to her presentations, or heard of fellow colleagues speak glowingly of her capabilities – needless to say I have been impressed consistently with her public figure. I can also say with pleasure that we all share our admiration for Susan’s consistent weekly live chat contributions to RecruitingBlogs.com, the Recruiting Roadshow and her upcoming session at RecruitFest in Toronto.
It must be said, that having walked the streets of Amsterdam past midnight or dined, commiserated, and having corresponded with Susan Burns, “the person,” that my admiration is far more substantial in the compelling impact she makes as both a colleague and a dear friend. Her multi-faceted personality, conviction, and brilliance as a candid, thought-provoking, socially conscious friend and colleague are ever present. She is passionate in all things in life, and it is omnipresent when she evangelizes architecture aspects of Strategic Talent Planning, employment branding, and metrics that we as an industry excel through her contributions and it is in her valued friendship, that her gifts never cease to bring value.
I applaud all her contributions in our industry – she lives and breathes “pay it forward” and it is a pleasure to know that the RecruitingBlogs Community have an opportunity to share the many value propositions Susan offers so selflessly and with such passion that Jason Davis and I so often witness on a personal level. Susan Burns is the “real deal” – and the community is richer for all she contributes. Susan, today as a friend, an advisor to SixDegreesfromDave.com, a personal mentor, and a thought leader we salute you, and it is ever so well deserved.
Q&A with Susan Burns
Six Degrees: Tell us of your Home World Susan
Susan: I find a nice balance between taking on challenging physical activities and challenging career endeavors. Yoga, hiking and travel are among my deepest passions outside of work and when I can bring them all together its ideal. Two of my favorite hikes included a 100-mile trek through Torres Del Paine National Park in Southern Chile and a trip to Peru that included hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. I’ve traveled to Mexico, Costa Rica and British Columbia for yoga retreats and find the week long immersions an incredible rebalancing to the stresses of life – even though the retreats often include 5 to 6 hours of physical yoga each day. Yoga is also part of my everyday life and an area of growing interest and commitment. In fact, I’m about to undertake a 200-hour, 3 week teacher training in the Berkshires this July. There are also many areas in which yoga philosophy and practice can carry over into enhancing business practices. The very act of being “present”, focusing on the mind-body connection, and building a sense of community are just a few areas that could add value to the business world. I’m planning on exploring these further through my yoga studies and practice.
Six Degrees: How did you get started in talent management?
Susan: When I began my career I was in general management. I managed specialty stores and then made the transition into department stores. I loved the hum and buzz of the business and, over time, as I took on assignments of increasing volume and scope the challenges of creating community within a store environment were quite enticing. In my last store manager assignment I was responsible for over $40 million in annual revenue, an employee population of over 350 and a management team of about 16. But, one thing was missing – the company invested little in development efforts and I was intellectually bored. So, I decided to take a bit of a sabbatical and go to graduate school. I actually thought I would leave retail but found I liked the interconnectedness of strategy, product and tangible results. There is something very unique about this within a retail environment and when you’re playing in high volume you can see these three come together quite quickly.
After graduate school I joined Federated Department Stores (now Macy’s Inc.). At the time Federated owned Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s and generated about $15 billion in annual sales. Initially, my role was to lead the development of a centralized college recruitment and relations strategy. Federated hired about 550 college graduates each year and another 300 as summer interns. The year was 1998 and there was a lot of change occurring because of the Internet. One of the first things I had the opportunity to do was secure support to develop a website. I think there were about 6 people on the original development team and together we mapped out the strategy for what was to become Retailology.com. The timing was right and I was fortunate to have a really talented group to work with. We saw the impact and growing value of the site in a relatively short period of time, and could demonstrate to the organization the value of being online. One of the coolest things about Retailology is that it not only benefited Federated but it also became a tool to teach students about the retail industry.
