This article is a long time coming, I get to write about a personal hero of mine and one of my closest friends in the industry, and absolutely one of the influences which led me to the world of blogging. He will deny the role of influencer in modesty – but it is all too true and I am here today to take account of a man known by many blogging nicknames so generously provided by his admirers, “Blogging Teddy Bear,” “The Regis Philben of the Blogosphere,” “Silver Fox,” “Stud Muffin” (I heard this from one of his employees who heard women talking in the ladies room at ERE San Diego and also from my wife)
Few in this industry smile as much as Dennis Smith, and few instigate them from those they come in contact as much as our friend Dennis. He is the fellow you have a drink with and can relate to every stress, to every aspiration you have and shares back bullet point by bullet point, making you glad you spoke up. He is modest in all things, sincere in his heart, jovial in his story tellings. His welcoming to any room once you walk in makes you feel like a millionaire – all too, and all telling of what makes Dennis so popular. All of these qualities makes me think he was the inspiration for the character in Sixteen Candles that Molly Ringwald fell head over heals for, remember him? The all-star that was actually kind hearted with little self reflection of his standing among those who wanted to be just like him. If I speak in grandiose terms, it is only fitting to do so, because that is how much everyone seems to like ‘thee’ Dennis Smith. He is not only admired, he is also esteemed and attempts are made to copy this winning formula, – and everyone knows that it is the ultimate form of flattery. Unfortunately what Dennis offers to the community and industry-at-large, cannot be put in a bottle and replicated; there is only one Dennis Smith.
Few contribute as much as Dennis. He was among the first to give the blogosphere a personality. He had the first innovative assortment of widgets within his site. But technology aside, it is the fact that Dennis writes in a folksy style which easily reflects his mannerisms off-line that makes his blog successful. When I first visited Dennis’ site, I knew that I had to develop my own blog. Sure there were many influences, from Shally to Jay Dee, but Dennis gave me the ‘how to” and the regular request for an update on the status of where I was on blog development. Dennis was the kick in the ass. Dennis helped me transfer my social networking persona into a blogging brand.
That is the Dennis I knew and the one I am honored to call my friend. Today, the tables turn, and I have the chance in a lifetime to share the Dennis Smith we see daily on RecruitingBlogs.com up close, and center.
Dennis Smith has over 12 years of experience in agency and corporate recruiting, focused exclusively on the wireless / telecom industry. He is the recent founder of WirelessJobs.com, Inc., and since 2004, has actively used his blog/social network WirelessJobs.com, to build relationships with wireless candidates around the world.
Dennis is currently serving in a contract role at Microsoft supporting the Global Foundation Services team from his home office in north Texas. Previously, Dennis held recruiting leadership roles at WorldLink, T-Mobile, Samsung, and AT&T Wireless. He holds a BS from the University of Texas at Dallas, and an MBA in Organization Development from the University of Dallas.
An avid LinkedIn evangelist, Dennis caught the bug after inviting Dave Mendoza to speak with the recruiting team at T-Mobile. LinkedIn is now one of the most effective recruiting tools in his belt, and the 10k+ members in his â€œWireless Jobsâ€ Group serve as an excellent platform for connecting with wireless professionals. Interested in connecting with Dennis? Send an invitation to: firstname.lastname@example.org. View his profile @: http://www.linkedin.com/in/wirelessjobs.
Dennis enjoys speaking at recruiting conferences, where he brings focus to his passion for social networking and Web 2.0 technology, and its impact on recruiting and personal brand.
Six Degrees: Tell us of your home world.
DENNIS:I married â€˜upâ€™ 23 years ago after meeting the intelligent and beautiful Katherine Rasmussen – together they have five children: Abby â€“ 14 (the resident drama-queen, actress, and singer who packs a mean volleyball serve); Ford â€“ 13 (the familyâ€™s personal attorney who loves a good debate and is a natural on lead guitar); Hannah â€“ 10 (remember the nameâ€¦this whiz-kid is not only the best 1st baseman in the league, she just might also rule the world); Rachel â€“ 6 (like her Dad, this princess loves the spot-light and will most likely fill in for Conan one day); Olivia â€“ 3 (the only girl in the family that looks just like her mom and has the awesome personality to match). Finally, Jack, the 10 year old farm-cat, and Cowboy, the 3 year old Schnoodle, bring the total Smith-family head-count to nine. NOTE: Dennis has personally approved this headcount, but will not be securing additional headcount either today or in the future.
I am Passionate about competitive sports, and I have been coaching girlsâ€™ softball for the past five years (2 out of 5 championships isnâ€™t too shabby). I also like a good race and will be spending my next vacation in NASCARâ€™s Fantasy League Detox Center, located in Talladega, AL.
Six Degrees: How many years as a recruiter?
DENNIS: I have been in the recruiting profession for 12 years, with my first year in the agency environment and the following 11 years in corporate.
Six Degrees: How did you get started as a recruiter?
