ally it is not the money that makes the difference when deciding if you love what you do. The important factors are the potential to make an impact; and to have fun.
When developing my love story with recruiting, I thought it would be appropriate to spell it out!
R – Recruiting has been my professional life since 1981. This business is too easy to leave, particularly during recessions. My longevity is a demonstration of my love for recruiting.
E – Energy is required in the recruiting industry. Too often we are told we cannot do something because don’t have experience in that field. It is fun to listen to that story; and then bring the client the best candidates they have seen in ages, not just the same recycled candidates. Candidates and clients alike are attracted to people who have appropriate levels of energy.
C – Creative Juices – Every single time I begin a new recruitment contract, I am rewarded with my creative juices flowing. How can we improve current recruitment processes? What tweaks can be done to the recruitment strategy to use technology to attract candidates and not repel them? What is the best way to source each position that I need to recruit? The same process rarely works for all positions. What is the Corporate Culture? How do managers react to resumes; and how can we motivate them to be more responsive if needed? What is the best story to describe my client and its culture to show them in the best light? Each candidate has different needs. Does the client meet their needs? How do I sell reluctant (as in passive) candidates on the position?
R – Ring, Ring – How many times since 1981 have I heard that wonderful sound? Countless – probably at least several hundred thousand times, both when I was receiving calls and when I was smiling and dialing! There is that air of anticipation prior to the response of the person answering the phone. What was the sweetest ring, ring? Possibly the reluctant technology candidate who interviewed with a client on Christmas Eve morning. She was invited to stay for a small office potluck lunch (during which the hiring manager polled the interviewers), and received an offer just before she left. Ring, Ring on Christmas night – she called to accept.
U – Unique - Every company feels it is unique, and they are. However, recruiting is a sales process. If we help our clients follow the recruiting sales process, talent acquisition becomes easier because they are not fighting candidates’ instincts and conditioning. Using the sales model, it is easier to lead the candidates through the process. “Now the next little step (No Big Steps for My Candidates!) is to…”
I – Intelligent – We accept that everyone is intelligent. Well until they pull a stunt that makes you wonder what in the heck they were thinking – or smoking - or drinking. Just about the time I begin to feel neither candidates nor hiring managers can surprise me, someone does. For instance an IT Manager once asked my candidate if she was fine working 120 hour weeks! When I asked him how those weeks were structured, he replied “Well sometimes we work 80 hour weeks.” Jeese! Or, another hiring manager in DC who replied when my candidate gave her level of compensation, “So you say!” Then he pulled his lunch out of a drawer and began eating. Since he had not completed his interview, he followed his lunch with a cigar – true story! When I debriefed her, my jaw was slack. She said he reminded her of Archie Bunker – I can see why. Not saying candidates don’t pull stunts. They do, and they can be pretty darn creative – like the candidate who posed as a female recruiter referring him after he had previously burned a bridge with me – and was upset that I would not forward his resume to my client - Still not going to happen, “D”! You have to love a business that can keep you entertained with those kinds of surprises!
T – Talent sourcing is one of the most important aspects of our business. This requires equal parts detective work, intuition, reading between lines, and energy! For me, I love to direct source (back to Ring, Ring!) and find that passive candidate who didn’t know they were unhappy until they met me. Isn’t it fun to enlighten people? Obviously my client has to be the right place/position/manager for the candidate. I help candidates think clearly (well, that’s what I call it!).
I – Intuitive – Aw, there’s the intuition again. It is important to have such a good understanding of my client, the hiring manager (“You’re going to Love working with Jane/Joe!”), and the job that once I have interviewed them and understand their current employment, I can confidently say, “Don’t you feel this is the best opportunity for you right now?!? Look at your growth potential!”
N – New Technology – Wasn’t it great when we were able to fax resumes!!! Wow! Instant resume, instead of waiting for the Postal Service to deliver it. Yes, I remember anxiously awaiting the mail for THAT resume (Remember the song “Anticipation”?). Then we stuffed all of that paper in file drawers with little or no chance of ever finding it again. In our agency file cabinets were everywhere. The downside of the faxes was the fax paper (Remember how it faded in sunlight??). Then we had rolls of resumes. There were times our fax machine had a pile of fax paper on the floor and we had to cut each page. You “young” recruiters are So Spoiled! We were the cutting edge of technology! Then in 1992 I began a recruiting contract with MCI in Virginia and was introduced to MCIMail. Cool! Of course, no one could penetrate MCI’s firewall so my resumes were still paper or fax paper. Email was received in hotel rooms at 2400 Baud. What’s that? Think of molasses in winter! We had wires strung across the hotel rooms because there was one outlet 10 feet in one direction and inevitably the phone was by the bed so I carried 20 feet of telephone wire with me when I traveled – even took down the telecom system at the Cornhusker Hotel in Lincoln, NE 3 times one day by polling email, but that’s another story. Remember OCC? That was Bill Warren’s company. He is the father of the Job Boards. OCC was sold to Monster and Bill became President of Monster. When I was the Recruiting Manager at McLeodUSA in 1995, I signed us up on OCC. Now that was truly cutting edge Internet recruiting! I think there were maybe 100 candidates’ resumes on there. By that time Prodigy and AOL had the edge on consumer access to the new Internet wide world web!!! Since then we have tremendous change, some is good and some is bad. Probably most is good. The problem is that some so called recruiters hide behind the Technology Also Led Exceptional Obstacles in candidate sourcing/tracking. What’s not to love when companies create business opportunities with their use of technology?
G – Growth is unavoidable when business changes as often as recruitment does. Many times I have counseled my clients that recruitment is dynamic and fluid. You have to look at the recruiter barometer to determine what will happen next. The change and growth is not for everyone. It’s only for the successful recruiters who love the industry and its changes.
