Meet Kevin Stakelum, Staffing Manager at Microsoft

By Dave Mendoza, SixDegrees Master Cybersleuth, Affiliate Partner, JobMachine Inc. Connect With Dave Join "Six Degrees" Linkedin Group

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Kevin Stakelum is a Staffing Manager at Microsoft Corporation managing the Developer Division and Business Online Services Group (BOSG) staffing teams. Kevin has been responsible for managing the staffing activities, recruiting strategy and interview process development and implementation for the company’s US consulting services, product support and internal IT team. Currently he manages the staffing team supporting a developer tools product group and a hosted services product team. He currently manages the performance and career development of 12 Microsoft employees and the activity of 5 contractors who support the staffing activities for these two technical teams consisting of 3,700 people worldwide.

Kevin Stakelum personifies best practices in action. I have had the pleasure of knowing Kevin via online and through several in-depth phone conversations the last 1.5 years and finally we met in person at ERE. In each instance, few people are as energizing in a phone conversation or in person about their passion for strategic staffing. Kevin will go up ten escalators and back if it meant a new toy or idea in strategy was available to discuss, share and learn from and the enthusiasm is contagious - he empathizes with sincerity that rush you had when the light bulb first turned on in your head on a cool idea and he shows with uncommon sincerity that it has made the room glow. He is that consummate colleague with which one segways seamlessly between tales of family and the year in staffing, both in rewind and into the future - all the while with little pause and intense reflection following the exchange. Some whisper Microsoft has run its course from revolutionary to establishment, but dare I say that leaders like Kevin within the industry are giving the software giant that edge in the war for talent and maintaining its stature by fostering ideas.

In fact last week, Kevin earned a Manager’s Excellence Award at Microsoft. It is a huge honor in that there are 4 awards given per quarter and they are spread out amongst a team of approx 80 members of the entire HR Organization for Microsoft's Server and Tools Group. Usually, all 4 awards go to individual contributors, and occasionally one will go to a manager for outstanding achievement with a certain project, etc. It is a great honor to be singled out for Management Excellence because the competition is tough and especially considering it is Kevin's second such award! It recognizes the activity that he finds most rewarding in his day-today responsibilities - people management.

Kevin adds, "I need to be able to inspire, direct and create recruiting activities and initiatives and must be a great recruiter, but I can hire people who do that and have….the most important differentiator is to help them become better at what they do and help them to achieve the professional objectives that they set for themselves, and do that in a team environment that allows the group to achieve levels of excellence that are not possible for us to reach individually."

Q & A with Kevin Stakelum
Six Degrees: Tell us of your home world Kevin.
“Kevin: I have been married to my loving wife for the past 12 years. We have been blessed with 3 healthy children: Brigid (8) Eddie (7), Caelan (5). We also have our dog, Gracie who has been living with us for 11 years and a few goldfish. I am active in the lives of my children, taking them to help with the Toys for Tots activities and various charity events in the area. I am a co-basketball coach for the various teams that the children are on, and I am a co-Den leader for my son’s Tiger Cub Den. In addition to the family vacations, I generally take them on various “Daddy Trips” camping or somehow visiting the beautiful area in which we live. We really want all of us to experience Seattle and the great outdoor and cultural activities that this area has to offer!

Six Degrees: How many years have you served in the recruit industry?

“Kevin: I have been recruiting as a major part of my job for over 20 years, but I have been a technical recruiter for the past 13.

Six Degrees: Tell us about your position, your staffing organization and how your team makes a difference at Microsoft.

“Kevin: Staffing Manager, Server and Tools Business, supporting the Developer Division (Devdiv) and the Business Online Services Group (BOSG). I create the staffing strategies for two large product development organizations (Dev div. consists of 2400 people and BOSG consists of approximately 1200 people). I also create development strategies for the 12 people on my team and mentor several people from throughout the staffing and business organizations.

Six Degrees: How did you get started as a recruiter?

