An $800 fee in 1979 bought a lifetime of confidence to share with others ....
Meet our friend and fellow RecruitingBlogs.com enthusiast, Mark E. Berger. Since 1979 he has been a driving force within the staffing community and his accomplishments have been widely recognized.
"Mark has been one of my longest standing heroes and influencers in the business of sourcing. His quiet and humble demeanor exudes an unmatched confidence, while at the same time makes him extremely approachable. From when we first virtually “met” before the turn of the millennium, I have remained a loyal and devoted fan of his work. I can offer no stronger endorsement than the fact that I trust him completely and strive to find more ways in which we can do business together regularly.” December 31, 2007"
Shally Steckerl, Chief CyberSleuth & Founder, JobMachine, Inc, (JobMachine.net)
I should preface my featured article by letting our audience know that Mark and I are fellow travelers within the sourcing community and that we share mutual admiration of our colleagues Shally Steckerl and Glenn Gutmacher. That said, Mark established himself long ago and independently with his SwatRecriting Techniques - so good that it caught the eye of JobMachine and has since joined us as an Adjunct Faculty member since September 2008.
In his role as Adjunct Faculty, Mark conducts online workshops for Swat Recruiting and JobMachine customers, covering many of the topics in the JobMachine curriculum. His specialties inclued demonstrating how to maximize searches on Google, Windows Live and LinkedIn, advanced techniques for finding resumes online, and specialized search engine syntax such as the site: command, intitle: and inurl:.
Mark has been in recruiting and staffing since 1979. He is currently the proprietor of Swat Recruiting (www.swatrecruiting.com), a firm supporting the technology needs of the recruiting and staffing industry.
He has been heavily involved in Internet recruiting ever since there was such a thing and has become an expert on recruiting and sourcing products and services available to the recruiting industry. Mark started utilizing the Internet for candidate sourcing back in the early 1990s by first running classified ads on the text versions or AOL and Compuserve. Then he was an early user of some of the very first online resume databases including Career Mosaic, Headhunter.net, and Online Career Center. In the latter part of the 90s Mark learned advanced techniques to source passive candidates from the Internet using the search engines, primarily utilizing Alta Vista and Northern Lights in the beginning and is now an advanced user of today's popular search engines including Google, Live, and Yahoo. Mark also has a high level of expertise in recruiter databases (ATS’s), including how these products add to the bottom line.
Mark has authored the Internet Recruiting column appearing monthly in The Fordyce Letter since 1998 and is a frequent contributor to other recruiting industry publications. He is also an often requested speaker at many local, regional, and national recruiting industry events.
Mark is also on the board of directors for the Mid-America Association of Personnel Services
Q&A with Mark Berger
Six Degrees: Tell us about your home world Mark.
Mark: To date, my personal life has been fairly private. I am a simple man with simple needs and tastes that leads a fairly uncomplicated yet enjoyable life. I am lucky to have a great job that I love, get to travel fairly regularly, a wonderful family including three great school-aged kids that I am very close with. In whatever free time I do have I enjoy going to yard sales and estate sales, usually on the weekends. You just never know what treasure you will stumble on next.
Six Degrees: How many years have you been in the staffing industry?
Mark: I started in the early days of IT recruiting, 9/17/79. Back then it was nothing more than recruiting COBOL and Assembler programmers on IBM, Honeywell, Univac, and Burroughs “mainframes”. There was a little Fortran on DEC/PDP’s as well. How things have changed… I was at it pretty much full time for many years, close to 28 or so, until I went into recruiter technology training full time back in 2006.
Six Degrees: How did you get started as a recruiter?
Mark: I wish my story could be more dramatic but back in the late 1970s nobody even knew what a “recruiter” was. Most of the time people thought I worked for the military. I remember being doing some shopping one day and bumped into a friend I had worked with in a prior job. He just happened to mention I should come and interview with his boss, who was looking to hire a couple of people. I agreed and although I had no idea what I was walking into nor the impact it would have on the rest of my life, I was offered and accepted the job. After my initial 60 minute training session my boss had me make out a bunch of index cards (pre-computer/pre-database) with all the company names I could find, then started to call those companies to solicit job orders. I made my first placement in my third week…and the rest is history.
