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Meet Bruce Tracy of “Technical Professionals”, Part 2: “How Does He Do It?”

Posted on July 5, 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?

Bruce: Well, since I am a small recruiting firm I would have to say that I attribute few if any hires directly to my website. I have done a lot to optimize my site and make it as searchable as possible, but the bang for the buck just isn’t there for a small firm.

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

Bruce: Without a doubt, pure and simple networking is responsible for most of the hires at my firm. What I mean by networking in this sense is simply reaching out to anyone that I believe can help me in a fill. I believe that I make it very clear in my networking that I am there for others. As a result, others always come through for me.

Six Degrees: What is the source of your “LOWEST COST OF HIRES” – at your present employer?

Bruce: That is probably a tie between the networking I mention above and free advertising. I am always amazed by the amount of free advertising that exists on the Internet. I have been asked, in the past, by research groups what my annual advertising “budget” is. Usually when I tell them it is followed by either a long period of silence as they digest the fact that I am not going to pay them large sums of money for advertising. My advertising budget is much less then most peoples coffee budget.

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

Bruce: Well, as I’ve mentioned, I began recruiting solely in the semiconductor industry, primarily engineers and management. I have since expanded into almost all engineering disciplines. I would have to say though, that I am still focused on designers and management since that is what I know the best.

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

Bruce: I have to say that I have had access to many great training sources but have yet to take advantage of most. Perhaps this should be on my “to do” list.

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?

Bruce: Well, being a techie, I have developed my own ATS. Being not so humble I’m going to have to say I could not find a better product commercially. Since it is my product I can customize it almost instantly to whatever I want. It can be used for any country, though at least 95% of my recruiting is in North America.

Six Degrees: What did you first encounter early in your recruitment career?

Bruce: Well, I mentioned at the beginning of this interview that prior to starting my own recruiting business I had a two week career with a large nationwide firm. I won’t mention the firm, but I will tell you that the local owner was NOT a technology guy. After one week of work at the firm I complained that my Internet connection was not working and he asked me why I needed the Internet. Needless to say our philosophy on Networking did not mesh. One week later I left to start my own company at home where I had an Internet connection that actually worked. The rest, as they say, is history.

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?

Bruce: I’m going to be brutally honest here. As an industry outsider, (I was a 20 year career engineer prior to starting my recruiting firm); I did not have a lot of respect for recruiters. Now to be fair, this opinion was developed during a time when, I believe, recruiting was “easier”. Economic times were much better and there were a lot of recruiters that were in it for the money and didn’t really care too much about their clients or their candidates. I believe that, for the most part, the economy has helped the industry get back to its roots and be more professional. I believe that people on the outside are seeing those changes also and recognizing that recruiters are not just a necessary evil but people that they can trust.

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

Bruce: Well, this wasn’t a huge mistake, but early on in my career I got off on a tangent of trying to reward people for referrals. I spent quite some time focusing on ways to approach people with my rewards for their referrals. I really thought that this was the way to get more and better referrals. After spending quite a bit of time and energy on this technique I realized it just wasn’t working.. In fact it seemed to be turning people off. I find that now, just asking for referrals is a much more successful approach.

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.

Bruce: As I mentioned previously, I believe there will be a lot more co-operation among recruiters in the future. I think that a lot more agencies will form strategic alliances with one another and share in searches and have fee agreements. I have always done this myself and hope to not only continue to do this but to step up my efforts. Maybe a worldwide recruiting network in the future?

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

Bruce: I always try and help anyone that asks me for help, even if in just a small way.

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

Bruce: Well, I guess the most frustrating thing about recruiting, and I’m sure others would agree here, is shooting at moving targets. You know, when you spend many hours searching for that perfect candidate only to have the client completely rewrite the requisition. But, overall my experiences have been very positive.

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?

Bruce: Two things really. One is simply mechanical the other more altruistic. On the mechanics side, I try to focus on the fact that what I do is a sales job and a sale depends on numbers. So I focus, maybe not daily but certainly weekly, on keeping my numbers good in terms of contacts made.

On the altruistic side, I really do get a kick out of finding someone a new career, either because, as a result of our economy, they really need one or just because they want to better their position.

Six Degrees: Anything you want to plug?

Bruce: Well, I do value my LinkedIn network a lot. Everyone, please feel free to invite me. My profile is at:

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

Bruce: I’m not sure I’m going to change the industry but I would like to see it continue on its course towards integrity and I will certainly be a part of that. I also would like to be a part of the evolution towards a world recruiting network that I envision.


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