When I began recruiting, there was a fledgling personal computer industry with ms/dos as the operating system. Apple came shortly after but was primarily used in schools. Our admin typed resumes with an IBM selectric typewriter – and after she left for the day, we typed the resumes for ourselves so we could get them to clients by the morning. During this period I discovered my passion for recruiting. It didn’t matter if I was paid well (my fees gave me a nice income). I was having so much fun that time flew and oh by the way, They Are PAYING Me to have this much fun!
While my recruitment model has changed to a flat monthly fee, I still calculate what my contingency fee would be. Funny! The adrenalin still flows. I love the recruiting industry!…
* Email Andrew Directly
Andrew Heywood is a veteran recruiter/sourcer with corporate staffing experience at Google, Apple, and Adobe. Andrew has developed extensive International staffing experience including Japan, Korea, India, China, Zurich, London and Australia markets. In addition, Andrew has project management, and sales expertise both in domestic and international markets.
He has lived and worked in Japan for 4.5 years and gained additional international travel experience in Germany, Singapore, Philippines, Canada, and Mexico. Andrew is multi-lingual, speaking Japanese (JLPT3) and Cantonese (basic) in addition to his native English.
Andrew's specific areas of expertise include: Diversity Recruiting Best Practices, Google ATS, HRIS, Hire.com, Filefinder, Offer Work-flow (Google specific), Internet Sourcing Training, Boolean Searches, LinkedIn, Conferences, Corporate Directories, Alumni directories, Associations, proprietary database, job boards, networking, and cold calls.
Q&A with Andrew Heywood
Six Degrees: Tell us of your home world.
Andrew: I am currently single living in Northern California with my two wonderful dogs Kiseki and Surf. They are both 4.5 years old and I adopted them from the rescue organization Norsled (http://www.norsled.org/available.html). My family (father, mother, sister, brother) all live in California and I spend time with them when I can.
I am an active person who loves the outdoors and is involved with various sport activities (triathlons, hiking, yoga, badminton). I use to be a Collegiate Division I, Cross Country runner and still love to run to this day. When I am not playing a sport, I love to keep up with my Japanese and volunteer my time with the dog rescue group Norsled. I spent over 4 years living/working in Japan prior to moving back to California (Jan 2005). I have then caught the travel bug and love to explore new parts of the world when time allows.
Six Degrees: How many years have you been in the staffing industry?
Andrew: I have been recruiting for over 7 years. I spent my first 3 years working for a recruiting agency in the heart of Tokyo Japan, then following working in house for Google, Apple, and Adobe once I moved back to the United States.
Six Degrees: How did you get started as a recruiter?
Andrew: Prior to recruiting, I had just graduated from college and spent one year as an inside sales representative for MA Laboratories in San Jose California. I then moved to Japan to teach English in the country side for a year adventure before I settle down with my career. Little did I know that coming to a country on the other side of the world would open up a new career that I am very passionate about today. I had just completed my English teaching contract with the JET Program and moved back to California two months before September 11 2001. The job market had crumbled and there were no jobs in sight. I attended an alumni networking event for the JET Program (the program I taught English for in Japan) and there was a recruiting agency there trying to find young talent to go back to Tokyo and train to become a Head Hunter/Recruitment Consultant. I had no idea of what being a Head Hunter/Recruitment Consultant was all about, however I decided to take a chance and move back to Japan.
The company Access Technology Japan (ATJ), really taught me the hard nose basics of sourcing and recruiting great talent. I was recruiting sales, marketing, IT professionals and developers. This was not only my first time in this profession, however I was recruiting Japanese nationals into foreign companies in Japan (which add another level to the learning curve). At the same time, I was also developing my Japanese language skills. I have never work so hard in my life however at the same time enjoying every minute of it. There was no such thing as a 40 hour week, I would call it more of a 60 - 80 hour week including working Saturdays. The colleagues who worked with me in the office were from all parts of the world (Japan, Canada, USA, Australia, Romania, China, Taiwan, New Zealand, etc) which made the experience even more exciting. If I look back at the various challenges learning recruiting in that market, I realize how much I learned as a 23 year old getting into the business.
After ATJ, I decided to move back to California and begin my career in recruiting in the states. I ironically had more experience working in a foreign country than I did my own. When I moved back to California in January 2005, Google had just begun its growth frenzy and I had heard great things about working there. I applied and my good friend who was working in the AdSense department referred me to the staffing department. I landed a contract role where I was able to contribute to many of the emerging technical offices (China, Japan, India, Zurich, and Australia). I focused on technical positions from individual contributor to higher management. I spent a total time of 3.7 years at Google (2 years contract and 1.7 years as a permanent employee) focusing on a variety of technical roles not just for over seas offices but the Mountain View Head Quarters and YouTube San Bruno office. I also had the pleasure of working for Apple Computer and Adobe Systems during the time I was a contract recruiter. I am currently starting to work on a free-lance basis venturing into a new chapter of my recruiting career.
Six Degrees: What single event had the most impact on your sourcing/recruiting career?
Andrew: Without a doubt it would be during my first recruiting job at ATJ in Japan because it gave me the opportunity to feel the sense how much you are impacting a persons life and career. I learned so much during these years that I am using these basics to this day. A specific example of this is my experience working with a Japanese Sales Manager candidate. Although he did not accept the role I was recruiting him for due to his family situation, he told me I was one of the best recruiters he has ever worked with. It was the first deal I lost, but realized the relationship and trust I built with this person lasts a lifetime. We still keep in contact to this day and he has referred many people to me.
