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Our continuing series on the rank and file and thought leaders who make us proud of our vocation. Dan Harris is a worthy role model to spotlight. He is modest, – truly uneffected by each of his successes, suffice to say it is because his inner core is driven by a certain, most unique love for his profession in life. It is comparable to a professional football player remembering the first time he held a pigskin in his grip or a baseball player recalling that warm summer afternoon as a youth playing catch with his dad. It is a sincere passion, a bliss few of us can maintain given our daily chores, and it is for that reason, that Dan Harris is respected and admired by his peers – his focus and drive being all the more infectious to us all. Today we continue our discussion from the trenches in this War for Talent.
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?
Daniel: While I wonâ€™t give an exact number, I will state we have a higher percent of employee referrals that are hired and come onboard vs through our corporate website but its almost equal I would say.
Six Degrees: What is the source of the “Most Hires” collected from at your present employer? (In terms of Quantity #)
Daniel: Employee Referrals and directly through our Company Website are representative of our highest quantity hires. Both are about equal.
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?
Daniel: Employee Referrals and Internal mobility.
Six Degrees: What talent niche groups do you target and are these particular talent areas specialized under your review?
Daniel: One of my focuses is building out a talent pipeline of information security specialists usually designated with CISSP or GIAC. Also look for engineers to developers with an understanding and knowledge of SSL and PKI. These specialized folks are usually very talented security professionals and hold a CISSP or GIAC certification. VeriSign is currently moving back to focusing solely on its core successful functions of Naming (VeriSign owns all .com and .net domains), Web certificates (SSL), and its Identity Protection Program. VeriSign is the checkmark symbol you will usually see on the checkout page when you ready to finally order something online.
Six Degrees: What types of training in sourcing/recruitment are available to you and have you taken advantage of?
Daniel: Well, I recently attended Sourcecon in Sept 2007 which VeriSign assisted and allowed me to go. I also usually try and attend great webinars given by Humancapitalinstitute.org. I also look at ERE.net to taking Shally Steckerl’s Jobmachine, Inc. webinars. We also have a monthly brown bag luncheon onsite/phone which we share best practices and recruiting strategies with the VeriSign Recruiting team and a weekly research call with my manager, James Collins.
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?
Daniel: I would say my biggest three tools I use everyday are jigsaw, spoke, and linkedin. There are some other tools I am itching to get but for now I must use these.
Six Degrees: What tools (technology or old school file folder, for example) did you first encounter early in your recruitment career?
Daniel: I was originally trained via telephone methods while at HTC Research. I then started using the internet more and found search engines like Yahoo, Dogpile, or Google helpful.
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? To this day would you say people’s assumptions about our vocation differ from reality?
Daniel: Found it pretty exciting and challenging at the same time. The expectations and what I thought I would be doing was extremely hard but I was able to reinvent myself by a combination of using both the phone and the internet. While I had a lot of personal interaction while working retail before I found a lot of my skill sets I learned did carry over but still had to work and learn at recruiting, specifically the biggest being just really understanding the job and what the hiring manager was looking for.
Six Degrees: Worst mistake, biggest goof, lousiest practice you thought would fly but didnâ€™tâ€¦and how that was a learning experience?
Daniel: Ha ha! Iâ€™ve made so many and learned a lot. I canâ€™t say I could single out any single practice in my mind this moment. However, One point I would say the you canâ€™t really start a job without first really understanding it and knowing what your looking for and requirements.
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.
Daniel: Its starts with me! I openly share my research/sourcing knowledge with my coworkers and friends I have in recruiting. I believe in sharing knowledge and skills as it comes 100x back. I think the biggest differentiator is that I do feel confident in the work quality/quantity I can produce, how I think and can best bring value and talent into a top organization. I believe the YOU can be the biggest component in your success along with meeting and surrounding yourself with the right people/talent and knowledge along the way. Continually Learning and I never give up plus I love the thrill of hunting talent and winning.
Six Degrees: â€œBest practiceâ€ you are most proud of developing (now or in the past) in your recruiting career?
Daniel: Striving to Be My Best everyday. Continually learning and improving. Understanding the position, having focus and then taking the right actions to get the results I need.
Six Degrees: What are some of the frustrating aspects/obstacles to your day to day as a staffing professional and in general?
Daniel: The biggest obstacle I still face internally sometimes is when hiring manager(s) or certain upper management within companies doesnâ€™t understand the challenges that sourcer/researchers go through in the recruiting process. Sometimes the hiring manager needs coaching and understanding on what is realistic (both in timetable to the multi-faceted skill level candidates the hiring manager is wanting).
Six Degrees: What are the most common themes of strategic and/or tactical mishaps involving past or present HR/Staffing org?
Daniel: Maybe an HR Business Partner or Upper Management at many companies that donâ€™t have a fully understanding grasp of what research/sourcing can do within their staffing organization (not to mention help possibly impact marketing, sales, and Competitive Intelligence).
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?
Daniel: People Do! What motivates me everyday is People. I truly want to help impact and make a difference in their lives. Yes, while I do acknowledge I reach out and connect to passive talent mostly, I really do want to make a positive impact and create that great win/win in their career and financially for their families.
Six Degrees: What one thing do you ideally hope to implement that hasn’t been done before?
Daniel: I would like to take part in implementing some online marketing/branding efforts which combines my sourcing pipeline efforts here at VeriSign to create even better branding and company awareness. Basically encompassing pipelines to create more awareness, referrals, and passive/active candidates into the future.
Six Degrees: Anything you want to plug?
Daniel: Well, I love to make great connections on linkedin so I can be found there …
Six Degrees: How Are You Going To Change The Recruitment Industry?
Daniel: This feels like a Pinky and the Brain question! I will endeavor to get research and sourcing more well known and understood function within industry organizations.