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Meet Jon Gundersgaard: 30 Years of Corp Staffing Expertise, Overcoming Multiple Sclerosis

Posted on April 7, 2010
Filed Under Interviews | 15 Comments

By Dave Mendoza

Give Jon a warm birthday greeting this week via Twitter


I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis and went to a wheel chair in 1995. I feel so lucky that I am still working after 27 years with it and love every day I am alive.


The company I have been most impressed by has been Intuit. I had talked to Terri Coligan before SourceCon and been very impressed by all they had done, but, when I met her and Gail Houston at SourceCon and heard their presentation I knew that they were the company we wanted to emulate. Another company I am impressed with is Yahoo. I have talked to Diane Hill and Chris Murdock who used to do their executive recruiting and Chris is going to do some training for us. I met Dan Harris at SourceCon and he is a real professional who is very open to sharing his knowledge and Ideas. Another company I admire is Microsoft and all that Marvin Smith has done for them.


Jon Gundersgaard
Sr. Technical Recruiter at Seagate Technology
Linkedin
Facebook
Twitter Profile
• Community Volunteering: I have spent a lot of time at Inner Light Ministries which is an Omni Faith outreach ministry and am active in a men’s group. I am part of a Vipassana meditation group. I am part of a Multiple Sclerosis support group.
• Office/Cell Number : (831) 9-319/831 332-265
• Personal Email: jgunders@sbcglobal.net

At Sourcecon 2010, I had the privilege of meeting Jon Gundersgaard at Arbita Labs during a morning presentation I contributed on behalf of the subject of Linkedin Groups. He was among the most inquisitive, shared his own personal experiences in developing niche groups and we spoke after the session was completed and, fortunately, throughout the duration of Sourcecon. He impressed not only myself but my colleagues at Arbita Labs. Laurie DesAutels in particular described herself as “gravitated towards him.” We all shared the common pleasure that Jon did indeed have a hunger and drive to learn, a distinct humility given his decades of experience, and above all, that he was a kind and wonderful man. He genuinely evoked a smile and laugh from each of us who had the opportunity to share ideas with him. Arbita Labs not only had a consistent traffic flow of at least a third of the attendees at Sourcecon, but it was even more memorable due to the personalities we met with first hand, exchanged ideas with and the friendships we developed. Jon Gundersgaard established himself in each of the three categories, above all, he is a friend to all.

Jon has been in the staffing industry for over 30 years. He first started recruiting in 1980 for a defense contractor back in the days when recruiting meant newspaper ad’s and calling headhunters. He recruited for 3 years and then moved into HR and stayed there until 1994. Jon managed all of HR for start up divisions of 2 companies, developing a supercomputer and notebook computing.

Q&A with Jon Gundersgaard

Six Degrees: Tell us of your home world.

JON: I am currently single. I was married for 17 years and have one daughter who currently works at LinkedIn. I had a Siamese cat for 10 years who recently died and that broke my heart. My daughter gave her to me as a present for my 50th birthday. In 1983 I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis and went to a wheel chair in 1995. I feel so lucky that I am still working after 27 years with it and love every day I am alive.

As for my past time hobbies, I have spent 15 years recording and interpreting dreams. I was part of one group for 10 years and another for 15 years.

Six Degrees: How many years have you been in the staffing industry?

JON: I started in staffing in 1980 back in the days when recruiting meant newspaper ads, headhunters and an occasional job fair. I was in recruiting for 3 years and then moved over to HR. Two jobs I had were managing all of HR for start-up divisions of 2 companies. One was attempting to build a super computer to compete with Cray. The other was a division of a Japanese steel company that was trying to get into the notebook computer market. Neither survived. In 1994 I went back into recruiting taking a contract with Octel which was a voice mail provider. In 1995 I went to work recruiting for Quantum which was in the disk drive industry. In 1999 I went to Seagate which is the world’s largest disk drive company and I have been there ever since.

Six Degrees: How did you get started as a recruiter?

JON: I got a BA in History and then an M.A. in U.S. History. I did it because I was always my favorite subject and I had plans of teaching. In a recession in bad economy I needed a job and ended up working for the State Employment Department. I did not want to stay in Government and eventually found my first recruiting job with a Defense Contractor.

Six Degrees: What single event had the most impact on your sourcing/recruiting career?