Do you have a mentor to whom you attribute your overall outlook on recruitment, capabilities, and/or model your career after?
Andrew: I have learned so much from many people I have worked with in Japan, Google, Apple and Adobe. It is hard for me to point out one particular person as I have had the honor of working with some top notch recruiters and people. From each experience, I take aspects I lack and try to grow from there.
Six Degrees: Tell us about your most recent gigs.
Andrew: My most recent position was recruiting technical roles for the YouTube San Bruno offices. I was located on site in San Bruno California. Google in general has a staffing organization consisting of hundreds of recruiters, although my group consisted of 5 recruiters at YouTube.
Six Degrees: (A) What other companies' recruiting operations do you admire or have heard are best-practice examples?
Andrew: I also had great experiences working for Apple Computer and Adobe Systems in their staffing organizations. Although each different in their own respect, they each have top notch teams and candidate process management.
Six Degrees: What recent general news story or industry trend do you feel will have an impact on your work in the future? Why?
Andrew: I feel the current state of the economy is definitely impacting the recruiting industry as a whole as many companies are freezing head count and laying off employees.
“HOW DOES ANDREW DO IT?”
Six Degrees: How many applicants at your present employer do you estimate are hired from your corporate website as compared to how many are hired through referrals?
Andrew: At Google, they would receive thousands of resumes a day. however not all the hires came from general applications. More came from sourcing, various events and referrals. Google takes recruiting very seriously and will use these methods to find the best talent.
Six Degrees: What is the source of the "Most Hires" collected from at your present employer? (In terms of Quantity #)
Andrew: The source of most hires would have to be through proactive sourcing and employee Referrals.
Six Degrees: What is the source of your "LOWEST COST OF HIRES" - (least amount of invested resources for the easiest hires, regardless of quality) at your present employer?
Andrew: The source of lowest cost of hire would be through general application. Google has created a great environment in which top talent proactively apply. It is truly amazing the talent that works at the company.
Six Degrees: What talent niche groups do you target and are these particular talent areas specialized under your review?
Andrew: Through out the last 4 years I have focused on various software engineering professionals (back and front end software engineers, web developers, flash developers, product management, and system operations,). Also I have a niche for hard to find roles specifically language specific for instance korean and Japanese speaking engineers.
Six Degrees: What types of training in sourcing/recruitment are available to you and have you taken advantage of?
Andrew: I feel very lucky to have worked for some great corporations here in the Silicon Valley who make a great investment in the training of their staffing professionals. I have been able to take advantage of online, seminar, and video conference training. I always strive to continue and develop my skills.
Six Degrees: What recruitment software tools do you use in your day to day recruitment activities & do they translate effectively within all of the different countries where you recruit?
Andrew: In house ATS and the internet (Blogs, Linkedin, Twitter, Facebook, boolean searches, job boards, patent searches, alumni groups etc.) Some of the tools we use here in the U.S. do not translate to finding great talent directly as with other parts of the world. For example with a more private sensitive country like Japan, it is harder to do a Linkedin search to source good talent. Many people are very reluctant to put their information on the web. It is more about the referral process and face to face interaction which takes more time. Although the up and coming engineering talent often will have their own blogs or web site. They are more keen to engage in this but one will have to be able to at times understand Japanese as it may not be in English.
Six Degrees: What tools (technology or old school file folder, for example) did you first encounter early in your recruitment career?
Andrew: When I first started recruiting, I used a Japanese phone book and in house database at the agency I worked for in Japan. The first three months I worked at the company, I was cold calling (cold calling was still going on strong in that market at the time) 8 hours a day then spending the rest of my day meeting candidates at coffee shops and at the office. The tools were very limited and I also attended many conferences to meet candidates and various hang out locations. Since in Japanese culture many people go out to drink after work with co-workers, I often would go to a local bar or club to meet potential candidates. In fact, some of the people I met at these local hang outs I placed into different companies.
Six Degrees: How did your expectations of being a recruiter compare to the actual, first time you got on the phone or in the cubicle? In your opinion, how do people's assumptions about our vocation differ from reality?
Andrew: The only expectation of being a recruiter was from my sister who first started in the business when I was in college. However at the time I didn't pay attention to her line of work and just remember her always doing research for her company. I didn't find it exciting at the time and before joining the agency in Japan and was a little hesitate but had no other job option.
Six Degrees: Worst mistake, biggest goof, lousiest practice you thought would fly but didn’t…and how that was a learning experience?
Andrew: My biggest mistake when I first began recruiting was my pre-qualifying skills. It was so tough in the Japanese market to bring someone in from a cold call that I remember often times not doing a good job pre-qualifying. I learned right away how to be smarter with my efforts versus working harder.
Six Degrees: “Best practice” you are most proud of developing (now or in the past) in your recruiting career?
Andrew: One of my strengths is my customer service and relationship building skills. I believe one of the best practices I tried to leave with each opportunity is treating each candidate as if they are the only person I am dealing with. I have been commented on this often and have conducted many informal training on my style. Although very busy I always try to make each person feel specifically special trying to at least leave them with the good image of the company even if they didn't get the job.
Recommendations For Andrew Heywood
“I have known Andrew for many years. He takes great pride in matching people with the right job and takes a personal interest in their continued success and career development. I have seen many people walk up and thank Andrew for helping them years earlier.” March 18, 2009
Paul Peissner, Alliance Manager - Business Development Specialist, BMC Software
“Andrew has contributed enormously for building the engineering team for Google. He has realized great trust among line managers as a Recruiter who can actually deliver. Andrew has a very challenging assignment to hire world's top notch engineers with Japanese language qualification. Regardless of the challenge, with the three years that Andrew has worked for Google, Andrew has achieved to build a great engineering team in which the team he built is making enormous contribution to the core product development. Andrew is greatly experienced Recruiter where he can manage the entire recruiting life cycle. He has great sustainability in the way he manages candidate and client relation. He also has great interpersonal skills in the way he knows how to gain and maintain trust with candidates. I have worked very closely with Andrew at Google for two years and I highly recommend him as professional recruiter.” September 2, 2008
Tim Hayashi, Recruiter at Google Inc.