A couple of years later as Internet recruiting was growing quickly in popularity and the task of sourcing/hiring via the job boards was overwhelming, I had the opportunity to present Retailology as a strategic solution for hiring across Federated – which included hourly, management positions across every function, and college recruiting. We won the support of the divisions and quickly undertook the challenge of building 12 recruitment sites on the Retailology platform. The company had an autonomous culture and the structure and branding strategy at the time required individual branded sites. As a whole, the company hired about 110,000 people annually so this was a very cool opportunity. The change implications for this were huge – we would be moving from 100% paper-based processes to taking everything online. There were several key events that created tipping points along this journey and by the time I left Federated in January, 2006, the Retailology corporate strategy had generated over 38% of the company’s total hires and touched just about every functional area and position up to director/VP. Taking on a broader role also advanced my position with the company and allowed me to take on a greater scope of work that included employment initiatives, employment branding, recruitment technology – both selection and development, change management initiatives, recruiter education and development. The role became that of an internal consultant and over the 7+ years I was with Federated I had the opportunity to work with a number of very talented and committed colleagues.
While it was a difficult decision to leave Federated I was at a point in my career where I wanted to take on a broader challenge. I had a hunger to experience another industry, immerse myself in a global business and take on a more holistic role in talent management. I was recruited to head up global staffing for Waggener Edstrom Worldwide (WE). WE is the second largest independent PR agency. They are the PR agency of record for Microsoft and also have growing practice areas in public affairs, healthcare, and consumer. Once again, I was fortunate to work with a very talented team of recruiters. While I only stayed with WE for about 18 months, great headway was made with advising the Board on workforce/talent planning initiatives, sourcing strategies, recruiting structure and processes, and introducing CRM technology.
Do you have a mentor to whom you attribute your overall outlook on recruitment, capabilities, and/or model your career after?
Susan: There wasn’t a single event or mentor but a string of events and experiences that have influenced how I think about talent management. First, my role in store management. In retail you are uniquely dependent on talent. Whether it be the product design, assortment selection by the buyer, distribution by the planner, merchandising in-store, leading a department/selling team, or the last “12 inches” between the sales associate and the customer – its talent that makes the ultimate difference. Retail is also a business environment where you can see people’s careers move quickly. Seeing a sales associate promoted to sales manager or an assistant buyer promoted to divisional merchandise manager and eventually on to roles of increasing scope and responsibility is very rewarding!
Second, coming out of graduate school I heard the same thing time and time again from my classmates – getting through to anyone in recruiting/hr was incredibly frustrating - whether callbacks, email responses, or just answering their phones. Many of my classmates were looking to make a career transition and getting a recruiter to look at their past experience and future potential was insanely challenging. The same thing would happen on informational interviews – hiring managers only wanted people who had done the job. Well, there’s evidence that indicates taking people with the potential and placing them in new environments leads to more creative thinking, innovation, personal growth and……better business results. And, while I couldn’t impact thinking across every aspect of an organization I could make a difference in how job seekers felt about their experience.
I’ve been fortunate to have several mentors during my career. Mostly in the earlier days but that’s when I also think its most important. As I was “growing up” in retail it was at a time when mentor relationships developed more naturally. They not only helped me to understand the business at a more strategic level but to think broadly and creatively about building partnerships and getting results. Both of them were also terrific leaders and had their own unique way of building teams and camaraderie. Two of these mentors are still my closest friends today and are still the first people I turn to for guidance.
THOUGHT LEADERSHIP RECOMMENDATIONS
“Susan is smart, analytical and a great client. She knew what she wanted and was able to communicate that in an effective way. She brings original thinking and a wide network of information to any project she is part of. I have worked with Susan for several years including when she was at Macy's, Waggner and now at Talent Synchronicity. We have worked together on projects that involved selling concepts to senior management that were forward looking and not necessarily easy to get approved. Her combination of influencing skill, persistence and intelligence have led each project to a successful conclusion. She gets things done efficiently and effectively and is a good partner.” March 26, 2008
Kevin Wheeler, President/Founder, Global Learning Resources, Inc.
