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Alex Putman is the first of a series on the most active members of the RecruitingBlogs.com community. He has contributed recent blog posts that have attracted attention such as "Dirty Words Recruiters Use", "Be a Social T-Rex", "Do Your Prospects Know", and "Big Shoes Leave A Lasting Impression."
Alex enjoys consulting & coaching other recruiters in techniques that enhance their marketability and capabilities. He has lead workshops for new and seasoned recruiting professionals via a managed training program focused on goals, objective and time management. In the past decade, Alex's teams have been responsible for the fulfillment of 3,200+ requisitions and job orders.
Alex has a driven passion for utilizing social networking/social media, to benefit human resource services, talent acquisition, career coaching and assisting people in their search for career fulfillment.
Q&A with Alex Putman
Six Degrees: Tell us of your home world.
ALEX: I have been married for 7 wonderful year to my wife Tifany. We have 4 children including our beautiful twin daughters Alexis & Kathryn (6 yrs old), Gabrielle (3 yrs old) and son Corban (18 months).
I am extremely active in the lives of our children; participating in their many church and school events. I believe one of the greatest gifts given to us is the ability to see the world through the eyes of our children. This blessing has changed my entire outlook on life.
My personal hobbies include home renovation projects, working outside, getting together for cookouts with friends (especially during football season) and reading the Bible. I also enjoy Golf, College Football (Roll Tide), Basketball, pretty much a sports enthusiast. I am a strong family person; I do everything with my wife and children! We have a strong commitment to giving back within our community. I have had the honor of working with The Habitat for Humanity – Atlanta in partnership with 13 other local technology organizations. As a deacon at Shadowbrook Baptist Church, I am embedded in a multitude of activities offered at our church. My wife and I are invested in the College & Career class, Awana, and Children’s Worship.
Warm and fuzzy: Every month I take one of our daughters out for a date night! They enjoy going to the mall, having dinner at McDonalds and getting a giant pretzel. I hope this never changes!
Six Degrees: How many years have you been in the staffing industry?
ALEX: I have been in the industry for 13+ years. I started in executive recruiting and then made the change to the corporate side (Panasonic). Once I made this change my career rapidly progressed from an individual contributor to the HR Manager for Employment, Immigration and Employee Relations. We grew form 88 people to 450 with a Canadian office. After 6.5 wonderful years, we closed the facility.
I then went to work for a DoD contractor in the satellite communications (VOIP) field and found myself in the growth mode again (375 employees to 600 in 1 year!!!!). Too fast, we began to experience the pains of layoffs. I then incorporated myself (Eusebeia Consulting Group LLC www.webstarts.com/eusebeia. I quickly picked up 2 contracts as a consultant, one with Danger (www.danger.com) – they make the Sidekick for T-Mobile and another with Synergis (my current employer). I then decided to go to work growing a staffing firm, and what an adventure it has been! Recruiting has provided for my family over the years and I am grateful to this business and the many wonderful people I have met along the way.
Six Degrees: How did you get started as a recruiter?
ALEX: In preparation for my graduation from The University of Alabama (Roll Tide) in 1996 I was going through the campus career center for job placement. By shear accident I dropped my paper resume (yes paper, email was not so big then) into a file for AIM Executive. Little did I know the ride I was in for! This position took me to Toledo, OH (far cry from the farm in Smalltown, USA) and I was a full desk, commissioned recruiter, recruiting engineering talent for the automotive and manufacturing industry. Short lists of industries I have experience with include: Mobile Communications, Handheld devices, Satellite Communications, Utilities, Media, Automotive and Manufacturing. You name it, I have recruited for it, including; software engineers, hardware engineers, electrical engineers, manufacturing engineers, digital design engineers, network engineers and RF engineers. I have placed Project Managers, Program Managers, Product Managers, Sales Manager, HR Managers…really just about every type of person one can imagine.
Six Degrees: What single event had the most impact on your sourcing/recruiting career?
