to her presentations, or heard of fellow colleagues speak glowingly of her capabilities – needless to say I have been impressed consistently with her public figure. I can also say with pleasure that we all share our admiration for Susan’s consistent weekly live chat contributions to RecruitingBlogs.com, the Recruiting Roadshow and her upcoming session at RecruitFest in Toronto.
It must be said, that having walked the streets of Amsterdam past midnight or dined, commiserated, and having corresponded with Susan Burns, “the person,” that my admiration is far more substantial in the compelling impact she makes as both a colleague and a dear friend. Her multi-faceted personality, conviction, and brilliance as a candid, thought-provoking, socially conscious friend and colleague are ever present. She is passionate in all things in life, and it is omnipresent when she evangelizes architecture aspects of Strategic Talent Planning, employment branding, and metrics that we as an industry excel through her contributions and it is in her valued friendship, that her gifts never cease to bring value.
I applaud all her contributions in our industry – she lives and breathes “pay it forward” and it is a pleasure to know that the RecruitingBlogs Community have an opportunity to share the many value propositions Susan offers so selflessly and with such passion that Jason Davis and I so often witness on a personal level. Susan Burns is the “real deal” – and the community is richer for all she contributes. Susan, today as a friend, an advisor to SixDegreesfromDave.com, a personal mentor, and a thought leader we salute you, and it is ever so well deserved.
Q&A with Susan Burns
Six Degrees: Tell us of your Home World Susan
Susan: I find a nice balance between taking on challenging physical activities and challenging career endeavors. Yoga, hiking and travel are among my deepest passions outside of work and when I can bring them all together its ideal. Two of my favorite hikes included a 100-mile trek through Torres Del Paine National Park in Southern Chile and a trip to Peru that included hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. I’ve traveled to Mexico, Costa Rica and British Columbia for yoga retreats and find the week long immersions an incredible rebalancing to the stresses of life – even though the retreats often include 5 to 6 hours of physical yoga each day. Yoga is also part of my everyday life and an area of growing interest and commitment. In fact, I’m about to undertake a 200-hour, 3 week teacher training in the Berkshires this July. There are also many areas in which yoga philosophy and practice can carry over into enhancing business practices. The very act of being “present”, focusing on the mind-body connection, and building a sense of community are just a few areas that could add value to the business world. I’m planning on exploring these further through my yoga studies and practice.
Six Degrees: How did you get started in talent management?
Susan: When I began my career I was in general management. I managed specialty stores and then made the transition into department stores. I loved the hum and buzz of the business and, over time, as I took on assignments of increasing volume and scope the challenges of creating community within a store environment were quite enticing. In my last store manager assignment I was responsible for over $40 million in annual revenue, an employee population of over 350 and a management team of about 16. But, one thing was missing – the company invested little in development efforts and I was intellectually bored. So, I decided to take a bit of a sabbatical and go to graduate school. I actually thought I would leave retail but found I liked the interconnectedness of strategy, product and tangible results. There is something very unique about this within a retail environment and when you’re playing in high volume you can see these three come together quite quickly.
After graduate school I joined Federated Department Stores (now Macy’s Inc.). At the time Federated owned Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s and generated about $15 billion in annual sales. Initially, my role was to lead the development of a centralized college recruitment and relations strategy. Federated hired about 550 college graduates each year and another 300 as summer interns. The year was 1998 and there was a lot of change occurring because of the Internet. One of the first things I had the opportunity to do was secure support to develop a website. I think there were about 6 people on the original development team and together we mapped out the strategy for what was to become Retailology.com. The timing was right and I was fortunate to have a really talented group to work with. We saw the impact and growing value of the site in a relatively short period of time, and could demonstrate to the organization the value of being online. One of the coolest things about Retailology is that it not only benefited Federated but it also became a tool to teach students about the retail industry.