JON: I did a contract generalist assignment for a company that was not totally ethical. I decided that I really did not enjoy being in HR management as much as I did recruiting. When I had responsibility for all HR for small companies I still enjoyed recruiting more than anything else. When I went to Quantum and did engineering recruiting for them I knew I had found my home.


Seagate has over 40,000 employees worldwide. The staffing organization in the United States is now 11 people with a Sr. Director, Bob Boullianne being responsible for the U.S. and EMEA. We have a large recruiting organization in Asia with sites in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and China. I have been recruiting all the while I have been here but me and Tammy Kolanda in Colorado have just been tapped with developing a sourcing organization for the U.S., APAC, and EMEA so it is an exciting challenge. I am currently sourcing candidates for APAC.

Do you have a mentor to whom you attribute your overall outlook on recruitment, capabilities, and/or model your career after?


JON: Joe Compton was the first manager I had at Quantum and he is the person who really showed me how to recruit technical people, work with engineering management and really broaden my sourcing skills. He is also the person who introduced me to LinkedIn and got me started in Social Media Recruiting.

Six Degrees: Tell us about your role at Seagate, Jon

JON: Seagate has over 40,000 employees worldwide. The staffing organization in the United States is now 11 people with a Sr. Director, Bob Boullianne being responsible for the U.S. and EMEA. We have a large recruiting organization in Asia with sites in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and China. I have been recruiting all the while I have been here but me and Tammy Kolanda in Colorado have just been tapped with developing a sourcing organization for the U.S., APAC, and EMEA so it is an exciting challenge. I am currently sourcing candidates for APAC.

We have been researching other organizations, talking to numerous people and, last week I went to SourceCon which was an incredible experience. I got to meet people I had been talking to and many of the top recruiters in industry that I had not met before. It was a great learning experience.

Six Degrees: (A) What other companies’ recruiting operations do you admire or have heard are best-practice examples?

JON: The company I have been most impressed by has been Intuit. I had talked to Terri Coligan before SourceCon and been very impressed by all they had done, but, when I met her and Gail Houston at SourceCon and heard their presentation I knew that they were the company we wanted to emulate. Another company I am impressed with is Yahoo. I have talked to Diane Hill and Chris Murdock who used to do their executive recruiting and Chris is going to do some training for us. I met Dan Harris at SourceCon and he is a real professional who is very open to sharing his knowledge and Ideas. Another company I admire is Microsoft and all that Marvin Smith has done for them.

Six Degrees: (B) In what aspects are they superior?


JON: Intuit has created a six week training program for sourcers which is something that I have never heard of any other company doing. They have many tools in place to help sourcers find candidates, a very good CRM tool and very well developed processes to help sourcers and recruiters work together. Yahoo has a technical and non-technical sourcing groups, have excellent tools and a very good CRM function. Microsoft has Marvin, Jobs2Web which is a SEO tool that brings in a huge number of candidates and uses a wide variety of social media tools to keep their pipeline full of potential candidates.

Six Degrees: What is your personal experience in terms of how corporate work environments are supportive of the needs of persons with physical disabilities? What resources are available to recruiters to enhance their sensitivity in this regard?

JON: I have a poster on my wall from the Job Accommodation Network (1-800-JAN-7234 (V/TTY). They can be called and asked information on any disability related issue or ADA question. Since most issues are going to be specific to an individual I think the thing that is most important is that recruiters are sensitive enough to see when they have or may have a disability related issue and have places that they can go to that will give them the guidance they need to deal with the issue. JAN provides extensive resources to employers that will help them follow both letter and spirit of the law.

Six Degrees: What recent general news story or industry trend do you feel will have an impact on your work in the future? Why?

JON: I saw a broadcast yesterday where the person speaking said that, even though unemployment is very high it is not the same as in past recessions. He said that jobs for skilled people are coming back at a faster rate than they did in the last two recessions and that 60% of the unemployed people were going to be fine. But 40% of the people who are unemployed are in real trouble because those jobs are not coming back. He cited manufacturing as the major area where jobs won’t return. That will impact recruiting because there will always be a shortage of skilled people even if he economy as a whole has major unemployment. Managers often can’t understand why recruiters can’t get them a large number of qualified candidates when unemployment is so high. I think this explains it. Anyone in staffing knows that top talent for technical positions is always hard to find.

Six Degrees: Tell us about your broader involvement within the staffing industry:

JON: SourceCon is the first recruiting conference I have attended in many years. I attended and spoke at a disability conference a few years ago.