“Susan puts recruitment process vision to work with quantifiable results. She tackled workforce planning, recruitment process and brand issues at Federated Department Stores by developing and implementing one of the first uniquely branded recruitment websites for the retail industry which resulted in tens of thousands of hires. Susan is top notch and I would use her to handle any workforce opportunity." February 22, 2008
Hank Stringer, Principal, QTalent Partners
“Susan is a professional with a deep understanding of all three legs of the corporate HR platform: business strategy, HR process and leading-edge technology. Her depth of insight into ways to make HR a strategic business asset are both unique and extraordinary. It has been a real pleasure working with (and learning from) her.” January 7, 2005
Jeff Hunter, Senior Director, EA University at Electronic Arts
“I've worked with Susan Burns for a little over a year now and I can say that she has the most strategic, forward-thinking and fresh approach to talent acquisition out of any leader that I've worked with in the industry. I've always said that I wanted to work with someone who I could learn from, who wasn't just pushing old ideas and who would challenge me in new ways. Susan has always managed to challenge me. She has a unique way of getting you to think about things differently. Susan is also amazingly connected in the industry and the relationships she has helped me form with thought leaders has been invaluable. She is an avid reader and spots trends and innovations before most people have adopted the known innovations. The talent acquisition community has mostly agreed that finding people with passion for their field is a key performance indicator. I've met few people with as much passion for our industry as Susan. She thinks way outside the box, outside the organization and outside the industry to come up with advances in our field that are truly innovating the way organizations acquire talent. Most notable is her work with retailology.com prior to joining Waggener Edstrom and the workforce planning work she is currently designing at our organization. If you work in our industry I hope you have an opportunity to meet Susan, collaborate with her, brainstorm, have her tell you to put on your kid glasses or just have a quick brainstorm with her. I think you will find that you walk away feeling like you have learned something new.” May 16, 2007
Steve Fogarty, Talent Manager, Adidas
"Susan is a talented staffing and recruiting professional who brings a wealth of experience and expertise in the acquisition of talent and workforce planning. In her role with Waggener Edstrom, she was responsible for the global acquisition of talent and her work had a significant impact. Her passion and commitment were clearly evident and the results she guided were notable. A reduction in time-to-fill, a broad portfolio of sourcing vehicles, and several new creative staffing strategies and initiatives were all part of what Susan contributed to. Additionally, her leadership in guiding the Agency's Advisory Board through a workforce planning strategy advanced our staffing capability to positively impact the business. As a staffing industry leader she is broadly recognized for leading edge thinking and the perspective she offers to organizations and clients. Susan is smart, strategic and results-oriented. I see her as flourishing in an environment that has the management of talent as a critical business priority and where Susan can freely demonstrate her entrepreneurial and results-oriented talent."
Daniele Joudene, SVP, People Services, Waggener Edstrom
“Susan Burns is one of the most talented leaders in the talent management industry today -- smart, innovative, passionate, dedicated, and able to see and create solutions where most people can only identify challenges. Quite simply, she helped to make us better and more innovative as a company/partner, every step of the way. Our partnership in developing WetFeet Recruiter's Enterprise Interview Scheduling system, which delivered industry-first innovations in many areas, is just one example of one of her strongest personal assets: Susan gets results. The passion, energy, focus and commitment she brings to her work is simply extraordinary. What a joy to recommend her!” October 11, 2007
Gary Alpert, CEO, WetFeet Inc.…
ortant, and sometimes lonely job. I know because I’ve had the job more than a few times in my career."
"Central to an organization’s talent acquisition success is: an engaged executive and management team; a creative, competent and accountable recruiting organization; and a relentless focus on the candidate as the customer."
"A good 85% of recruiters hate a structured process imposed on them. If your tool also imposes a process, the likelihood of universal adoption is low. You can beat them mercilessly but they will evade you at every turn. It’s not always “user error” or poor configuration decisions that make a tool bad. Sometimes the tool is slow; or the search capability is uneven; or it simply does not work."
Carol Valenti Mahoney
Consultant, Talent Acquisition On Demand
A division of Live and Leap, Inc.
• RecruitingBlogs Profile
• Business Website: "Professional TA"; F5 and Live And Leap
• Personal Blog: http://www.liveandleap.com/blog
Carol Mahoney has always been an early adopter. In 2010 we find the vernacular passe' but in the 1990's she co-founded "Guerrilla Recruiting” tactics, a hands-on workshop geared at helping high-growth companies compete. She was one of the first to recognize the significance "e-cruiting," and was innovative in recognizing the value of hiring sourcers to use the internet to produce passive candidates.
What makes Carol unique however is how she treats people. I have had the pleasure of visiting the Yahoo! campus on two separate occasions, and I was immediately aware that a special culture had been fostered under her leadership. A Margarita machine, balloons, and schwag galore were within my peripheral vision and employees were ... happy. It was downright festive as it was hectic; a bee hive swarm of activity with a common vision. When you walk the halls with her, take an elevator - it's never quiet, the pulse of the organization followed Carol and it was contagious. It was the only campus I have ever walked into where you had the pervasive feeling this staffing organization was a family not simply a team. Talking to her, you have the sense that she is one of the most elite of subject matter experts in her field, and yet she has a familiar, approachable air around her that is filled with a bellowing laugh.