“Andrew is such a pleasure to work with. He is a sincere, genuine, hard worker who will go above and beyond what the job entails. I enjoyed working with Andrew on my team. He's one of the most polite people I have ever met and has a kind, gentle heart. Andrew is a superstar performer and I'm glad that we were able to work together.” February 11, 2008
Gina Pak (email@example.com), Recruiter/Coordinator, Google
“It was great working with Andrew. He always has a positive attitude and develops a great rapport with his work colleagues. Andrews works hard to get things done in time. I highly recommend him to anyone!” February 11, 2008
Dennis Ho, Recruiter at Google
“Andrew is an excellent recruiter who knows how to close the deal. He finds the candidate, gets them through the process, and gets them to accept the offer in an efficient and timely manner. He understands the importance of making the sale.” February 11, 2008
Christopher Cheung, Internet Sourcer, GOOGLE
“Andrew is an amazing recruiter. He is soft spoken but articulate. I’ve worked with Andrew at Google in different groups but we often worked together to source/recruit Japanese professionals for both Mountain View and Tokyo Google offices. Andrew gave me some great tips and resources on finding Japanese candidates. We often shared ideas and brainstormed on ways to find the Japanese Google talent. He is very smart, resourceful, responsive and friendly. I had a great time working with him and he is one of the successful recruiters that I know of at Google. You can never go wrong hiring Andrew!” February 10, 2008
Ritu Singh, Partner Solutions Organization Sourcer, Google
“Andrew is a friendly and passionate recruiter. He speaks Japanese and has good skill to recruit software engineers internationally. He works hard to hire good software engineers in Japan as well as those in U.S. who would like to work for products targeted at Japanese market.” February 9, 2008
Junji Takagi, Software Engineer, Google
“Andrew is hiring lots of Japanese software engineers in US and in Japan. He works with a certain amount of teamwork and helps me often.” January 31, 2008
Jun Inada, Engineering Recruiter in Tokyo, Google Japan…
ave along with some of my other paintings of Pete Rose, Jim Rice, Ali/Frazier, and Rocky."
Phone: (770) 803-0444
Steve Rath is a Microsoft staffing consultant alumni with over 20 years of diverse experience aligning talent strategies with business strategies. He is an experienced talent acquisition consultant and trainer. Steve has worked with companies of all sizes in the retail, financial services, manufacturing, software, and Internet sectors, offering unique talent acquisition and training strategies with a Client Service focus. His particular expertise is in recruitment strategy design, recruitment process optimization, recruiting/sourcing, and applicant tracking software implementation. Steve has a bachelor of arts degree in Computer Science with a focus on Personnel Management.
Steve Rath is a noteworthy feature for me on a personal basis. Knowing him honors two cornerstone aspects of a life well lived for me. (1) Did you ever meet someone that within 24 hours you know you made a life long friend? One of significance? To be distinguished in your personal and professional pursuits is an accomplishment. In Steve, I firmly believed then and have since reflected that I was fortunate to have been at the right place and at the right time introduced by the right person. (2) Do you have a mentor, a brethen of sorts who consistently introduces you to people of significance? Someone who sees a connection potential amongst individuals beyond the sharing of stats and 'how to's' that often represent professional environments and has you break bread with them? To have such a friend who contributes actively to your circle of established friendships is likewise a professional/personal milestone. I have one. You may know him - his name in our industry is akin to the names "Cher" and "Prince." He had me sit next to Steve Rath. I am grateful on several levels to have two such friends who make me a better human.
That warm smile upon reflection is what Steve Rath produces in so many conversations. He is the type of person you tell your proudest moments - not for the sake of braggacio, but because you know as he listens he identifies with what it means to you and he wa ts you to succeed just as you wish for the Steve in your life. It's not even necessarily a reaction tied to trade news. It can just as easily be about your kid's spelling bee or the day you planted a new tree in your garden. You may hesitate to share it, Who wants to be perceived as having odd pleasures? But Steve will smile and tell you, "That's great I remember how excited you were when you saw it on the lot." Steve is someone I can tell that to. This is the Steve I know. Steve is also that person you tell the embarrassing tales to, and he can often win the game no one should wisely desire to win. My one named friend is the model of that friend aacrchetype, now Steve is a fellow tribe member. The ego is two doors to the left, we can just sit here and mind our own time. We often do and we do it in the splendor of one another's company.
Today let me stand up and genuflect as I present an opportunity to meet my friend and colleague, Steve Rath.
Six Degrees: Tell us of your home world.
Steve: Originally from NY state, I graduated college in 1985 from State University of New York - Potsdam with a degree in Computer Science (and a minor in Personnel Management). I spent my first 12 years as a developer/programmer. I moved from Poughkeepsie, NY in the late 80’s to Raleigh, NC and then to my final destination, Atlanta, GA in 1990. I like to think I was one of the reasons why the Atlanta Braves started their incredible Division winning streak after I moved to Atlanta! It was in Atlanta where I meet my wonderful wife Marjorie with her intoxicating southern charm. We will be celebrating our 5 year wedding anniversary this September 2009. She keeps me both focused and grounded and she’s my biggest fan. I have three wonderful boys – Nicholas Dominick (12), Anthony Stephen (3), and Charles John (1). I stay quite active as a result of my two youngest and have become quite the Spongebob Squarepants fan.
