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Meet Chris Hoyt, Associate Director of Talent Attraction at AT&T: “How Does He Do It?” Prt 2

Posted on March 30, 2009
Filed Under Interviews, | 1 Comment


Chris Hoyt, Associate Director of Talent Attraction at AT&T – Dallas, TX
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Chris: I’m the Associate Director of Talent Attraction at AT&T. I lead both strategic and interactive recruiting teams and sourcers and have responsibility for our Interactive Recruiting Strategies (SEO, SEM, Social, etc.) various Recruitment Marketing initiatives, our new award winning Career Portal (, and Job Board strategies. My teams are responsible for the sourcing and attraction of any job seekers for non-contracted external hiring efforts.


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?

Chris: Employee referrals continue to be my favorite hiring source. We’ve seen our employee referrals account for nearly 90% of our hiring in some markets while on a national recruitment level see still impressive numbers of applicants within the 40% range. To be clear however – the real win with employee referrals for any company isn’t typically just the volume received. If you ask various companies that have successful employee referral programs or processes in place why they love the programs, I think you’ll get solid answers tied to reduced cost per hire and an awareness about the job or corporate culture that most referrals have BEFORE they even come in to apply.

Even during times when we weren’t offering any rewards to our employee body for submitting referrals we continued to see incredible numbers of referrals in locations we were hiring. When you love where you work and you believe in your company’s goals and vision I think you want to share that – and I think our continued success with our various referral channels proves just that.

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?

Chris: Employee referrals are always an awesome source for any recruiting initiatives to compete with. I’d have to tell you though that outside of employee referrals any company would be hard pressed to prove to me that they aren’t showing an amazing amount of reduced cost per applicant through Search Engine Marketing and Search Engine Optimization efforts – if done well, of course. While we continue to see trends that show job seekers starting their job searches in search engines and social or professional networks it only makes sense to move initiatives in the right direction. Smart recruiting is like playing hockey in that your goal is to skate where the puck is going as opposed to it’s current location. Wayne Gretzky was the person that originally said that about hockey, by the way. As a hockey fan I just love to fit it in whenever I can.

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

Chris: Our recruiters and sourcers are always on the lookout for new and innovative sourcing and recruitment strategies and tools. Various webinars are attended and as a rule each recruiter typically attends job board and applicant tracking software training courses as refreshers almost quarterly. I think that many of our teams take full advantage of blogs and newsletters from respected sources in our industry to try and stay on top of their game. Of course any chance to attend conferences with classes or sessions hosted by people like Susan Burns of Talent Synchronicity, Michael Marlatt for innovative recruiting trends, or Craig Silverman are always a bonus. It’s great when a recruiter comes back from a session or webinar that really carried a powerful lesson or message and see how they share it with their teams.

“AT&T ‘Day In The Life’ of a Corporate Call Center employee. Jobs video production by:

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?

Chris: There’s a basic answer to this that might be what most would be looking for as a response… Just naming our Applicant Tracking System and any applications we use to aid in search, right? It’s no secret that by visiting the AT&T career portal you’ll see that we’ve quite a few of our jobs posted in Taleo. It’s also no mystery if you’re a reader of my blog or have followed me on Twitter for any amount of time that I’m a fan of AIRS Sourcepoint for some of our sourcing initiatives.

These are great… and yes, they’re software tools – but they’re really not where the true power strokes come from for some of our more impressive recruitment and sourcing. Want to know what the big hitters in our arsenal are? I’ll tell you – and you might be surprised.

The Yahoo! and Google search engines are powerful when we’re rolling up our sleeves and sourcing tough titles. Mobile marketing initiatives like the AT&T Talent Network and our mobile shortcodes are showing really impressive results across the board. But when it comes to asking me what tools we use that really make a difference and if they’re making a difference for recruiting regardless of where or who we’re searching for… I’d say it’s our use of our recruiter’s professional networks hands down. We know that relationships and trust are the power behind any good network and we leverage that knowledge daily.