To make the point sink in, when I first visited Yahoo! my ears had popped on the plane upon landing and I could barely hear a thing. It was her laughter catching fire within the cubicles assembled throughout her floor that resonated that this was the place to be. It was obvious that her recruiting org had enlisted enthusiastically on behalf of her War for Talent. She was the boisterous thinker overseeing the battle plans in all things.
Today, Carol Mahoney is the leading the way with "Live and Leap, Inc." The company, founded in June 2009, is comprised of two separate ventures: F5, Forums for Females Focused on a Fabulous Future; and a consulting arm dedicated to providing on-demand Talent Acquisition capability and support for high-tech companies – most recently Juniper Networks.
Prior to founding Live and Leap, Carol was Vice-President of Talent Acquisition at Yahoo, Inc., where she built a formidable global talent acquisition machine that produced thousands of high-profile hires to fuel Yahoo’s hyper-growth. In her 20 year HR career, Carol has held a variety of leadership and consulting roles for high-technology companies including Intuit Inc., Apple Computer, Synopsys Inc., Digital Equipment Corporation, and Advanced Micro Devices. Carol graduated from Santa Clara University with a Bachelor of Arts in English.
Q&A with Carol Valenti Mahoney
Six Degrees: Tell us of your home world, Carol.
CAROL: I’ve been married to Frank for 22 years. We have a 21 year old son, Douglas, and a beloved labradoodle, Luke. I live on the ocean in Pacific Grove, CA and I enjoy the gorgeous seaside as much as I can. I walk along the trail daily and often take the laptop down to the bench across the street to bring the concept of “working at home” to another level. I’m absolutely passionate about using my energy, connections and sense of humor to inspire women to create a “fulfilling, fabulous future”. To that end I produce a blog and have sponsored 2 forums for females.
Six Degrees: How did you get started in the recruitment industry?
CAROL: A hiring freeze at AMD took me away from my dream – a marcom job. The dream job that went “on-hold” gave way to an interim job as recruiter. I never looked back. I loved the recruiting game and quickly found that I loved to manage recruiting and HR. I was one of the youngest Recruiting Managers when I put the management career on hold to spend more time with my one and only son! The result was that I began contract recruiting – a job I thought would allow me to balance my role as mom more easily than a corporate manager role. The rest is history. I re-entered the work world as head of TA at Synopsys and continued along that path (with one notable detour – more later) until I left Yahoo! last year as Vice-President of Talent Acquisition. The exception? A brief detour in charge of Recruiting Operations with ProQuest (now Duran HCP) that also included developing and delivering Guerrilla Recruiting™ in partnership with at Gardner Consulting.
Six Degrees: What single event had the most impact on your sourcing/recruiting career?
CAROL: The biggest impact to my recruitment management career came in 1999 when the rolodex gave way to what, at the time, I dubbed “e-cruiting” I knew that sourcing would never be the same and had to trick my employer into hiring sourcers who would use the internet to produce candidates. It was a resounding success and today I’m blown away by the frontiers yet-to-be conquered, as social networking bulldozes onto the recruiting scene.
Do you have a mentor to whom you attribute your overall outlook on recruitment, capabilities, and/or model your career after?
CAROL: I have many mentors – mostly women – who have taught me about great leadership. I believe at the heart of any great organization, are great leaders. This applies to talent acquisition organizations as well. So I continually strive to hone my management skills, my strategic mind and my ability to connect with others in the pursuit of a meaningful, successful career. Mentors include:
Cheryl Van, ex-VP of Talent at Yahoo! – she taught me that engaging your heart is as important as engaging your head. Great leadership means bringing the whole woman to work – and that means bringing compassion and respect too! Every night she walked the halls to encourage people to go home – work-life balance actually meant something to her.
Libby Sartain, ex-Chief People Officer, Yahoo! – the woman laughs louder than I do…a feat I thought was impossible! She taught me that a successful woman doesn’t need to button up so tight that she doesn’t even recognize herself. Libby allowed her personality to color her leadership and she was best when she was unadulterated and un-cut!
