Hometown: Kennebunkport, ME
Employment History: *Sr. Staffing Research Specialist at Unum
* Recruiter & Immigration Specialist at IDEXX Laboratories
* Recruiter at I-many, Inc.
Interests: Scrapbooking, Wine, Hiking, Bicycling, Kayaking,Traveling, Music, Gymnastics
Favorite TV Shows: CSI, House, Amazing Race, Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations, Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern
Favorite Movies: Parenthood, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves
Favorite Quotations: Veni, vidi, vici
Diana Roberge recently completed her sourcing position at Unum. She is an experienced sourcer, expert in full lifecycle recruiting, building processes and strategies, metrics and process improvement, project management, immigration and training.
Q&A with Diana Roberge
Six Degrees: Tell us of your home world.
Diana: I have been married for almost 17 years to my best friend and the most thoughtful person I know, Scott Roberge. He just threw me an “Amazing Race” 40th birthday party in which teams (made up of some of our closest friends and myself) raced for a day around Southern Maine performing tasks along the way to the pit stop. Hours & Hours of preparation to make my day unforgettable. Our daughter, Sienna, is 11. Her love for music, gymnastics, and life itself is infectious. Rounding out our family is Belle (our cat) and our new addition Jovi (a Border Collie/Lab mix we rescued the day before Thanksgiving).
Diana: On a warm summers day you can find me with my family bicycling to the beach, kayaking, or hiking in the mountains. On a cold winters day sledding, snowshoeing or skiing are always enjoyed. When the weather isn’t cooperating or it’s been a long week at work I like to unwind by scrapbooking in my craft room. We are always planning our next great adventure and have been fortunate to enjoy some beautiful destinations in the last several years including Costa Rica, Colorado, Utah, California and the Caribbean. I even broke out of my shell and surprised everyone by climbing Angel’s Landing in Zion National Park …summiting on Mother’s Day 2007 proved all it takes to accomplish something is to “put one foot in front of the other”…don’t stop…just keep moving forward.
Six Degrees: How many years have you been in the staffing industry?
Diana: I’ve been a recruiter for 13 years and can’t imagine doing anything else.
Six Degrees: How did you get started as a recruiter?
Diana: In 1996 I decided to get out of retail management and into something with a more predictable schedule. A friend who worked for Manpower called concerning an opening in her office. She thought I would enjoy and excel at recruiting. After 3 years with Manpower I became a corporate recruiter for I-many, a contract management software company at the time based in Portland, Maine. Reporting directly to one of the officers of the company and being the only recruiter (for most of my career with them) forced me to develop a strong foundation of skills needed to succeed in this industry. Unfortunately, after 4 years, several reductions in force and a pending acquisition by another company, it was time for me to walk myself out the door. I was unemployed for about 30 minutes. Yes 30 minutes. While driving home with my car packed full of boxes from my office the cell phone rang with an offer to work for IDEXX Laboratories. IDEXX Laboratories allowed me to use my experience to create a staffing process from the ground up for a very strong biotech company. I became the project manager for their first ATS installation and subsequently became point person on other key staffing related projects. I took on all immigration matters and became an expert in H-1B visas, TN visas, O visas, and the long process of obtaining Green Cards for employees. In 2007 I was speaking with Tim O’Connor when he mentioned he was leaving Unum and was wondering if I would be interested in his position. Unum offered the chance to lead their sourcing efforts and for the past year and a half I’ve been a sponge absorbing and applying everything from advanced Boolean searches to the power of networking. A little practice and persistence has really paid off. One afternoon on the web and a cold call later for instance landed two hires…a specialist in quantitative analysis and an actuary.
Six Degrees: What single event had the most impact on your sourcing/recruiting career?
Diana: First week as a recruiter at Manpower I went to meet with the HR Manager and Plant Manager for one of our biggest clients, a tannery. I quickly came to the conclusion that they were frustrated with how the account had recently been managed and were not at all excited about having to train a new recruiter on how to meet their needs. Now coming from a retail management background in leather goods gave me an idea. Instead of just listening to the Plant Manager explain what it took to operate each piece of equipment I began to interject questions and comments that would show him I was interested in their operation. He was surprised when I asked if they tanned the leather using vegetable dyes or a chromium based method. He really started opening up to me when I pointed to a machine we were approaching and asked what pattern they were applying today to the leather with the plating machine. It’s all about making a connection!
Six Degrees: Do you have a mentor to whom you attribute your overall outlook on recruitment, capabilities, and/or model your career after?
Diana: I’ve been fortunate to work with so many wonderful people over the years who have supported me. However, my former manager at I-many who remains my friend to this day is the person I attribute my overall outlook on recruitment to. He’s opened up my eyes to many things that have stuck with me throughout the years. He has an uncanny way of flipping a discussion or situation so you learn and grow not from his past experiences, but from your own thought process. Most importantly he’s helped me develop a balance between my passion for my work and the rest of what life has to offer outside of the office. I remember the day he stopped an important meeting with our immigration attorney that was running later than expected…it was my daughters first day of kindergarten (we had ½ day kindergarten in the afternoon). He insisted I leave the office immediately so I wouldn’t miss putting her on the bus for the first time. He said I could finish this discussion later, but I would never get this moment back with my daughter. Little moments in time have made for some powerful lessons not only of how to balance my life, but how to respect the balance my colleagues and candidates try to achieve as well.
Six Degrees: Tell us about your recent work
Diana: My primary focus for the past 18 months has been to source Physicians, Nurse Practitioners, Actuaries, and a variety of individuals with Financial and Marketing backgrounds. There are about a dozen people in the staffing organization at Unum. We collectively support the four home offices & all field offices throughout the US.
Six Degrees: What other companies' recruiting operations do you admire or have heard are best-practice examples?
Diana: Microsoft has had some pretty impressive talent on their recruiting team. They foster creative sourcing initiatives and have developed some incredible individuals in this industry.
Six Degrees: What recent general news story or industry trend do you feel will have an impact on your work in the future? Why?
Diana: The use of technology to creatively source candidates and above all maintain relationships with those individuals will have a huge impact on this industry. I think we are only seeing the tip of the iceberg now. Building strong relationships and connecting with people as individuals and not just another applicant is what people are craving. People love technology and what it can do for their careers, but are increasingly upset with how cold technology can be. It’s a big turn off to be treated as just another resume. It’s powerful to be treated as an individual who can make a significant contribution to an employer. I hear this everyday in the voices of people I speak with. They are truly shocked that I pick up the phone and get to know what makes them tick. There even more surprised when I drop a quick note off to them or call them back after a while to touch base and let them know I’m still interested in their career.
Six Degrees: What is your next career goal? What do you need to do to get there?
Diana: My immediate goal is to find a new avenue for my career as my position was eliminated March 31st. The cool thing about being in this industry and accustomed to networking is that when life throws you something unexpected you have a bag of tricks to get you through.