DENNIS: Pre-recruiting, I was managing a team of account managers at EDS in Dallas. EDS required that all managers take a Behavioral Interviewing class (as if we didnâ€™t know how to interview!). Well, thatâ€™s precisely what I discovered (even though it comes slowly to those of us who talk far too much). I took the class and was hooked! I discovered that I really liked the dynamics of the structured interview process and wanted to find a way to incorporate those principles in to my daily job. I decided that week to change careers and pursue recruiting.
In my first recruiting role, I was placed on-site with a big account and given my marching orders: â€œFill every job. Get more jobs.â€ That was also the extent of my â€œrecruiting training.â€ One year later I joined AT&T Wireless as a technical recruiter, not realizing how much that decision would impact my future in recruiting, as well as my focus on â€œwirelessâ€ (thank you Sue Baker for giving me my first corporate recruiting gigâ€¦I still love you!). Six years later, and months prior to Cingularâ€™s acquisition of AT&T Wireless, I joined Samsung Telecommunications in Dallas, TX as the Sr. Manager of Recruiting. It was during my time at Samsung that I met Jason Davis (of Recruiting.com fame), and launched the site that would ultimately morph in to my current blog: WirelessJobs.com.
After two years at Samsung, a former AT&T boss, Paul Kemp, asked me to join his team at T-Mobile. For the next two years I had the privilege of managing their engineering recruiting team, working with the smartest, coolest, and craziest recruiters in the world!
I have since put more resources/energy toward my blog, and to continue using it as a tool to reach passive candidates. Iâ€™m enjoying my new roles and the super-fast (wow, is it ever fast!) pace of this profession.
Six Degrees: What single event had the most impact on your sourcing/recruiting career?
DENNIS: â€œWithout a doubt, it was my first corporate recruiting gig at AT&T Wireless, because it gave me the opportunity to work with people like Sue Baker, Paul Kemp, and Ginny Eagle who challenged me and introduced me to the world of wireless at a time when the wireless industry was exploding (1996-97). I do remember one specific event that impacted me more than any other. Ginny Eagle invited this crazy man named Michael McNeal to speak at one of our internal recruiting conferences (at the time, McNeal was reinventing recruiting as the Director of Recruiting at Cisco). He was the first person who told me that I was investing too little time on the front-end with my managers (in the early stages of my recruiting process), and too much time on the back-end trying to get people hired. I know itâ€™s not rocket science, but he basically turned my recruiting paradigm on its ear. I never looked back.â€
Do you have a mentor to whom you attribute your overall outlook on recruitment, capabilities, and/or model your career after?
1) Recruiting Process/Strategy: Ditto my last Dennis: Michael McNeal.
2) Networking â€“ Dave Mendoza has influenced more than any other person in the â€œnetworkingâ€ space. I have tremendous respect for his willingness to give back to the recruiting community. He makes us better. (No folks I didn’t pay him to say that!!)
3) Community – Jason Davis, David Manaster, and John Sumser have significantly impacted my thinking with regard to â€œcommunity,â€ and specifically, the value of our (recruiting) community. Itâ€™s been an honor to learn from them over the last few years and to watch as their efforts to build our community have reaped tremendous dividends (Iâ€™m not talking $$). When I started recruiting in 1996, I felt like it was â€œme against the world.â€ I now feel (and know) that Iâ€™m a part of something much larger than myself.
Six Degrees: Tell us about your current gig:
DENNIS: â€œI currently serve in a contract role at Microsoft supporting the Global Foundation Services team from my home office in north Texas. Prior, I served as the Chief Seeker of Wireless Executives at WorldLink, Inc. (itâ€™s great when you get to make up your own job title!). While our team had a breadth of focus that spans several industries, my primary concentration was recruiting wireless executives for several large domestic and international telecom / wireless-related companies.â€
Six Degrees: Tell us about your experience on the speaking circuit :
DENNIS: â€œI have been a panel speaker at both ERE and Kennedy Conferences, and a speaker at the Jacob Fleming Recruiting Excellence Conferences. In 2008, I look forward to serving as a Recruiting Technology (Web 2.0) Expert Panel Advisory Member for the Human Capital Institute.â€
â€œIn the years I have known Dennis he has always been kind, thoughtful and proactive. He sees the potential in people and lives up to a high standard of commitment in helping them achieve it.â€ July 13, 2008. Shally Steckerl, Chief CyberSleuth & Founder (Talent Acquisition Consultant), JobMachine, Inc,
â€œDennis Smith is by far one of the best recruiting partners I’ve had the pleasure to work with. He collaborates on solutions that create win-win solutions and is the consummate team player. Dennis hires and leads people to success allowing them to achieve their full potential. He is accountable to company, team and customer. Whatever team Dennis is on, he takes it up a notch!â€ April 18, 2008
Paul Kemp, Sr. Recruiting Manager, T-Mobile USA