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

Chris: My first filing technology was Franklin… A huge Franklin organizer with a smaller one to accompany me when I was “mobile” recruiting. Of course back then “mobile” recruiting was recruiting on the road or simply from office to office. From that I advanced to using a word processor and email – and upon the discovery of how to use email folders online I’ve been in love with the “cloud” based file folders ever since.

The strongest tools I had in my toolkit when starting was a handshake, a business card, and the ability or willingness to listen to people in order to find out exactly what they were really looking for or where they might be a great fit elsewhere. When the internet really started to become part of my everyday recruiting activity it was Snap (will anyone remember that?) Webcrawler and Yahoo! although I’ll admit that while I knew these would be huge in our industry I wasn’t really sure how at first. Of course initially the content just wasn’t there to source from like it is today.

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.

Chris:I’m not sure that I expect to individually change our industry at all. I feel like I’m more interested in helping truly engaged recruiters and sourcers to simply think bigger about what we do and the tools we use to get our jobs done. If I can think of a way that a tool like customizable search engines or simple newsreaders can be used to make recruiters more efficient or mobile or collaborative – and share that – I know that it will be expanded upon. There are so many really smart people doing what we do that if given a solid idea or direction we can hope they’ll run with it and as a result advance our industry. We see things advance from a good idea into a great practice for many.

I think the biggest challenge is encouraging recruiters to find their ‘voice’ and share those thoughts and steps forward. I get 3-4 emails for every comment found on my blogs. It’s fascinating to me how many great ideas or insightful items of feedback I receive that just don’t get pushed to me publicly but instead come in via direct email. Think of your favorite social network and how many members it has versus how many truly contribute to the open content found there. Imagine how much faster our passions would develop – how much more efficient we might be – if just 20% more of each network’s population chimed in and publicly contributed.

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

Chris: The most frustrating thing I’ve ever run into within our industry is when a person or group of people has the unwillingness to think bigger. I want to be clear that I don’t fault anyone that truly doesn’t have it in them to try and think or operate outside of the box. What challenges me is when I meet a recruiter or manager that could do so much more or collaborate so much more effectively if they’d allow themselves to let go of that old “if it ain’t broke” mentality. If we all thought that way nothing would ever change or advance and I’d still be lugging around a giant binder to scribble down names of people I meet.

I’d probably venture to say that unwillingness to change or the lack of passion to drive change are probably the most common themes of strategic and/or tactical mishaps involving HR and Staffing organizations everywhere.

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?

Chris: When I run into people that are as passionate about our craft as I am. I’m inspired when I meet people that aren’t so hung up on finding new technology as much as taking advantage of existing technology in different ways. It’s not often that you run into an Amitai Givertz who can see what today’s tools mean for tomorrow’s recruiters – and facilitate that in a way that almost anyone can follow. Seeing someone like Jason Davis create a powerhouse social network as large as because he saw a need and ran with it… These are the things that inspire me to keep thinking and moving forward. We need more of these guys – not just more of the great thinkers but the great do’ers.

Six Degrees: Anything you want to plug?

Chris: I suppose I’d plug the new AT&T Talent Network ( where people that sign up receive mobile and email updates about employment news and opportunities with AT&T as well as monthly prizes like Guitar Hero, a Flip Video Camera and mobile devices. VERY cool new program that’s in it’s second month.

I’d also love if people would stop in at my personal blog,, and take part in the conversations or just connect with me on Twitter or LinkedIn. I love feedback on everything we do and never turn down the chance to connect with someone whenever possible.

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

Chris: With the help of everyone else… and one idea at a time.

“Dennis Smith from stops in on RecruiterGuy for a quick chat about”


One Response to “Meet Chris Hoyt, Associate Director of Talent Attraction at AT&T: “How Does He Do It?” Prt 2”

  1. Johanne on March 31st, 2009 11:29 pm

    That’s another insightful interview. Thanks for posting.