A couple of years later as Internet recruiting was growing quickly in popularity and the task of sourcing/hiring via the job boards was overwhelming, I had the opportunity to present Retailology as a strategic solution for hiring across Federated – which included hourly, management positions across every function, and college recruiting. We won the support of the divisions and quickly undertook the challenge of building 12 recruitment sites on the Retailology platform. The company had an autonomous culture and the structure and branding strategy at the time required individual branded sites. As a whole, the company hired about 110,000 people annually so this was a very cool opportunity. The change implications for this were huge – we would be moving from 100% paper-based processes to taking everything online. There were several key events that created tipping points along this journey and by the time I left Federated in January, 2006, the Retailology corporate strategy had generated over 38% of the company’s total hires and touched just about every functional area and position up to director/VP. Taking on a broader role also advanced my position with the company and allowed me to take on a greater scope of work that included employment initiatives, employment branding, recruitment technology – both selection and development, change management initiatives, recruiter education and development. The role became that of an internal consultant and over the 7+ years I was with Federated I had the opportunity to work with a number of very talented and committed colleagues.
While it was a difficult decision to leave Federated I was at a point in my career where I wanted to take on a broader challenge. I had a hunger to experience another industry, immerse myself in a global business and take on a more holistic role in talent management. I was recruited to head up global staffing for Waggener Edstrom Worldwide (WE). WE is the second largest independent PR agency. They are the PR agency of record for Microsoft and also have growing practice areas in public affairs, healthcare, and consumer. Once again, I was fortunate to work with a very talented team of recruiters. While I only stayed with WE for about 18 months, great headway was made with advising the Board on workforce/talent planning initiatives, sourcing strategies, recruiting structure and processes, and introducing CRM technology.
Do you have a mentor to whom you attribute your overall outlook on recruitment, capabilities, and/or model your career after?
Susan: There wasn’t a single event or mentor but a string of events and experiences that have influenced how I think about talent management. First, my role in store management. In retail you are uniquely dependent on talent. Whether it be the product design, assortment selection by the buyer, distribution by the planner, merchandising in-store, leading a department/selling team, or the last “12 inches” between the sales associate and the customer – its talent that makes the ultimate difference. Retail is also a business environment where you can see people’s careers move quickly. Seeing a sales associate promoted to sales manager or an assistant buyer promoted to divisional merchandise manager and eventually on to roles of increasing scope and responsibility is very rewarding!
Second, coming out of graduate school I heard the same thing time and time again from my classmates – getting through to anyone in recruiting/hr was incredibly frustrating - whether callbacks, email responses, or just answering their phones. Many of my classmates were looking to make a career transition and getting a recruiter to look at their past experience and future potential was insanely challenging. The same thing would happen on informational interviews – hiring managers only wanted people who had done the job. Well, there’s evidence that indicates taking people with the potential and placing them in new environments leads to more creative thinking, innovation, personal growth and……better business results. And, while I couldn’t impact thinking across every aspect of an organization I could make a difference in how job seekers felt about their experience.
I’ve been fortunate to have several mentors during my career. Mostly in the earlier days but that’s when I also think its most important. As I was “growing up” in retail it was at a time when mentor relationships developed more naturally. They not only helped me to understand the business at a more strategic level but to think broadly and creatively about building partnerships and getting results. Both of them were also terrific leaders and had their own unique way of building teams and camaraderie. Two of these mentors are still my closest friends today and are still the first people I turn to for guidance.
THOUGHT LEADERSHIP RECOMMENDATIONS
“Susan is smart, analytical and a great client. She knew what she wanted and was able to communicate that in an effective way. She brings original thinking and a wide network of information to any project she is part of. I have worked with Susan for several years including when she was at Macy's, Waggner and now at Talent Synchronicity. We have worked together on projects that involved selling concepts to senior management that were forward looking and not necessarily easy to get approved. Her combination of influencing skill, persistence and intelligence have led each project to a successful conclusion. She gets things done efficiently and effectively and is a good partner.” March 26, 2008
Kevin Wheeler, President/Founder, Global Learning Resources, Inc.
