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Meet our friend, Thomas Licari, RBC Community enthusiast, founder of his own activist local staffing organization, corporate recruiter and family man.
Thomas is a Human Capital Management Professional with 15 years of experience working with fortune 500’s, the U.S. government and startup’s companies providing cutting edge talent acquisition strategies. He specializes in recruitment, retention, compensation, global strategic sourcing, OFCCP regulations, and training/development. Overall, he is primarily Client-focused with strong relationship building and strategic planning skills and particular strengths in the broad areas of Recruitment Optimization, Recruiting Technology Expertise, and Executive Recruitment Specialist.
I have communicated over the years with Thomas but had a chance to finally meet him one-on-one while he sat next to Jason Davis interviewing live on a webcam at ONREC last September. Thomas did not disappoint, he has a keen sense of humor, the kind where his answers to some of JD's questions would have caused a fountain of soft drinks to burst out from noses had they been privy to his candor and wit. (If you were there, you would attest to the accuracy of my statement!)
Thomas has that rare tenacity of not merely being a follower, but a leader in his own right, who cares deeply about the quality of topics and events of the Illinois Recruiters Association he founded, and has been active in referring his own membership to the RBC community.
Q&A With Thomas Licari
Six Degrees: Tell us of your home world.
Thomas: I married my beloved dream girl Kelly Sue August 19th 2005. We rented a private house with its own beach “McKenna” on the island of Maui, HI. We had a huge party with all our family, friends and the giant sea turtles that came to witness our nuptials. We have two kids a girl 2 1/2 years; Alexandria Soleil Licari and a son 6 months old; Dallas Hawk Licari
Thomas: My hobbies include but are not limited to: playing the guitar, rocking the mic, geeking out on the computer, watching way to much TV, making up loving nicknames to call my wifey, singing the Dora the explorer theme song to make my daughter smile, becoming mental over the play of my Dallas Cowboys, FYI, some day my daughter will buy the Cowboys for me as a gift, boxing, and teaching my son Hawk how to throw a perfect punch at six months of age
Six Degrees: How many years have you been in the staffing industry?
Thomas: I have been a Human Capital Management Professional for 15 years and still love it! I must be sick in the head.
Six Degrees: How did you get started as a recruiter?
Thomas: I became a recruiter by mistake. I graduated college with my 1st degree in Criminal Justice with an eye on becoming a FBI agent. After obtaining my degree I started the testing process for state and federal law enforcement positions. The problem was that I needed a job now so I could eat, and the testing process takes months to achieve a result. So I put together a resume, you all know the kind of resume I mean, as a recruiter I am sure you’ve read thousands of them. The kind that says you did all these wonderful things, but is a really big stretch. I sent my resume for a COO position to a very success female owned temp to perm agency and was called in for an interview. So I dressed up in my only suit and when in with high hopes knowing full well that I was totally 100% not qualified for the position. I met with the president of the company her name was Hallean. She got me in that interview chair and went for my throat for the start. I was too dumb to recognize that she was messing with me. At the end of the interview Hallean offer me a job as a Jr. recruiter. I was totally excited to have a job as it meant that I could eat something other than ramen noodles. I had no idea what a recruiter even did, but you can be assured Hallean taught me in her own very direct way. I think about her sometimes and would love to show her what I became or in other words what she helped create.
Six Degrees: What single event had the most impact on your sourcing/recruiting career?
Thomas: I was very young in my recruiting life and still wasn’t sure that I wanted it to be my career. I worked for a small technology firm as a recruiter and was given a great deal of authority when it came to the hiring process. Remembering the lessons that Hallean taught me about understanding the “resume stretch” I implemented it into my selection process when choosing talent to interview. I quickly became the top producing recruiting at the small tech firm. After a few months of working there one of my recruits sent me a card all about how I changed his life by giving him a job. I sat in my chair reading the card and suddenly realized that I in a small way could affect change. I fell in love with recruiting right then and there. Come to think about it, I think I still have that card, I should dig it out to show my son and daughter one day when they are older.
Do you have a mentor to whom you attribute your overall outlook on recruitment, capabilities, and/or model your career after?
Thomas: Short answer my Pop! I wanted to prove to him that I could be the best recruiter. You see he wasn’t sold on the fact that I turned down offers to go into law enforcement at the time. So when I decided that I would continue my career as a recruiter I made up my mind that I would succeed at it.