Six Degrees: What single event had the most impact on your sourcing/recruiting career?
Mark: Probably that first placement, back in 1979. In this new job of mine, not knowing what I was doing, I did wonder if I was cut out for the task. That first placement, I think for an $800 fee, gave me the confidence I needed to go forward and turn this job into the career that it has been for me.
Do you have a mentor to whom you attribute your overall outlook on recruitment, capabilities, and/or model your career after?
Mark: In my early days, I never had a mentor. I was always jealous of those recruiters who worked for the very few other recruiting companies at the time that actually had big billers on staff to learn from. The company I worked for didn’t really have anyone like that. I always used to tell people back then that the reason I knew what to do at any given time was because I had done it wrong in the past and was able to learn from my mistakes. Later in my career, I’d have to say Paul Hawkinson, long-time editor and publisher of the venerable Fordyce Letter, nurtured my early role as his Internet Recruiting columnist, starting in 1998. His early vision that an Internet column in his newsletter is only one indication of his broadminded outlook on this industry. These days, if I had to pick a mentor it would be Shally, whom I have known for many, many years. Before his name because a household word in our industry. I saw his JobMachine grow from a small, part-time endeavor to become a national influence in the recruitment/sourcing industry. Every time I listen to him speak, I learn something new.
Six Degrees: Tell us about your staffing industry contributions, Mark:
Mark: Currently, I am owner of Swat Recruiting (www.swatrecruiting.com). I actually started Swat many years ago but never really had the time to do what I wanted to do with it. In late 2005 I made the decision to change the focus of my career from placements to training, and have never been happier. Although I do miss the placements from time to time, I feel very fulfilled and actually love my job now. Swat is involved in all types of recruiter technology. Anything computer, Internet, software related. We try and assist recruiting organizations integrate technology into their work environment. There are so many choices out there it is overwhelming for some. Swat Recruiting offers many training sessions, mainly on sourcing passive candidates on the Internet, and most have been very well received by the recruiting community. We also work on marketing plans from time to time with recruiting industry vendors, and have a small ATS consulting practice.
Six Degrees: What other companies' recruiting operations do you admire or have heard are best-practice examples?
Mark: Well…I don’t know about companies, but I do have a few “heroes” I suppose. A couple I already mentioned. Paul Hawkinson, who just received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the most recent NAPS conference, has always been someone I have looked up to, and I am very privileged to have been able to get to know him in my ten-year association with him prior to his retirement. Shally Steckerl is another already mentioned. This man is a true visionary in our chosen field and one that is well-respected throughout. It is my honor and pleasure to be as closely associated with him as I am. Donato Diorio is another. This man is a tireless supporter of our industry, and now only develops some of the finest recruitment software via his Broadlook company, he is also very knowledgeable about the inner workings of our industry. I have had the pleasure of knowing him since the early days of Broadlook.
Six Degrees: What recent general news story or industry trend do you feel will have an impact on your work in the future? Why?
Mark: Lucky for me…the prevailing industry trend is locating passive candidate resources on the Internet, my specialty. As far as this aspect of the recruiting industry has come, I feel like in many ways we are still in its infancy. I think over the next few years networking for candidates will become more and more an accepted way to get those elusive A+ candidates as the pricey resume databases will become less influential.
Six Degrees: I know you have been active on the speaking circuit over the years, Mark can you elaborate on where our colleagues can have an opportunity to see you in action?
Mark: One thing I really enjoy about my career as an industry trainer is that I do get to travel from time to time for public speaking engagements. I have been to Fordyce Forum, the National Association of Personnel Services national conference, MRI, Top Echelon, and IPA regionals. I have also had the pleasure of working with these groups and others including Kennedy Information, NPA, ASA, and many state and local recruiter associations to get the word out about this technology. For many years I have been a Certified Personnel Consultant (CPC) and a Certified Internet Recruiter (CIR). I am also very proud to say I am not an Adjunct Faculty member at JobMachine.net and will be participating on a regular basis in the Webinar Series and be a regular blog contributor.
