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Geoff Webb, Part 2: “How Does He Do It?”

Posted on July 13, 2009
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Six Degrees: How many applicants at your present employer do you estimate are hired from your corporate website as compared to how many are hired through referrals?

Geoff: I don’t know the specifics of that since I’m not on the metrics side of the business but if I had to guess I would say 80% would be hired through our ATS, and 20% through referral, we are taking steps currently to up that number.

Six Degrees: What is the source of the “Most Hires” collected from at your present employer? (In terms of Quantity #)

Geoff: Today it would likely be Job Boards, however, it would likely be closely followed by Direct Sourced candidates and we have definitely seen an upswing in candidates coming through social media channels.

Six Degrees: What is the source of your “LOWEST COST OF HIRES” – (least amount of invested resources for the easiest hires, regardless of quality) at your present employer?

Geoff: of course as anywhere that would be the internal hire, however, beyond that certainly referrals are the next lowest cost of hire.

Six Degrees: What talent niche groups do you target and are these particular talent areas specialized under your review?

Geoff: As a Sourcer for HRO I target primarily Defined Benefits, Defined Contribution and Health and Welfare benefits talent as a part of the Hewitt Central Sourcing group.

Six Degrees: What types of training in sourcing/recruitment are available to you and have you taken advantage of?

Geoff: I am a CIR and an ACIR (through AIRS) and will be completing my Certified Social Sourcer or CSS in July of this year.

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?

Geoff: In my everyday sourcing I use Linkedin, Orkut, Google, Yahoo, Bing, Flock, Firefox, Facebook, Twitter, Icerocket, just to name a few, the important thing is that I use different tools depending on the challenge, however, I have a wide toolchest.

Six Degrees: What tools (technology or old school file folder, for example) did you first encounter early in your recruitment career?

Geoff: the fax machine, when we first implemented the ATS at Canadian Tire part of my responsibilities was to take all the faxes that came into the office, load then into a bach scanner, OCR them and load them into the ATS, I hated that part of the job, thank goodness for email.

Six Degrees: How did your expectations of being a recruiter compare to the actual, first time you got on the phone or in the cubicle? In your opinion, how do people’s assumptions about our vocation differ from reality?

Geoff: you know, I don’t think I’m going to say anything that others haven’t experienced here but as a recruiter I quickly realized that our industry can have a very bad reputation. Whenever I say what it is that I do most people (including my parents) say “Oh, you’re a headhunter”, as if this is a bad thing. I’ve spent a lot of time educating people on the fact that I’m more of a “matchmaker” matching great candidates with the right opportunity. We’re not all just gatekeepers, fighting the hordes away from the golden crown….we actually do a lot of helping when people are in a rough financial situation.

Six Degrees: Worst mistake, biggest goof, lousiest practice you thought would fly but didn’t…and how that was a learning experience?

Geoff: I have to admit that while working at one of my past employers it was a long commute home, and so I decided that candidates would be cool and maybe even honored if I spoke to them from the car. I don’t know what I was thinking, but pretty soon I started to hear that they had been complaining, understandably so, who the heck could pay attention to you while driving. That experience certainly gave me some great insight into the “candidate experience”. Oh, and it’s just not safe.

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.

Geoff: As stated above I believe that the sourcing world will one day soon be about what you know and your content and less about what your resume says, I also believe that people will engage in talent communities where they can talk to the potential employer and each other. The game plan starts with education, holding summits such as the recent Social Recruiting Summit, then we need to build the recruitment mindset and infrastructure to identify and capture our talent communities. I will continue to write and educate our community on these thoughts and collaborate with others to help them build out their strategies.

Six Degrees: “Best practice” you are most proud of developing (now or in the past) in your recruiting career?

Geoff: Social Media vs. Social Networking – the two concepts are different, social media is what happens online in Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter, Social Networking is what happens in Parks, Starbucks (or in Canada Tim Hortons) and Book Clubs. Both can be great ways to make a connection with someone, however, working together they can bridge the divide between someone just being an avatar and someone being your candidate and/or friend. Sometimes you have to pick up the phone to close the deal.

Six Degrees: What are some of the frustrating aspects/obstacles to your day to day as a staffing professional and in general?

Geoff: seriously, probably people…I know that sounds ridiculous for a Sourcer to say, however, people are unpredictable and will say one thing and do something completely different. As recruiters we try to manage away all the potential obstacles but because we deal with people that’s never entirely possible. As well, the real lack of workforce planning in our industry bothers me. As a sourcer, when I work hard on finding a great candidate, I bring them through the interview process only to have the req cancelled because we never needed it in the first place —- waste of time. I really have a lot of respect for companies that have invested their time to ensure that they have a strong workforce planning culture.

Six Degrees: What are the most common themes of strategic and/or tactical mishaps involving past or present HR/Staffing org?

Geoff: again for me, see above, I think a lot of staff organizations do a great job of fine tuning their talent strategies, but really fall down when it comes to determining the exact types and numbers of skilled individuals that will be required. I mean think about it, as a corporate recruiter, wouldn’t it be great if your business partners could tell you at the beginning of the fiscal year how many Java developers they would need that year, at what level and what quarter they needed them to start in….and not go 400% over projection. Now, that would impress the heck out of me!

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?

Geoff: I like the challenge, we have an ever changing landscape in recruiting, more and more platforms, tools, techniques and technologies are being introduced everyday, I enjoy the challenge of determining how to best integrate that into a full on Talent Acquisition strategy. Oh and I love the people in our industry, they are the best, most supportive folks…seriously.

Six Degrees: What one thing do you ideally hope to accomplish in 2009?

Geoff: You’ll have to wait and see ?

Six Degrees: Anything you want to plug?

Geoff: I’ve been very impressed with the technology over at , it’s a great twitter job aggregator and I’ve been watching with great interest the profusion of jobs that are being posted to twitter. And watch for my Tooltime segments on, they’ll be informative and fun.

Six Degrees: How Are You Going To Change The Recruitment Industry?

Geoff: I’m going to make sure that every sourcer in the world can find anyone, anytime, and no one can hide from us!


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