The second person would be Scott A. Spear currently the co-founder and Executive Vice President of Corporate Strategy at Acquity Group. I worked for Scott at Modern Business Technology when he founded the company. Scott always had a way that I can’t explain fully around the hiring process. When I recruited for him he always had a great eye for talent and a different approach for judging all candidates. It wasn’t behavioral, skills, or matrix driven I think you’d call it instinct. Anyway I told you I couldn’t explain it. He had the uncanny ability build structure where there was chaos. He is a good guy look him up & connect with him http://www.linkedin.com/pub/3/2a7/755.
The third person would be Tim Simmons the guy is just unbelievable at dealing with people. You’d just have to see him work to know what I mean. He is a top notch people person and I tell him often that he should write a how to book http://www.linkedin.com/pub/0/189/958
Six Degrees: Tell us about your job, Thomas
Thomas: I can description my current roles in two ways; I am the president and founder of the Illinois Recruiters Association and a professional consultant. As the president and founder of the Illinois Recruiters Association my responsibilities are providing strategic direction, building membership, constructing the organizations web channel, virtual marketing and participating in speaking events. The size of the Illinois Recruiters Association is a moving target because we grow larger every day. We currently have over 2500 active members with a national newsletter that reaches over 10,000.
As a professional consultant in area of Human Capital Management. I have 15 years of experience working with fortune 500’s, the U.S. government and startup’s companies providing cutting edge talent acquisition strategies. I have proven abilities in recruiting, retention, compensation, global strategic sourcing, OFCCP regulations, and training/development. I am Client-focused with strong relationship building and strategic planning skills. Other key areas I might be able to help you with include: Recruitment Optimization, Recruiting Technology Expert, Successful Instructor, Networking leader, Team/Project Leader, Executive Recruitment Specialist. If you need help feel free to give me a call if I don’t have time to assist I’ll refer you to someone that can.
Six Degrees: (A) What other companies' recruiting operations do you admire or have heard are best-practice examples?
Thomas: I admire the following: Doug Berg the founder and chief innovation officer of Jobs2Web because of his vision. Shally Steckerl from JobMachine, because the guy is just that crazy good, also I believe in what RD Whitney is doing with Onrec.
(B) In what aspects are they superior?
Thomas: Doug Berg all you need to do is visit www.jobs2web.com. To understand why I dig Doug is visit http://www.jobs2web.com/what-we-do/attract-talent/ read the page and you’ll get it I promise.
Shally is best in class as a recruiting technology strategist, he is always willing to help people, and constantly comes up with new great ideas, he seems to drive the industry.
RD Whitney I’ve gotten to know personally/professionally and he really goes all out to build strong virtual marketing channels for all his exhibitors at the OnRec shows.
Six Degrees: What recent general news story or industry trend do you feel will have an impact on your work in the future? Why?
Thomas: Government bail outs, the down economy, global recession. The WHY just bums me out when I think about it. Hiring slows down to a snail’s pace and my fellow recruiters starve. To all my fellow recruiters out there reading this keep your head up things will get better. If you are looking for a new job email me and I’ll try and help.
Six Degrees: Tell us about speaking events, awards, publications, where you have you represented your company:
Thomas: The event I’d really like to focus on is the January 28, 2009 Training Seminar & Networking Event. I am invited an expert panel of Web 2.0 recruiting strategists to discuss Topic: “Web 2.0 Recruiting & the Latest Trends”. If you are going to be in Illinois 01/28/09 come check out this event. For more information visit www.illinoisrecruiters.org
My events can easily be found with a simple Google search or visiting http://www.illinoisrecruiters.org/calendar/calendar.htm.
Six Degrees: What is your next career goal? What do you need to do to get there?
Thomas: My next career goal is to build the largest professional recruiters network in the industry, which include educational/networking events. All I need to accomplish this is more time.