Six Degrees: What is your next career goal? What do you need to do to get there?
Mark: My career goals are simple. Not only to learn as much as I can about recruiter technology…to stay abreast of everything new and exciting, but to be able to teach what I learn to others, so they can make effective use of these new trends to make more hires or placements.
PART II: “HOW DOES MARK DO IT?”
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?
Mark: In my role as the Internet Recruiting columnist for the Fordyce Letter and industry technology trainer I maintain relations with surely the vast majority of the recruiting industry vendors, ATS, Data/Resume Capture, Contact Databases, etc. People often ask me for my recommendations or favorites, and although I do have them I always encourage people to make their selection based on their own needs, not what I happen to like.
Six Degrees: What tools did you first encounter early in your recruitment career?
Mark: When I first started in the business back in 1979, we used index cards to sort our companies/clients and hard copy resumes for our candidates. This was way before computers, much less the Internet. This was even before fax machines as we had to make copies of resumes and actually mail them (yes, USPS…with a stamp) to our clients. We had file drawers with folders and tabs for different programming languages and/or job titles and/or hardware. Our job was made much more difficult by the fact that if a person had more than one skill, you either had to make a duplicate copy of his resume and file it in a second folder, or, more often forget that he or she was there. We had to rely a lot more on our memories that we do today. Those were the reasons I was a very early proponent of automation/computerization in the recruiting office in the 1980s, as soon as the PC came onto the market. Then in the early nineties, we tried running classified ads for programmers on the text versions of America Online and Compuserve. Snagged a few here and there. The middle nineties brought the early iterations of resume databases including Headhunter.net, Career Mosaic, Online Career Center, etc. All those have since been gobbled up by today’s big services. Then, in the latter part of the nineties, the term “passive candidate” was first coined, and we learned how to use Internet search engines, back then mainly AltaVista and NorthernLights, to search for resumes. Since then it has been a learning process and then a teaching process the last few years.
Six Degrees: How do you personally expect to facilitate change within our industry, and/or at your place of work? If you started that process, outline the problem, your solutions, and the vision.
Mark: The problem, if there is one, depends on the audience. If you talk about HR, this is a group of people not typically trained in sales. You can teach them all about sourcing techniques but once they have sourced a few candidates, they may be unsure as to how to make the connection, how to lure that resource into the fold. The solution here is to give that audience a simple, yet reliable way to make contact and get their foot in the door. Most big companies have this problem licked by dedicating teams of people, however, many smaller and medium sized organizations do not have the financial resources or manpower to do this. They have to be more creative.
If you look at the third-party group, the problem differs a bit. This is a group that is typically highly skilled in sales, however, lack the patience and/or inclination to follow a thorough sourcing process. This needs to be taken into account when presenting to this group. They need some very easy ways to perform this task.
Six Degrees: “Best practice” you are most proud of developing (now or in the past) in your recruiting career?
Mark: Probably preaching a process-oriented approach to sourcing. Technique is one thing. You can get techniques from the Google help pages, but it is only when those techniques are integrated with a comprehensive, multi-pronged approach can one expect to say they have done a thorough job of sourcing their next applicant. So many I talk to run one string in one search engine, grab a few resources and call it a day. Little do they know how much they are leaving on the table for those more thorough competitors.
Six Degrees: Considering all of the frustrations you have experienced in your career as a recruiter, -- what inspires you as you continue in your career?
Mark: One thing that helps is to try hard not to become frustrated. What goes up goes down but conversely, what goes down goes up. There are always good times and bad times in any business. Ride the wave either way it goes and be in it for the long haul.
Six Degrees: What one thing do you ideally hope to accomplish in 2009?
