Monday, November 27, 2006

A Passion

Recently, I have been approached by people who have seen my blog (or other references online), and they specifically observed that I had a 'passion' for recruiting. It's interesting that they have used that word, because it's one I've thought about alot lately. I've not only thought about my passion for my profession, but also about the implication of 'passion' in evaluating candidates. When doing so I want to see A) can they do the job (i.e. do they have the talent, the skills, knowledge, etc.) and B) do they want to do the job (i.e. are they motivated, are they passionate about what they do?)

When someone is passionate about something, that something is part of them. They are consumed by it. They want to constantly learn more about it and develop a high level of expertise about it. When people are passionate about something, their face develops a glow, they get emotional, they speak with more authority, but they want to hear and understand alternative views as well. This is why I believe that a key component to being successful at what one does is the fact that they are also passionate about what they do. Talent alone doesn't always cut it. Passion is the drive, the internal motivation, and often most undervalued factor in someone's ability to be successful. Passion without talent isn't enough either. But at the very least, passion identifies the motivation to improve, to learn, to grow.

I've been passionate about sports and music my entire life, but I've never had the talent to excel at either. In the course of my career however, I have found both a passion and talent for recruiting, especially as it relates collaboration, communication and creativity. I believe that my passion and talents in these areas have helped me get to where I am in my career today.

Mendoza is passionate about networking. Shally is passionate about sourcing, Jason D. is passionate about community-building and Jason G is passionate about changing the recruiting technology landscape (just a few samples from the recruiting blogosphere). What are you passionate about?

Friday, November 17, 2006

Goin' Mobile

Seemed like an appropriate post title today as a Who song plays in the background, as well as from meeting a huge Who fan at the Pasedena Hilton bar on my most recent road trip.

I’m back from a west coast swing of our offices in Costa Mesa, Irvine, Pasadena and Phoenix. It was a LONG week, but I met a lot of great people, and I continue to be encouraged both by some of the good things we are doing already in our experienced recruiting efforts as well as the potential of what we can do better in the future. As I meet with our HR managers, recruiters and leaders in our Economic Units (EUs), some common themes are emerging. We have critical needs for improvements in employment branding, technology and sourcing. This is nothing unique to us of course, but it is a clear indicator that we have a lot to do to maximize our recruiting capabilities.

As I start to paint a picture of what issues and concerns exist in our EUs, I in-turn am telling the EUs that much of what needs to be done will not happen over night. I feel good though that I’ve been able to pass along a few nuggets so far which have been appreciated. In particular, I’m asking two questions (a heads-up for those of you EU recruiters I have yet to meet) - A) Do you read ERE? B) Are you LinkedIn? I turned on our Recruiting Manager in Phoenix to both yesterday.

In addition to learning a lot about the firm, I was able to listen to a couple Podcasts on the plane during this trip. Check out the Podcasts with Blog/Sourcing Divas Heather and Maureen.

I typically like to see a ‘sight’ or two when I’m on business travel, but haven’t had a chance to see much these past two weeks. This was the first time I had been in Pasadena or outside the airport in Phoenix, and both were beautiful (I love mountains!) I did get to see the Rose Bowl on the way from Pasadena to the Burbank airport though, and that was pretty sweet. I’ve now seen three of the meccas of college football (Rose Bowl, Notre Dame Stadium and Bryant-Denny Stadium (U. of Alabama)). I also got to fly JetBlue for the first time on this trip. VERY NICE! They actually make you feel like they want you there, and make it a fun, comfortable trip at that. If only all the airlines could take a hint from JetBlue and Southwest…

I get to settle down a bit now. Lots still to learn and some upcoming events to prepare for. BTW, I’m still considering changing the name of this blog, ‘from the trenches’ just doesn’t seem appropriate any more. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

NRT - Team of Destiny

(Non-Recruiting Topic)
Team of Destiny. There's just no better way to describe this year's University of Maryland Football Team. Early this year, this team did not impress, they had trouble getting by weak opponents and then got thrashed by West Virginia on national TV. Their other loss, also earlier this year was another ugly one against Georgia Tech. They lost ugly, but they've won ugly too.