“Susan puts recruitment process vision to work with quantifiable results. She tackled workforce planning, recruitment process and brand issues at Federated Department Stores by developing and implementing one of the first uniquely branded recruitment websites for the retail industry which resulted in tens of thousands of hires. Susan is top notch and I would use her to handle any workforce opportunity." February 22, 2008
Hank Stringer, Principal, QTalent Partners
“Susan is a professional with a deep understanding of all three legs of the corporate HR platform: business strategy, HR process and leading-edge technology. Her depth of insight into ways to make HR a strategic business asset are both unique and extraordinary. It has been a real pleasure working with (and learning from) her.” January 7, 2005
Jeff Hunter, Senior Director, EA University at Electronic Arts
“I've worked with Susan Burns for a little over a year now and I can say that she has the most strategic, forward-thinking and fresh approach to talent acquisition out of any leader that I've worked with in the industry. I've always said that I wanted to work with someone who I could learn from, who wasn't just pushing old ideas and who would challenge me in new ways. Susan has always managed to challenge me. She has a unique way of getting you to think about things differently. Susan is also amazingly connected in the industry and the relationships she has helped me form with thought leaders has been invaluable. She is an avid reader and spots trends and innovations before most people have adopted the known innovations. The talent acquisition community has mostly agreed that finding people with passion for their field is a key performance indicator. I've met few people with as much passion for our industry as Susan. She thinks way outside the box, outside the organization and outside the industry to come up with advances in our field that are truly innovating the way organizations acquire talent. Most notable is her work with retailology.com prior to joining Waggener Edstrom and the workforce planning work she is currently designing at our organization. If you work in our industry I hope you have an opportunity to meet Susan, collaborate with her, brainstorm, have her tell you to put on your kid glasses or just have a quick brainstorm with her. I think you will find that you walk away feeling like you have learned something new.” May 16, 2007
Steve Fogarty, Talent Manager, Adidas
"Susan is a talented staffing and recruiting professional who brings a wealth of experience and expertise in the acquisition of talent and workforce planning. In her role with Waggener Edstrom, she was responsible for the global acquisition of talent and her work had a significant impact. Her passion and commitment were clearly evident and the results she guided were notable. A reduction in time-to-fill, a broad portfolio of sourcing vehicles, and several new creative staffing strategies and initiatives were all part of what Susan contributed to. Additionally, her leadership in guiding the Agency's Advisory Board through a workforce planning strategy advanced our staffing capability to positively impact the business. As a staffing industry leader she is broadly recognized for leading edge thinking and the perspective she offers to organizations and clients. Susan is smart, strategic and results-oriented. I see her as flourishing in an environment that has the management of talent as a critical business priority and where Susan can freely demonstrate her entrepreneurial and results-oriented talent."
Daniele Joudene, SVP, People Services, Waggener Edstrom
“Susan Burns is one of the most talented leaders in the talent management industry today -- smart, innovative, passionate, dedicated, and able to see and create solutions where most people can only identify challenges. Quite simply, she helped to make us better and more innovative as a company/partner, every step of the way. Our partnership in developing WetFeet Recruiter's Enterprise Interview Scheduling system, which delivered industry-first innovations in many areas, is just one example of one of her strongest personal assets: Susan gets results. The passion, energy, focus and commitment she brings to her work is simply extraordinary. What a joy to recommend her!” October 11, 2007
Gary Alpert, CEO, WetFeet Inc.…
eers do are not equivalent to what illusions a magician pulls from a hat, but rather - the product of wisdom they have gained from years of dedicated inquiry, research and deliverables. Who better to start the series than my continuing conversation with Russ Moon, aka, "the Sourcing Samurai".
• Russ Moon
• Sourcing Consultant, Talent Find LLC
• Richmond VA
• RecruitingBlogs Profile
• Office: 804-643-8604
• Mobile: 804-402-2364
Q&A with Russ Moon
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?
Russ: In general employee referrals rank right up there for corporations. The internet with proper candidate development is even less, but frequently is not maximized in terms of the cost reduction potential. This is due to improper structure, inadequate training, process…..it only takes one fundamental block to be out of place to drastically dilute your results.
Six Degrees: What talent niche groups do you target and are these particular talent areas specialized under your review?
Russ: The computer does not know if you are looking for executive chefs, gas turbine start-up engineers or SAP FICO folks…that’s what I love is the variety of searches available. If you know the syntax, tools and techniques you can find what is needed. I love the hunt.
Six Degrees: What types of training in sourcing/recruitment are available to you and have you taken advantage of?
Russ: I have approached my training from a holistic standpoint in that I try to expose myself to a variety of training given that each has its own merits. My goal with each session is to learn at least 3 new things I can try to help me find talent more efficiently and rapidly.