Mark: Next year, one of my professional goals is for my training to become more appealing to an international audience. I have had a couple classes to Australians, Asians, and the English. I want to do more of that. I also want to expand my training to include more of the network available to recruiters. There are so many now it is hard for one to know the good from the great.
Six Degrees: Anything you want to plug?
Mark: Check the JobMachine.net calendar regularly for my webinars. Better yet, sign up to be on the mailing list so you won’t miss the announcements.
Six Degrees: How Are You Going To Change The Recruitment Industry?
Mark: Simple…learn more…teach more.
Listen to Mark in action this Thursday: Free Webinar, Register HERE for "Turbocharged Passive Candidate Sourcing: Best of Telephone, Google & Online Database Research Techniques" with Co-Presenter, Sheila Greco
“I highly recommend anyone to work with Mark. I've trained with him a couple times. He had a wonderful rapport with trainees at all levels. He is always very responsive to questions, feedback, or simple explanations to my issues. His ability to connect with superiors, clients, vendors, and subordinates is what sets Mark apart from other trainers; he had the balance of truly listening and then approaching issues with candid yet insightful knowledge. Mark has excellent written and verbal communication skills, is extremely organized, reliable and a whiz with any sourcing technology. I have emailed him questions and despite her busy schedule he gets back to me immediately and always with a very positive attitude. I recommend Mark without reservation."” May 27, 2008
Teresa Bustamante PHR, CPC, Research Analyst, Avery Dennison
“Mark's down-to-earth writing and seminar teaching style is easy to follow and his strategies are simple to execute. Mark really cares about helping his colleagues and client/students become more efficient and more effective recruiters.” November 25, 2008
Top qualities: Expert, Good Value, High Integrity
“I had the good fortune of attending Mark's Linked-In webinar. Up until this point, I hadn't done much with Linked-In. However, Mark taught many options one could investigate to help in sourcing passive candidates. While I'm just starting out using Linked-In, I'm hopeful that it will be a big help in my building a solid network & provide another alternative to traditional sourcing.” November 3, 2008
Michael Klass, Search Consultant, Joan Leslie Search Group
was with another company when working with Mark E. at Swat Recruiting
“I have taken 2 courses from Mark and look forward to taking more. He knows his stuff and is a great teacher.” October 30, 2008
Top qualities: Great Results, Expert, Good Value
Bill Zajac PE
hired Mark E. as a Business Consultant in 2008, and hired Mark E. more than once
“Mark is truly an expert in the area of recruiting technology analysis. He breaks down the process to even the most minute detail, and is quick to understand the impact technology has on the recruiting process. While I may not always agree with what Mark has to say, I certainly respect his viewpoint, and it makes for great conversation. Thanks for your commitment to our industry, Mark.” August 19, 2008
Mike Tischer, Channel Manager and Sr. Sales Representative, Broadlook Technologies
was with another company when working with Mark E. at Swat Recruiting
“I have worked with Mark on a number of Kennedy Information sponsored seminars. He is a joy to work with because he is a true professional who updates his content on a regular basis and has a great ability to reach his audience. Post report analysis prove that he is popular talent. I look forward to working with Mark in the future.” August 15, 2008
Hillary Kyle Holian, Associate Producer, Kennedy Information, Career Management Alliance, IOMA
“I have had the pleasure of knowing and working with Mark Berger for several years. Mr. Berger is a top notch recruiter and an expert in the application of technology to the recruitment process. He provides a much needed resource to the staffing and recruiting industries through his training programs and leadership. Mark is also a tireless supporter and board member of the Mid America Association of Personnel and Staffing Services. His input and insights have had a tremendous impact on both that organization but also on the many members of that organization.” June 18, 2008
Roger Aistrup, General Manager, Allan James Associates LLC
“I've taken 2 classes from Mark and find his work to be very meaningful and thorough on the subject. He not only has a pleasant manner, you can tell he enjoys what he does. He is extremely knowledgeable and detailed in his presentations and materials. I highly recommend his classes!” March 21, 2008.. Top qualities: Expert, Good Value, Creative