These past five weeks have been magical. Starting with an improbable comeback to beat UVA after being down 20-0, then holding on to beat a desperate NC State team, they needed a blocked field goal to survive Florida State, then a field goal with no time remaining to beat Clemson at Death Valley. Today's victory over Miami was more of the same. There were essentially 2 big offensive plays for the Terps, two late turnovers and two dropped passes by Miami. That's it. Miami dominated otherwise, but the Terps still held on to win 14-13.

Maryland's past five wins have been by a total of 13 points! A team that looked to be going nowhere two months ago is now a victory or two away from the ACC Championship game! This team wins by playing hard, not making big mistakes, and making big plays when they need to. The defense gives up huge yardage numbers and the offense disappears for long stretches during games, but they still find out a way to win.

This could be Ralph Friedgen's best coaching job yet, especially considering that he lost his offensive and defensive coordinators in the off-season, and he was coming off of two sub-par years. This team is an inspiration to Terrapin Nation. Go Terps and Fear The Turtle!

Celebration Time at Byrd Stadium - 11/11/06

Friday, November 10, 2006

The New Gig

I just flew in from Minnesota and boy are my arms tired! Haha. But seriously folks, I just got back from a visit to my new employer's headquarters, based in Bloomington, MN. I don't think that four days have ever gone by faster. It was an absolute blur. It was all good though. Good people, an exciting company and lots of opportunities to do some great things. I was told several times that I joined the firm at the right time and that there was plenty of need for my services. There won't be many boring moments, that's for sure.

I got alot of questions about the blog. My new boss is a big supporter of it and said that he wants me to keep it going. He sent out a link to it with my 'new employee announcement.' The most common question was "How do you find time to do it?" Well, just like I'm doing it right now, at night for about 20-30 minutes. I'll write it then and post it in the morning. You of course have to have the interest and desire to keep this up though. I'm really thrilled about the potential here though. We'll see just where I can take this in the coming weeks and months.

Last night, I had the great opportunity to have a couple drinks with the MN Headhunter. We met at the hotel bar and shot the breeze about recruiting and college sports for a couple hours. We had a great time, and I'm glad that we were able to connect while I was in the Twin Cities. I really lucked out with the weather too. Sixties in November in Minnesota? It's like that all the time, right ;-)

I'm traveling again next week, but then that will cool off a bit until December. So far, this opportunity appears to be everything I expected it would be. The blogging will continue, I am still thinking about changing the name of the blog, and an exciting future with my new employer is just getting started.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Greatest Recruiting Experience Ever

Now that I've left the world of tactical technical recruiting, I'm reminded of a truly unique experience, easily the greatest recruiting experience that I ever had. I wanted to tell this story here for a while now, this seemed to be an appropriate time to do it.

From 1992-1998, the Dept. of Defense sponsored overseas job fairs in Europe and the Far East, providing American companies the ability to directly recruit our servicemen and women as they were preparing to separate from the military. The company I was with at the time, Tracor (also known in the mid-late 90s as Vitro, Marconi & finally BAE Systems), was a long-time participant of these events, and the opportunity was provided to me in the spring of 1998 to fly half-way across the world to participate in this wonderful event. For employers, it was a no-brainier as DoD picked up the tab, and provided immediate, unequaled access to hundreds of highly-skilled, disciplined individuals. All we had to pay for was the airfare to and from the rendezvous point in Portland, OR. What we didn't know at the time however was this was going to be the last trip of its kind.

Two of us represented Tracor on this trip, Ron G. and myself. We made it out to Portland and quickly met up with those who we would be spending the next two weeks of our lives with. Larry Harris was our fearless leader (since DoD ended these events, he continued them as a private venture), and about 30+ companies/70+ recruiters were ready to go. The diversity of companies was vast, including government contractors (i.e. Tracor, BDM, Lockheed, etc.), large, well-known employers (i.e.Starbucks, Southwest, Cintas, MCI), security-related employers (i.e. Wackenhut, Washington State Police) and some smaller employers as well.