My education started in 2000 when I started with the original AIRS I,II and III (CIR) courses. Then I was fortunate to be on the AIRS University program during my tenure at MeadWestvaco while serving on their centralized recruiting team. I took full advantage and took like 9 courses in 7 months and that saturation training really leapfrogged my ability.
About the same time I recruited Shally to help me go to the next level and started his apprenticeship program. We worked together several times a week, he would at times coach me on particular searches or even come online with me to search and show me new approaches. That one year, in retrospect evolved me more than 5 years of self study. My income based on what I could do experienced a nice surge during that timeframe…so something was working …at least for me.
During my time at Wachovia I became involved with Broadlook Technologies and had some high caliber 1-1 training sessions with Kary Valley. Kary is simply scary smart and his impact on how I viewed what is possible in terms of data mining blew apart my mindset at the time. Delved very deeply into their Eclipse product, ultimately being named their first non-employee Black Belt. What still blows my mind is there is still a healthy amount of untapped capability that I have not harnessed with that product.
I returned full circle near the end of 2008 and start of 2009 returning to AIRS to renew my CIR and earn the ACIR (Advanced Certified Internet Recruiter) and recently the CSSR (Certified Social Sourcing Recruiter ) certifications. Really enjoyed the experience and was pleased to see AIRS still bringing fresh content to the training space. Every conference I attend I have made a point to sit in on Glenn/Shally’s presentations to stay on top of new syntax and their approach to sourcing. Preparing to further study under Shally as his time allows to “take it up another notch”. That will happen this week in his home and I have asked him to put together a regime for me that is somewhere in intensity between US Army Ranger Training and an unsedated medical procedure.
I want it to expose every chink I may have, put it out in the open and then we will jointly develop a written development plan to take me from point A to point B. I have also already heavily invested in some of Broadlook new training which is quite good. Improvement doesn’t just occur, you have to mentally be willing to pay the price just like an Olympic athlete who endures the workouts to condition themselves to perform at their peak.
There is a great deal of informal sharing and training that goes on, specific people I seek on particular topics. It is just a matter of saying “I’d like to learn more about this” and it helps to bring something to the table to share with them. I love our community.
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?
Russ: It really depends on the assignment. I no longer have a stock response of “I use XXX” because my toolkit has developed to the point of being somewhat unique and to tools to some degree can impact the direction the search takes based on the capabilities you have available to you. Of course, it comes back to skill and being comfortable with a certain procedure or tool or syntax which comes through practice. Lately, I find myself rethinking how to generate more speed in terms of my ability to find the same people I would have located anyway faster. The goal being to develop a more optimized toolkit and how I use it to allow me to deliver more talent in the same amount of time. Enjoying the process and several people have shared tips that have already shown me this is going to be a very good initiative. Some tools recently have been deleted, while in the last week I have added two new ones. Always evaluating and optimizing what works best in my assignments and if something doesn’t cut the mustard…it doesn’t last long.
Six Degrees: What tools (technology or old school file folder, for example) did you first encounter early in your recruitment career?
Russ: Three tools when I first started (2000) that stood out as having either a “wow factor” or extreme utility were ACT!, AIRS Search Station (beta-tested) and EGrabber address grabber.
• ACT! – has a lot of interesting features and I thought was pretty versatile
• AIRS Search Station – my first foray into beta-testing and seeing a glimmer of how powerful search technology could be
• EGrabber address – it worked, easy to use, worked with ACT didn’t have to worry about it doing anything except pretty much working.
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?
Russ: I had no idea what was involved when I started. I remember buying Paul Fordyce’s manual on recruiting and studying others to try to develop my own authentic style. Sourcing – was so new that few in our industry understood it, much less knew enough to set their expectations. I realized later, as I spent more time in the trenches that part of my role was to educate, facilitate, share and catalyze understanding. During that process I experienced some of my greatest moments of illumination.
Six Degrees: Worst mistake, biggest goof, lousiest practice you thought would fly but didn’t, and how that moment culminated into a true learning experience?
Russ: Early in my career I would start sourcing, with an ‘eager to please’ attitude, without fully arming myself with all the information needed to really surgically source. This resulted in some near miss type candidates which were in the ballpark but not “Yes!” caliber. Intake Mistake …don’t make it and I will blog on this very soon.