“Thomas is able to build relationships with Hiring Managers quickly, thereby, jump starting searches with accurate information. Thomas is creative in his sourcing approach and keen on networking to find the right people at the right time for the right job. He is a great team player and a delight to work with!” November 12, 2007
Mary Claire Ryan, Dir. of Global Exec. Search and Diverstiy Staffing, Abbott Laboratories
“Thomas is a knowledgeable recruiter and an expert 'networker' who works tirelessly for the Illinois Recruiters Association. He has arranged and promoted a number of very useful educational and networking programs for local recruiters to hone their skills and enhance their professional networks. I have known Thomas for a number of years and all of my interactions with him have been positive and productive.” October 24, 2008
Marianne Murphy-Orland, Executive Recruiter & Training Specialist, Electro-Motive Diesel
“I have had the opportunity to attend several Illinois Recruiter Association meetings that have been hosted by Tom. He does an excellent job in providing relevant information to his audience; things we can use right now. I definitely look forward to interfacing with him in the future.” April 22, 2008
Mike Madura, Manager Recruiting, KPMG
“I had the opportunity to see Tom "work his mojo" at the Illinois Recruiters Association's meeting. He provided an excellent presentation and was able to talk with a diverse set of recruiters in the room. He was able to explain it so that it made sense to all levels and was able to get into some advanced topics without losing the room. Based on his presentation I could see clearly why he has been such a successful recruiter. I would highly recommend Tom for speaking and recruiting engagements.” April 17, 2008. Top qualities: Expert, High Integrity, Creative
e office. The company brought in two of the national training team members to work with her. One stayed a week the other was on assignment for several months. She ran the training classes with his assistance and was told that she was doing a great job. There was only one little glitch, a rep visited a winery brought back a case of wine and brought her a bottle. She thanked him told him she could not accept gifts and returned the wine. Later that day it was back in her office. She went immediately to her boss and told her he had given it to her, she had returned it , he had put it back in her office so would the boss like to have it or should she take it back to him and insist that he take it back. Her boss told her it was ok to keep it but to just be careful but it wasn’t a big deal since he was not on her team and he had given several other people in the office a bottle also. Of course 10 days later she was called in and told that it had been reported that she had accepted gifts from reps. My candidate reminded her boss that she had asked her about it previously but the bottle of wine was still in her office and the boss was welcome to it or she would now give it back. No not necessary, the boss had forgotten but now did remember so forget it. My candidate was contacted about three jobs that were being posted that would enable her to live in this area but work in another division reporting to another supervisor. She was thrilled as both would be a promotion and a raise and allow her to report to supervisors that she had worked with in the past that she liked. She applied and was told that it would be six weeks to two months before interviews would be held but received calls from the other supervisors encouraging her about the jobs she was applying for being a good fit for her. For her to be able to move into another position with the company her boss is required to release her and does have the ability even she is offered another position to say that she is not releasable due to business needs. My candidate was concerned so thinking that things had gone better for several months she went to her boss and told her that she was applying for the other jobs, she had enjoyed working for her, had learned a lot (no kidding) but wanted to advance with the company and needed as a single parent to make more money and be in a situation where she could take her kids to school and day care at a normal time instead of before 7:30 in the morning to be sure that she was in the office by 8:00 and be able to pick them up herself rather than have someone else have to pick them up as she did not get off until 6:00 with the after school program and day care closing at 6:00. Her boss told her that she understood but she did not want her to leave. She was irreplaceable, the boss was going to retire in a couple of years and she was grooming my candidate for her job. She would change her hours so she could come in at 8:15 and leave at 5:45 if my candidate were willing to work an extra Saturday a month. My candidate said she would appreciate that and would work the extra Saturday but she wanted to move up with the company, did not want the boss’s job and wanted to get out of the office environment that was not a fit for her as she did not feel and never felt that she fit with the management style and environment there. My candidate did not believe it was right to retaliate against people who filed a complaint. Her boss said, “I have told you we don’t retaliate if any of them file a complaint against us, it’s not legal but ,what we do is “work them out of the business , we just observe every move that they make until we have enough to work them out.” My candidate said , “yes I know and I don’t think that’s right, people make mistakes I feel like that is what has happened to me in the past and I don’t want any more of it. “Things have gotten better but I have always felt like you were going to fire me for something and I don’t want to live that way. You micro manage me, you undermine me, you tell me to fire a rep for attendance then after I do you bring them back and tell them that you saved their job so I have a problem with a rep. You make me uncomfortable talking about your sex life and talking about who is having an affair and I don’t think