“WAPS invited Mark Berger to speak to our local membership on February 20th 2008. Mark came prepared to engage our membership on finding passive candidates on the internet. WAPS emphatically endorses Mark Berger for any seminars or webinars in your area. Mark knows his subject very well and the content of his presentations enabled our members to take several ideas and suggestions back to our desk. Mark is very patient and was willing to answer any question our membership had. Also, Mark is very much open to continue answering questions if our members are struggling with one of his techniques. WAPS is happy to endorse Mark Berger for your passive candidate recruiting needs on the internet. February 21, 2008, Terry Rohde, CPC, Engineering Recruiter, DES LLC
“From Day 1, Mark has demonstrated his tremendous knowledge of the universe in which he works --- the recruiting and sourcing world. His experience and keen assessment capabilities make him one of the best sources for guidance, especially when it comes to the myriad of tools and methods available on the market today. He is a true professional, and a pleasure to work with!” February 11, 2008
Anne Scofield, Vice President, Business Development, SGA
“Mark E. Berger has a very influential and charismatic personality and his online seminars have been a great help for me to do things better that I do every day. I am very impressed with his abilities and grasp of the subject within his domain and I would strongly recommend Mark E. Berger to everyone.” January 11, 2008
Asif Akhtar Nizami, Technical Recruiter, FSD Solutions
“Mark has written several articles on my blog (jimstroud.com) and worked with me on multiple projects. I respect his expertise in online recruiting and appreciate the value he brings to the industry.” January 11, 2008
Top qualities: Personable, Expert, Good Value
Jim Stroud is a Social Media Development Manager
“I have had the pleasure of working with Mark on numerous occasions. He has a comprehensive understanding of the keys to successful recruiting. Mark's clients clearly benefit from his experience and knowledge of the recruiting industry. I enjoy working with the clients he refers because they are focused, informed, and have a clear understanding of why technology is critical to their success.” November 13, 2007
Tammy Wirths, Account Executive, Sendouts
was with another company when working with Mark E. at Swat Recruiting
“I was introduced to Mark through a management seminar that our owner went to. He showed us all ways to gain access to information that is otherwise not for public eyes-- invaluable in our business! I think it is wonderful that he shares his technical knowledge with those of us who are less savvy in those areas.” November 13, 2007
Denise Gabbard, Search Consultant, GRN Brookpark
was with another company when working with Mark E. at Swat Recruiting
“In the volatile recruiting software industry, many customers are confused by all the choices & need help to assess their requirements and understand vendor options in a crowded market. I refer people who need assistance to Mark with confidence that he can provide unbiased, professional, and valuable guidance throughout the software evaluation process.” September 21, 2007
Sylvia Dahlby, Chief Executive Instigator, SmartSearch Online
“Mark is a consumate professional who is a very knowledgable recruiter, honest and forthright. Then as an owner of Berger-Nowlin, you were fair to all that worked for you, supported and tried to assist the team in anyway you could. It is a natural progression that Mark is in recruiter training. All new and struggling recruiters would only benefit and improve their success by working with Mark.” June 11, 2008
Kevin Fox, Site/Project Manager, Unisys / Berger Nowlin, Inc.
“Mark is a kind, capable and caring business owner and manager. I worked directly for Mark and have always respected him and his many abilities. Mark's AIRS knowledge and certification gave him some skills very few recruiters or business owners have. He has always been willing to mentor/train others to be more productive and to lead by example. I would gladly work for Mark again in the future.” March 5, 2008
Jane Bullington, recruiter, berger nowlin
“I have known Mark for pretty close to thirty years . Mark has truly made the leap from running a desk to running a company and finally to becoming the "go to guy" for the latest web techniques. The many years Mark has spent on the desk has given him a keen insight as to what recruiters are looking for in tools to make their job mre efficient. I look forward to reading Mark's comments and opinions in the Fordyce Letter as I know they are always right on and I highly recommend attending one of Marks webinars or in person sessions .” November 2, 2008
Ron Sunshine, Owner, ron sunshine associates…