focus the limelight on those activist members who make RecruitingBlogs tick, it is a pleasure to introduce Eric Raynard. He has more than 20 years of experience in client - directed, project - managed search services. His practice focuses primarily on technical and operations positions with sports and recreation equipment companies.
During the course of his career, Eric placed successfully with IBM, Johnson & Johnson, Wrigley, Applied Materials, and other world-class organizations from Boston, MA, to Portland, OR, and from Sarasota, FL, to San Diego, CA. He continues to improve and refine his skills.
He was previously with the BridgeGate Group from September '89 - March '96 where his practice migrated from individual contributor to Director and Vice President level. Eric helped perfect the ten - step search process; wrote marketing materials; and conducted training classes in recruiting techniques. Named Team Leader in June '94, he built a four person Technical and Operations Group.
Q & A with Eric Raynard
Six Degrees: Tell us of your home world.
Eric: I have been married to Susanne for 28 years -- which is almost half my life, We live in the Sunset District of San Francisco. We can see the Pacific Ocean from the second floor deck of our home. We have two sons. Max is 24 and Jack is 21. They both live in San Francisco. From our home, I can jog up into Golden Gate Park, out to the ocean and back to the house in a five mile loop. It’s a great way to start the day.
Growing up in Chicago, I visited the Art Institute frequently. I was particularly drawn to the works of Vincent Van Gogh and Claude Monet. As a small boy, I made a pledge to myself that if the opportunity ever came my way, I would go to France to see where these masters created their works.
Through a fortuitous set of circumstances, and the generosity of a dear friend, I have been able to visit France for two weeks in ’07 and two weeks in ’08. We spent time in the last three towns where Vincent lived and visited Monet’s estate at Giverny as well as the museums in Paris which display their works including the Musée d’Orsay, Musée de L’Orangerie and the Musée Marmottan.
I read a number of books on the artists before and after the trips. There’s a very interesting contrast between the anti-social Van Gogh, who died at 37, and the gregarious Monet, who lived into his 80’s and donated major works to the nation of France.
Needless to say, I have become quite a buff and can explain the differences between Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” (this painting is in the Museum of Modern Art in New York and was created from memory while he was housed at the asylum in St. Remy in 1889) and “Starry Night Over The Rhone” (done in ‘plein air’ in Arles in 1888 and houses in the d’Orsay). Okay, I see your eyes are glazing over. I’ll stop now [Laughs].
Six Degrees: How many years have you been in the staffing industry?
Eric: I have been in recruiting for more than twenty years.
Six Degrees: How did you get started as a recruiter?
Eric: I started way back in ’88 at a firm called Sales World. It was a contingency firm filling sales positions which has subsequently gone out of business. It was, for the most part, a great way to get training in the field of recruitment. There were methods and metrics for everything.
Each recruiter was assigned a “desk.” For a while, I worked “packaging” and came to know every purveyor of corrugated containers in the San Francisco Bay Area. In other words, they encouraged industry specialization. They also taught candidate and client control. The Sales World style might have been a bit old fashioned … maybe a bit “used care sales” in tone. But the concepts behind the style (like consistency of effort) were extremely valid.
Then I was recruited to a much higher end firm, The BridgeGate Group, in ’89 when it was the largest privately owned search firm in the state of California. I worked in the San Francisco office. We had the entire 37th floor of the Transamerica Pyramid. It was a pretty posh location. It was interesting working in the Financial District, wearing wool suits and silk neck ties every day. I was in the office when the earth quake hit in ’89.
At The BridgeGate Group, the focus was on providing real search services for client companies. My practice migrated from contingency to retained. There was a lot of cross training going on there. We taught each other how to finesse certain situations and how to “thought lead” the client companies to make a decision. The entire style was much more subtle and sophisticated than Sales World.
About ’93 or so, I was promoted to Team Leader in charge of a small group in the functional area of Manufacturing and Operations. That played to my interest in how things are made. My group placed people with Applied Materials, Johnson & Johnson and Wrigley, among many others.