Sherry Whiteley, SVP of HR at Intuit – some of us suspected that she was a fortune teller on the side. She had an uncanny “gut” and her intuition complimented her intellect allowing her to achieve near-miracles on a frequent basis. I thought my intuition was something to keep quite about, even embarrassing, until I met Sherry. Now I wish it was as honed as hers.
Six Degrees: Tell us about your current projects.
CAROL: While I’m currently a one-person show, I intend to grow this year. I am president, the number one consultant, the bookkeeper and web master. Offerings Include:
• For larger companies or ones with an established TA function:
o Assemble, deploy and manage outsourced SWAT team (recruiters, sourcers, program owners, etc.) to address specialized or unplanned recruiting needs.
o Best Year Yet™ for Talent Acquisition: Partner with Talent Acquisition head to customize and facilitate a team-building and goal setting process that will ensure maximum performance of team. (I did this for 2 years and I am a huge proponent of the process!)
o Deftly manage key projects or initiatives that have no internal owner (e.g. branding campaign, social networking strategy, systems deployment, etc.).
• For smaller companies or those without a TA function:
o Assess and recommend TA Strategy and Plan based on needs of company vs. TA capability. Implement plan if required.
o Interim recruiting leader - temporary, part-time and outsourced.
o Apply expertise and network to identify and select talent acquisition contractors, employees, vendors.
o RPO: Staff and manage outsourced teams of recruiting resources. Efficient and compliant.
Six Degrees: What speaking events, awards, publications, have you been featured to represent your company?
CAROL: I’ve had a number of speaking events in the last few years for organizations like Kennedy, SHRM, AustralAsian Talent Conference, HRTC, and many more.
When I headed at Yahoo! my branding efforts yielded several webby’s – for our careers site and our branding campaigns. In addition, under my reign, Yahoo’s revamped career site won best career site through ERE.
Six Degrees: Tell us about Your new venture, Carol
CAROL: I founded Live and Leap, Inc. in June, 2009. It is the umbrella company for two separate consulting ventures: Talent Acquisition On Demand – a Talent Acquisition management solutions company; and F5 (Forums for Females Focused on a Fabulous Future) – a venture dedicated to providing tools, inspiration and support to women compelled to transform their lives.
Today, I’m focused on getting the word out about my Talent Acquisition practice – what I’m doing and why.
Six Degrees: What is Your Company’s Value Proposition?
CAROL: I love leading Talent Acquisition. But instead of working “inside” running one organization at a time, I’m interested in broadening my reach and leveraging my extensive Talent Acquisition management background, experience and access to talented recruiting resources to benefit a host of organizations in a variety of industries. My solution offerings, though varied, are designed to help the leader in any organization who says, “the buck stops with me to ensure that talent acquisition efforts at my company result in producing the knowledge workers required to create marketplace advantage.” It’s a tough, important, and sometimes lonely job. I know because I’ve had the job more than a few times in my career.
When I was VP of Talent Acquisition at Yahoo, I often looked for consultants with recruiting expertise and management savvy to augment my leadership team during peak activity periods. While recruiting and talent experts were available in the consulting marketplace, I found that Talent Acquisition Management consultants and experts were in short supply. I’m a talent acquisition management veteran who has "been there and done that". I have the perfect background to help clients bridge TA management gaps through consulting, tools and coaching.
Six Degrees: What is the pricing structure for your services/products?
CAROL: Pricing will vary depending on the assignment. In general, I plan to offer my services on a retained basis for less than 1/3 of the cost of a contract recruiter.
Six Degrees: Do you blog?
CAROL: Right now I do a blog for F5 – focused on supporting women in transformation. I plan to start a TA blog on management as soon as I have a little more fodder.
“Watching Carol Mahoney in action was like seeing the leader at the World Series of recruiting. For nearly six years Carol successfully orchestrated the recruiting efforts that resulted in the hiring of thousands of exceptionally talented employees worldwide. The largest increase in Yahoo!’s history. Carol raised the standards and wrote the book on how to create a successful world class recruiting team (is the booking coming soon, Carol?). Without missing a beat she built & motivated a talented staffing team of over 250 people, she created a award winning career portal, nearly eliminated the use of outside agencies and she effectively brought executive recruiting inside. Her legacy included leading effective marketing campaigns over several years (& won numerous awards), and spiking the employee referrals to an all time high. No wonder that Carol is in demand on the speaker circuit and not just because of her superior reputation as a brilliant & innovative recruiting visionary but because she is also a rousing story teller with fabulous sense of humor. I would the welcome the opportunity to work for her again.”
