By Dave Mendoza, Master Cybersleuth, JobMachine Inc.
I encourage readers to take a moment and reach out to Ben Gotkin directly by sending him an invite to connect on Linkedin. You can network with Ben and share best practices by clicking here an inserting his email, Ben.Gotkin @ rsmi.com
Ben Gotkin is an experienced Recruiting Strategy Leader at RSM McGladrey and author of a leading recruitment industry blog, â€œFrom The Trenchesâ€ Ben was born and raised in Virginia, and currently works and reside in Maryland with his wife and two children. I am also honored to count Ben among my friends, and as a friendly competitor at charity poker tourney events at several recruitment industry conferences over the past year.
Ben has been in the recruitment industry for the last 13 years, and has become an evangelist in the areas of process excellence and metrics. His origins as a recruitment afficianado were dictated by the oft chance seating arrangement at a part-time job, during his college years, for a small start-up that shared space with an executive recruiter. During down time, Ben often found myself talking to his cubicle colleague and was very intrigued. Later that year, he came across an opportunity with a small search firm, which he explored, and discovered to his liking that he could actually put into practice his Industrial Organization Psychology university education, and his good people skills as well. â€œThe rest,â€ as he describes it, â€œâ€¦ is history. â€œ
Ben joined RSM McGladrey this past November as a Recruiting Strategy Leader. RSM McGladrey is a professional services firm for the mid-market with a broad reach of over 120 offices in over 20 states. Itâ€™s alternative practice structure with McGladrey & Pullen makes it the nation’s 5th largest accounting, tax and business consulting firm. We have exciting and unique opportunities in
As a Recruiting Strategy Leader, Ben is responsible for defining the strategy for our experienced recruiting efforts as it relates to subjects including branding, technology, process, metrics, sourcing, etc. In general, his mission is to provide our Recruiters in the field the tools and techniques to enable them to be successful in a very challenging hiring environment.
Benâ€™s current major initiatives include launching a new employee referral program, assisting in the implementation of our new RIMS (Recruitment Information Management System), identifying new sourcing channels, and working with our New York Economic Unit to identify candidates for their new recruiting team (needs include Experienced-Hire Recruiting Manager, Senior Experienced-Hire Recruiter and Campus Recruiter)
Prior to RSM McGladrey, Ben worked at MITRE for over three years. MITRE works in the broad domains of aviation, defense and intelligence, and enterprise modernization. MITRE’s core areas of expertise, include Acquisition and Systems Analysis, Communications and Networking, IT, Sensors, Systems Engineering, Independent Research and Development. MITRE also maintains its own independent research and development program, in which MITRE experts develop concepts and prototypes that may be transferred to government organizations, and, when appropriate, it also transfers technology to the public.
Ben Gotkin received several distinctions at MITRE, earning Special Recognition Awards in 2004, 2005, and 2006. He worked closely with internal customers across the organization in a hands-on and strategic role in the following areas: identifying sourcing tactics at requisition, departmental, and corporate-wide levels that will target candidates; Training/Coaching hiring managers and other HR staff on effective recruiting techniques); Identification of new/emerging technologies to help enhance MITRE’s sourcing efforts. Marketing; (coaching hiring managers and fellow HR professionals on writing more effective job postings, internal/external employment branding); Research (utilizing multiple sources to identify candidates for current and future needs); and Process Improvement (using metrics to identify process improvement opportunities. Identifying and implementing process changes to maximize efficiency)
When he isnâ€™t diving into the minutiae of recruitment processes, Ben also loves good live music, read business books and biographies, and enjoys playing with my kids. Above all, Ben has the rare distinction of being a third generation Washingtonian, and he is an avid sports fan. He is a passionate follower of the Washington Nationals, Washington Redskins and Washington Wizards, and his alma mater, the University of Maryland (football, basketball and lacrosse) â€“ as he describes it, they are his teams, â€œwin or lose!â€
Ben was kind enough to share his staffing perspectives:
Can you detail your activities on behalf of your company?
“I am responsible for the identification, definition, development and implementation of the experienced-hire talent acquisition strategies that will empower our recruiters to be more effective in their day-to-day recruiting activities. These strategies typically cover anything related to technology (e.g. ATS, job boards, social networking sites), program development (e.g. employee referral, alumni), training, data gathering and metrics, sourcing, etc.”
What talent niche groups do you target and are these particular talent areas specialized and abundant within particular countries under your review?
“Our firm mostly hires corporate audit and tax professionals, as well as business consulting professionals. These talent areas are often specialized, but not at all abundant in any market we operate in (our business is domestic-only as of today)”
What types of training in sourcing/recruitment are available to you and have you taken advantage of?
“I recently participated in AIRS training, and have attended the ERE Expo for the past three years. I also regularly attend local recruiting/HR networking meetings and am a daily reader of ERE and various Recruiting Blogs.”
What inspires you to stay in recruiting?