Growing up I bled baseball. I couldn’t get enough of it. I played it as an 8 year old and in college as a walk on at Florida Institute of Technology (FL Tech). My dream was to play professional baseball. Of course my favorite team was the NY Yankees – Reggie Jackson, Thurman Munson, Dave Winfield, and Phil Rizzuto (as an announcer). Those were the days. I was also an avid Chess player and #1 seat on my High School Chess Club. One of the only students to have lettered in Baseball, Soccer, and Chess!
Today I’m a huge Hockey fan. I enjoy following the Atlanta Thrashers as well as the Pittsburgh Penguins. We go to as many games as we can as a family as we thoroughly enjoy the overall experience.
One of my favorite hobbies is art. I used to draw my sport hero’s as a kid – sketches, pen and ink, and acrylic paintings. One of my most cherished art pieces is a drawing I did of Mickey Mantle of the NY Yankees. Mickey signed my work back in the late 70’s. I framed it and currently have it proudly displayed in my man cave along with some of my other paintings of Pete Rose, Jim Rice, Ali/Frazier, and Rocky.
Six Degrees: How many years have you been the the staffing industry?
Steve: I’ve been in the recruiting/staffing industry since 1997 and recruiting 100% since 2002, so 7 years.
Six Degrees: How did you get started as a recruiter?
Steve: Upon graduating from SUNY-Potsdam I started my career in the software industry as a developer working primarily as a contractor to various IBM facilities in the East Coast. I had very technical jobs during that time which required much of my time with my eyes glued to the terminal (yes we had terminals – no PC’s or workstations or Laptops!). I found that I started enjoying my interactions with people more than with computers and took interest in a possible career change. In 1997 I had the opportunity to change careers and enter the staffing agency world - placing people like myself to work with clients in Atlanta, GA. I started my staffing agency career with a company called Carson Associates (now part of Spherion). It was with Carson Associates where I cut my teeth on the Sales/Account management/Recruiting side of the business. I was responsible for managing the Atlanta based Coca Cola Account as we were one of several vendors working exclusively with KO at the time. It wasn’t long after Carson Associates sold to a publicly traded company (Norrell) that I joined MATRIX Resources as a Sales Representative responsible for opening new business. After several years with MATRIX (2 President Clubs and performer of the month), I joined Comprehensive Computer Consulting, Inc. (CCCi), an established Atlanta staffing agency founded in the 70’s.
In 2004 I took my knowledge of the staffing agency world and applied them directly to my clients as a corporate recruiter/staffing consultant.
What has made me successful in my career as a Recruiter/Staffing consultant in the IT industry has been my unique combination of my technical background as a Developer interlaced with my knowledge and skill of a recruiter. I have always maintained an edge over my recruiting colleagues in my dealings with hiring managers and candidates. Understanding the needs of a hiring manager has allowed me to translate that need into viable candidates. Also understanding the needs of candidates and establishing a bond of trust, has helped me maintain relationships beyond the current requirement and create a future referral base.
Six Degrees: What single event had the most impact on your sourcing/recruiting career?
Steve: Probably the single event which had the most impact on my recruiting career would have to be the transition from the technical industry to the staffing agency industry back in 1997. The transition from developing to staffing was one of the toughest times I can remember. I recall thinking many times during that transition – where is the project plan to account for my time!!
Six Degrees: Do you have a mentor to whom you attribute your overall outlook on recruitment, capabilities, and/or model your career after?
I have had several mentors or influencers over the years as I traveled this long and winding recruiting road. There is one in particular who has greatly influenced my approach to the staffing industry to which I attribute my overall outlook and successes. She actually mentored me during my initial years in the staffing industry. She inspired me with her work ethics and her honest approach with people. She was never quick to judge and displayed the utmost in patience. She knew how to deal with people and operated solely on trust and integrity. Her actions always spoke louder than her words and her knowledge and passion exemplified her dedication to our industry and aspirations to positively influence others around her.
Six Degrees:Tell us about your latest contract recruitment efforts
Steve: Well Dave, this is an interesting question as I’ve been engaged on many staffing projects over the past few years. I’ve taken projects where I’ve simply sourced (Microsoft), as well as projects where I’ve consulted with staffing departments of small to mid-sized organizations (Manhattan Associates, Hanna Strategies, RightNow.com) and functioned as a full life cycle recruiter (Home Depot and Genesis10).
I am currently working on an engagement with RightNow Technologies. The are a small to midsized global company focused on creating CRM software. I was hired to evaluate their staffing process and recommend enhancements, best practices, optimize recruiting strategy, and sourcing techniques.
Six Degrees: (A) What other companies' recruiting operations do you admire or have heard are best-practice examples?
Steve: This is a difficult question to answer as the ebb and flow of recruiters add to and take away from a successfully operated recruiting department. The team and its leadership typically account for a successful operation. I know most all operations I have been involved with have operational issues to contend with and ultimately it’s the leadership which provides the direction and compliance.
(B) In what aspects are they superior?
Steve: The aspects which make one companies’ recruiting operation superior over the other is a solid foundation of sound processes put in place. Processes that account for both the hiring manager experience as well as the applicant experience. Personal accountability and the support of executive level to ensure compliance must exist to some degree. Bottom line is the superior recruiting operation sends a clear and consistent message both internal and external of its company.
Six Degrees: What recent general news story or industry trend do you feel will have an impact on your work in the future? Why?