Six Degrees: Can you detail how the recession has affected your particular industry niche? Has it effected your job or that of your fellow team members within the organization – If so, to what extent? (If you have been laid off, tell us about the experience, when it happened)

JON: My company went through 2 major cutbacks last year and my department has been reduced from 23 people to 11. Fiscal year 2009 was one of my company’s worst but things have changed in major ways. Last quarter was one of the best in company history. We are not hiring too many people in the U.S. but headcount is stable.

Six Degrees: Aside from simply the generic term “Networking” what specific efforts have you made on your own behalf, or on behalf of colleagues to broaden your opportunities. Are there specific groups, both online and in-person that have proved fruitful in extending your personal brand and job seeking prospects?

JON: Tammy and I have sought out people at a variety of companies in different industries to learn how they structure their sourcing organizations. We have found that there are very few that are really state of the art and most of them are in the high tech fields.

I have found that are a large number of people are very open to sharing information about what they are doing. We have to realize that most people are very busy. What NOT to do is contact people without having a clear idea of exactly why you want to contact them and exactly what you can give them back in return. I get too many requests from people who think I have time to help them figure out what I can do for them. You have to be VERY clear as to why being connected to you is a win, win situation.

Six Degrees: What is your next career goal? What do you need to do to get there?

JON: I am 62 years old and am not going to change directions much before I retire. My goal is improve my recruiting/sourcing skills so that I am state of the art in my profession and then pass that knowledge down to others as much as I can. My current goal is to expand my sourcing skills in APAC so I can help the recruiters there.

Recommendations For Jon Gundersgaard

“I have known Jon as a recruiter for about 20 years but my position at Seagate was my first opportunity to manage him directly. Jon is a very seasoned recruiter and has a tremendous knowledge of the Disk Drive Industry. He has an excellent knowledge of the recruiting process and excelled at sourcing hard-to-find candidates for the toughest openings at the Company.” September 17, 2009
Norman Brown, Senior Manager, Staffing, Seagate Technology

“I worked closely with Jon at Quantum for several years. His ability to source and close candidates and work closely with his client groups was a great combination. It is rare to find someone with an HR background who is so adept at finding candidates. He is truly one of the “A” players in his profession.” March 10, 2006
Joe Compton, Staffing Manager, Quantum

“I met Jon the first day at Sourcecon 2010 and gravitated towards him. He provides such a wealth of knowledge with his 20+ years in the recruiting and staffing industry. The two things that impressed me about Jon was his hunger and drive to learn, process and stay on top of new cutting edge technology. He also is such a humble, kind and wonderful man. He is so willing to share and teach information he has learned throughout his career, but will also make you smile and laugh with his great sense of humor. Seagate is so fortunate to have someone like Jon working for them!! I highly recommend to connect with Jon Gundersgaard.” March 27, 2010
Laurie DesAutels, Principal, Blueprint Resources, LLC

“Jon is an experienced and talented Recruiter who is well connected in the industry and superb at what he does. It was always a pleasure to work with him.” October 19, 2009
Tammy Posadas, HR Rep/Recruiter, Seagate Technology

“Jon is an amazing Senior Recruiter with the ability to source and network effectively across all disciplines and technologies. His wealth of knowledge in the staffing industry spans from Individual Contributor to Manager of the staffing function. He is a pleasure to work with and a true professional. He is honest, caring and disciplined with the uncanny ability to “dig” and flush out passive candidates for new and challenging opportunities.” November 22, 2006
Elizabeth Jolissaint, Staffing Business Partner, Seagate Technology

“Jon is an excellent presenter on current recruitment strategies and provides a wealth of information on how students can prepare for tomorrow’s career market.” November 13, 2006
Sally Gelardin, Ed.D., Co-Chair, Global Career Issues Forum, International Career Development Conference

“Jon is one of the best recruiters in the Valley! He has a unique ability to source hard to find talent and has the skills necessary to recruit that talent for specific opportunities. He has a broad knowledge of the various client groups within an organization and is particularly astute in the technical arena. Jon has the respect of his clients, his candidates and his colleagues.” October 26, 2006
Sharon Franzen, Sr Recruiter, Seagate Technology

“Jon is a recruiters, recruiter, flat out one of the best in Silicon Valley! He can recruit, manage, Direct, or run ANY staffing team. He knowledge of technology, and his ability to handle many positions is legendary!” July 14, 2008
Jesse Hahn

“Jon is an experienced Technical Recruiter and Staffing Manager who brings dedication and tenacity to his responsibilities on a consistent basis. He is fun to work with and a solid team player.” July 16, 2007
Solari Jenkins, Sr. Staffing Consultant/Staffing Mgr, Quantum Corp

Comments

15 Responses to “Meet Jon Gundersgaard: 30 Years of Corp Staffing Expertise, Overcoming Multiple Sclerosis”

  1. Christine DeVore on April 7th, 2010 1:54 pm

    Great interview!