“I love nothing more than connecting great people with great organization. I know that by helping to bring great talent into the firm, (directly or indirectly) I am making a significant impact on the success and growth of this firm. I also know that at some point in the near future, recruiting will get it’s own ‘Seat-at-the table’, independent even of HR.”
What single event had the most impact on your recruiting career?
“In my very first recruiting job as a researcher, I used our AOL account to access early versions of Hoovers and other internet databases. This was in 1994. Everyone else thought I was wasting my time, I wasn’t doing research the old-fashioned way. They thought I was really nuts when I suggested that our firm build our own website!
One day, I was on AOL, doing my research, when a breaking news story popped up. A federal building in Oklahoma City was bombed. There were pictures online within minutes. What hit me immediately was just how fast everything moved on the internet. When I got my hands on an OCC account a year later and was able to respond to applicants within minutes of them submitting a resume, the power of the internet was ingrained in me even further. But it was that original AOL account and the OKC bombing that really drove home to me the power of what was to come.”
What are some of the frustrating aspects/obstacles to your day to day as a sourcer and in general?
“Not a sourcer myself, but I am pondering building a sourcing organization for our firm. I’m frustrated by the fact that I am having a tough time figuring out just what to do though. What is the scope, how scalable, how much will this cost and how do we justify that cost, do we even need it? Working on this now and hopefully will have something figured out soon.”
How do you personally expect to facilitate change within our industry, and/or at your place of work?
“My blog (http://the-trenches.blogspot.com) is my personal voice in the recruiting blogosphere, so that’s a small start. We are starting down the track of building a ‘Recruiting Culture’ in our firm. This is a long term process that will require culture change and a realignment of resources and priorities. If our firm wants to grow the way they say they do, this change must happen and is inevitable, and I look forward to helping to lead the way!”
How are you going to personally effect change in the Recruitment Industry, if not the world to a broader degree?
“No plans to change the world or the industry for that matter. I think that my ultimate mission in my work is to continue to raise the profile and the professionalism of corporate recruiting. I can start to have that impact by effecting change in my own organization.
We are currently in the process of looking at every aspect of our recruiting operation. We have already started to make great improvements to our employee referral program, our career website, and our job board relationships. We are in the process of implementing a new ATS (or RIMS: Recruitment Information Management System), that will include a powerful CRM module. With this new system and new surveys, we will be able to gather better data to not only help us better allocate our resources, but also help build our profile with upper management as a mission-critical function. In the near future, we will start work on building out an alumni program, some form of a sourcing function, and internal recruiting information sharing and collaboration tools.
The great thing about this job is that we are able to build almost everything new. We are not talking about doing anything revolutionary here, but rather we are focusing on building our competencies, skills and abilities in our core functionality. That alone should make us a much more effective talent acquisition function, and therefore a much more valuable business function. The more we are successful doing this, the more successful we will be in building out a recruiting culture, one that engages the entire enterprise in the identification, engagement, evaluation, hiring, onboarding and assimilation of great talent.
I’ll continue to write about this in my blog and share my experiences in the various collaborative forums I participate in. Can promoting our micro-level success impact macro-level success across the industry? I certainly hope so.”
â€œIf I were to choose 5 recruiting leaders to gather around a table to work on and solve a significant recruiting challenge Ben would be one of the five. Every time I speak with Ben, meet with him or participate in a group of recruiting leaders with him I am amazed by his intelligence, recruiting knowledge and ability to articulate complicated issues clearly and concisely. He works hard to stay abreast of the latest recruiting trends, tools and ideas and quickly finds ways to execute those ideas in his organization. Ben is one of the recruiting leaders I turn to when I want to discuss new ideas or get help solving a problem. He is, without question, one of the best!â€ April 24, 2007
Michael Homula, Owner / Director of Recruiting & Consulting, Bearing Fruit Consulting Group, LLC
â€œBen Gotkin is quickly becoming one of DCâ€™s most tenacious leaders for positive change and ongoing education in recruiting. Every week it seems heâ€™s reaching out to local area recruiters via his blog, networking events or speaking engagements to share and discuss the state of recruiting in the DC market. Benâ€™s an inspiration to us all.â€ October 5, 2006
Scott Kahle, Recruiting Manager, Dataline
â€œBen epitomizes the modern recruiter. He is smart, effective, and innovative – savvy in the latest recruiting tools and technology – and wise enough to know that sound fundamentals, not technology, produce the results. He writes a readable and worthwhile blog that is as well-grounded and sensible as he is. If all recruiters were like Ben, nobody would worry about â€œhaving a seat at the tableâ€ because everyone would already be there – talking the language of business with the hiring executives and translating that information into career opportunities for the candidates.â€ October 5, 2006
Bob Corlett, President, Staffing Advisors
â€œI read your article this morning on the ERE network. You are a forward thinker that offers a refreshing perspective. I find I spend a lot of my time trying to convince old school recruiters to move with the times and start using the tools that are out there. Your article just validates the point I make every day when I’m on the phone to potential customers. Cheers! Jill Rosenfield HireVelocityâ€ July 6, 2006
Jill Rosenfield, Director, National Accounts, Hire Velocity