Steve: Well, besides the fact that our economy has severely affected the overall health of our recruiting industry I’d have to say technology wise the explosion of Web 2.0/social networking has positively impacted my work. Why? Finding and reaching out to talent has reached a new level for recruiters. While traditional methods of networking have always had there place, creating virtual business and social networks have made it easier to connect taking advantage of economies of scale. With the explosion of blogging, LinkedIn, Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter, recruiters now have access to a resource pool larger than anyone could have ever imagined.
Six Degrees: What is your next career goal? What do you need to do to get there?
Steve: My next career goal is to take my consulting to the next level. Continue assisting small to midsized staffing organizations realize their potentials – building best practices, staffing optimization, sourcing strategies, branding, best practices for applicant tracking utilization. While I have enjoyed the tactical side of recruiting and staffing, I’m enjoying the strategic side of building stronger organizations.
To get there is to continue building my resume. My business currently relies on referrals and recommendations. As I continue to build my reputation and my network, I believe my business will also continue to grow.
Recommendations For Steve
“I have known Steve since 2002. Steve is extremely professional and trustworthly. Steve truly cares about his clients and always wants to make sure they are not only happy with his services but that he does everything possible to ensure they are given the best service. Steve has a wonderful personality. Steve is very smart and a quick learner. When you meet Steve you will be able to tell right away, like I did, how much he cares about people.” November 30, 2008
Susan Van Dyke, IGT
“We brought-in Steve to take the lead in staffing for our IS, SAP, and Thin Client Engineering groups... he did just that. Steve immediately took the reigns thus allowing for the Staffing Organization to flex with the growing needs (strategic and tactical) of the company. Steve met and exceeded the expectations of all our groups (including the SAP department, in which IGT heavily utilizes SAP apps and modules). Steve truly understands Staffing and how to effectively manage the groups with whom he works.” September 26, 2008
Cory Burk, Program Manager - University Relations, IGT
“It was indeed my pleasure to have Mr Rath working with our team. He has an excellent understanding of the technical recruiting world. The groups he helped us support at Microsoft (through sourcing) are some of the more difficult teams to please. His understanding of the roles, technologies and his sheer ‘stick-to-it” style was a BIG PLUS for us. He was on point for helping us find some KEY HIRES for critical projects. I am hopeful that our paths will cross again!” August 2, 2008 Top qualities: Great Results, Personable, Creative
“Steve is an excellent recruiter who helped me source for numerous positions while he worked for Microsoft. His expert advice and all his dedication throughout the recruitment process were paramount. His support and understanding of the recruiting process as well as the technology space makes Steve an outstanding asset for any company.” June 17, 2008
Doug Kester, Technical Recruiter, Microsoft
“I am very impressed by the speed and responsiveness with which Steve and his team have responded to my queries and concerns. This is very difficult to do when working with such high-value clients as Steve does, which certainly send to him hundreds (thousands?) of requests daily. He is a real responsiveness star, and a role model for recruiters everywhere.” May 15, 2008. Top qualities: Great Results, Personable, On Time
Bernard Hayes, PMP, The Home Depot
“I had the privilege of working with Steve in Home Depot's Supply Chain group. His passion to attract right talent to the group and more importantly, post-recruitment follow-through is amazing! Steve is one of the most sincere HR recruiters that I have seen.” December 8, 2007
Vijay Sankararaman, Sr.Manager, Supply Chain Technology, The Home Depot
“I have had the pleasure of working with Steve now for several months. He is by far one of the most ethically, hard working recruiters that I have worked with. Steve is a dedicated worker and always seeks to do the right thing. He is also a great resource of information and always willing to do what is best for the customer! I have enjoyed working with Steve because you don't have to second guess or wonder if he will meet your expecations.” July 5, 2007
“Steve started with Manhattan Associates as a Contractor and eventually moved into the Manager role. Our team rallied around him at all times. Steve has a strong recruiting foundation and understanding of recruiting. His skills, knowledge and experiences allowed the rest of the team to focus on our recruiting and know we were headed in the right direction. Steve is a solid asset to any Talent Acquisition team.” April 21, 2009
Greg Freed, Senior Technical Recruiter, Manhattan Associates
“Steve was a pleasure to work with and is one of the best recruiters that I have ever had the privilege getting to know. Steve consistently follows up on candidates finding the best fit and is willing to listen to exactly the type of person that I am looking for. He is open and honest and a great communicator. Steve also has tons of industry knowledge and seems to be connected everywhere. He really made a huge impact on the Corporate HR recruiting team. He brought in the right people and was able to motivate his associates getting things done. If you are looking for a recruiter then I would highly recommend utilizing Steve’s talent. He is one of the BEST!” May 15, 2008
Lyndon Kolb, Strategic Account Management - Hardware, Manhattan Associates
“Steve Rath is an effective, results-oriented manager who works well with all levels of the organization. He ensures that his direct reports have what they need to be successful in their roles. He gives a great deal of feedback and manages his recruiters' workloads well. He is very easy to work for and work with.” January 18, 2007
Barbara Marks, Corporate Recruiter, Manhattan Associates
“Steve invited me to come aboard with Manhattan Associates as a contract recruiter. The 3-month engagement was extended twice to seven months. We worked beautifully together because Steve was even-tempered, steady, always encouraging and kind to candidates and colleagues, even in the midst of learning his new role as Recruiting Manager, implementing a new enterprise applicant tracking system, and enduring increasing governmental recruiting regulations. He really does a great job of helping others move along gently, no matter the pressure on him. We were friends before I went there. We are even better friends now!” January 18, 2007
“I worked with Steve to help find several people to expand my Siebel and SAP teams. Steve went out of his way to find high quality people and to do them quickly and efficently. He was exacting in his screening and his can-do attitude made working with Steve a pleasure. He was creative in his searches and problem solving, while meeting all deadlines. I would recommend Steve and would certainly enjoy working with him again.” December 3, 2007
Stephan Cavarra, IT Application Dev Mrg, Hanna Strategies, LLC.