I can work for you.” At this point the boss started crying and sobbing and apologizing. She went on to say that “she was not a weak manager, she was not a weak manager she was just emotional and if my candidate would just reach over and rub her arm when she stared acting that way she would get control of herself. My candidate feeling that things were getting too bizarre and as she put it, “my stomach turned at the thought of having to rub her arm to calm her down.” , brought the meeting to a close by saying that she wanted to move forward with the other jobs and she hoped that the boss would not stand in her way. The boss dried her sloppy tears and said she would not stand in her way. A few days later the boss came in and asked my candidate to go for a drink with her after work. Not knowing what this was about as it had never happened and not wanting to go to a bar with the woman after the arm rubbing comments she said she would but had dinner plans with family so would only be able to stay a short time. They met at a bar. The boss told her that she needed her to stay as she was handling several vital parts of the business. She would change my candidate's hours, she would be flexible with her where her kids were concerned as she was the only single parent in the management group, she would give her more vacation, she was going to get an allocation for all manager raises and she would give her the full amount that she got for all the managers if she would not move forward with other jobs. My candidate told her she appreciated the offer but as she had discussed with her .she wanted to move into a different area of the company and she felt that if she got all of the raise allocation for all of the managers it would make the situation with her peers worse than it already was because she was not considered part of the group as it was. since her boss had taken responsibilities away from one or two of the other managers and given them to my candidate. A move that had not made my candidate a favorite with two of the other managers. My candidate made a hasty retreat from the bar and hoped that this would be the end of it. All was quiet for a week or two. On a Friday evening at a few minutes before 5:00 without any warning my candidate received in her interoffice email containing a boarding pass and reservations for a company trip to Columbia, South America to be part of a training team who would be onsite in Columbia for two weeks. She freaked, the national trainer she had been working with still on site. She went running to him and asked if he had requested her as part of the training team. He indicated he did not know anything about it but he was scheduled to go to Columbia so not to worry about it. He would be there he spoke Spanish and the training would be held in a hotel. She explained to him that she had two small children in school and no one available to keep them for an extended period of time. It was also a dangerous country and she would terrified to go there and was not going to go. On Monday she went to her boss, told her she had received the boarding pass and reservation. The boss looked at her and said, “Yes”. My candidate told her that she was not going to go to Columbia, she had no child care available for that kind of trip and further was terrified of going to a country that the State Department discouraged as a place for Americans to travel. She would quit before she would go. She asked the boss if she would go. The boss said no she would not. My candidate said she was not going so if she needed to clean out her desk she would do it. The boss said she would see what she could do. It went away, nothing more said. My candidate thought it was strange that her boss seemed to know about it and had not said anything to her before she received a boarding pass and confirmed reservation. Just strange. Two weeks later on May 4th my candidate checked the company site for the jobs she had applied for. She had three interview requests for the jobs and was very excited that finally she would at least have the opportunity to move on. Before she could send the acceptance her boss came in her office and said, “you need to come to the conference room, EEO in Houston wants a phone conference”. Thinking it probably had something to do with the refusal to go to Columbia off she went to talk with EEO. The EEO rep started the conversation by telling her that EEO needed to be sure that my candidate was not recording the conversation and did not have a cell phone with her or any note taking material. Then told her that they were investigating her entire management career. When my candidate asked why she was told that the EEO rep had been advised of a number of things and had never seen anything like this and that her boss had asked that her applications for other jobs be suspended until the investigation had been completed. Here is the list. EEO had been advised the following –My candidate's responses are in ( ) She had assisted male reps more than she assisted female reps. (Yes and had corrected) She had brought a fart machine to the office. (No she did not, one of her reps did, she told him it was funny but to take it home) She had used the children of reps to take care of her children. (No she had been asked about it because her boss was confused due to a same name of reps daughter and it had been clarified) She had lied to her boss about being late to work. (No her boss had changed her hours, it was on the schedule, when she came in one day another manager had asked her if she was five minutes late. She had popped off and said, nope 10 minutes early) She had accepted gifts from reps. (No, she had gone to her boss about the wine and her boss told her not to worry about it but the bottle of wine was still in her office.) EEO had received pictures from the wife or girlfriend of a male rep that the wife or girlfriend said were sent to her husband by my candidate. Several were full nudes both front and back one reflecting a tatoo and two were pictures of her with two little boys and in a car with her sunglasses on. (Holy God, she had