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Meet Gino Conti, RecruitingBlogs Activist – Part 2: “Recruiting Tips”

Posted on October 13, 2009
Filed Under Interviews | Comments Off on Meet Gino Conti, RecruitingBlogs Activist – Part 2: “Recruiting Tips”


• Gino, Conti, Employment Specialist, Nissan North America
• Location: Detroit, Michigan
• RecruitingBlogs Profile
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Read Gino’s Blog Post Archives:
“Maybe those brainless single-celled blobs have it right after all…”
“Dignity in Downsizing”
“I won’t blame them for their ignorance”
“Exit Interviews”
“The more I do my job the more I like it”

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?

Gino: This is really a neck-and-neck race. Referrals are our biggest source of candidates with the corporate site not too far behind. We have made great efforts to make sure we are getting quality referrals from our employees who work and live the functions they perform and know who some of the most talented people outside of our organization are.

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

Gino: Again, referrals are king here. When managers hear that a candidate was recommended by a strong performer internally it tends to carry a lot of weight, so we try to leverage that when and where possible in order to keep out process efficient and effective.

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?


Gino: This is something of a toss-up and it depends on how you look at the cost. Obviously the corporate career site is not free for us to maintain, and as such there is technically a cost associated with it. However, reviewing the qualifications of an active candidate who has applied to a job posting and calling to conduct a phone screen is definitely the most simple (although not always the most effective) approach. My personal bias is to say that sourcing via LinkedIn and Google is truly the lowest cost, although not all of us on the team use these resources to the same extent. While I do look at applicants to our database, many of the positions I have recently filled have been based on a preliminary search or were never posted to the website, and the only investment was a little time and effort.

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

Gino: Currently I have been doing a lot of work with our purchasing organization. This has been a strategic group within Nissan, so I am trying to ensure I have the best knowledge possible about local talent for them. That said I will never let engineering get entirely out of my sight seeing as I work in our North American Technical Center and may be called upon to staff some technical personnel at any time.

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

Gino: I attend webinars as often as my schedule permits. Most often they are the free variety, but thankfully my management has been willing to review (and in most cases) honor requests for paid training sessions and webinars that align with our strategic objectives.


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?

Gino: Kenexa BrassRing is the tool that Nissan uses globally. It translates fairly well for most functions, although the inability to customize by a specific region does cause some issues from time to time.

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

Gino: Being that I’ve only been in the industry for a few years I’ve never really been old school. In fact, I’ve been a nearly paperless recruiter my entire career. When I first started out of school the ATS I was using was RecruitMax, and my main sourcing tools were CareerBuilder and Monster. I’ve now added BrassRing to my ATS list, and utilize an array of social networking and media tools to do my recruiting.

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?


Gino: When I started work the only recruiters I had ever heard or, or heard from, were the Marines/Army/Navy recruiters who came to my high school. They always seemed to be too high pressure, way too sure of themselves, and entirely too pushy. The first time I picked up the phone I was terrified to tell the person I was calling that I was a recruiter for fear they would hang up on me because my mental image of a recruiter was never anything pleasant!

I do believe that there are a good number of people who have a negative view, or at least some unfavorable preconceived notions of recruiters. Most of this seems to be based on a lack of understanding about what is really entailed in successfully recruiting people, or bad experiences with ineffective or unethical recruiters.

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

Gino: The biggest recruiting gaffe I ever made was pretty early on. It was my first candidate who played hardball and was holding out on accepting the offer I made to him. I tried everything I knew how to do in order to get him to accept, but to no avail. In the end I sought the advice of a colleague who suggested I threaten to pull the offer unless he called back by a certain time that day. My lack of patience in this instance proved fatal as my threat of retracting the offer was the final point in his decision to take an offer with somebody else.

The realization that I made later on is that I didn’t have a strong enough relationship with the candidate to begin with. If I had, there is a good possibility he would have been in contact with me more closely and I would have known what was going on behind the scenes. Rather than trying all the hard close methods in the book, I could have provided more encouragement to take my offer, highlighted all the positives, etc. Instead I ruined a deal since I didn’t know the candidate well enough to realize he had a tough decision on his hands…and I made it an easy one! Thankfully this happened very early and I learned me lesson quickly.

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.


Gino: My vision here is truly for the long-term. My ultimate career goal is to someday be in the position to be teaching at a college level. Looking back on my education I cannot recall a single lecture being delivered on the subject of recruiting and I think this is a major element missing in business education. I think it may be a tough sell to develop a college major (or even minor) revolving around recruiting, but I think it would a valuable course to offer as part of an HR or Sales program.

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

Gino: I don’t know that there is any one best practice I can point to, but rather feel it is my recruiting philosophy in general. I base everything I do off of two main components; one is the relationship I build with the candidate, and the second is ensuring I promote the company brand at every opportunity. I truly see recruiting as a combination of sales, service, and public relations, so I approach every phone call and meeting with those elements in mind.
Six Degrees: What are some of the frustrating aspects/obstacles to your day to day as a staffing professional and in general?

Gino: There are two frustrating elements at this point in time. One is a lack of budget. Although there is a lot that can be done for very little money, I believe recruiting is a worthwhile investment no matter how high or low the hiring volume is. It is important to keep your firm at the top of the mind of high quality candidates to ensure they want to come and work for you. The second element is the relatively low volume we are experiencing. I love to be busy, so having less positions to fill is bothersome.

Six Degrees: What are the most common themes of strategic and/or tactical mishaps involving past or present HR/Staffing org?

Gino: The main theme I have noticed stem from going outside of process without involving the recruiting team. We have a set process for all of our US facilities (with a few tweaks here and there as necessary) which makes it a bit easier to pitch in and help another location if needed. However, we have had a few instances where manager or HR has gotten very involved in recruiting and didn’t contact the recruiting department until they had essentially identified a candidate.

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?

Gino: Quite simply I love helping people. Whether it is finding a place for somebody who has been without income for a period of time, or presenting a great growth opportunity to somebody whose career path has been stunted elsewhere brings me a great sense of satisfaction.

Six Degrees: What one thing do you ideally hope to accomplish in 2008? (OR) Six Degrees: What one thing do you find most ideal given the opportunity to develop/ implementing/ invent professionally that has yet to be done.

Gino: I would really like to develop a better web presence for my company’s recruiting team. As it stands all of the recruiters have LinkedIn profiles, and some of us are using Twitter/Facebook, but there is very little about the company, the recruiting team, or our careers.

Six Degrees: Anything you want to plug?

Gino: Yes – Nissan products! The cars and trucks Nissan makes are the first thing that made me want to work for company. The first car I bought after graduating from college was a 350Z and I figured the work that went into that car had to be inspired and I wanted to be part of that team. I’ve had the opportunity to drive several Nissan cars and trucks since then and I can honestly say I still see that inspiration and passion in every vehicle we make!

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

Gino: Again, I go back to my desire to someday be in a position to teach. The ideal is to treat that course like a semester-long training seminar for future recruiters!

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