nd regular visitor to RBC was kind enough to introduce me to one of Volt’s senior executives.
Pat Cronin has been in the Staffing Industry for 20 + years in various roles. His career began as a Recruiter. Pat was ranked 5th out of 300 + recruiters. After many successes was moved into management of a large group of Recruiters. He relocated and joined Volt Services Group as a Sales Representative where he was awarded "Rookie of the Year." Very quickly Pat was promoted to Manager and then Area Manager. He relocated and took a position as Regional Director for another large staffing firm. Pat returned to Volt in the role of Professional Placement Program Manager. He supports offices throughout the United States in their Professional Placement endeavors. The areas of expertise in which his division recruits are Life Sciences, Information Technology, Engineering, Technical, Accounting/Finance and Administrative. His current title is Vice President Volt Professional Placement. Pat is also a Six Sigma Black Belt.
Q& A with PAT CRONIN
Six Degrees: Tell us of your home world.
PAT CRONIN: My domestic Partner, Brian Barnes, and I have been together for 7 years. Brian is a Deacon in the Episcopal Church and has his own bodywork therapy business focusing on Myofascial Release techniques. We met in San Francisco while I was on a business trip visiting from Seattle. After a year of commuting back and forth, we purchased a traditional San Francisco Victorian home in the heart of the city. Truth be told, Cooper, our dog, and Cecil, our cat run our home. They just allow us to reside with them.
While in college I became a PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) certified Scuba Diving Instructor and taught classes to many friends and Fraternity Brothers. Scuba Diving was a large part of my childhood as my father was President of U.S. Divers Corp and founded PADI. Rather than following in his very accomplished footsteps, I decided to make a name for my self on my own and stumbled into Recruiting. Years later, I did re-engage with PADI…I sit on the Board of Directors.
When I first moved to the Bay Area, I volunteered as a Chaplain at San Francisco General Hospital. It was incredibly rewarding yet emotionally draining at times. I would work all week and then on Friday nights would spend 4 – 6 hours in the emergency room helping the marginalized population of San Francisco. Nothing could have prepared me for the trauma victims I would encounter in this setting. Most people were grateful to have the company of a Chaplain during such a stressful time in their life. You get to see human nature at its “rawest” when people are in crises. I do remember one rather humorous situation….a woman came in for a minor treatment. I came into her room and said…”Hi my name is Pat. I am a Chaplain here at SFGH.” The poor woman immediately panicked and said…”A Chaplain, why do I need a Chaplain? I only cut my foot. Do you know something I don’t know? Am I going to die?” I laughed and reassured her that no, she would be just fine. People react very differently when they are scared and facing an emergency.
Six Degrees: How many years have you been in the staffing industry
PAT CRONIN: I started in the recruiting business in 1985. (I hate saying that because it makes me sound so old. I was right out of college…..honest! )
Six Degrees: How did you get started as a recruiter?
PAT CRONIN: I got into this industry by chance as many of us do. I had a friend who worked for a staffing firm. She told me about her job and I thought it sounded interesting. I also had an ulterior motive. I thought it would be a great place to find a “real” job. My thought was to look at all the positions that came into the office and if and when I found something that sounded more interesting, I would pursue that career. I know it sounds a little corny, but even after 23 years nothing is more fascinating that the search industry. In my years in the staffing industry, I have worked both Contract Staffing/Temp side and Search.