received an hysterical call from this woman accusing her of having an affair with her husband. She had only seen the kid outside of work once, he was drunk and had come to their table. She and her date had left the place and gone someplace else. The wife had accused her of sending pictures to him. she had not but when asked what her email address was she had told the wife so if they had any nude pictures they were not of her , she did not have a tattoo. The guy had been called in and asked if he were having an affair with her. Had come and apologized to her about his wife calling both my candidate and the boss and additionally the wife had later called and apologized. But if there were pictures she wanted to see what they were because somebody was guilty of cyber harassment as the other two pictures where the ones that had been on her facebook page that had been up for a total of three weeks only in Dec. of 2009.) She had interfered with an investigation and had received a COBC violation. (The now infamous Christmas Play Caper. She told eeo that she had the meeting with the boss’s boss over that whole silly mess and when she received her evaluation there was no COBC violation. She was informed that in fact it was in her file and should have been on her evaluation.) She had made comments of a sexual nature regarding pop rocks. (Her team was to dress up like Halloween candy, they asked about lollipops. She had said , “no then the other teams will just say that we suck so pick something else” One of the reps had said what about poprocks. She had responded , “whatever that might be cute”. She didn’t know how that could be considered making a comment of sexual nature about Poprocks. EEO declined to explain to her the sexual nature of poprocks and I didn’t think I would go there either.) She had been losing weight in order to start a relationship. (She had been losing weight because she had gained back up to 190’s her doctor had put her on medication for high blood pressure and told her to get the weight off.) She had assisted a lesbian rep an inordinate amount of time to try and start a relationship with her. (No she wasn’t a lesbian anymore that she was a femme fatal having an affair with every male in the office. The woman was struggling and needed more help than some of the others.) She was a know it all. (She was the Subject matter expert on fiber for the office so if that made her a know it all so be it.) She had assisted a rep with filling out FLMA documents for claims he was filing after he had gone out. ( No, He was on her team, had back problems that required a sit down/stand up desk. He had asked to move it because he didn’t like the location. She had asked her boss if it could be moved. The boss had said, hell no ,it’s too expensive to move he can stay where he is. The guy had come to her asking what he needed to do to go out on FMLA. She had referred him to HR. He had filled out his own forms, she was his supervisor so had reviewed them signed them and he went out in Jan. She had not spoken to him since.) She was having lunches in her office with a trainer from the national group. (yes, she had two working lunches with the national trainer who was on site in her office. He was assisting her with training sessions so had gone out himself picked up lunch on two occasions and brought it back to the office so they could discuss any problems the reps were having with the way the training was being presented.) In a state of total shock my candidate went back to her office after this lovely encounter of the third kind. Before she could do anything but sit in a daze her boss walked in and said , “You are being put on paid administrative leave until EEO completes their investigation. I will need your badge and key card and I will walk you out.” My candidate asked if she could get her personal things ie; bills that needed to be paid in the next few days. She was told that her boss would see if she could get those things for her but my candidate would not be allowed to remove anything from her office and would need to leave NOW. It was just before noon. As she was walked out of the office in front of 170 people her boss marched behind her swinging my candidate's badge in a circle like she was a stripper, to make sure that everyone in the office saw that she was being walked out. When she was called by her boss later in the afternoon to find out when the boss could get some other pass key that she had at home she again asked if she could get her personal things. The boss said, “this is just administrative leave you don’t need to get all of them I will bring your bills to you.” On May 7th my candidate filed an ethics complaint through the company for sexual harassment, hostile work environment, bullying, retaliation and related the series of events to another company EEO representative. On May 9th my candidate filed a police report against the wife or girlfriend of the male employee for cyber harassment and sent a copy of the case number to EEO and a request for copies of the pictures they had, the dates they were sent who they were sent to and the headers of the emails from all correspondence relating to the pictures. She felt the woman was nuts and could be a danger to she or her children as she had no idea what the current status of their problems were and had not heard anything from the woman since early in 2010.On May 17th she was returning home in the middle of the afternoon and caught her boss driving slowly past her house. She lives on a dead end street with a cul de sac where the boss turned around and drove slowly by her home on her way out of the subdivision. Nobody can figure that one out. On May 18th my candidate was contacted by her boss to come back to work to discuss the results of the investigation. At that time she was told that she was being terminated for. 1. Releasing Proprietary Company information without a business need. 2. Creating a hostile work environment 3. Interfering with an Investigation. 