“Kevin: After leaving my previous job in Food Service Management for Universities and Colleges, I wanted to change careers but I was having difficulty finding a suitable second career. I stumbled upon a recruiting position and figured that at least it would help me to learn how to better market myself. I found instead that it was a very interesting way in which I could help others to better their situation by helping them to find a better job (however they defined “better”).

I have been in various management roles since I was in high school, so it was only after a few years as a top Staffing Consultant that I decided to move into management at Microsoft. As a manager, I found that not only could I apply a great deal of the business experience that I had acquired, but I could also still help individuals on my team to reach their development aspirations as they defined them.

The majority of my Microsoft experience is within the Services industry, supporting a consulting team, a support team, an internal corporate IT team, and a Worldwide Management organization. A year and a half ago, I move into a Staffing Management role supporting a product development organization and now manage the staffing teams of 2 (The Developer Division, with the flagship products of Visual Studio, Expression and Silverlight… and the Business Online Services Group that is specializing in providing application hosting solutions to customers). I manage a team of 12 Staffing professionals and 8 contract sourcers. Our primary profiles that the team fills are currently Software Development Engineer, Software Development Engineer/Test and Program Managers. I am beginning to get actively involved in the planning and reporting of worldwide activities to the businesses that I support. I work closely with our India Development Center in Hyderabad, India and now with the Microsoft Canadian Development Center in Vancouver. We also support hiring activities in SVC and Raleigh, NC and managing that type of complexity is a bit unusual.

Throughout my career, I have specialized in remote management, so I have become somewhat of a thought leader in introducing remote recruiting models to Product Staffing Teams. I recently presented at the ERE conference in DC on this topic, and the presentation was very well received (there was a great deal of verbal appreciation at the conference and the post-event surveys confirmed that the presentation was well received by the poll respondents.

Six Degrees: What single event had the most impact on your sourcing/recruiting career?

“Kevin: I quit a full time agency to accept a contract recruiting job working for Microsoft 11 ½ years ago. I really enjoyed the allure of the corporate recruiting job because not only could you make a real difference in the lives of candidates, but you could also have a huge impact in the growth of an organization. It was a huge risk to leave a full time position to take a contract role, but it allowed me to get my foot in the door at this great company. I accepted a position to fill the staffing needs of the Dallas sales team, and I still connect with some of the people that I first hired or who I worked with to build the South Central District in TX.

Six Degrees: Have you broadened your personal brand at recruitment industry venues, where you have you represented your company?

“Kevin: I received a Captain’s Wheel award for outstanding management in March 2006, and numerous personal achievement awards over the past 9 ½ years, including 2 from the businesses that I supported. Recently I spoke at the ERE conference in DC on the topic of managing a remote recruiting team. Kevin's presentation video at ERE Expo is located at the following location:

Recommendations For Kevin Stakelum

“I have known Kevin Stakelum for the past 8 years. We have worked together at Microsoft Corp within the HR/Staffing Organization. I had the pleasure of working for Kevin as a Staffing Consultant for approx 6 years. I have seen Kevin grow as a staffing manager, over the years, in the areas of people management, resource planning, strategic planning, career development, per employee, as well as from an interpersonal perspective. Kevin has a genuine care for each employee that reports to him as well as works strategically and mindfully with his cross team peers & colleagues. Kevin is a manager that has always exhibited integrity, a strong work ethic and definitely drives himself and his team (s) for results. Being an action oriented & strategic manager, Kevin has been able to interact with key HR/Staffing & LOB Executives throughout his management tenure at Microsoft. Kevin has gained and maintained the respect of his peers & colleagues over the years as a staffing manager due to his staffing skills, strategic & collaborative thinking, strong work ethic and his natural ability to respect each person he interacts with on a daily basis.” October 4, 2007 Diane Tebbets, Program Manager - Global Process, Systems & Readiness, Microsoft Corp

