with us and he is proactive in returning e-mails and phone calls.” July 13, 2007. Top qualities: Expert, On Time, High Integrity
Sameer Haddad, Sr Staffing Consultant, Spansion
“I had the opportunity of working with Larry at Spansion, a leading supplier in flash memory. Larry is a seasoned recruiting professional who brought leadership and stability to Spansion’s recruiting team. As a senior technical recruiter Larry’s focus was in the device space, which is a very difficult area to recruit for in the semiconductor industry. Larry established solid relationships with hiring managers, was a valued business partner and was able to consistently met expectations. Larry was definitely a team player and a pleasure to work with.” October 30, 2007
Wayne Widdig, HR Manager, Spansion
“Larry supported our Connected home and mobile device business at Motorola. In a short period of time, Larry was instrumental in making several critical hires on a high profile project. I found Larry to be a strong E2E staffing professional. Moreover, the clients (hiring managers) found him to be a valuable asset, identifying highly qualified candidates for hire.” October 23, 2007. Top qualities: Great Results, Expert, On Time
Nick Mailey, Staffing Manager, Motorola
“Motorola hired Larry through his company i-Hire to do some recruiting for us in the N. CA and S. CA areas. I found Larry to be very professional, have good technical knowledge and deliver great customer service in a timely manner. I would work with Larry anytime.” July 22, 2007. Top qualities: Personable, Expert, High Integrity
“Larry is excellent to work with and is results oriented. He is very responsive and professional and knows his business.” July 13, 2007. Top qualities: Personable, Expert, Creative
Leo Barnes, Staffing/Business Development Manager. RemX IT
“Larry and I worked together to staff one of my projects. I found him to be a joy to work with under demanding deadlines in a high pressure environment.” December 28, 2006. Top qualities: Great Results, Expert, High Integrity
Scott Wright - hired Larry more than once
“Larry is a professional in the true sense of the word. He has an uncanny ability to communicate and understand conceputal issues at all levels. Larry gives 110% to ensure the project you are assigned is satisfactory. It has been a pleasure working with Larry and I will be glad to do so in the future.” August 2, 2006
Manoj Goyal, Independent Consultant, Squar Milner Reehl Williamson, LLP
“I relied on Larry to staff two critical roles in my company's Marketing organization. Through Larry's diligent search capabilities, his attention to my specific criteria, and his follow-up throughout the negotiation process, I recruited two "anchor" members of our current team. They significantly deepened my team's bench, and both exhibit the capability to advance to higher leadership roles.” January 9, 2006
Kristin Jordahl Hansen
“I have had the pleasure of working with Larry over the past year. He is not only well polished but also has a high level of integrity. Larry has proven to be a very effective recruiter and account manager and thus is within the top 2% of producers at our company.” April 13, 2005
Chris Stewart, Account Manager, RemX IT Staffing
“I was first introduced to Larry when his company brought a recruiting plan to my organization to help us source hard-to-find technical jobs and fill positions that had been vacated due to the dot-com frenzy. Larry led the effort as project manager and offered workable solutions that allowed us to surpass our hiring goals. Larry gets results because he is a professional recruiter who knows technology and offers exceptional customer service.” October 2, 2007. Top qualities: Great Results, Expert, Good Value
Brenda K. Brown, MS
“As a manager and leader, Larry is someone who is committed to developing your skills and knowledge. He's the type of leader that likes and wants to help you out as much as he can. He's a great listener and is very empathic. I know that he has grown a lot of valuable relationships because of these characteristics. As a Sr. Level recruiter, Larry is the best I know. He's a great networker, aggressive, and is very creative in finding the right candidates.” October 1, 2007
Racquel Cariaso, CIR, Recruiter, eJobs
“Larry is always focused on the task, ready to do whatever it takes to get the job done. He's an exceptional leader, as well as a committed team player.” June 22, 2007
Garry King, several, Ejobs…