The first 5 years of my career, I worked a desk in Southern California. In 1992, I moved to Portland OR and came to work for Volt. I was an outside sales rep for the temporary division. It was so different from the search side. I learned about account development and how to work in a fast transactional environment. I was “Rookie of the Year” and was promoted to Branch and then Area Manager. During my time in Portland, I was able to develop an on-site managed program for a large Bank. I left Volt for a short period and took a position as a Regional Director of another very large staffing firm. With in two weeks I knew I had made a gigantic mistake. While I was gone, two of the Senior Vice Presidents at Volt decided they wanted to develop a Professional Search strategy for the company. I returned to Volt in the role of Professional Placement Program Manager. I began collaborating with the incredibly talented people through out Volt to creating all the tools, infrastructure, policies and procedures, training and development, which helped Volt enter the Professional Search segment. In 2002, Volt was the first Staffing Firm to fully embrace Six Sigma and I entered the Black Belt training program. In 2005 I was certified as a Six Sigma Black Belt. Shortly after that I was promoted to Director of Professional Search. Using Six Sigma tools, we ran a Six Sigma project to determine how we could increase our market share in Professional Search. I am currently the Vice President of Volt Professional Search. The group of Professional Search Recruiters I work with each focus on niche specific positions nationally and are separated into distinct Search Groups
(We are looking for talented Professional Search Recruiters and Search Managers. Sorry, I couldn’t help myself….We are hiring! We have more client requests than we can handle!)
Six Degrees: What single event had the most impact on your sourcing/recruiting
PAT CRONIN: In the beginning, I was horrible. My idea of a telemarketing call was…”Hi, This is Pat Cronin from XXX Company. I am just calling to see if there are any positions I can help you with?” Or, “I just interviewed someone who would be perfect for your position!” I was so green! I honestly could not understand why I was not getting any business. Finally, after a few months, my boss said she did not think I was right for the business. She gave me a final warning. I had one month to produce twice as much as I had ever produced, or I was going to be let go! I remember saying to her….” I am not leaving here. You’ll see, I am going to pull this off.” That was when my career really began. I had nothing but sheer determination. I did not know how I was going to do it, but I was going to succeed. I asked everyone in my office for help. I listened to the best, mimicked them and did everything I could think of to produce the numbers I had to produce in order to keep my job. I loved this business and I would not accept any other result than success. That was the toughest month of my career. There were times where is looked impossible. However, I was determined. It is amazing what power there is in “commitment.” The last day of that month, I made a placement that pushed me right over the goal. I did it! That month taught me more about myself than anything I learned in college. Determination is what makes people succeed. Sounds so simple, but when you really, really “get” that, any thing is possible.
Do you have a mentor to whom you attribute your overall outlook on recruitment, capabilities, and/or model your career after?
PAT CRONIN: I have had many mentors. The first was Wendy Hall. She hired me and helped me personally grow into a business professional. The team of people I worked with back in 1985 all contributed to my success as well. Margie McKay and Christina Harris, both Senior Vice Presidents at Volt gave me the opportunity to create a phenomenal career in Professional Search at Volt.
Six Degrees: Tell us about your executive responsibilities at Volt, Pat:
PAT CRONIN: My role is Vice President of Volt Professional Search. I am responsible for Professional Search for Volt Technical Resources throughout the U.S. and Canada. It is an exciting time at Volt Professional Search. We are developing even more robust and comprehensive infrastructures, which will allow us to elevate our delivery model and break out of the industry norms. We want our attention to remain on the customer and candidate experience while producing respectful financial gains.
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We have done extensive market research, analyzed business trends and emerging markets and utilized Six Sigma statistical business models to identify the best combination of process and talent. All over North America, we are expanding our investment in the most critical aspect of our business….our people. We are re-branding, re-evaluating and re-inventing every aspect of our current model. Our goal is to emerge as a World Class Executive Search organization.
We have our Professional Search Recruiters focused on the following “Niche” business segments.
o IT – Professional, Managers, PMs
o IT – Programmers/Developers
o IT – Networking/Systems/IT Support
o Engineering – Mechanical
o Engineering – Electronic
o Engineering – “Other”
o Life Sciences
o Technical Sales/Consulting…
It takes Recruitfest to bring the best from within and to broaden the circle of those we call friends. I met Julia at Recruitfest at a Hotel dining table across from me by chance, and it was my personal good fortune. Julia is not someone who minces words, who takes personal opinions personally, who has the self confidence and paneche to tell an unconventional story much to both our entertainment and our enrichment. The conversation was the appetizer, the entree and dessert. Julia Stone is no longer acquaintance, but friend. Julia Stone is a bang drummer in any circle and the beat to follow in the company of friends old and new.