“Steve is an excellent hire for anyone looking for a top notch recruiter. He has the ability to hone in on what the needs are and drive to filling the needs in a quick and efficient manner. Steve and I worked together for a while and once he understood what I wanted he was a bulldog. Great catch for any company looking to grow their talent base in all aspects.” November 30, 2007
Annant Patel, Manager - Supply Chain, The Home Depot…
te of the Southwest Florida economy
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Lee County is wagering up to $25 million, and the region's vitality, on an Economic Development Office that's struggled to recruit and retain businesses.
The agency's efforts to generate jobs have sputtered at the same time the county is suffering a 9.8 percent unemployment rate and the undesirable label as America's foreclosure capital.
In the past 10 years, the taxpayer-supported Economic Development Office hasn't knocked the socks off many CEOs looking for greener pastures. According to its own data, the agency provided extensive logistical help in establishing 36 companies in target areas. Combined, they pledged to create 1,903 jobs, which amounts to less than 1 percent of Lee's labor force of 284,036 people.
Agency projections turned out to be optimistic. The News-Press spent two months tracking down those 36 companies, finding that:
- Eleven have ceased their operations here.
- Ten remaining companies employ fewer workers than anticipated; two are about to call it quits.
- Thirteen companies met or exceeded employment projections by a combined 242 jobs.
- Two companies did not return multiple calls.
All told, those 36 companies dwindled to 25, and those 1,903 jobs were cut to 1,005 positions, not counting the two non-responsive businesses.
Those numbers have not deterred Lee commissioners from believing the economic development office can revolutionize our economy.
"They've done an extremely exemplary job, from Sony to Source Interlink to Lynx Services," said Commission Chairman Ray Judah, referring to three companies the agency has assisted. "There are a number of organizations they attracted to Lee County that are expanding and hiring more employees."
Commissioners authorized a $25 million incentive program to lure companies and help existing businesses expand operations. It's quick cash is meant to relieve the economic bedlam that's been plaguing our community.
But if the agency hasn't succeeded in building a solid, diversified economy, why entrust it with an amount that's 14 times its annual budget?
Ron Inge, former chairman of a community leadership group called the Horizon Council, initially suggested the incentives. He said Lee County has been at a disadvantage for the past decade as other regions wave cash at prospective businesses.
"It's a huge competitive environment," Inge said. "In that 10-year period, we were competing against communities that had incentives already."
Jim Moore, the agency's executive director since August, admits money won't fix a broader problem that Lee's economy is too reliant on construction, real estate and tourism. Today's business climate isn't exactly suitable for companies looking to expand or relocate.
"The businessman would be foolish to go ahead with plans, given the economy," Moore said.
Times are tough, but they're also tough in Brevard County, which managed to land the Brazilian jet manufacturer Embraer last May. Embraer inquired about building its $50 million, 150,000-square-foot aircraft assembly facility in Lee, but chose Melbourne, the beneficiary of 200 new jobs paying an average salary of $50,000. Embraer officials wouldn't say what qualities Lee was lacking, but Melbourne-area and state agencies ponied up $12 million in incentives.
Brent Barkway, business development officer for Lee's economic development agency, suspects this region was missing one key ingredient.
"The amount of aerospace engineers on that side of the state was too much for us to overcome," Barkway said. "It's not that there is anything wrong with us."
To woo prospects, Lee recruiters boast of our high quality of life, pro-business climate and growing work force. Sounds good, but corporate executives hear the same, if not better, sales pitches elsewhere.
In 2003, the Scripps Research Institute also checked into Lee, which emerged as one of four finalists. After evaluating contenders, the biomedical research group instead chose Jupiter for its 364,000-square-foot center. Keith McKeown, Scripps' vice president of communications and public relations, would not specify what Lee County lacked, but said Palm Beach County had six distinct advantages:
- The county donated 100 acres and $157 million in construction costs, in addition to $310 million in startup costs from state government.
- Palm Beach's housing inventory was ample for scientists and researchers.
- Southeast Florida had easy national and international flight connections.
- The Palm Beach area had variety in its cultural and physical amenities.
- Scripps staff felt Palm Beach closely resembled the institute's headquarters near San Diego.
- Palm Beach residents had money and influence.
"Palm Beach is one of the philanthropic capitals of the country," McKeown said.
Scripps' contract with Florida requires the institute to employ at least 545 people by 2013.
Lee wants to land a few "Tiffany targets," as Moore calls them, but the lack of a clincher is not just a Lee County problem. In December, the Economic Development Foundation in Naples released its 2008 Florida Economic Scorecard, comparing the state's eight geographic regions in 26 categories. Southwest Florida as a whole - Collier, Lee and Charlotte counties - ranked dead last. Northwest Florida was first.
There's no sense dwelling on the past, Lee officials say. Barkway believes Lee has 25 realistic, active prospects looking to relocate their businesses. Another bright spot is a 37 percent increase in recruitment and business assistance contacts logged by economic development staff in 2008 vs. 2007.
The Economic Development Office is a small operation with 15 employees and a $1.7 million annual budget. Moore, who earns $124,615 a year, took the helm this summer after Regina Smith, agency head for five years, accepted a county buyout.
The agency does not recruit restaurants, retail stores or hotels. It pursues companies in six target industries: aviation, shared services, corporate headquarters, information technology, life sciences and manufacturing. Staffers provide market research to anyone, but focus on target companies planning to create a minimum of 10 jobs, generate at least 51 percent of revenue outside Florida and offer salaries at 125 percent of Lee's average wage.