The trip essentially had three legs, which included two days of job fairs and a day for sight-seeing, and a half-day on each end for travel. The stops included Seoul, Korea; Okinawa, Japan; and Yokosuka, Japan. With 70+ Type-A personality Recruiters on a two week trip on the other side of the planet, you can probably understand that our motto for the trip was "Work Hard, Play Hard". To this day, I have wonderful memories of the trip including:

  • At Yongsan Army Base in Seoul, when the Lockheed recruiter who had a line across the gym for 8 hours straight when a couple busloads of aircraft techs came in from nearby Osan AFB. He got a certificate for his tireless-effort at the end of the day.
  • Meeting the 'grunts' just off of the DMZ at the Yongsan Job Fair. Hardcore.
  • Touring the amazing Korean War Memorial. Best museum I've ever been in.
  • Haggling for a golf glove in the Itaewon district of Seoul, not to mention the offers to sell me "genuine fake Rolex watch".
  • The Walker Hill Show in Seoul. The 'Las Vegas Style' show was no good, but the traditional Asian show was amazing.
  • Walking on an Okinawan beach.
  • The wonderful traditional reception we attended at the Camp Butler Officers Club in Okinawa.
  • Two incredibly busy (and hot) days at the Okinawa job fair.
  • Comedy and fun at the Kadena AB Officers Club.
  • Almost having to buy a round of drinks for everyone at the Yokosuka Officers Club after not removing my cap.
  • Touring a Spruance-Class Destroyer and seeing equipment that Tracor had developed installed on the ship.
  • A tour of Tokyo which included the Tokyo Tower, the Ginza District, and both Shinto and Buddhist temples.
  • Karaoke in downtown Yokosuka.
  • A visit to the 'Great Buddha' at Kamakura.
  • The 24 hours it took to get from the hotel in Yokosuka to home.
  • The three days of jet-lag that followed.

We had a great time, and made a huge impact as well. Ron and I brought back over 500 resumes and Tracor ended up hiring over 25 of those who we met on the trip. Although DoD discontinued the trips shortly after the one we participated in, it's wonderful that Larry Harris continues these trips 8 years later, providing our brave service men and women a great opportunity to meet employers face-to-face before they move on to the next career.

If anyone who reads this post was on a DoD-sponsored overseas job fair from 1992-98, I'd love to hear your stories and memories. If there is anyone who sees this who was on the '98 Far East trip, I'd love to reconnect with you. In the meantime, here's some old pictures from the trip that I was able to scan and share.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

A Final Farewell

For the past few weeks, I have been discussing my thoughts and feelings around the transition that I am making in my career. Today, I'm leave a wonderful organization, a comfortable work environment, a great boss and a great team for an exciting new leadership opportunity with another great organization. I can't say enough though about my boss and mentor, Gary Cluff. As mentioned previously, Gary is the reason why I came here, and it's been worth every moment. Gary has helped prepare me for this next step in my career, and I am forever thankful.

Prior to the last Project SAVE meeting a couple weeks back, I had a flash of inspiration and penned an 'Ode to Gary':

After three great years with Gary, it's time to take my leave;
When I told Gary about this, he could hardly breathe!

But seriously, he has been gracious and he wished me well;
Which was great because he could of just told me to go to h___!

So, I've left him in a pickle, what is Gary to do?
At first he had one
Recruiter job to fill, now he has two!

To work for Gary, only great Recruiters need apply;
If you are looking for a challenge, you will soon find out why.

Thank you Gary for everything as I say 'adieu';
And I promise not to be a stranger here, and to all of you.
That's it for now. My blogging may be a bit sporadic over the next few weeks as I get my bearings in my new job. I am working on at least one more post which I hope to have up in the next day or two. Exciting new challenges are ahead, can't wait to begin!