4. Violating the code of business conduct in terms of honesty and integrity. When she asked for details as to what information , how she created a hostile work environment and what misconduct she was being accused of ,she was told that her boss would not discuss it but would send her a letter. She was asked to sign a document saying that she would not use her knowledge gained while employed at any other communications company and she would not take any legal action against the company. She refused to sign it. She asked if she could remove her personal things from her office. The boss followed her. My candidate smiled ,said hello to everyone who was calling out hello’s. Packed up her things in several boxes asked her boss to take an inventory and asked where her personal notebook and the copies of her personnel reviews were as they had been in her office. The boss denied any knowledge of either. My candidate looked at the woman and told her she was taking this to a higher level at which point the boss started crying and quit digging through things but did want to be sure that the highlighter my candidate was removing did not belong to the company. My candidate held her head up , walked out smiling at everyone told them she would miss them and good luck. As she reached the middle of the office people stood up and clapped for her. Some were crying. Two walked in and quit and walked out behind her. Five more have gone out on stress and two have quit since then. The next morning the boss received flowers with a card that said. “Congratulations, you finally got her, you must be proud”. A few days later she received a letter in a hand written envelope. It was from her boss stating that she had been terminated for: 1. Misconduct in the office/misconduct off the job 2. Creating a hostile work environment. 3. Helping male reps more than she helped female reps. 4. Interfering with an investigation. My candidate filed for unemployment. TWC requested information twice from the company as to the reason for termination. The company provided a copy of the employee handbook, a statement that an investigation had been done, she had exhibited a pattern of dishonesty, created a hostile work environment, helped male reps more than female reps and had interfered with an investigation. No details yet as to how she managed to do all that or what she did proximate to termination or what triggering event occurred that resulted in her termination. Her unemployment has been granted and made retroactive to the date that she was put on leave. She is now waiting to see if the company will appeal the granting of her unemployment with some kind of detail as to what she was found guilty of that triggered her termination. Her family has stepped up with financial assistance. She will not be able to move forward with the purchase of her home and will have to move within a month. She has enrolled in school to finish her degree. She has updated her resume and is moving forward looking for a new job. She is in fact brokenhearted at losing the opportunity to stay with the company in another position after spending all of her adult life fighting this mess to try and be a success as most of the people who worked for her and those she interacted with throughout the company felt she was. She has learned a lot. Not the least of which is to file an ethics complaint at the first sign of something like what she has been through with , in my opinion, a sick and toxic personality. As a recruiter of many moons experience I know that all I have heard is her side of the story and there are normally two sides to every story. I have done some fact finding with other employees without her knowledge. What she tells me appears to be backed up over and over by the people who have worked with her . Realizing that this is hearsay I share it with you as I feel this is a story that should be told. Oh, and she received a call two days ago in regard to the ethics complaints she filed. They left her a message that they were closing the complaint due to not being able to find enough evidence to substantiate her complaints. What a surprise. It is after all an employment at will state.…
oor, New York, NY 10017
Specialties: Negotiation, Strategic Sourcing, Marketing, Public Relations, Metrics/ SLAs, Website Optimization, & Branding
I had the unique pleasure of meeting Erica Jayne Walsh at ONREC this past September. She catches your eye for many reasons, some by the merits of mother nature and others ... the more lasting impressions ... for reasons of a personality you can't help forget. She is a force of nature; charming, a pervasive wit and when you think she couldn't do more to compel you to send her a follow-up email - she impresses you with substantive intellect and a thorough understanding of business models within our industry. She may be young but not impressionable - she leaves you with impressions and all of them remarkable.
I could make it all sound so simple, however, and simply tell you that of all my meals at ONREC, I recall most fondly sharing a deep dish pizza in Chicago with my new friend, Erica Jayne.
Q&A with Erica Jayne Walsh
Erica Jayne: My home life is interesting; I am a single twenty-something living in Midtown Manhattan. I bet that everyone is immediately thinking “Sex & the City” and though I do enjoy the shopping, restaurants, and nightlife lately my home life has been lacking because I am always working… so the TV show “The Apprentice” is far more relatable.
To best answer this question and avoid seemly like a totally dull human, it probably makes sense to divide my life into two phases … “The Pre-BountyJobs Era” and “The BountyJobs Era”.
Up until 6 months ago, I was living in downtown Indianapolis, working as a Sourcing Associate (paper-pusher, strategist, and spend analyst) for Eli Lilly and Company in the Procurement function.
I had a robust life that would be much more interesting to your readers than my current home life… I raced sailboats competitively at the Indianapolis Sailing Club, was a Naturalist & Conservationist at the Indianapolis Zoo, a Mascot (Walrus, Reindeer, Rhinoceros, and Meerkat) at collegiate sporting events, parades, and around the zoo campus.