The 36 companies
Digital Telecom Access Control looked promising, a custom computer programming business projected to employ 15 workers earning $75,000 a year. It opened five years ago in Cape Coral. Today, callers are greeted by a recording: Press one for sales, press two for technical support, press three for the business office. Sounds like a big operation, but in actuality, all calls lead to owner and president Michael Fischer - the last man standing.
"We had a couple of good contracts, but the economy started to go in a different direction," Fischer said. "The telecom sector has come to a screeching halt."
D-TAC's decline isn't a rarity.
CallTech, a global call center, opened its Fort Myers facility in 1999, quickly outlining a series of expansions to bump the employee count to 500. CallTech's work force disintegrated just as fast. Director of recruiting Jim Phillips said the center closed in 2007 because of a client reduction that coincided with a lease expiration. Its 25,000-square-foot facility remains vacant.
BeSafe International, which manufactured protective vests for police officers, spent the past month moving its operation from Fort Myers to Miami after four years here. Flexi International, a software company that brought its regional office to Lee in 2000, moved to Naples five years later.
BeSafe and Flexi are the types of business Lee County wants: manufacturing and high-tech industries that sell products outside the region and pay above-average wages. They also are the types of business Lee County has trouble attracting and trouble keeping.
In December, the county hired Denver-based Atlas Advertising to create a campaign promoting Lee on a national level. Ben Wright, Atlas' CEO and founder, said losing businesses is not uncommon as company executives evaluate their options.
Wright discerned that two Floridas have emerged in economic development, and Lee isn't necessarily vying for an Embraer or Scripps with Brevard or Palm Beach, counties that feature bigger, better-trained work forces.
"Prospects and companies differentiate between the west coast of Florida and the east coast," Wright said. "We're not so sure we're competing with the rest of the state."
The Economic Development Commission of Florida's Space Coast helped bring 12 companies to Brevard County in the past five years, when it began tracking the data. Lee, by comparison, landed 14 companies in that timeframe. Brevard's companies generated 977 new jobs to Lee's 776.
The true difference between Brevard and Lee are the types of new businesses opening shop. Brevard's include a glut of manufacturers: aircraft, airplane parts, medical supplies, electronics, guided missile and rubber. Lee's newcomers manufactured bulletproof vests, doors, metal products and pharmaceuticals, along with food packaging and headquarters for manufacturing and insurance firms.
Four months after commissioners approved the $25 million incentive, the economic development office is revealing its first recommendation, the expansion of a marketing research and public opinion polling firm. The undisclosed company plans to build a 70,000-square-foot facility and create 200 jobs over five years, each averaging $60,000-a-year salaries. Commissioners will vote Tuesday on whether the project merits $350,000 in incentives.
Jennifer Berg, marketing and communications manager for the economic office, said an 80-employee consumer finance company soon will announce it is relocating here.
Moore repeatedly has stated he'd rather not spend a penny of the $25 million, calling the incentives a marketing tool.
"The only way I'm going to use the $25 million is to close the deal," Moore said. "I'm not going to put it out there on the table and say 'please come have as much as you want.'"
New vs. existing
In the past decade, the economic development office helped 77 businesses expand their local presence, creating 3,403 new jobs. Just like new companies, some existing businesses also closed their doors. Paragon Marketing added 40 employees in 1999, but closed the office three years later. Neomedia Technologies was going strong when the software design company added 35 employees in 2000. The company restructured in 2007, uprooting its world headquarters to Atlanta so it could "offer close contact to potential customers and easier access to international markets," according to a news release.
As the economy worsens, Lee's economic development office will monitor local businesses.
"Who is more loyal to this community than the people who are already here, have their roots here, have their families here and would like to keep them here?" Moore said.
That's fine, but Carlene Maurer, co-owner of Beach Bowl near Fort Myers Beach, admits she is struggling to keep the business afloat, but still wants to open a snack shop and arcade there. Beach Bowl, like a majority of local businesses, does not qualify for incentives because it's not a target industry looking to create 75 new jobs. Maurer relayed her idea after The News-Press solicited comments from the public.
She suggested $100,000 grants for 250 existing businesses. That $25 million, she said, would inject cash flow into companies with desire to stay in business here.
"What about us existing businesses?" Maurer said later in an interview. "We might have to shut down."
Horizon Council chairman John Wiest said a future discussion can, and should, include existing businesses that need financial help, but the $25 million has a one purpose.
"That is clearly to diversify the economy and mitigate against future economic problems," he said.
About the series
Lee County has always relied on two main industries: real estate and tourism. Despite a lot of time and money spent on the need to broaden our business base, the current downturn shows we still are not diversified enough. When the construction industry collapsed, it led to the loss of thousands of jobs from retailing and restaurants to government and financial services.
We solicited comments from the public and got dozens of suggestions on how to improve our economy. We held five meetings in which 38 business and community leaders gave us their thoughts and suggestions. And we’ve set up Web pages so the discussion can continue through the coming weeks and beyond.
A rundown on the series:
Millions: Lee County recently handed its Economic Development Office $25 million to spark economic growth. But that agency’s performance is mixed. What industries should the agency be looking to recruit?
Problems: How Lee’s lack of diversification hurts local residents. As we try to recover, there are plenty of stumbling blocks.
The upside: Lee County is well-positioned for a return to prosperity and should be able to reinvent itself.
Beginning Jan. 26, we’ll have a daily solution to our economic problems based on your feedback and we’ll wrap up with a look ahead Feb. 1.…