What I learned was ‘slow is really fast.’ Slow in terms of taking the time to really indentify exactly what we are seeking, mapping out where this talent typically would congregate and thinking through your toolkit to make a decision on which tool/technique/source etc is going to have the highest probability of revealing that talent pool on my screen so that the core pipeline can be built. The tool piece is a bit sophisticated because there are more variables to factor in, with practice you start dialing some techniques in and it is very pleasant when you see your results onscreen change from goobley-goop into pure usable talent….that’s an interesting moment every time.
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.
Russ: I am being very authentic (which can be scary) and let my actions do the talking. If people are paying attention, they will get the message.
Certainly, I’m very passionate about helping others learn more about sourcing because it is part of the giving back process. There is no doubt in my mind that I have some very bright folks who graciously mentor me and I want to extend their influence by passing that on to others. It never fails to help me evolve so that philosophy has resulted in one win-win after another.
The forthcoming radio show, Sourcing Samurai, will be part of that effort where I’ll talk to very seasoned, knowledgeable experts who have spent the time in the trenches to really know what works about the people, experiences, training, technologies etc. that forged their sourcing mindset; changing how they approached their craft forever. Hopefully this very candid sharing will stimulate some thought in the audience over how they might learn from what the guests share with me.
Research is as much about knowing how to find the answer as it is knowing it. I know the guests who are slated to share are people that anyone who wants to learn more would do themselves a service by making a decision to spend that 15 minutes or so with us. Understand I touched upon the Sourcing Samurai previously, but it bears repeating, something free you will not want to miss.
Six Degrees: “Best practice” you are most proud of developing (now or in the past) in your recruiting career?
Russ: I developed a sourcing model and was able to navigate actually gaining senior leadership approval without any revision to the original presentation. Again my network served as a private sounding board which contributed invaluable insight. My experience at Wachovia/Wells Fargo truly ingrained the concept and value of open collaboration. It is a form of intellectual diversity which results in an end product which is far superior to simply locking yourself in your office and doing the work in a vacuum.
Six Degrees: What are some of the frustrating aspects/obstacles to your day to day as a staffing professional and in general?
Russ: Striving for brevity for the sake of time while balancing that with ensuring the communication is effective and professional.
Six Degrees: What are the most common themes of strategic and/or tactical mishaps involving past or present HR/Staffing org?
Russ: My opinion, which I don’t confuse as fact
Project Management - We need better skills there in general. We need to ask the right questions, i.e., “What’s the real scope ?” “What outside of the scope?”
“Letting Perfect be the Enemy of Good” – at a certain point, get going, watch what happens and adjust accordingly. Jason Goldberg has a phrase “Ship it”, which I have adopted. “Ship it”, Just do it and adjust vs. waiting until everything is perfect and the window of opportunity it closed.
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?
Russ: I love what I do. Learning new things, analyzing, meeting the people, the relationships that have developed and are developing, technology - and I get paid to do things I really enjoy. I love it so much I just want to keep on going, evolving, growing, and seeing where the journey leads. We are in an era of exponentially accelerating possibility and that drives me.
Six Degrees: What one thing do you find most ideal given the opportunity to develop/ implementing/ invent professionally that has yet to be done.
Russ: I think for me personally I want to immerse myself in desktop technology and expand upon ways to increase the speed with which I source based on layouts, add-ons, toolbars and how I use them. It’s low cost, experience has shown me there is a lot of utility if you are disciplined in how you experiment and it sharpens your sourcing in general.
Six Degrees: Anything you want to plug?
Russ: My online Radio Show – "The Sourcing Samurai" - stay tuned lining up our first recording session now.
My Arbita BlogBlog – http://aces.arbita.net/blog/Russ
My Arbita Homepage
Six Degrees: How Are You Going To Change The Recruitment Industry?
Russ: I would like to help propel some of the thinking surrounding our industry. I would like to seed some healthy discussion, unearth some utilitarian tools, share with others and maybe inspire someone to really go for it. I have several experiences with “reverse mentoring” where I had a mentor who helped me with a topic and during that process I helped them gain a deeper understanding of what sourcing is all about. My new career provides opportunity for pursuing that passion and I truly enjoy the interaction with the super talented bright minds I tend to gravitate towards.