[I wasn’t the best mascot… on one horrific day in December while dressed as Sparky the Reindeer (Rudolph is trademarked) I broke the two cardinal rules of mascoting. I not only spoke in costume but also was tackled by a 3 year old girl with pigtails and my reindeer head fell off… ruining the illusion of Christmas for hundreds of Indianapolis children forever].
I owned a beautiful condo on a lake and harassed the neighbors by attracting geese with food only to then sick my West Highlight White terrier, Lexi or “The Lexinator”, on the geese and the rest of the neighborhood.
Aside from Lexi, sailing, and volunteering the other joy of my life was pro-bono business consulting. I have always been quite passionate about entrepreneurship, while in college I was president of the Society of Entrepreneurs and didn’t want to betray my fellow classmates by wasting away in the Corporate World, so I started and ran my own consulting practice and spent my evenings and weekends working with retailers, restaurants, and technology companies in the Indianapolis area.
THE BOUNTYJOBS ERA
In April of this year, I underwent a major life change and dropped everything for the opportunity a lifetime. When I say everything, I mean everything… I am no longer the proud owner of a beautiful condo on the lake, but instead squeeze myself into a 250 sq. ft. apartment in Manhattan that costs three times my mortgage.
[The view from my apartment is spectacular; you actually can see “everything” going on in the apartments in the building just behind me. Actually, if you are willing to risk the guillotine of a window and stick your head out 5 inches, you can see the Empire State Building.]
Lexi has moved to Ohio to spend quality time with my Mom and her dog “Belle”… and I am no longer sailing, volunteering, or working on my Masters. Instead, I have opted to work 16 hours a day, every day of the week.
Now before you think I am crazy or start to feel sorry for the lack of luster in this era of my life… I’d like to mention that right now… I am living my ultimate dream. Actually, if we could decrease my city apartment rent by about 50% I’d be living the ultimate dream… right now we should stick with “dream” for the sake of realism.
Six Degrees: Any other interests/ hobbies or surprising facts?
Erica Jayne: Aside from everything I’ve already mentioned… my biggest interest is learning. I love finding out that I am an idiot… my grandpa always use to say “the more we learn, the more we learn we don’t know”. I wish I could specialize in everything, speak every language, relate to every culture, design buildings, engineer cities… essentially I want to be superwoman… but who doesn’t?
The thing that would probably most surprise all of your readers is that I am a high-school dropout. I dropped out of an esteemed college prep school after 10th grade to pursue my career as an international fashion model. I moved on my own at 16 to Barcelona Spain to work the fashion circuit. Unfortunately, shortly thereafter, September 11th occurred causing my mother to rethink the independent teenager strategy and pull me back home. The NY fashion industry took a major hit, causing the other US fashion markets to become flooded with top NYC models… eliminating my chances of breaking in. I worked for 2 years making minimum wage, doing strange jobs (gift basket arranger, greenhouse foliage caretaker, freelance event planner, hostess/ waitress, and freelance photographer).
I spent most of my time during those two years helping better fashion models launch their careers, working with reporters in the Detroit area to identify modeling scams, and trying to convince whatever business owner currently suffering through my employment that there was a better way to run their business. By the time I turned 18, I realized that I would never make a difference if I wasn’t taken seriously, so I got my GED… applied to college… got in… attended… and graduated 3 years later Summa Cum Laude, with a BS in Business Administration.
Six Degrees: How’d you end up at BountyJobs?
Erica Jayne: While I was working in Indianapolis for Lilly, I became increasingly frustrated. Prior to joining, I had no idea that big business was so inefficient… for example, it took Lilly 3 years to move forward on a project that was projected to save the company 30 million dollars with almost no risk.
One of my responsibilities at Lilly was to work with the Recruitment component to determine better ways to do business. This included a variety of projects such as redesigning how we orchestrated background checks, on-boarding a new recruitment advertising firm, organizing and resourcing our temporary labor division, streamlining contingency search vendors, forming strategic partnerships with executive search consultants, and outsourcing parts of the sourcing function.
Just to give you a sample, one of my projects was to eliminate the number of search firms under contract from a number in the hundreds to a number in the low teens. This project seemed impossible. We had little record of who had made placements, where the relationships stood, how these firms came to be under contract, what functional roles they supported and who really was valuable. It seemed that each internal recruiter operated in their own silo, and this applied just to the corporate recruiters sitting together on one floor within our corporate headquarters… completing disregarding the chaos at the Lilly subsidiaries and international entities.