  2. Laurie DesAutels on April 8th, 2010 7:58 am

    I agree 100%! One of your best interviews Dave 🙂

  3. Most Tweeted Articles by Recruitment Experts on April 8th, 2010 10:44 am

    […] & Future wrote: I've always wanted to be a radio… Join Facebook to … 2 Tweets Meet Jon Gundersgaard: 30 Years of Corp Staffing Expertise, Overcoming Multiple Sclerosis : Six Deg… 2 Tweets 13 recruitment blogs you should be following | Only Marketing Jobs […]

  4. Brian Kevin Johnston on April 8th, 2010 11:17 am

    Jon- Hello and Happy Birthday…. I was touched by your aricle! It re-confirms what I already know about the recruiting industry.. There are AMAZING people in this CRAZY business of Staffing/Recruting! Blessings to you/your! Brian-

  5. JoAnne Auerbach on April 8th, 2010 11:41 am

    A happy birthday to Jon! I’m fortunate to have known Jon for nearly 20 years as we worked together in staffing at Octel Communications in the early 1990s. His reputation then and now is stellar and he is truly one of the highly-regarded staffing folks in Silicon Valley.

  6. JoAnne Auerbach on April 8th, 2010 11:44 am

    Jon, Happy Birthday! I’m fortunate to have known Jon for nearly 20 years as we worked together in staffing at Octel Communications in the early 1990s. His reputation then and now is stellar and he is truly one of the highly-regarding staffing folks in Silicon Valley.

  7. carol mahoney on April 8th, 2010 11:59 am

    Nice job on this, Dave. And Jon – pleasure to virtually meet you.

  8. Glenn Gutmacher on April 8th, 2010 12:19 pm

    It was great to meet Jon briefly at the Arbita Sourcing Lab during SourceCon last month, and I’m even more impressed after reading this! We’ll definitely have to discuss sourcing function setup best practices.

  9. Steve Rath on April 9th, 2010 10:46 pm

    Jon, it was nice getting to chat with you at SourceCon. I enjoyed listening to your perspective on your recruiting experiences! Dave, nice job with the interview!

  10. Margo Graziano on April 13th, 2010 4:10 pm

    So inspirational. Your passion is contagious. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  11. Margo Graziano on April 13th, 2010 4:13 pm

    So inspirational. Your passion and dedication is contagious. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  12. Bob Boullianne on April 15th, 2010 11:27 pm

    Hi Jon, What a great surprise and joy to read about your life, passions, and perspectives. I now know you in a broader perspective than simply within the walls of Seagate and our routine interactions. Thanks for making the most out of the SourceCon conference as you promised you would. Kudos to Dave Mendoza for a great interview!

  13. Jon Gundersgaard Revisted: Three Decades of Staffing Wisdom : Six Degrees from Dave – Talent Social Media, Lead Generation, Competitive Intelligence – Dave Mendoza on April 26th, 2010 4:00 pm

    […] group. • Office/Cell Number : (831) 9-319/831 332-265 • Personal Email: jgunders@sbcglobal.netPART ONE: Meet Jon Gundersgaard: 30 Years of Corp Staffing Expertise, Overcoming Multiple SclerosisThe interview with Jon attracted an overwhelming response. His life story is one of challenges and […]

  14. Heather Gardner on April 26th, 2010 4:26 pm

    Jon rocks! He’s not only an experienced recruiter that’s mastered social media recruiting, he’s great at face to face events as well. Great article Dave!

  15. Heather Gardner on April 26th, 2010 4:29 pm

    Jon’s a great guy, thanks for sharing his story with the world Dave! I’m most impress with Jon’s ability as a seasoned recruiter to also embrace social media as a recruiting tool. Plus, he makes his rounds at local networking events. Thanks again for sharing!