Six Degrees: What single event had the most impact on your sourcing/recruiting career?
Eric: In ’95, a colleague passed a lead to me. She was placing software people with IBM and they needed a Purchasing Manager for the Boulder, Colorado, facility. That was where they were doing software duplication, manual printing and kitting for internal and external consumption. Remember, this was before internet speeds made downloading software easy, cheap and quick.
I went to meet the prospective client wearing a blue suit, white shirt and red power tie … the iconic IBM uniform of the time. The client was wearing a sport shirt and slacks. We hit it off. He selected me for the assignment. Then I initiated the search. I did significant telephone recruiting, went to the Boulder area, interviewed several candidates and went to the IBM facility to make a report. We found a terrific candidate at Coor’s Beer who was subsequently hired.
After a while I realized that I had successfully placed with one of the “brass nameplate” companies and the people from that company never cared about the wool suit or the posh office or collegial rapport of the firm. It was my own ability to understand the position skills needed and the interpersonal chemistry desired -- plus the basic diligence to do the recruiting work and give them enough choices to make them happy. Shortly thereafter, I left the BridgeGate, where I was surrendering half my fees for the office space and training and award trips and hung out my own shingle.
I’ve been operating independently since March of ’96.
Six Degrees: Tell us about your compay, Jackson Maxwell Raynard
Eric: I am a Vice President at Jackson Maxwell Raynard, a boutique recruitment firm headquartered in San Francisco. We specialize in technical and operations positions with companies making sports and recreation equipment. Most are “back of the house” positions. We work from individual contributor level up to Vice President and have placed with such identifiable brands as Samsonite, Victorinox, Precor, CamelBak, Yakima, JanSport, Spyder and Schwinn.
Six Degrees: Can you detail how the recession has affected your particular industry niche?
Eric: About four months ago, I got calls from four people who had been laid off - all before lunch! It got me thinking. I should provide information for candidates to help them with my client companies, such as interview preparation, including what kinds of questions to expect and how to answer those questions. That type of coaching could be of value to people who are between careers or looking to upgrade their positions.
Simultaneously, I started blogging. There are simple, discreet lessons one learns in the recruiting field. Like how to answer the dreaded money question or how to research a company before going in for the interview. I am at the place where I want to share that knowledge, either in a one on one coaching session or in the broader context of a web posting. So today I have broadened my service offering to include all forms of career coaching.
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.
Eric: I have about 12,000 records in my database. That probably represents more than 9.000 separate individuals. So that’s where my networking starts. Additionally, I am a frequent user of LinkedIn and belong 13 groups including Linked: HR, Outdoor Sporting Goods Connection and World Cycling Industry.
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?
Eric: The written word is different than the spoken word. Without tone of voice, it’s very easy to misinterpret things. Be careful what you write because it can be interpreted in a number of different ways. Use language that’s family friendly. If you are expressing an opinion or point of view, I recommend you do so in a gentle fashion. It’s amazing to me, when you follow the strings of comments, that a simple question like “Are Human Resource professionals liberal or conservative?” can elicit such strong back and forth debate. Seems like some people have just too much time on their hands.
Six Degrees: What is your next career goal? What do you need to do to get there?
Eric: No question about it, this economy has reduced the amount of hiring and, therefore, the amount of ongoing retained search work available. Prospective clients have invited me to participate on a contingency basis and, at least for now, I’ve resisted the temptation because it feels like going backward.
I have all this experience and talent to bring to an assignment … and I can provide a more comprehensive service if I conduct a comprehensive search. So my next career goal is to return to “those thrilling days of yesteryear “ -- when retained search was at least a strategic option for urgent, critical hires.
In my heart of hearts, I believe there’s a lot of pent up demand for a quality service geared to hiring quality people in key contributing rolls and I think (and hope) the tide will turn before 2010. I guess that’s the stubbornly optimistic part of me.
It’s important to communicate the value proposition of search. Even in a down economy. Because the economy won’t be down forever and the less expensive, less customer friendly options (like internet postings and contingency search) will diminish in usage because there is very little value added in those ways.
day, read this blog entry, and immediately send an email in which you voice your objections to the .jobs proposal to email@example.com.