Noelle Tardieu, Recruiter for Talent Acquisition, Yahoo!
“I have worked with and for Carol Mahoney for nearly 10 years and two companies. At Yahoo! Carol built a small and poorly organized staffing organization of 35 to nearly 250 at one point. Carol has an amazing strategic ability coupled with operational rigor to develop a high performing and (multiple) award winning organization. She brings humor, candor and an amazing ability to not only see the big picture but pull the right talent into the right jobs to achieve amazing results. I say today, what I've said before, "I'd work for Carol anywhere."”
Stephanie Prout, Sr. Manager, Talent Acquisition Programs, Yahoo!…
• Mobile: (949) 395-9593
Ever live "down the street from someone" and only years later, thousands of miles away reintroduced yourself and communicated and learned what an exceptional innovator you missed a coffee or a lunch with when you had the opportunity? Of course you have; these are digital times, but alas, the virtual handshake allows us to recover bona fides. In this instance, a staffing manager who was an early disruptor within corporate walls was only a few miles away when I lived in Irvine before I escaped to the Rocky Mountains. Today, I give thanks to RecruitingBlogs Monday Member Showcase series for the opportunity to share a discovery of a true industry innovator, Mark Rinovato. This week, I am honored to feature his extraordinary legacy of achievements during his tenure at Broadcom; mainstreaming sourcing efforts, in addition to introducing SEO and employee branding as a vital strategic staffing component.
Mark served as Manager, Strategic Sourcing at Broadcom, he oversaw a budget of $1.5M where he initiated the creation of the strategic sourcing function and managed a team of eight Sourcing Specialists dedicated to passive candidate identification and pipeline generation through sourcing channels. He created the company’s first Employment Brand that is now used in all career-related advertising and communications in order to convey the true company culture. Mark implemented Search Engine Optimization technology for the career site that resulted in Broadcom’s open requisitions landing on the first page of Google search results. His efforts translated into the Successful development of identifying over 5000 qualified engineers to the database within six months.
As Manager of Global Staffing at Broadcom, he managed a budget of $3.5M and directed a global team of 28 including recruiters, sourcing specialists and coordinators in support of the Broadcom’s recruiting strategy and execution worldwide. He created Broadcom’s Employee Referral Program that produced a third of all company hires. His staffing organization grew Broadcom from 2,500 employees in 2004 to over 7,000 employees in 2008. In all, Mark’s efforts averaged over 1400 hires per year for four years, - exclusive of acquisitions.
Recently, Mark has initiated his own contingency search firm, “EMR Search Partners” which provides talent acquisition solutions to the high technology industry. EMR provides search services on a retained, contingency and contract basis. He has diversified his clientele with start-up venture funded firms as well as large established companies.
Q&A with Mark Rinovato
Six Degrees: Tell us of your home world.
Mark My wife, Edie, and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary in Februrary on the island of Bora Bora, Tahiti. It was spectacular. We met in Los Angeles, where I was starting out my recruiting career with an employment agency on Wilshire Blvd. She was working for a restaurant located in the same building. We know we made a great team. My wife is Hungarian born and actually escaped from communist Hungary in the 70’s with her mother and eventually made their way to Los Angeles. That’s an entire novel in itself! As it turned out, we started our own restaurant in Los Angeles, a Hungarian/Continental restaurant, and it was quite successful. I found myself recruiting by day and helping with the restaurant at night. I would not recommend this. We sold it 4yrs later, but the marriage is still going strong.
Six Degrees: What's a day in the life for you Mark?
Mark My main hobbies are golf, music and movies. I don’t have enough time to play a lot of golf, but I get out when I can. I’ve been to many PGA Tour golf tournaments, including the US Open at Torrey Pines in 08. It was a spectacular event. Having been in the restaurant business, my wife and I also share a love of gourmet cooking and wine, and we love to entertain friends. We also love to watch classic movies. As far as music, my tastes are pretty eclectic, and include folk, rock, jazz (especially latin jazz) and classical.
Six Degrees: How many years have you been in the staffing industry?
Mark: I’ve been in the staffing industry for over 30 years, so I’ve seen a lot of changes, especially with the technology. When I started in the industry the most innovative technology was the phone system. Come to think of it, we may be coming full circle with smartphones and the mobile internet.