â€œDennis Smith was guest lecturer for my Career Management & Life Transitions graduate class. Dennisâ€™ presentation was on recruiting, social networking and interviewing. I highly recommend Dennis as a speaker. He presents his material in a very natural, relaxed manner, sprinkled with humor and intense passion for his work. My class and I thoroughly enjoyed Dennisâ€™ presentation and more importantly learned a lot and laughed a lot â€“ a powerful dyad in the classroom. I am confidant that Dennisâ€™ presentation will be the highlight of the entire semester and will no doubt boost my teaching evaluation. Thanks to Dennis for delivering everything I expected and more! Candace Hinkle, SPHR Manager, Human Resources Adjunct Professor, DBUâ€ October 21, 2007
â€œDennis is the best boss ever and just an all around great guy! He inducted me into the recruiting blogosphere and really taught me how to creatively source for candidates. He always encouraged me to push the envelope and have fun no matter what I was working on. I would recommend Dennis 100%!â€ May 2, 2007
Kristi Young, Contract Jr. Recruiter, T-Mobile
â€œWorking with Dennis was a pleasure and I would be very happy to recommend him as a Recruiting Manager.â€ October 10, 2006
Vicki Bell, Senior Recruiter-Sales, FedEx Kinko’s
â€œDennis is an exemplary manager. His skills at building relationships is key to his success. His knowledge and abilities not only help him to develop his direct reports but, others that don’t necessarily report directly to him. I’ve found that I always reach out to Dennis when I need advice on how to handle challenging issues or developing strategies related to business needs.â€ June 22, 2006
Susan Newman, Talent Acquisition Manager, T-Mobile
â€œDennis Smith is part of the upper echelon in recruiting, the placed where the rarified air requires a hands-on leader to be both a knowledgeable business person and an insightful, creative, and persistent recruiting guru. Dennis gets “it” (I’m not talking about Verizon) and his ability to productivity connect with people, hiring managers and his fellow recruiters reflects this “it”.â€ May 21, 2006
Steve Levy, Principal, outside-the-box Consulting
â€œI have known Dennis for a long time, we first met at AT&T. Dennis is a dedicated business professional that is incredibly personable and a leader in the recruiting field. Dennis is extremely conscientious and dedicated to his work. he is a great family man and has a unique passion for people!â€ April 27, 2006
Kurt VandeMotter, SVP of Sales and Marketing, Bluestreak Technology
â€œ2nd time is a charm! I’ve had the pleasure of working for Dennis twice at different companies. He encourages and makes you want to put your best foot forward. He brings a consultative approach to his clients and a fresh perspective.â€ February 2, 2006
Michelle Balatico-Hayes, Sr. Technical Recruiter, T-Mobile
â€œDennis is one of the best managers/co-workers that I have ever worked with. Anyone who is lucky enough to work with him will know exactly what I am talking about.â€ January 10, 2006
â€œDennis was a great asset to our Company and HR Department. Although Dennis frequently dealt with numerous challenges, he was always very professional and very easy to work with. He is very hard working and dedicated to his job and company. He also brought a much needed fun loving personality to our office. I hope I get the opportunity to work with Dennis again in the future.â€ December 6, 2005
Jennifer Kirby, Sr Compensation Analyst, Samsung Telecom
â€œI applaud Dennis management skills and his ability to challenge your thinking as a recruiter. Having been a recruiter himself gives him an edge as a manager. He listens and takes into consideration the teamsâ€™ feedback and or concerns. Dedicated describes Dennis is every aspect of his life.â€ December 6, 2005
Diane Pipkin, Recruiter I, T-Mobile
â€œI know Dennis as a recruiter for me at Samsung. He not only recruited me but also helped my team to grow from 1 to about 30. I only have to evaluate the candidate’s technical strength and adaptability to my team environment. Dennis will ensure about everything else. It was great fun to work with Dennis and see my team at Samsung grow.â€ December 3, 2005
â€œDennis has busted his hump since he came in the door of this organization. I would work for Dennis again in a heart beat; he has done more for me in 30 days than any previous supervisor has done in years but I need more than 400 characters to do him justice.â€ December 2, 2005
Jason Hahn, Executive Recruiter, FedEx Kinko’s
â€œI worked with Dennis Smith at Samsung Telecommunications America and he was the Sr. Mgr, Recruiting/Staffing. He is very smart and a driven person. He is professional, humorous, and a well liked person. He tried to match great people with great jobs!â€ December 2, 2005
â€œI have known Dennis for some time now. We worked together in a prior assignment where I came to know his competencies; management style and follow through. We clicked immediately since our philosophies on recruiting were very similar. I was very happy we were able to maintain our network together when he moved to FedEx-Kinkos. His integrity and commitment is outstanding.â€ December 2, 2005.
â€œI worked with Dennis when he was at Samsung. He is a focused and energetic individual. I would welcome the opportunity to work with him again. Should I have the appropriate opening in my organization, I would not hesitate to bring Dennis in.â€ December 1, 2005
â€œI have 15+ years of Recruitment experience. * As Staffing Manager Dennis was very settling and positive, ALWAYS informative, supportive, available as a sounding-board, and gives direction when needed. * He would present ideas in consultative ways that would be easy digestion for our clients and upper management. * I’ve worked for only a few good Manager’s, and he is one of them…â€ December 1, 2005.
Antonio Young, Sr. Recruiter (Sales), FedEx Kinko’s, Sr. Manager, Recruiting