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Meet Alex Putman, ‘Social T-Rex’ Part 2

Posted on September 2, 2009
Filed Under Interviews, | Comments Off on Meet Alex Putman, ‘Social T-Rex’ Part 2

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• Community Volunteering: Habitat for Humanity of Atlanta (3 consecutive build years), Sentinels of Freedom (Gwinnett County, Georgia), Susan B Komen Breast Cancer Walk
• Personal Causes: Angel Tree Program, March of Dimes, Toys for Tots, and Church Outreach
• Phone: 770-346-7216 (o) | 678-557-0469 (c)
• Email Alex, or 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?

ALEX: We do not attract a lot of traction through our website, however this is changing as we have a new ATS and marketing team that is driving this effort. Currently 50% of our hires are referrals, 45% from our traditional recruiting and maybe 5% from our site.

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

ALEX: and

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?

ALEX: LinkedIn, hands down. We have had some big hires from utilizing this resource

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

ALEX: Network Engineering, Infrastructure positions, developers (C#, Java etc). Yes, these areas are under my review.

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

ALEX: I have attended tons of webinars this year, many free! Recruitingblogs has been a great referral source for these and several by Scott Love and Bill Radin!

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?

ALEX: Our software tools consist of our ATS (Sendouts). Yes they translate extremely well, although our work is on a North American level only.

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

ALEX: I am lucky in this area. I started in the business in 1996 and was trained by several “old school” people. Then the boards came along and people became so dependent upon them. I never forgot my “early teachings” and adapted them to the new technology. My first job board was Monster, however 1 year prior to, I was given a phone and a Harris Guide with SIC codes and told to cold call and get people!

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?

ALEX: Early on I had no real expectations, except that I could make a lot of money fast. I did not realize how many “no’s” I would go through (reminded me of looking for a prom date ? ) My first time in the cube, I was quiet on the phone. A Senior Recruiter pulled me aside and said, “Look, you have a great presentation, you appear to be smart and have done your research, but you have got to speak up!” Ha, thanks Carmine!, I have been loud every since!

The biggest misperception of our industry, we steal people away. Technically that is called kidnapping and I have never stolen anyone!! Reality is, we offer a service. I believe in customer service and treating your clients and candidates for the long term!

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

ALEX: HA!!! Ok, I will confess. Early on (first year), I recruited a guy, pulled him out of his current role with an opportunity of a lifetime (his words). I requested he keep me completely confidential as the recruiter. He asked if I was going to call in and pick up the backfill and I said “yes”. He agreed not to say anything. Well I picked up the order and about 3 days into it receive a call from the hiring manger. He called me pond scum (no joke) and many other things. Turns out my candidate and he were fishing buddies and while on the boat, my name came up!

What I learned, just be up front and direct with everyone. I probably would have called the hiring manger, told him I did pull his person, explained that it was a great opportunity for him and would like to have his business…certainly would have met with the same result…maybe refer it to another recruiter and split….live and learn!

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.

ALEX: Change within the industry does come one person at a time. I think getting the word out that recruiting and staffing is a service. We are not peddling something. We are professional career advisors. I wrote a complete training manual for new hires for my present company. My first success story is about a Jr. Recruiter, right out of school. In following my training program, she is already one of our top billers (and doing better than I did in my first year)!! Training and information work. The other part is sharing with as many people as possible what works and does not!

The biggest obstacle in our industry is that people keep information close to the vest. The solution is to mentor and encourage everyone around you be successful and you will be a success! The vision is to incorporate this in as many areas as possible!

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

ALEX: Guerilla Recruiting at Panasonic! We were hiring from a competitor so I rented a space next door to their corporate, out of state HQ. Held a “caree fair” and advertised it by blasting people on job boards and putting up notices at the four way stop in front of their offices at 3:00 a.m. My VP of HR received a call from their VP of HR. My VP simple said, it was aggressive, but totally within ethical bounds! We hired 7 people and the cost was less than $5k!

Not sure if this applies to a “Best Practice”. I did have a recent situation where several years ago I hired a guy into a company that was closing. I provided full disclosure on the company and where they stood. He took he job anyway and 4 weeks later it closed. Recently I went on a sales call and guess who the Director of IT was…Yep! He remembered my honesty and is getting us through the red tape to work with a Fortune 100 client!

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

ALEX: People driving down fees! My goodness, my time is worth something! Yet companies continue to lower prices and recruiters accept it! Other obstacles include the wrong mindset of recruiters. Get off the job boards, and recruit!

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

ALEX: People trying to go around the system. I have been a corporate HR person and staffing agency recruiter/manager. Build the right relationships and there will be no “roadblocks” I hear sales people talking about how to beat the system, yet they do not even understand the system and why it is in place. There is a time to go around the system, but it is not before you even know if it is worth going around!

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?

ALEX: Competition! I love this industry! I have taught my wife how to recruit (she made her first placement in the last year – Note, she is a stay at home mother of 4). I love the people I get to meet and the multitude of golf tournaments!

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.

ALEX: I want to speak at a major event and also have a good working copy of my first book for review!

Six Degrees: Anything you want to plug?

ALEX: My employer, Synergis, my personal blog and of course RecruitFest 2009!

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

ALEX: By ‘Becoming a Social T-Rex™’ and interacting with as many people as I possibly can!


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