Help bring Sourcing/Research a little more out of the shadows. Keep and expand my seat at the table as a trusted adviser to the Senior Talent Acquisition Leaders who engage me to the point they want to bring me back. Help inspire someone with the aptitude to pursue this career path and show where it can lead.
nd Publisher Solutions Group (APS). She is a renown internet sourcer with varied background in the IT, Wireless, and Financial Industries. In her day to day at one of the most prestigious software development companies in the world, Kay is often sourcing prospects for lead Developers, Engineers, Testers, Security, System Admins, Business System Analyst, Project Managers, Program Managers, Media, Marketing, Search, Research, Recruiting, Sourcing, Online Media, On-line Networking, Blogger, and Social Media, etc
I had the unique pleasure of getting to know Kay in Atlanta last September at Shally's BBQ mixer on his deck and was immediately charmed by her genuine warmth, humility, and passion for her work and family life. Nearly every speaker for Sourcecon paid a visit for a chance to mingle, talk shop and to taste some of the best ribs and brats in town - but my conversations struck me as memorable, notwithstanding it my first opportunity to finally meet Kay after hearing so much praise within common circles. She has this winning smile that speaks volumes about her ability to connect instantaneously on a human level that I found endearing. I made a friend, but likewise I found someone I grew to admire over the course of that evening. I am fortunate to have the opportunity to share her background with Recruitingblogs today.
Q &A with Kay Kellison
Six Degrees: Tell us of your home world.
Kay: I have a partner named Mary Cay Kelison and we have been together for 18 years, She is my soul-mate and an awesome Sr. Technical Recruiter. When we met, I was a bartender studying art and she was a waitress while studying dance/linguistics/french. Our life has been blessed with two boys. They have captured our hearts and add their own imprints in our world. Deacon Blue Kelison leads the charge at three years old. Chase Orion Kelison, age one, challenges Deacon as well as keeps him grounded. Besides my partner, my boys are the best thing that has ever happened to me. We have a dog name Jaxx Magee (named after street-fighter) and a cat that thinks shes dog, her name is Colly Magum.
I was in the Navy for 6 years, traveled most of asia. Lived in Hawaii for those 6 years, honorable discharged in 1989 to go to art school. I have saved about 4 people’s lives , 2 dogs, and one cat. As an artist I have donated and sold my paintings around Seattle and on-line. I also make jewelry as a glass artist. I have donated time and art for the AIDS Foundation and Cancer Foundation which are very dear to my heart since I have lost a lot in my life to both diseases. I was brought up treating people that way I want to be treated and that when you see a stranger who is new to the area, or lost or need help. I without any hesitation will invite them to my home; especially around the holidays, I don’t like knowing someone is alone on the holidays. I also, will take the leftovers and we will hand out food to those on the street around our areas during the holidays.
Six Degrees: How many years have you been in the staffing industry?
Kay: Having ten years of experience, I have 10 years of strictly research, name generation. I don’t consider myself as a recruiter; I am a researcher who partners with recruiters. I also train and educate recruiters on all that is being offered and help them improve their knowledge of the forever changing web 2.0 generation.
My partner, and I are both in the industry. Her specialty is corporate recruiting and strategy with a focus on international. My role is strictly internet research, training, and establishing parameters of communication within an organization.
Six Degrees: How did you get started as a recruiter?
Kay: I am a Researcher/Trainer with AIRS Certification CIR, ACIR and I have been in the Recruiting Industry for 10+ years. I have made a career of Internet Research. As a Senior Internet Researcher and Trainer, I liken myself as a Sherlock Holmes of the Internet. I have great passion for the Internet and its unfathomable depths and unlimited potential. I believe in the hunt and don’t believe in stopping until I have found what I am looking for. I make strategic sourcing sense to my clients. With the demands of finding outstanding talent and keeping our internal customers happy, I form strong partnerships with Recruiters, working with them to create strategic plans and execute them so that clients are satisfied with the team’s efforts and results. I have had the pleasure of working with some amazing companies: Saltmine, Amazon, Microsoft –Ad Center as well as Microsoft India, Wachovia, T-Mobile…. At the present time I am the Sr. Researcher (aka Researchologist) for Microsoft Corporation in the APS group where I am a key player in building, training and setting the strategy for the Sourcing team. My approach adds value to Recruiting, explores, and exploits all old and new techniques for the best results.
