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Meet Jocelyn Donegan, Rock Star Recruiter … Literally, Part 2

Posted on May 8, 2008
Filed Under Interviews | Comments Off on Meet Jocelyn Donegan, Rock Star Recruiter … Literally, Part 2

By Dave Mendoza, Master Cyberslueth, Affiliate Partner, Job Machine, Inc.
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Managing Partner
C4 Consulting & Recruiting
Austin, Texas
512.487.5963 (ph)
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Q&A with Jocelyn Donegan, Rock Star Recruiter

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?

Jocelyn: We definitely get most of our applicants from referrals. Although we have received some amazing resumes via our site, we have found that it’s used primarily by companies who’re referred to us by another company, colleague, friend, etc…. After they’ve been told to “Call C4” – they always head to our site. We actually have TalentXpress and have thought about adding active openings to our site, but SO many companies and candidates have applauded us along the way for NOT having our positions listed on our site, that we really don’t think we’re ever going to list them. Most of the time, the positions go so quickly, that we really don’t have to post them anyway. Again – TARGETING PASSIVE candidates – rocks! We have the TalentXpress link and will include it in emails or use it to drive people to specific job orders, but we don’t post them on our site or have the url accessible from our site. It’s definitely a time saver to have candidate’s filling out their own information and going directly into your database.

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

Jocelyn: We get most of our candidates who go on to be placed, via targeting and referrals. We do subscribe to different job boards and yes – they have proven to be worth their costs, but we really have found that just doing the quick research on the company and then targeting who it is your after, is the way to go. On the job boards, you’re going to find GREAT people, but you’re going to have to go through a lot of resumes to find them. I know from different recruiters that some would rather sit there for hours on a job board, just because it feels more of a solid way to go about it. They eventually find who they need. Personally, I hit the job boards quickly (to see if there are any gems I wouldn’t want to miss), but if I haven’t found a killer resume in a couple of targeting (Shally-esque) key word searches, then I immediately stop and take the passive route. I’m not going to sit there for hours staring at job boards, when I can find whom I need in an hour or so…

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?

Jocelyn: I guess word of mouth but we offer generous referral fees, so they cost us a bit sometimes. Definitely worth it! We’ve paid fees as high as $3000.00, so far and will pay more. Many of our candidates know, or have heard, that we pay these great referral fees and we have a couple of candidates who are almost employees, because after receiving a couple of generous checks for just picking up the phone to a colleague or forwarding an email; they decided they’d REALLY keep their eyes and ears open for us.

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

Jocelyn: I definitely engross myself with the groups. Especially when you are going after the passive candidates, it’s important. If you’re looking for a certified Cisco Engineer, then head to a forum where Engineers are talking to other Engineers about getting certified or where to get certified, or whatever… You’re going to very quickly come into contact with certified Cisco Engineers who ARE who you are looking for, or can refer you to who you are looking for…or other groups they are a part of and could suggest to you, to check out as well.

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

Jocelyn: We’ve each trained ourselves and trained each other. Shally’s cheat sheets were extremely helpful and we’ve taken a few webinars that have been good for little tips here and there, but overall it’s been a “learn as we go” and we learned and got going quickly!

We LOVE webinars and learning, so if something looks interesting to us; we’ll do it. I don’t mean to offend anyone who has done all sorts of training, etc… but like I always believed as an actor, just get out there and do it. You can train and prepare up to a certain point, and then you have to FREE FALL. The ones who continue to train and train are just procrastinating. If you just jump in, you’ll do better than you think!

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?

Jocelyn: Yes – we’ve loved the software we’re using (TalentXpress)…once I set it all up. Heheh… I don’t want to make it out to be horrible, but really the “set up” is the most grueling part. Especially because we hadn’t been using a database of any kind, up until that point, so it seemed like the resumes we had to upload were just endless. Once it’s up and going though – day to day – it’s great. I can also speak VERY highly of my sales / support guy at TalentXpress…Joseph Pearcy. Joe is SO quick with fixing something or finding out information and getting back to you! If anyone is interested in TalentXpress – let me know, and I’ll hook you up with Joe. (I’m sure there’s some sort of kick back, I’d receive – yayay – but really just want to put the word out about a really nice guy!)