On the other hand, if you believe that the ends justify the means, then sit back and wait until about mid-August when some back room deals could be approved that will result in Employ Media, a for-profit organization which is closely related to the non-profit DirectEmployers (yes, that's correct), is able to do just about whatever it wants with the .jobs domains.
If you're a third party recruiter specializing in information technology workers, wouldn't you love it if Employ Media refuses to sell InformationTechnology.jobs to you and instead creates its own job board using that domain? Better yet, how about if you specialize in that market in Chicago and Employ Media gives you the choice of buying ChicagoInformationTechnology.jobs for a measly $5,000 per year or watching them create and promote that domain to your clients? Or you're Microsoft and Employ Media gives you the choice of buying both SoftwareEngineer.jobs or SeattleSoftwareEngineer.jobs for $100,000 per year (they'll have full control over the pricing for different domains for different potential buyers) or they'll turn around and sell those to Amazon for $10,000 per year (maybe their sister works at Amazon so they want to cut her a deal that they won't make available on the same terms to you). Better yet, you're American Airlines and you're not even offered the opportunity to buy AmericanAirlines.jobs because Employ Media decides that it wants to use it to create a job board with job postings scraped from all sorts of U.S.-based airlines as well as loads of ads telling you that you need to have your credit history checked or you won't be hired and you should immediately request information about continuing your education because otherwise no employer will want to hire you. Nice, huh?
So how did this all get started? Actually, the origins were innocent enough. Six years ago, SHRM and Employ Media got together and submitted an application to the International Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the governing body for Internet domain names and top level domain (TLD) extensions like .com and .net, and requested that ICANN create a new TLD, .jobs. ICANN approved the application a year later in 2005.
SHRM was to be the sponsor of the new .jobs TLD. As such, its role was to set policy and establish registration requirements. Employ Media was essentially to administer the TLD, including selling the new domains. Due to a startling lack of transparency, we don't know much else about the relationship although it has been reported that "SHRM receives a flat fee from Employ Media for its role in sponsoring the .jobs TLD."
So what .jobs domains are available? The .jobs charter limits their use to domains such as organizations such as Toyota or Microsoft using them to drive traffic to their career sites. So Toyota could use Toyota.jobs and Microsoft could use Microsoft.jobs but job boards such as Monster and CollegeRecruiter.com could not use Monster.jobs or CollegeRecruiter.jobs unless it was to promote their own job openings and not those of their clients. Similarly, job boards like Monster and CollegeRecruiter.com could not register Automotive.jobs or SoftwareEngineer.jobs and use those to drive traffic to job posting ads they sold to Toyota or Microsoft. In short, the .jobs domains were reserved for employers promoting their own job openings. End of story. Or was it?
Well, if the story ended there, no one would be upset except, perhaps, for SHRM and Employ Media. You see, after five years, Employ Media has managed to sell only 15,000 .jobs domains even though there are some 13 million employers in the U.S. alone and likely hundreds of millions more in other countries. So SHRM and Employ Media apparently huddled up and agreed that their partnership was failing and brainstormed about how they could turns their lemons into lemonade.
The scheme they hatched was to pretend that ICANN authorized Employ Media to do with .jobs just about anything it wanted with the .jobs TLD included the creation of potentially a million new job boards owned and operated by Employ Media. Yes, a million. They really said that.
SHRM apparently thought this was such a good idea that in a process that resulted in the resignations of multiple members of the task force charged with overseeing the process, it gave its blessing to Employ Media to charge ahead. Employ Media could sell some .jobs domains to job boards and other organizations whose eligibility and cost for buying the domains would be determined by Employ Media with no oversight in a process which would lack transparency (see a pattern here?) and use other domains to create perhaps a million new cookie cutter job boards to go along with the estimated 100,000 which already exist.