Six Degrees: What single event had the most impact on your sourcing/recruiting career?
Kay: I would say working for a start up company; it empowered me to carve out my niche. My passion for creating the research need and it gave me the means to develop my skills. With the support of those who saw me as a diamond in the rough… look at me now. I am a diamond! The manager who gave me this opportunity is no longer in the field, but I am sure he would be very pleased where I am in my career and would say “I knew it all the time”
Do you have a mentor to whom you attribute your overall outlook on recruitment, capabilities, and/or model your career after?
Kay: I don’t have just one Mentor, I would say I have several who in most cases don’t even know the influence they have on me. Here are a few people that I appreciate for their influence on the sourcing industry Shally Steckerl, Rob Macintosh, Amy Beth Hale, Moises Lopez, and Carmen Hudson just to name a few. In someway, these are folks who helps confirm what I do, is a great validation and importance in our world of recruiting. To them, I would like to say Thank you!
Six Degrees: Tell us about your job
Kay: I am the Sr. Researcher (aka Researchologist) for Advertiser and Publisher Solutions Group (APS) at Microsoft Corporation where I am a key player in building, training and setting the strategy for the sourcing team. At any given time I will be working with 2 - 12 recruiters. My relationships with recruitment staff is very important to me. The goal is to effectively communicate needs on both sides so we can accomplish some of the difficulties of finding top passive talent. My work is to take some of the pressure off the recruiters and do most if not all of the internet name generation, sourcing, research, etc so that recruiters can focus on developing the passive and/or active candidate relationships. It is important to me that WE as a team work together to be sure candidate as well as the hiring manager has the best experience possible while working with our teams.
Six Degrees: Tell us about your industry involvement.
Kay: I spoke at SourceCon 2008, it was my first time and it was the best experiencing to have the support of my peers in the industry. I really want to make change and become more proactive in educating others as well as being a SME in my field. I still feel that my job is relatively new concept to recruiting in a way that there needs to be distinguished role in order to accomplish all the different approaches in conquering the multi facets in our growing technology.
Six Degrees: What is your next career goal?
Kay: I would like to get into a leadership role focusing on research, training, mentoring and speaking about to leverage each other’s skills and passion. As I work with recruiters and partner with the businesses of the company, the demands that both sides are facing in hiring talented candidates needs to have a synergy between the Research/Source/Recruitment/Hiring process. I want to be a part of a new movement and make change in recruiting. Recruiting in general is still having a hard time understanding the value of “specialized” individuals since the industry seems to want to create a super recruiter that can do all things. This process is broken when you have so many burnt out recruiters that are tired of working to the brink of exhaustion. We need to divide our roles and responsibilities to make work more creative, effective as well as efficient. With the new Web 2.0 generation, it’s just too much to have one individual to succeed. Let’s make the change together!
Six Degrees: Tell us of your other passions in life beyond work in our industry.
Kay: As a hard hitting internet researchologist and data manipulating mad woman – most would not picture the artist that paints Picasso like abstracts as well as creator of glass jewelry and especially not, the six year career in the United States Navy. My family taught service above self and to help those in need. Mary Cay and I continue that philosophy and way of life with our sons, be being involved with the homeless over the holidays and charity work. My time and various artworks have been donated to both the AIDS Foundation as well as the Cancer Foundation. Like most Americans, we have lost so many to those diseases.
Six Degrees: How Are You Going To Change The Recruitment Industry?