Six Degrees: How did you get started as a recruiter?
Mark I was asked by a friend in Los Angeles, who had just been hired by an employment agency there, to talk with this agency about getting into the business. This was a small firm just starting up, and I was about the 6th employee. I ended up being with that agency for 7 years going from a Recruiter to Management, and we grew from one small agency to 5 agencies with 20 employees each. The success I experienced there was very exciting, especially for a young man in his early 20’s, and really set the tone for my career in this business. I was hooked. I still am.
Six Degrees: What single event had the most impact on your sourcing/recruiting career?
Mark That’s a tough question. There have been so many important events. But I would have to say that starting my own agency was the most important. There is something about going out on your own, with no support other then your belief in your own abilities, that really defines who you are. It requires you to be creative and do more with less, but it also gives you the freedom to do all of the things that you could not do working for others. As an example, the first firm that I worked for was slow to adopt the PC, networking and recruiting software that was then coming available, pushing it off into the future because of the expense. When I started my own business I immediately bought a software package designed for search firms and automated my business. It happened to be on the Mac as that was the only GUI available and I couldn’t deal with DOS.
Do you have a mentor to whom you attribute your overall outlook on recruitment, capabilities, and/or model your career after?
Mark Actually, there were two individuals that I would say I modeled my career after. The first was the owner of the first agency that I joined and was with for 7yrs. I saw how he ran his business and how successful he was, and that inspired me to learn recruiting and start my own business. The second was a corporate staffing manager with a Fortune 100 corporation who helped me transition into corporate recruiting. He gave me an opportunity and opened up that side of the business for me.
Six Degrees: Tell us about your last position, (responsibilities, size of your staffing organization) :
Mark I spent the last 8yrs at Broadcom Corporation, a $4.5 billion communications semiconductor company. I started out as a contract recruiter, and eventually progressed to Manager of Global Staffing and then Manager, Strategic Sourcing. The teams that I hired and managed were instrumental in growing the company from 2400 employees to just over 7500 employees in 4yrs. Most of these hires were highly skilled engineers, hardware and software. The staffing department had 25 recruiters and sourcers at one time, and we were an excellent team, but recent budget cuts have eliminated most of them. It’s the worst time I have ever seen in our industry.
Six Degrees: What talent niche groups do you target and are these particular talent areas specialized under your review?
Mark The talent groups that we focused on at Broadcom were primarily design engineers with either IC design, systems design or embedded software design expertise. Within these groups is quite a bit of specialization, as the company has over 22 different product lines. But those are the basic talent hubs, and they were all supported by my teams. We also recruited for other support functions, such as finance, IT, HR, etc.
Six Degrees: What types of training in sourcing/recruitment are available to you and have you taken advantage of?
Mark We had access to a lot of good training. The three primary training courses for staffing were:
The Adler Group – full cycle recruiting, including interview and assessment.
JobMachine – Sourcing
AIRS Xtreme - Sourcing
All of these vendors did an excellent job of coming on site and conducting professional training sessions that had a great deal of benefit to my teams.
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 The main tool was the ATS system, from VirtualEdge, and that system was implemented worldwide. We used all the typical job boards. Job boards were a tool worldwide as well, but only Monster worked reasonably well overseas. Most countries and regions have there own local boards that do better then Monster, CareerBuilder, Hotjobs and Dice. Of course, everyone had a LinkedIn Recruiter account, which is quite effective everywhere. Other sourcing tools included ZoomInfo, Broadlook Diver and Profiler, InfoGist, TalentHook, and others. We also used Search Engine Optimization and built an SEO site with TalentHubs.
Six Degrees: (A) What other companies' recruiting operations do you admire or have heard are best-practice examples?
Mark Microsoft is a name that keeps popping up on everyone’s top ten list. Also, I hear a lot of good things about Ernst and Young. We had a Broadcom employee leave to go to work in E&Y’s college program as a recruiter and described the experience in glowing terms. A lot of industry leaders in sourcing seem to have come from Microsoft.
Six Degrees: (B) In what aspects are they superior?
Mark Most companies with superior recruiting functions have the support and commitment of top executives who understand the importance of recruiting to the company’s success. This translates into budgets that allow staffing leadership to hire the best recruiters and sourcers, and implement the best tools and methodologies. The best recruiting departments have a strong strategic approach to staffing, along with a superior process.