We use TalentXpress and Talenthook (another company that in my personal experience has been wonderful to work with initial installation and support.)

Six Degrees: What tools did you first encounter early in your recruitment career?

Jocelyn: I don’t like to waste ink or paper, so I try to keep things as digital as possible, unless it’s an agreement/contract, etc… that for legality reasons I want to save a hardcopy of, as well.

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?

Jocelyn: When I first heard that a recruiter made 20-25% of an annual salary, I honestly couldn’t believe it. I’m a walking rolodex and have always just networked / connected dots for people, etc… Even after the 1st company had signed the contract, I didn’t believe it until the first 22k check came. Then I was believer and realized I had found it! I had actually found the “job” where I get to help people all day long (clients find who they need / candidates find that next opportunity they’re looking for…), have an extremely flexible schedule (because it’s completely my own) and make tons of money. I feel BLESSED!

In regard to how other people see us… It’s funny and sorry to go back to the acting world again, but everyone always talked about how cutthroat the acting world was, and you know I never saw that side of it. I always believed that everyone would always book the roles that were “theirs” to book, and I was surrounded by actors who felt the same way. I never ran into or worked with another actor / actress who was catty to me, for any reason.

I see the same things in the recruiting world. I hear stories of other recruiters being extremely greedy and dishonest, lying to their clients and their candidates. I’ve heard a few stories through the grapevine, where I’ve really REALLY wondered how that person slept that night, but personally I can say – I have not experienced negativity from other recruiters. If you have an abundance attitude, it’s there for you. There’s enough out there and everyone will have the placements that are meant to be “theirs”.

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

Jocelyn: I don’t think I’ve been doing it long enough to have a BIG goof….hahah… I’ll keep you posted! 😉 The only thing that is coming to mind is… one time when I was talking to a REALLY GREAT, CONSISTENT client of mine – I hadn’t talked to a candidate yet, but my colleague had. I knew my colleague had talked to the candidate and I was really excited because he had told me that THEY were perfect. Well, when I got on the phone with my client, like I said – I jumped the gun, and started talking about how amazing this candidate was… I quickly glanced at the resume and saw “Yatindra” as the first name, so I kept referring to HER, HER, HER. Well, then I get of the phone and reconnect with my colleague to get more information about HER and it turns out – it was a HIM! SO here, I’d just gotten my client super excited about a candidate but had been referring to them as the wrong sex the whole time. My heart sank – how the heck was I going to explain that one in a professional manner? (Note to self – LESSON LEARNED – DO NOT JUMP THE GUN and assume ANYTHING! Hahah!! ) The good news was, he was such a great client that I was able to quickly explain that it was my colleague who had talked to them, up until that point, and although all of the facts I’d relayed were absolutely accurate – “oh yea, by the way – they’re MALE!”

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.

Jocelyn: I wish I could come up with something profound, but the only thing that is coming to mind is to continue to be HONEST and CARE. I’ve developed wonderful relationships with recruiters all over the world and if I can always be someone they know they can count on, great! I don’t overload my clients or split recruiters with resumes. We’re very picky and again, I will only send it, if I absolutely believe it is WORTH YOUR TIME. I’m taking the Mother Teresa approach to the question and when asked about how to “save the world” – I’m going to say “let’s start at home”. If each of us – honestly just wanted to help people and realize what a wonderful blessing this is, then that energy would transcend our industry.

Oh! I do actually have a software idea FOR recruiters, that I’m developing right now with a software architect, but we’re in the very early stages – so we’ll see if it turns out being as cool, as we think it could be.

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

Jocelyn: Again, the TARGETING. I can’t stress to you enough what a huge difference that makes in regard to your R.O.I..

