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Meet Amy Richman, Sr. Director Corporate Staffing, Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Part 2

Posted on March 6, 2008
Filed Under Interviews, Recruitment Industry | Comments Off on Meet Amy Richman, Sr. Director Corporate Staffing, Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Part 2

By Dave Mendoza, Master Cybersleuth, Affiliate Partner, JobMachine Inc.
(720) 733-2022

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Our continuing series on the rank and file and thought leaders who make us proud of our vocation.

Q&A with Amy Richman,
Sr. Director Corporate Staffing, Starwood Hotels & Resorts

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?

Amy: “In 2007, 13% of our hires came through our website and 17% through our referral program. We revamped our referral program later last year and rolled out in each of our divisions. I’m striving for 25% in corporate for 2008, but would like to hit a much higher number with increased marketing of the program, special incentives, etc. Stay tuned…”

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

Amy: “Contract conversions and internal transfers were the largest source of hires for 2007. We have very robust people processes at Starwood which includes a strong, ever growing, multi-tiered talent review process. This is one of the contributing factors to our ability to support and encourage internal mobility.”

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?

Amy: “Referring to the previous question, internal transfers have made up the best no cost source of hire for 2007.”

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

Amy: “It is not always a must for corporate hires to have a strong foundational hospitality background, but it certainly helps. We tend to target, CPG, Gaming, Retail, Entertainment and Hospitality when direct sourcing.”

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

Amy: “We were lucky enough to have connected with Shally and The Job Machine. Shally provided us with invaluable information on direct sourcing which we will continue to use and need to refresh on an ongoing basis. Additionally, as a team, we are preparing and plan to sit for the PHR and SPHR certification. We all network heavily through SHRM and ERE for ongoing tips and tricks of the trade.”

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?

Amy: “Our applicant tracking system is Taleo which has been implemented globally. Because Taleo does not currently have contact management capability, we’ve created our own internal lead referral database in MS Access. For direct sourcing and networking we utilize ZoomInfo, Hoovers, Microquest, (both IT and Glass Ceiling), LinkedIn, Facebook, ERE and any other tool which will help yield results. We’re always open to others.”

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

Amy: “While at Prudential we used a DOS based version of Greentree. While the tools today are far from perfect, I’m blown away by the differences and current capabilities. Thank goodness for technology!”

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?

Amy: “While naturally extraverted, I’m generally hesitant at first when it comes to forging new relationships. Getting on the phone cold, was a terrifying experience for me in that regard. Once you do it though, it becomes something more than calling – more of an information seeking, relationship building game of sorts.”

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

Amy: “Ok – this one scarred me for life. Back in the early 90’s when I was a mere pup, it was terrifying. I had delivered a set of metrics including financial data meant only for internal HR associates, to a then fellow of the company, in error. It started a snowball effect I will never forget. My lesson very early on…attention to detail. Never overlook the importance of the numbers…”

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.

Amy: “While the hospitality industry is generally very progressive and forward thinking from a marketing and strategic perspective, the one area where tradition remains is recruitment. Direct sourcing is something very new to Starwood. My team has had the ability to set strategic direction for the next three years which includes introducing new, more current methods of candidate sourcing and recruitment, which will be necessary in staffing for our expected explosive growth over the next few years. While my world is only a small piece of it, I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to work with my peers globally to facilitate change in that regard, including, pipelining, use of blogs, heavy networking, etc, in addition to the amazing traditional methods of recruitment which have been successful in hospitality for so many years.”

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

Amy: “Where do I start. Starwood has been an amazing place to grow and create. I’m so proud to be a part of a global project to plan strategic initiatives around staffing for our growth over the next few years. Imagine how many people if takes to run a hotel daily and then multiply that many times over. We have very lofty recruitment goals related to opening our hotels fully staffed and on time. The team responsible for global recruitment initiatives has turned out great results including, as mentioned previously, global referral initiatives, initiatives to tap into B school and hotel school alumni, the building and launch of a lead referral database, revised and revamped onboarding materials, etc.

Additionally, in FY 2006 our staffing vendor cost was overwhelming and one of the largest sources of hire. I’m proud to report that 2007 was largely improved due to some very hard work from my team and continued focus on our relationships with hiring managers.”

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

Amy: “While I fully expect it, I receive 10+ calls a day from staffing agencies, who also reach out directly to our hiring managers. We’re fighting an uphill battle to create a strong sourcing and staffing team so we’re able to fill jobs without reliance on search. While I enjoy building relationships and appreciate that everyone needs to make a living, fielding the calls can be frustrating and not a productive use of my time.”

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

Amy: “Staying in the weeds. I’ve learned that the sweet spot for me is managing an equal balance of day to day operational and tactical work and high level strategic planning work. Both play a very important role in success, but the inability to step back and take stock of the big picture promotes loss of focus and no real direction.”

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?

Amy: “I’m motivated by my relationships with the hiring mangers with whom we work and the amazing hurtles they are asked to jump over on a daily basis. I will continue to plow through for them.”

Six Degrees: What one thing do you ideally hope to accomplish in 2008? (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.

Amy: “I’d like to see a large uptick in our use of progressive sourcing methods with an increased source of hire for referrals and web to 50% of hires for the year. Lofty goals but we’re up for the challenge.”

Six Degrees: Anything you want to plug?

Amy: “Starwood Hotels is an amazing company with a great deal to offer in the way of career growth, continued learning and fun. Following is my minute of marketing on our behalf:

“Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. is one of the leading hotel and leisure companies in the world with approximately 850 properties in more than 95 countries and 145,000 employees at its owned and managed properties. Starwood Hotels is a fully integrated owner, operator and franchisor of hotels and resorts with the following internationally renowned brands: St. Regis, The Luxury Collection, Sheraton, Westin, Four Points by Sheraton, W, Le Meridien and the recently announced aloft. Starwood Hotels also owns Starwood Vacation Ownership, Inc., one of the premier developers and operators of high quality vacation interval ownership resorts”

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

Amy: “One call at a time.”

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