Six Degrees: Worst mistake, biggest goof, lousiest practice you thought would fly but didn’t…and how that was a learning experience?
Mark Most of the big mistakes I have made were the result of lack of communication. Nothing leads to disaster like making decisions in a vacuum. Probably the best example of this happened when I became enamored with Web 2.0 job boards and thought that I needed to add one to my company’s toolbox. I did my due diligence, checked out all the top contenders and made my selection. I even had a small team of 2 recruiters who also participated in the demo’s, and they were also positive, so I was comfortable with my final decision. I was so sure that this was a great product that I failed to involve the larger team of recruiters and sourcers who would be using the product on a day to day basis. It turned out that, even after extensive training, they were not getting the results from this new product, and simply stopped using it. I had wasted tens of thousands of dollars of the company’s money and valuable training and recruiter time. The result was no results, and no ROI. No matter how cool a technology seems, you need to make sure that it can produce the desired results and that you have buy in from the majority of users before going with it.
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 Obviously, the financial meltdown and deep recession has had a strong impact on the recruiting industry. No matter what part of the business you work in, you have probably negatively impacted by this downturn. Corporate recruiting budgets have been sharply curtailed. Many friends of mine on the agency side, both retained and contingency, have painted a very bleak picture of the current market. While this too shall pass, I think the severity of it will make companies hesitant about committing to hiring fulltime employees and push them towards more outsourcing and contract labor. The cost of healthcare is also a factor that will encourage this trend as well.
Six Degrees: Tell us about your broader involvement within the staffing industry:
Mark The most interesting groups that I have been involved with recently are CSLE (Corporate Sourcing Leadership Exchange) and OCTane, which is a local business group here in Orange County, CA. CSLE is focused on sharing information and stimulating ideas about Sourcing as a center of excellence in corporate environments. It is always enlightening to hear what other top corporate staffing teams are doing internally, especially with regards to sourcing. OCTane is a group dedicated to the branding of Orange County, CA as a destination for high technology and medical technology firms and talent.
Six Degrees: Can you detail how the recession has affected your particular industry niche? Has it effected your job or that of your fellow team members within the organization - If so, to what extent? (If you have been laid off, tell us about the experience, when it happened)
Mark Well, it has affected me quite dramatically. The entire strategic sourcing function was eliminated, along with my position as manager of that team. Many recruiters were also let go, as were other departments in HR. So the recession has had a very negative impact on me, and many of my colleagues. I’ve been through a number of these recessions, and they are always bad news for the recruiting industry, but we always bounce back.
Six Degrees: Aside from simply the generic term “Networking” what specific efforts have you made on your own behalf, or on behalf of colleagues to broaden your opportunities. Are there specific groups, both online and in-person that have proved fruitful in extending your personal brand and job seeking prospects?
Mark We have some local groups here in Orange County that have been a big help so far. There is a group called HR Connections, which is sponsored by LHH, that brings together local HR talent at monthly meetings. We share job leads and job hunting advice. Also, InContact HR puts together great networking events for HR professionals nationwide. I’ve also joined a few promising groups on LinkedIn such as Corporate Recruiters, Personal Branding Network and Cybersleuths. I’m looking forward to getting more involved in networking and branding through these and other groups.
Six Degrees: Given your own Trial and Error experiences as a Networker, what advice do you have for your peers on what NOT to do?
Mark My advice would be to pick and choose carefully the networks you decide to become a part of, and then really participate as much as possible. You have to give something in order to get results. Not contributing to the networks is a mistake that I have made in the past, mainly because I’ve been too busy, but also because I was did not incorporate it into my daily routine. I plan to change that. LinkedIn has been my main professional network so far. I have used Facebook primarily for personal contacts. And of course Twitter looks to be a great tool that I’m just getting started with.
Six Degrees: What is your next career goal? What do you need to do to get there?
Mark I did a lot of soul searching over the past couple of months as to which direction to go in. I initially thought about going for another Manager or Director of Staffing role in a corporate environment. But I have decided to start my own search and consulting business instead, and I’m in the middle of launching this new enterprise. It may seem an odd time to be launching a business of any kind, let alone a recruiting business, but recessions are often the best times to start a new business. We’ve hit bottom, and nothing but growth lies ahead. I’m looking forward to the challenge.
Happy Holidays, from SixDegreesfromDave.com…