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

Jocelyn: If I have ANY frustrations about recruiting at all, it’s that I don’t have enough hours in the day to help EVERYONE. Especially when I first started… I would stress myself out SO MUCH. I would talk to a candidate who needed a new opportunity or who’d been laid off right before Christmas with a new baby on the way (true story!), and would want to do everything I could for them. We did end up placing that candidate in a killer job for 10k more each year and it was a wonderful feeling, but it almost stressed e out more afterwards, because I would talk to others who were in similar situations and after a while there were so many of them, that I couldn’t possible help them all. Also, there’d be the ones that you loved as a person, but realistically they hadn’t worked in a year – so you knew looking at this resume that it was going to a steep climb for them. I finally had to implement a system to help with my guilt.

Here’s what I came up with and it has worked for me. If I’m contacted by a candidate who is telling me they are REALLY in need a job or a new opportunity, but I can see that they are going to be a more challenging person to place – job history-wise, etc… I let them know that there’s a lot on my plate right now, but that I like to be strategic with my candidates. THEY know their job history better than anyone, and so I ask them to pretty please create a list of the companies they ideally would like to work with/for, etc… I let them know that I may already have contacts to these companies or I can get them quickly, but I need that list from them. The ones who get the list back to me – I help. They have done some of the work with me, and that means they really must need my help more. The ones who never get back to me with that list, I don’t take the time to help, and I can tell myself that they really must not have needed my help that much, otherwise they would’ve given me a list. It helps with my guilt – about not having enough time – BIG TIME!

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

Jocelyn: No one intends to let another person down, but if communication is not clear – it can happen. Don’t be afraid to let someone know “How YOU work”. When I’m talking to a new client on the phone, I let them know how I work. I let them know that I’m going to get them qualified candidates to review, but that my candidates are of high caliber and are not going to be “on the street” long; so I expect from them quick, clean communication. You don’t have to shove it down their throat AT ALL, just initially explaining some quick expectations on both sides, so both people know the “rules”. In the beginning I really was all about catering and bending over backwards. I still am, when it comes to 100% professionalism, but our time is worth something and our network is worth something. Don’t be afraid to realize your value and your time’s value, so you can clearly establish it for others as well.

I would say establishing a strong time-line of what is expected is one of the most important things, so you are all on the same page and you can be more aware of the realities of the momentum.

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?

Jocelyn: Even though I love what we get to do, it has had some frustrating moments, yes. What inspires me, is a mix of a.) helping people (which I love – if that hasn’t been clearly communicated yet….hahah), b.) stopping in the middle of the frustration to really remind myself that this is NOT a bad gig – AT ALL, and c.) I have to admit – it’s kind of like Vegas sometimes. I love getting the job order and then finding them someone who impresses them to no end.

Six Degrees: What one thing do you ideally hope to accomplish in 2008?

Jocelyn: In 2008, I would like to continue to work less and make more.

I mentioned above that there’s a software program FOR recruiters to implement into their systems, that I’m working on right now… but again, we’ll see if it ends up being as cool, as we think it could be… I’ll keep you posted on that too.

Six Degrees: Anything you want to plug?

Jocelyn: I think I’ve plugged enough! Please be sure to send me a Linkedin invite.

Also, for firms who are only National. C4 is an International firm with an unrivaled global network (how do like that fellow recruiters…hahah unrivaled…haha…) Anyway – we’ve made a ton of money partnering with different firms, who say are working with a client who also has international job openings, but because their firm is only National – those opportunities are not “open” for them to work on.

Those same firms, have contacted their client – letting them know that they are open to working internationally now, and then those positions have opened up for us all. 😉 It’s a basic split situation, but it opens that door for firms who are not working on an International level.

Other than that – If anyone out there knows of great songwriters or has some killer rock tunes, please get in touch with me… I’m looking for new tunes to record and promote.

Have a wonderful start to your week!

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