Do you want Employ Media to create hundreds of thousands and perhaps a million new job boards however it sees fit when the charter it and SHRM were granted clearly restricted the use of the .jobs domains to employers wanting to create an easy way for their candidates to go directly to the career section of the employers' web sites? Some may argue that this is just free enterprise at work and I would agree in part. Although the creation of a million new job boards will surely add new competition, that isn't the problem. I wouldn't be thrilled about that, but I also wouldn't be helping to lead the objectors in this process. Rather, it is the lack of openness, transparency, and even honesty that is the problem. If the new domains were to be sold like .com domains -- anyone can buy them in a manner that is open, transparent, and honest -- then you wouldn't hear such a fuss. But if Employ Media gets its way then some .jobs domains will be sold behind closed doors and others will be retained by Employ Media to enrich its coffers through the creation of perhaps a million new job boards.
If you agree that Employ Media should be allowed to do what it wants, do nothing for inaction will surely lead to ICANN's approval. But if you don't want Employ Media creating and operating domains such as Headhunter.jobs, StaffingAgency.jobs, Chicago.jobs, SoftwareEngineer.jobs, SiliconValley.jobs, Dublin.jobs, or HoustonProfessionalSales.jobs then you need to take action today by simply sending an email to ICANN in which you object to the plans of Employ Media. And it really should be today because tomorrow (Thursday, July 15, 2010) is the deadline to submit comments on this.
Note that a personalized letter is a bit better than sending the same letter as everyone else, but sending the same letter is FAR better than sending no letter. Similarly, sending a letter by mail on letterhead is a bit better than sending by email on letterhead or sending a regular email, but sending a regular email is FAR better than sending none. So if you only have time to send a regular email, do so today. If you have time to also print it onto letterhead, sign it, and mail it, do so today. As reported last week by John Zappe of ERE, all comments must be received within the next four days on Thursday, July 15, 2010.
If you don't know what to write, have a look at what I and others have submitted or use this:
July 15, 2010
Peter Dengate Thrush, Chairman Members of the Board of Directors International Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers 4676 Admiralty Way, Suite 330 Marina del Rey, CA 90292-6601 USA
By Email To: firstname.lastname@example.org
RE: Employ Media sTLD Charter Amendment
Dear Chairman Dengate Thrush and Members of the Board:
I am writing on behalf of [insert the name of your organization here], to urge you to reject Employ Media's request for authority to permit second level registration of strings that do not correspond to an employer's name in the .jobs sponsored top level domain. My organization would be directly and adversely affected by this request and therefore opposes the unilateral expansion of the .jobs charter to encompass regional and industry-specific second-level registrations.
Since 1993, the community of online employment service companies--job boards, associations, staffing firms, newspapers and other publications that operate job posting and/or resume search databases--has effectively served working men and women and employers worldwide. These same organizations have also significantly improved the career prospects of veterans, minorities, disadvantaged persons and those affected by natural disasters such as Hurricane Katrina.
The separate and distinct communities of employers, staffing agencies, third party recruiters, job boards, and even career services are now threatened by the proposed expansion of the .jobs top level domain (TLD). The charter holder is attempting to extend the application of the TLD from its approved community--direct employers--into the online employment services community by introducing geocentric (i.e., Atlanta.jobs, NewYork.jobs, Athens.jobs) and occupation specific (i..e, nurse.jobs, salesperson.jobs, systemsanalyst.jobs) web sites. It now has a proposal to implement this plan before the governing board of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names & Numbers (ICANN).
This proposal violates both the spirit and the letter of the charter holder's contract with ICANN. No less important, it will grievously harm the online employment services community and therefore my organization by confusing the job seekers and employers who have long been the customers of the community.
[Insert your name, job title, and contact information here]
Oh, two more things:
When you email the above letter to ICANN, please cc me at Steven@CollegeRecruiter.com. I want to make a difference in this process and if you'll cc me on your email, I'll know that my time was well spent.
After you send your email by the evening of Thursday, July 15th, watch your inbox and perhaps also your spam folder because ICANN will kick out to you an automated email to confirm that you really exist. All you need to do is click the link in the email so your comment will be submitted. If you don't, it might as well not exist.