ALEX: Wow, huge question! I would have to say going through a company closure (Panasonic) and a layoff from the very next job. I incorporated myself, built a home office and began my journey of becoming highly networked. This is about the time I discovered people like Dave Mendoza existed. Prior to this I was in my corporate shell and let people come to me. I established a goal, “be the most networked person in Atlanta!”, Still working on this one, but the point is, I was able to quickly transition to perm placement from home and contract recruiting. I never missed a beat (or paycheck) and learned that having a strong network means everything (the 400 people from Panasonic all went to other companies, many of which I still do business with to this day!)
Do you have a mentor to whom you attribute your overall outlook on recruitment, capabilities, and/or model your career after?
ALEX: Many! Dan Bell from my first role was a recruiting machine. This man billed $1.5 million per year by himself! Many would not call Dan the “easiest” person in the world, however he instilled a sense of urgency in me early on. He once told me that he was scared to go to the bathroom during the day because he may miss a call that would lead to a placement!
I do plan to meet several “on-line” mentors at Recruitfest this year! This may come as a surprise to these people, but Jenny DeVaughn (whom I have met recently), Maren Hagen, Scott Love, Bill Radin (first person I heard speak) and you Dave are people I see on-line and love your stuff! The Recruiting Animal has some great stuff as well! I really try to find the best in their field and learn as much as possible!
Six Degrees: Tell us about your position as Director of Recruiting at Synergis:
ALEX: I am the manager of recruiting and currently have 4 direct reports (have had more prior to this year). I am part of our leadership team and have indirect responsibility for sales. Our total staff (Atlanta HQ) is 15 people. I have introduced a lot of social networking techniques and each team member has a personal branding plan. We boast a national client base with 300+ clients serviced. In conjunction with my recruiting, I maintain a few clients with whom we do a good portion of business (one client was $300k in sales last year -- goes back to my Panasonic network). I am also a member of the leadership function and involved in the corporate growth and planning of the company.
Six Degrees: (A) What other companies' recruiting operations do you admire or have heard are best-practice examples?
ALEX: TekSystems comes to mind, they are huge (12% market share), but what a success story. I respect them for their model, not their size. Apex Systems is a prime example, look at how fast they have reached the $360 million mark (10 years). Many other successful companies have utilized their model and are among the top in our industry.
(B) In what aspects are they superior?
ALEX: These companies have unbelievable training programs! I was fortunate to go through a strong training program, but TekSystems sets the standards. They really invest in the success of their employees.
Six Degrees: What recent general news story or industry trend do you feel will have an impact on your work in the future? Why?
ALEX: I know everyone is still buzzing about social networking / social media, but it is a trend that is here to stay! People are so busy and we are use to getting our information in “bits”. I recently read an article on vlogs (video blogs), I believe the industry and technology are merging and we will see this more the norm!
Six Degrees: Tell us about your broader involvement within the staffing industry:
ALEX: Conferences are great! I am extremely excited to attend Recruitfest this year (booked and ready to go)! I regularly attend the Technology Association of Georgia conferences, The Gwinnett County Chamber of Commerce meetings and the High Tech Career Ministries. Our company is a member of TechAlliance (formerly NACCB) www.techservealliance.org and we attend their annual conference in November. Last year I attended a “Lead Like Jesus” conference where Patrick Lencioni presented (great speaker).
This year I will be attending RecruitFest and possibly ERE (potential schedule conflict). I have worked closely with the Georgia Institute of Technology’s career center and participated in roundtable presentations. I am actively seeking opportunities to speak and be published. I am currently working on my first book and my goal is to speak at a major conference or forum in the near future.
Six Degrees: Can you detail how the recession has affected your particular industry niche? Has it effected your job or that of your fellow team members within the organization? strong>
ALEX: We are in the IT industry and although we have not been hit significantly, we have experienced some down time. In January of this year we (the leadership team) scrubbed our budget to the bare bones. We were able to plan for the year accordingly and to date have had a small increase in sales over last year, added to our sales and marketing functions and remained in the black for 2009.
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.
ALEX: So many! For two years I have aggressively encourage my team to develop their personal brand. We developed plans and events for them to attend. I created my own Yahoo user group (ConnectHiTech) as my initial platform into the social networking world. Recruitingblogs.com has been a real catalyst for blogging. This is something I always wanted to do, so I took the chance and my first blog written was a feature. After this boost of confidence, I have become a blogging machine ? I created my moniker “The Social T-Rex™” and have been running with this brand! I am currently developing a logo, website and many other features around this brand!