Kay: I feel very strongly about how communications is broken in our own recruiting world. If we don’t address some of the issues that we face as a recruiting function, then we will never move ahead with the ever changing technology regardless of the industry. We need to utilize our strengths and interest that we hold within the recruiting industry. In recruiting, we tend to make hiring and candidates a “process” and tend to forget about the “human” part of human resources. I decided a long time ago to focus on the research/sourcing aspects of recruiting because of the vast amount of information and the forever changing ways to connect with the talent that is available passively. I am finding more and more corporations are trying to save money by asking one recruiter to do it ALL. This is a major problem, because no one can do it all and be effective, efficient, and still love their job. In fact we have lost a lot of good recruiters because of lack of work life balance that company’s claim they have. I want (will) to be part of a new kind of recruiting and make changes in our industry that support multiple resources to provide the best human experience for candidates and clients alike. We need to start looking at passion, expertise, specialization, to be key factors in areas that we are able to provide research/sourcing/recruiting to humanize the process. By empowering an individual and giving them the education to accomplish these things, then we as team will be stronger and better. My motto: Knowledge is Power and Sharing is Caring! I love working with recruiters and businesses that benefit from my passion and knowledge!
Recommendations For Kay
“I worked with Kay at Amazon.com and found her to be a thorough, diligent researcher and sourcer. Kay's knowledge of search, research and sourcing continues to impress me, and her ability to quickly understand the elements of a search would benefit any organization. Moreover, she is fun to work with!” May 10, 2005
“Kay is a sourcing PHENOMENON! I am consistently amazed at her ability to network with and discover amazing talent for her teams - she is also incredibly gracious in sharing her knowledge with her peers - Kay is passionate about sourcing, and her talent at it is well known - she recently spoke at SourceCon '08. Any organization that is looking to grow and flourish will be lucky to have Kay as a part of the team. She's a star!” September 15, 2008
Mary Hurlock-Murphy, Lead Recruiter, Avenue A | Razorfish
“Kay is on the cutting-edge of deep search and candidate sourcing. When ever I work with Kay, I feel like I come away learning something new. Kay is a true wealth of knowledge when it comes to interactive search and sourcing and it has been a real pleasure working with her.” May 1, 2008
Peter Kaye, Sr. Recruiter, Avenue A Razorfish
“Kay is by far one of the best Sourcers/Recruiters I've worked with. Her knowledge and expertise is boundless and unmeasurable. She's always coming up with excellent strategies and ideas on sourcing and candidate generation. She's a pleasure to work with.” May 1, 2008
Jenafer Park, Recruiter, Atlas, a Microsoft Corporation subsidiary
“Kay is best, if you need to find anyone or anything via the web she will show you how!!! She is a self taught master at web sourcing, she spends 1:1 time with every new Recruiter on my team and I always take advantage of getting her on my calendar to learn new tricks of the trade. She is best I have worked with; she is always available and loves to help. A definite team player who thrives on helping my team become more successful. Highly recommend” May 1, 2008
Shannon Barbour, Recruiting Manager, Avenue A | Razorfish
“Kay is an incredible team-mate. Her experience, knowledge, drive, determination and creativity really shine through, and you see it when you work with her. Her passion for research, how to use it, how to share it are all things that make her great at her job,. Kay is a pleasure to work with and an awesome team member. GO TEAM SPIDERS!” November 9, 2007
Bryan Reichert, Prospecting and Networking Manager, aQuantive, a Microsoft subsidiary
“Kay is an amazing sourcer! She comes up with candidates that are right on. Kay assumes ownership and does what it takes to get the job done. I recommend her without any reservations.” June 6, 2007
Nelia Hayes, Senior Recruiter (Account Manager), Microsoft - Windows Live
“Kay is a very smart, dedicated worker that is motivated by using key sourcing techniques to find information that enables recruiters.” July 7, 2005
Tameiko Davis, Senior Technical Recruiter, Washington Mutual
“This woman is phenomenal at what she does. She is able to source potential candidates quickly when others have failed. I recommend her without reservation...she is excellent at what she does.” June 17, 2005
Vicki Cohen, Staffing Manager, Saltmine
“Kay is one of the brightest stars in internet research I have had the privelege of working with; she is also one of the most determined when it comes to producing results. Professional, fast, and very committed to the needs of the organizations she represents, Kay is a recruiter's dream to work with!” June 5, 2005
“I worked with Kay at both Amazon and T-Mobile. Kay would source candidates and I was her customer as a technical recruiter for both companies. Kay is excellent at finding good people and she gets what you are looking for very quickly. She uses her intelligence to find what you want. She is persistent and reliable and I would recommend her highly for sourcing. She adds value to any recruiting team.” May 12, 2005