We became so frustrated with the lack of organization within our internal recruitment arm that we decided to outsource a part of the function to an RPO.
Then one day, I got a call from Jeremy Lappin, the CEO of BountyJobs to discuss a standard search firm contract that had been given to his firm when they called into pitch Lilly the BountyJobs solution. After going bountyjobs.com, I realized that BountyJobs was not a search firm and in fact eliminated all of the contingency search problems and inefficiencies that I had just spent two years complaining about and suffering through.
BountyJobs had been in business less than 16 months when I first was exposed to it, was doubling every quarter and already had 20% of the Fortune 500 as clients. Jeremy then explained to me his plan to create a global solution that every recruiter (internal and third-party) used everyday.
Then I pretty much begged and harassed Jeremy for weeks until he agreed to be my mentor by bringing me onboard and teaching my how to launch and run a company.
Six Degrees: Tell us about BountyJobs?
Erica Jayne: As a company, BountyJobs is refreshing… we are energized, agile, and always customer focused. Our product has been designed to help an old industry (contingency search) take advantage of the scale and reach of the internet and the efficiencies that technology provides.
I joined the team long after the rocket was designed and launched, but the founders and core team realized that having each internal recruiter operate in isolation and without a strong technology system prevented companies from analyzing performance, sharing knowledge, and continuously improving. The team also realized that organizations were forced to limit the search firms they worked with because of the administrative hassles of on-boarding and managing the firms. When you think of global companies like Lilly, it is a little ridiculous to think that one RPO firm or 30 search firms can fill thousands of jobs all over the world in every specialty (Sales Reps from Anchorage to Dubai, PhD Research Scientists, Regulatory Advisors) … but when you have tens of thousands of professional search firms and headhunters that cover ever region of the globe and every specialty… the likelihood of filling the job dramatically increases.
So BountyJobs took the concept of a marketplace and applied it to a technological platform that streamlines all of the inefficiencies, eliminates administrative burdens, and enables employers to take control of the search process and stay in control with real time information and detailed reporting.
I’ll spare your readers the pitch, but if they are interesting in learning more they should check out our website (www.bountyjobs.com) and request a live demo… and we’ll walk them through it in about 5 minutes… it is really intuitive and there isn’t any cost to use the technology.
Six Degrees: What do you do for BountyJobs?
Erica Jayne: Jeremy has been kind enough to let me dabble in a bit everything. My two main focuses are marketing and business development. On the marketing side, I do brand management and positioning, develop and orchestra events, manage PR, build sales collateral, develop & execute the marketing plan, and form partnerships with industry thought leaders. Then on the biz dev side I analyze data to drive business development decisions and I work to close deals with other providers. This past week, my main focus has been on overhauling the front pages of the BountyJobs website, which we hope to be launching before the months end. Also, I should have another surprise for you in early Q1 of 2009.
Six Degrees: What most excites you about working for BountyJobs?
Erica Jayne: I love seeing the fills come through… we are doing thousands of fills in 2008. This is exciting, because each time I see another fill I realize… a candidate just found a way to improve their life, a headhunter just made money, and an employer just found the talent that is going to help their company achieve its objectives. It is really fun to be a part of something that is a win for everyone. I especially love seeing BountyJobs grow so quickly and knowing that I am a part of that growth. This week we just moved into a new office that is more than 5x our previous space… based on the constant stream of positive feedback and the rate at which we are growing domestically and internationally… I would be shocked if Jeremy’s projection [‘Every recruiter using BountyJobs every day’] didn’t come true.
Six Degrees: How does BountyJobs fit into your life plan?
Erica Jayne: Through this on-going experience, I’ve learned a lot about myself. I know who I am as a person and as a professional. Ultimately, I have the confidence and the where with all to know that I can provide BountyJobs with the right strategic insight, pursue an MBA at a top school, launch my own company, and ultimately build the life and world that I dream of. Everyone always asks entrepreneurs and people involved in entrepreneurial enterprises about their exit strategy. Honestly, when you are growing fast, living your dream, traveling the world, and making friends with amazing people… an exit strategy is the last thing on the mind.
Six Degrees: Any final comments?
Erica Jayne: Thanks so much for letting me be a part of sixdegreesfromdave. As I indicated I love learning from people and forming partnerships. If anyone wants to chat more with me about entrepreneurship, life, and/or workaholism, please reach out to me… I’d be glad to help however I can.…