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Interview with Richard Kenny, Part 2 – Tricks of the Trade

Posted on January 26, 2010
Filed Under Interviews | Comments Off on Interview with Richard Kenny, Part 2 – Tricks of the Trade

• Richard (Rich) Kenny)
• Talent Acquisition Consultant
• Minneapolis, MN
• Community Volunteering: Habitat for Humanity
• Personal Causes: United Way
• Cell: 612-860-1116
• Business Website:
• Personal Website:

Q&A with Richard (Rich) Kenny

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?

Richard: I think your employment brand as well as employee and customer/candidate referrals are critical to the success of a recruiting program. In all of my previous employers, employee referrals, walk in traffic to your locations, and customer/vendor/candidate referrals have all played a major role in recruiting.

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

Richard: At my previous employer we were 95% internet based from a candidate sourcing standpoint. We had a good response rate from our website for professional positions with limited, to no advertising. It was a very diversified sourcing program that yielded results from multiple sources as it varied from market to market and position to position.

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?

Richard: We hired on a large scale and averaged under a dollar per candidate for our sourcing program across all sources. Our mix of job boards, search licenses, etc. that we used created success across all platforms. We did not really spend money outside of internet recruiting, except in one city where we needed to expand our recruiting efforts to meet the need of that location.

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

Richard: I have completed the four AIRS training certifications for internet sourcing CSSR, ACIR, CDR, CIR. I have also completed a DDI certification: Targeted Selection: Interviewer. I attend multiple recruitment conferences a year, webinars, recruitment events, and I am an avid reader.

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?

Richard: I have supported recruiting within the US and Canada. We have used multiple service providers for our ATS, RPO, Background Check Vendor, WOTC/WtW, major job boards, niche job boards, job aggregators, internet search platforms and a host of other tools to meet our recruitment needs. Overall they worked well across the US and Canada.

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

Richard: My first role in recruiting was a sourcing position back in 1998; I was tasked with the role of finding people without money or any tools. I basically drove around all day and talked to people and made a lot of phone calls. We were very successful finding great talent.

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?

Richard: I think you either have it or you don’t. You can teach someone how to interview, but you can’t give someone passion for the industry, which makes someone truly successful. I am having more fun recruiting now with all the coolest tools and new technologies Recruiters get to use. The function has advanced so much in the last 2-3 years.

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

Richard: Back in 2006, I ran my first advertising campaign on MySpace at 7-Eleven. We secured a company profile on MySpace but never built it out. We had some limited success with the advertising campaign as well. I guess my biggest mistake was that I did not continue to develop that strategy when I moved to Northwest Airlines. At that time, the company was coming out of bankruptcy and I was in “rebuilding mode”, designing the recruiting program and focusing on the basics. We designed a Facebook and MySpace profile but decided not to continue the program after the merger was announced. This past year we were going through the merger with Delta and not hiring so we did not want to invest in social media. I have spent significant amount of time keeping up with social media and making sure I can execute a campaign in my next venture.

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.

Richard: I think the most critical aspect of recruiting outside your employment brand would be the technology that supports the recruiting program. The ATS is key to your success. Having worked with multiple ATS systems, I have tried hard to provide feedback, configure and customize the products to be better and deliver a great candidate, recruiter, hiring manger and vendor interface experience. I look at the last 3 ATS solutions I used. When I look at the upgrades they have implemented for their customers, several of the enhancements have come from my team’s feedback. We strive on making the system easy to use for the candidate, hiring manager and recruiter.

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

Richard: At Northwest Airlines I was able to redesign their recruiting program. During my two years at Northwest we implemented a new ATS solution, implemented a new RPO solution, rebranded the recruiting program and partnered with a new advertising vendor. We also change the recruiting program from 90% print to 90% internet. During this period of time we reduced the size of the recruiting organization, reduced time to fill, and reduced the annual spend by 50% and operated at zero openings over 30 days at the time of the merger.

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

Richard: Outsourcing 100% of your talent acquisition department. I think that a blended approach to internal and external recruiting is good. I also do not think you can have a blanket outsourcing policy for all departments and positions within an organization. You have to determine what make sense and do what is best for the company and not just the bottom line.

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?

Richard: Recruiting is the best sales job out there. Every day you get to match great talent with great organizations. You are the perfect matchmaker making connections. You also get to play with some of the greatest tools and technology out there.

Six Degrees: What one thing do you ideally hope to accomplish in 2009? (OR) Six Degrees: What one thing do you find most ideal given the opportunity to develop/ implementing/ invent professionally that has yet to be done.

Richard: In 2009, I had the opportunity to merge the two recruiting programs for Delta Air Lines and Northwest Airlines for the largest combined airline with over 70,000 employees. This is one of my greatest accomplishments. Prior to that, I redesigned Northwest Airlines recruiting program and implemented their Applicant Tracking System and Recruitment Process Outsourcing vendors. I also implemented a new branding campaign and sourcing strategy. The last two years afforded me the opportunity to do some great things in talent acquisition and partner with some great vendors/partners within talent acquisition.

Six Degrees: Anything you want to plug?

Richard: I am currently in career transition. I am exploring going into business on my own as a consultant in talent acquisition and I am also looking for that next great company/opportunity to lead a talent acquisition program. My background is in high volume hiring, process improvement and system implementations.

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

Richard: I believe that we can always do better. What you developed yesterday can always be improved on for tomorrow. What did not work the last time you tried it, might work now or it can be modified and tried again. If we get set in our ways, we will fail. I am always listening and learning from my peers. Also, I am always trying new things, which means I am willing to fail. After all, I can learn from trying and failing, knowing I will get back up and try again.


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