All of these have proven to be fruitful in extending my personal brand. My on-line brand has widened tremendously and has actually led to referrals, contacts and placements!
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?
ALEX: Don’t be scared! I know talented people, writers, speakers etc that are just scared of what people will think. I have learned, some people will like me, some will not…part of life! But by all means, put yourself out there and see what happens! In conjunction, be yourself, don’t be something you are not. If your personality can come out in writing or interviews then you will gain respect of peers and others (even if they don’t like you personally).
Six Degrees: What is your next career goal? What do you need to do to get there?
ALEX: My ultimate goal is to be a motivational speaker! I want to write a book (professionally and personal ideas) to incorporate my life experiences to help others maximize their potential. I want to be the guy that is sought after for speaking engagements works hard from home and creates a socially big personal brand….maybe as big as a T-Rex!
What do I need to get there? Advice and assistance from people already there! Jenny DeVaughn has a “pay it forward” concept and I firmly believe in this. If those who are already there can pull us up and then we become the ones pulling others up, everyone wins!…
ortant, and sometimes lonely job. I know because I’ve had the job more than a few times in my career."
"Central to an organization’s talent acquisition success is: an engaged executive and management team; a creative, competent and accountable recruiting organization; and a relentless focus on the candidate as the customer."
"A good 85% of recruiters hate a structured process imposed on them. If your tool also imposes a process, the likelihood of universal adoption is low. You can beat them mercilessly but they will evade you at every turn. It’s not always “user error” or poor configuration decisions that make a tool bad. Sometimes the tool is slow; or the search capability is uneven; or it simply does not work."
Carol Valenti Mahoney
Consultant, Talent Acquisition On Demand
A division of Live and Leap, Inc.
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• Business Website: "Professional TA"; F5 and Live And Leap
• Personal Blog: http://www.liveandleap.com/blog
Carol Mahoney has always been an early adopter. In 2010 we find the vernacular passe' but in the 1990's she co-founded "Guerrilla Recruiting” tactics, a hands-on workshop geared at helping high-growth companies compete. She was one of the first to recognize the significance "e-cruiting," and was innovative in recognizing the value of hiring sourcers to use the internet to produce passive candidates.
What makes Carol unique however is how she treats people. I have had the pleasure of visiting the Yahoo! campus on two separate occasions, and I was immediately aware that a special culture had been fostered under her leadership. A Margarita machine, balloons, and schwag galore were within my peripheral vision and employees were ... happy. It was downright festive as it was hectic; a bee hive swarm of activity with a common vision. When you walk the halls with her, take an elevator - it's never quiet, the pulse of the organization followed Carol and it was contagious. It was the only campus I have ever walked into where you had the pervasive feeling this staffing organization was a family not simply a team. Talking to her, you have the sense that she is one of the most elite of subject matter experts in her field, and yet she has a familiar, approachable air around her that is filled with a bellowing laugh.
To make the point sink in, when I first visited Yahoo! my ears had popped on the plane upon landing and I could barely hear a thing. It was her laughter catching fire within the cubicles assembled throughout her floor that resonated that this was the place to be. It was obvious that her recruiting org had enlisted enthusiastically on behalf of her War for Talent. She was the boisterous thinker overseeing the battle plans in all things.
Today, Carol Mahoney is the leading the way with "Live and Leap, Inc." The company, founded in June 2009, is comprised of two separate ventures: F5, Forums for Females Focused on a Fabulous Future; and a consulting arm dedicated to providing on-demand Talent Acquisition capability and support for high-tech companies – most recently Juniper Networks.
Prior to founding Live and Leap, Carol was Vice-President of Talent Acquisition at Yahoo, Inc., where she built a formidable global talent acquisition machine that produced thousands of high-profile hires to fuel Yahoo’s hyper-growth. In her 20 year HR career, Carol has held a variety of leadership and consulting roles for high-technology companies including Intuit Inc., Apple Computer, Synopsys Inc., Digital Equipment Corporation, and Advanced Micro Devices. Carol graduated from Santa Clara University with a Bachelor of Arts in English.