Julia Stone prides herself in her Negotiating skills, Interviewing techniques, AIRS Certification, high Integrity and ethical standards. Ask her what her specialty is and the back to basics are her pride, she is above all … a networking specialist (people not machines!). It is on this basis, that Julia operates her own niche recruiting agency that works on contingency and engaged search. BizWerks is a professional recruiting firm whose focus is in the technology and scientific industries. We are passionate about our clients and our candidates and work hard to maintain high ethical standards in all situations.
Q&A with Julia Stone
Six Degrees: Tell us of your home world.
JULIA: My husband, Brad, and I have been together since the millennium. Literally, we met on January 1st, 2000 and started our adventures together. Since that time, we took a three month road trip through the US and Canada, lived on a sailboat for a year, successfully built and sold one company, started another, and had a daugher who is now 3 named Sophia. We are thrilled to call Madison, Wisconsin our home now after many years in Seattle.
Six Degrees: Detail Hobbies, activities/interests unfamiliar to readers
JULIA:Besides our monthly poker game, I play video games and I exercise. Zumba is my favorite, but I also ride my Trek Bike in the warm months. (They do shovel the bike paths in Madison when it snows!) This year, I participated in my first bike competition, the Urban Assault Race, and was thrilled to complete it. Starting BizWerks with a toddler has left me a little less time for some of my other passions which include scuba diving, sailing, camping, reading something other than Goodnight Moon and martial arts.
Each year, my husband and I work hard to create unique holiday greeting cards. We try to make them humorous in nature.
Community service is important to me. I sit on the finance committee for the bilingual grade school Nuestro Mundo. Nuestro Mundo creates a successful and unique learning environment through the use of dual language education and democratic decision-making. I have participated in Habitat for Humanity, and sit on the Small Business Advisory Council which is an advisory council to both the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce and the office of the Mayor. Carrying through to our corporate philosophy, BizWerks donates a percentage of each employees salary to the non-profit of their choice.
Six Degrees: How many years have you been a recruiter?
JULIA: I started recruiting 12 years ago in a small technical recruiting agency in Seattle.
Six Degrees: How did you get started as a recruiter?
JULIA: I sold toilet paper. I got bored with it, not very challenging if you want to know the truth. So I took a job working as a systems administrator. While technically challenging, I was bored. I was so lacking in human communication, that I took on a part time job at the local Scuba Diving shop to meet more people.
One of those people was a Director at Microsoft who helped me work through my career crisis while his fiance was getting certified. I sold him a lot of diving equipment and he got me into the best accidental career ever.
Six Degrees: What single event had the most impact on your sourcing/recruiting career?
JULIA: In 2007, I attended the first SourceCon conference and it completely changed the way I recruit. Once I listened to such industry experts as Shally Steckerl, Glenn Gutmacher, Eric Jacquith, and Danny Cahill; I realized that the industry was evolving.
Sourcing good candidates is where everything starts. If realized that if I couldn't compete in this arena, I needed to get out of the business. I have so much past experience in the field, that I have learned how to manage the recruiting process, the hiring manager's expectations, and the candidate experience.
Six Degrees: Do you have a mentor to whom you attribute your overall outlook on recruitment, capabilities, and/or model your career after?
JULIA: I don't have an individual mentor, but I am sure I could benefit from one. I take bits of information from as many leaders as I can and blend them together, a recruiting melting pot of sorts. Things are so dynamic in this industry that people who were virtually unheard of last year could be a superstar this year. I am in awe of Dave Mendoza's networking, Shally Steckerl's sourcing techniques, Jason Davis' ability to create online communities, or Donato Diorio's ability to create tools for the industry. There are a dozen more I could mention here. There is no shortage of talent in our industry.
Six Degrees: Tell us about a day in the life at the helm of Bizwerks:
JULIA: I own, BizWerks, a niche recruiting agency that works on contingency and engaged search. We primarily work with technology positions within the software life cycle up through director level positions within technology companies. BizWerks has grown to 4 employees and has expanded into scientific recruiting and supply chain.
Six Degrees: What recent general news story or industry trend do you feel will have an impact on your work in the future? Why?