“I have worked for a number of people during my tenure at Microsoft and I have to say that Kevin is one of the people I enjoyed working for the most. I appreciate his style of situational leadership and his ability to put people in situations that will enable their success. Kevin is a manager that will leverage the diverse skills of the people working for him to create a stronger overall team. Further, he really knows how to leverage the overall teams' skills to drive business results. Kevin is an extremely supportive manager who positions his employees to move forward in their careers. And... his wacky sense of humor adds alot of laughter to the workday.” October 3, 2007 Stacey Tomey, Technical Recruiter, Microsoft

“I have worked with Kevin over the last year both as a direct report to him and now as a colleague. Kevin has a very thoughtful approach to his work which can be very refreshing in such an outspoken, Type A recruiting culture. He takes the time to absorb and analyze information allowing him to be more purposeful in his decisions and actions. I enjoy working with Kevin and love his zany sense of humor!” September 27, 2007 Tania Copeland, Diversity Staffing Consultant, Microsoft

“I’ve worked and partnered with Kevin over the last 5+ years and in that time I’ve found him to be a great Staffing Manager. He understands the business and creates Staffing Strategies that map to business objectives. As a result he is highly respected within his business and a valued part of the management team. In addition to his business acumen Kevin is a strong leader/coach. He gives his team the vision of success and then allows each individual team member to define their path to success. He genuinely cares about his employees and partners with them to create meaningful career plans.” September 21, 2007 Ben Martin, Recruiting Manager, Microsoft

“Kevin is an excellent manager and top notch leader. He is highly motivated and engaged strategically across several business units within Microsoft on a local, national, and global level. He is a proven leader, strategic thinker, and results oriented recruiting manager. Kevin is well respected by his team, co-workers, senior executive staff and client groups. Kevin sees the big picture and can also be very hands on as a leader and a team member. Kevin is a great example as a leader, manager, and mentor."” August 27, 2007 Tom Jarosz, Senior Recruiter - Sales, Services and IT, Microsoft

“It has been my distinct pleasure to work with Kevin at Microsoft; he is one of the best managers I have worked with in this industry. As a senior staffing professional I need two key things from my management.First is knowing when to step in and second is knowing when not to. Kevin does both of these well, and it has helped me be successful. Kevin is also very personable, has great ideas, and promotes a positive team atmosphere that makes it enjoyable to work with him, which I would gladly do again.” February 2, 2007 Carol Stanford, Staffing Consultant - Developer Division, Microsoft Corporation

“Kevin has been a mentor for me for over 5 years. He has the ability to lead recruiters and the ability to manage challenging client groups. His guidance in finding creative staffing solutions, while hiring in fast pace environment is a great skill set and feel honored to call him my mentor.” January 10, 2007 Tommy Anthony, Technical Recruiter, Microsoft Corporation

“Kevin is a forward thinking manager who understands the business model and is committed to driving new initiatives to effectively achieve results. His ideas are extremely innovative and demonstrate his unyielding commitment to excellence. His willingness to take strategic risks to drive his organization to the next level is infectious. He's an awesome leader whose genuine love for the staffing industry will always result in a huge win-win!!” January 8, 2007 Valencia Reaves, VP, Senior Strategic Talent Solutions, GILLIS Technology Consultants LLC

“Kevin is one of the best managers that I have worked with. He has strong leadership skills and he is very in touch with his team and supports their successes. He is very well respected by his client group (VP levels included) and takes proactive measures to enhance the staffing process and the way to do business within that scope! He manages his team in a well-balanced scale of hands off and being there when you need his support with a difficult or challenging situation.” January 4, 2007 Kristin Rozier, Staffing Consultant - Sr. Technical Recruiter, Microsoft Corporation

“While at Microsoft, I have worked under Kevin twice. Kevin is extremely strong at employee recognition, employee development, and removing road blocks. Under Kevin's direction, I learned a great deal and grew professionally.” September 22, 2006 Brande Garrison, Staffing Consultant, Microsoft

“I have worked w/ Kevin for over 6 years and he can adapt to many business situations and delivers great hires to the business he supports!” April 4, 2006 Lisa Becker, Senior Recruiter, Microsoft Corporation

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