Q&A with Carol Valenti Mahoney
Six Degrees: Tell us of your home world, Carol.
CAROL: I’ve been married to Frank for 22 years. We have a 21 year old son, Douglas, and a beloved labradoodle, Luke. I live on the ocean in Pacific Grove, CA and I enjoy the gorgeous seaside as much as I can. I walk along the trail daily and often take the laptop down to the bench across the street to bring the concept of “working at home” to another level. I’m absolutely passionate about using my energy, connections and sense of humor to inspire women to create a “fulfilling, fabulous future”. To that end I produce a blog and have sponsored 2 forums for females.
Six Degrees: How did you get started in the recruitment industry?
CAROL: A hiring freeze at AMD took me away from my dream – a marcom job. The dream job that went “on-hold” gave way to an interim job as recruiter. I never looked back. I loved the recruiting game and quickly found that I loved to manage recruiting and HR. I was one of the youngest Recruiting Managers when I put the management career on hold to spend more time with my one and only son! The result was that I began contract recruiting – a job I thought would allow me to balance my role as mom more easily than a corporate manager role. The rest is history. I re-entered the work world as head of TA at Synopsys and continued along that path (with one notable detour – more later) until I left Yahoo! last year as Vice-President of Talent Acquisition. The exception? A brief detour in charge of Recruiting Operations with ProQuest (now Duran HCP) that also included developing and delivering Guerrilla Recruiting™ in partnership with at Gardner Consulting.
Six Degrees: What single event had the most impact on your sourcing/recruiting career?
CAROL: The biggest impact to my recruitment management career came in 1999 when the rolodex gave way to what, at the time, I dubbed “e-cruiting” I knew that sourcing would never be the same and had to trick my employer into hiring sourcers who would use the internet to produce candidates. It was a resounding success and today I’m blown away by the frontiers yet-to-be conquered, as social networking bulldozes onto the recruiting scene.
Do you have a mentor to whom you attribute your overall outlook on recruitment, capabilities, and/or model your career after?
CAROL: I have many mentors – mostly women – who have taught me about great leadership. I believe at the heart of any great organization, are great leaders. This applies to talent acquisition organizations as well. So I continually strive to hone my management skills, my strategic mind and my ability to connect with others in the pursuit of a meaningful, successful career. Mentors include:
Cheryl Van, ex-VP of Talent at Yahoo! – she taught me that engaging your heart is as important as engaging your head. Great leadership means bringing the whole woman to work – and that means bringing compassion and respect too! Every night she walked the halls to encourage people to go home – work-life balance actually meant something to her.
Libby Sartain, ex-Chief People Officer, Yahoo! – the woman laughs louder than I do…a feat I thought was impossible! She taught me that a successful woman doesn’t need to button up so tight that she doesn’t even recognize herself. Libby allowed her personality to color her leadership and she was best when she was unadulterated and un-cut!
Sherry Whiteley, SVP of HR at Intuit – some of us suspected that she was a fortune teller on the side. She had an uncanny “gut” and her intuition complimented her intellect allowing her to achieve near-miracles on a frequent basis. I thought my intuition was something to keep quite about, even embarrassing, until I met Sherry. Now I wish it was as honed as hers.
Six Degrees: Tell us about your current projects.
CAROL: While I’m currently a one-person show, I intend to grow this year. I am president, the number one consultant, the bookkeeper and web master. Offerings Include:
• For larger companies or ones with an established TA function:
o Assemble, deploy and manage outsourced SWAT team (recruiters, sourcers, program owners, etc.) to address specialized or unplanned recruiting needs.
o Best Year Yet™ for Talent Acquisition: Partner with Talent Acquisition head to customize and facilitate a team-building and goal setting process that will ensure maximum performance of team. (I did this for 2 years and I am a huge proponent of the process!)
o Deftly manage key projects or initiatives that have no internal owner (e.g. branding campaign, social networking strategy, systems deployment, etc.).