JULIA: I think that the recent trend toward RPO is worth watching. It will be interesting to see how it changes the dynamics of the industry.
Six Degrees: Tell us about your broader involvement within the staffing industry. How do you share the love?
JULIA: I have had the opportunity to speak as an individual and as a part of several round table discussions in both Seattle and Madison on the topics of finding jobs, finding candidates and upcoming trends. I am passionate about the industry, the generational differences we see now, and upcoming hiring trends.
Officially, I have managed teams who produced award winning documentation for clients including Medtronic, Microsoft, and Group Health Cooperative. In 2008, I was thrilled to be picked for InBusiness Magazine's 40 under 40 for Madison, Wisconsin. I won the SourceCon, sourcing challenge this summer and was one of three national finalists in the competition in Atlanta.
Six Degrees: What is your next career goal? What do you need to do to get there?
JULIA: Right now, I am dedicated to growing our agency. This is a goal of many, but few are able to turn an individual desk into a successful agency.
“Julia has a truly unique skill; she listens. She always has the most thorough and detailed understanding of a project's requirements.She efficiently translates those requirements into tasks for her team, ensuring that the project is executed as flawlessly as possible. I hope to work with Julia again someday soon!” July 18, 2008
Thomas Schmitzer, CPIM, Master Scheduler, United Industries Inc.
“While the timing of my search and interview process with Julie was not conducive to final placement through Julia, she did all she could to work with me on an opportunity with a major national brand. Julia provided me with regular update and kept me feeling that we were in control of the process. Unfortunately for Julia, I accepted a different offer. Had I not left for the other opportunity, I am sure Julia would have continued her hard work and dedication to my placement. Thanks Julia for the dozens of updates and for your advice throughout the process.” February 23, 2008. Top qualities: Personable, On Time, High Integrity
“As a potential recruit for Julia's business, she has always been very informative, thorough and responsive. I'd highly recommend her to any business looking for a solid and experienced recruitment professional.” November 19, 2007
Michele Virnig, Assistant VP-Marketing Communications, CUNA Mutual Group
“Julia is a true professional recruiter whose passion is to match people with high-tech businesses. She is also active within community, for example, she is an active participant on Mayor's and Chamber's Small Business Advisory Council and economic development taskforce.” November 16, 2007
Joe Campana, Ph.D., CITRMS, CIPP/G, Principal, J. Campana & Associates
“If you are reading this, you are in luck. Julia is the kind of person you want on any project or team; a leader, a professional and a keen intellect.” October 4, 2007. Top qualities: Great Results, Expert, High Integrity
Thomas Schmitzer, CPIM
“Julia is a fantastic to work with she is very engaging and has a lot of ideas on how to accomplish the end goals of the project in a timely manner and making sure the team is still together. I look forward to working directly with her on future business projects.” September 28, 2007
Daniel Guerra Jr., Owner, Argus Ventures, LLC
“There are too many good things to say about Julia. She is the consummate professional with great industry knowledge. She is a very good person to have on your side. We plan to continue our relationship and hope that in the near future we will be able locate the perfect job for my skill set.” September 19, 2007. Top qualities: Great Results, Personable, High Integrity
“Julia, brings an ethically anchored fresh approach to IT recruitment in this world of sharks. Her experience, personal communication strengths, and optimism are critical for connecting clients with ideal effective contractor candidates.” September 14, 2007
Peter Sibilski, Network Engineer - Switch Technician, Verizon Wireless
“Julia Stone took over the Xbox.com writing team during a turbulent time in the contract, which previously seemed to change every six months (leaving many of the writing team uncertain of what the future might hold). Julia took charge immediately, smoothing out bumps in the road, personally seeing to our concerns, and keeping us on course with remarkable ease. I would work for Julia again any time the opportunity presented itself and highly recommend her for to any potential employer.” January 14, 2008
Cory Herndon, Content Writer, Xbox.com, The Write Stuff
“Julia is excellent at networking and keeping in touch with people. She never forgets a name.” October 2, 2007
Naarah Hanson (Hastings), Sr. IT Recruiter, Excell Data…