• For smaller companies or those without a TA function:
o Assess and recommend TA Strategy and Plan based on needs of company vs. TA capability. Implement plan if required.
o Interim recruiting leader - temporary, part-time and outsourced.
o Apply expertise and network to identify and select talent acquisition contractors, employees, vendors.
o RPO: Staff and manage outsourced teams of recruiting resources. Efficient and compliant.
Six Degrees: What speaking events, awards, publications, have you been featured to represent your company?
CAROL: I’ve had a number of speaking events in the last few years for organizations like Kennedy, SHRM, AustralAsian Talent Conference, HRTC, and many more.
When I headed at Yahoo! my branding efforts yielded several webby’s – for our careers site and our branding campaigns. In addition, under my reign, Yahoo’s revamped career site won best career site through ERE.
Six Degrees: Tell us about Your new venture, Carol
CAROL: I founded Live and Leap, Inc. in June, 2009. It is the umbrella company for two separate consulting ventures: Talent Acquisition On Demand – a Talent Acquisition management solutions company; and F5 (Forums for Females Focused on a Fabulous Future) – a venture dedicated to providing tools, inspiration and support to women compelled to transform their lives.
Today, I’m focused on getting the word out about my Talent Acquisition practice – what I’m doing and why.
Six Degrees: What is Your Company’s Value Proposition?
CAROL: I love leading Talent Acquisition. But instead of working “inside” running one organization at a time, I’m interested in broadening my reach and leveraging my extensive Talent Acquisition management background, experience and access to talented recruiting resources to benefit a host of organizations in a variety of industries. My solution offerings, though varied, are designed to help the leader in any organization who says, “the buck stops with me to ensure that talent acquisition efforts at my company result in producing the knowledge workers required to create marketplace advantage.” It’s a tough, important, and sometimes lonely job. I know because I’ve had the job more than a few times in my career.
When I was VP of Talent Acquisition at Yahoo, I often looked for consultants with recruiting expertise and management savvy to augment my leadership team during peak activity periods. While recruiting and talent experts were available in the consulting marketplace, I found that Talent Acquisition Management consultants and experts were in short supply. I’m a talent acquisition management veteran who has "been there and done that". I have the perfect background to help clients bridge TA management gaps through consulting, tools and coaching.
Six Degrees: What is the pricing structure for your services/products?
CAROL: Pricing will vary depending on the assignment. In general, I plan to offer my services on a retained basis for less than 1/3 of the cost of a contract recruiter.
Six Degrees: Do you blog?
CAROL: Right now I do a blog for F5 – focused on supporting women in transformation. I plan to start a TA blog on management as soon as I have a little more fodder.
“Watching Carol Mahoney in action was like seeing the leader at the World Series of recruiting. For nearly six years Carol successfully orchestrated the recruiting efforts that resulted in the hiring of thousands of exceptionally talented employees worldwide. The largest increase in Yahoo!’s history. Carol raised the standards and wrote the book on how to create a successful world class recruiting team (is the booking coming soon, Carol?). Without missing a beat she built & motivated a talented staffing team of over 250 people, she created a award winning career portal, nearly eliminated the use of outside agencies and she effectively brought executive recruiting inside. Her legacy included leading effective marketing campaigns over several years (& won numerous awards), and spiking the employee referrals to an all time high. No wonder that Carol is in demand on the speaker circuit and not just because of her superior reputation as a brilliant & innovative recruiting visionary but because she is also a rousing story teller with fabulous sense of humor. I would the welcome the opportunity to work for her again.”
Noelle Tardieu, Recruiter for Talent Acquisition, Yahoo!
“I have worked with and for Carol Mahoney for nearly 10 years and two companies. At Yahoo! Carol built a small and poorly organized staffing organization of 35 to nearly 250 at one point. Carol has an amazing strategic ability coupled with operational rigor to develop a high performing and (multiple) award winning organization. She brings humor, candor and an amazing ability to not only see the big picture but pull the right talent into the right jobs to achieve amazing results. I say today, what I've said before, "I'd work for Carol anywhere."”
Stephanie Prout, Sr. Manager, Talent Acquisition Programs, Yahoo!…