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Meet Kal Luben, Sourcing Lead at Freescale Semiconductor: “How Does He Do It?”

Posted on September 25, 2008
Filed Under Interviews | Comments Off on Meet Kal Luben, Sourcing Lead at Freescale Semiconductor: “How Does He Do It?”

By Dave Mendoza, Partner, Partner JobMachine Inc.

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I was first introduced to Kal in 2005 on a split fee arrangement to source candidates to fill a position for his client. A few weeks had passed and in our “small word” moment learned we had both joined Freescale Semiconductor as contract recruiters. We collaborated virtually for nearly a year until we finally met after my first visit to Freescale’s corporate office in Austin. We managed to have our ‘team building event” that evening after a series of meetings at a fine eatery known as “Bone Daddy’s” and then made a long night of it with the team – it was a memorable occasion. What was more memorable however was my first impression of Kal’s stature. You see, Kal stands 6’4 – or looks it, and is about twice my width in a pure wall of body building mass. I spend much of my time looking ‘up’ at people in the real sense, and with Kal you do that instinctively both as a colleague and by necessity. His imposing stature aside, you are immediately put at ease by his southern charm and accent and realize he is a product of the finest of traditions of Texas.

Kal is a Professional staffing consultant and internal recruiter with over +12 years of industry experience. He is an excellent Negotiator (90%+ closure rate on candidates) and also venerable for his Sourcing expertise. His specific talent niche has been in Semiconductor development: (ASIC, Microprocessors, Microcontrollers, Analog/Power IC, RFIC, Mixed-signal IC, Applications, Embedded Software, R&D Scientists, etc.), in addition to System Hardware and Software, and Storage technology.

What I learned about Kal then and recalled in our interview, is that Kal is the first recruiter I have known who was fortunate enough to learn the art of the deal and relationships by his venerable father. I look up to Kal, but Kal always spends his time looking up to the source of passions and wisdom handed from father to son. We could all be as fortunate in both our professional and personal life.

Q & A with Kal Luben

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?

Kal: I would say about 10% of our hires come from our website. They are in the process of rejuvenating what is currently out there. Referrals would be stronger, but our bonuses suck….wait can I say that?

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

Kal: Most of our hires come from tools used on the internet.

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?

Kal: I would say Linkedin

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

Kal: Semiconductor- Analog and RF

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

Kal: AIRS, MRI corp. training, job boards, and mostly techniques I have learned from industry experts: my father, Shally, Mendoza ;o), some of my past bosses, etc.

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?

Kal: Linked in is my favorite, peopleclick (which I am not recommending), and Google. These are all global tools.

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

Kal: When I first started recruiting with my dad I remember using and “ACT” database and a tool that was revolutionary at the time “resume grabber”.

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?

Kal: I used to listen to my dad recruit people on the phone before I ever got started. I used to think how cool it sounded, and how easy he made it sound. I soon found out what a complicated game of chess I was playing. I think we all remember those first few sketchy phone calls.

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

Kal: One of the biggest mistakes I have made and still struggle with is email. I have made multiple mistakes though out my career facilitated by email. The lesson, never email someone when you are up set. Always double check the contents before sending.

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.

Kal: I expect to facilitate change at Freescale by bring the knowledge of an agency and third party consulting to a corporate environment.

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

Kal: Always networking- always be looking for the next deal, recruit, etc….

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

Kal: Deal with corporate politics and bureaucracy.

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

Kal: Disconnect between HR/Staffing and the clients we serve.

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?

Kal: The greatest recruiter in the world my father and my beautiful family

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

Kal: In 2008 I will continue to build my network in Semiconductor and find the best talent for Freescale.

Six Degrees: Anything you want to plug?

Kal: Recruiting is very passionate and is almost like being in love. Give it an honest effort and you will reap the benefits.

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

Kal: By presenting candidates that are happy and motivated. Finding better lives and careers for people, one at a time.

Recommendations for Kal Luben

“Kal is a skilled recruiting professional who is capable of handling the most difficult challenges. Kal has worked with multiple organizations at Freescale, and has always provided exceptional results. His ability to bring in the expertise of a recruiting agency, and merge it with the corporate recruitment requirements makes him a valuable asset for the team. I would recommend Kal for any recruiting team.” June 28, 2007
Bill Fulton, Staffing Manager for the Americas, Freescale Semiconductor

“Kal is my internal business client at Freescale. We work together on various staffing needs within his organization. In my Sourcing role, it’s been a relief to work with an Internal Recruiter such as Kal who understands his requirements, communicates his needs to me clearly, and is able to provide me with timely and constructive feedback from the team, which in turn helps me fine tune what types of skills I am looking for. He’s been great to work with and is a huge asset to our recruiting team.” April 25, 2008
Cecile Fusco (Nguyen), Contract Recruiter, Freescale Semiconductor

“Kal Luben has a keen understanding of the recruiting process and tremendous skill in our competitive marketplace. Kal is a top professional in every respect. I have great respect for him.” April 24, 2008
Richard Winn, Global Lead, Executive Recruiting, Freescale Semiconductor

“Kal is a pro’s pro in the recruiting business – very impressive and a great guy to work with. Rick Smit” February 4, 2008
Rick Smith, Owner & Founder, Rick C. Smith & Associates

“Kal is a high energy and very effective recruiter who uses networking and relationships to find top talent rather than agencies. He takes a lot of pride in his work and results. Has demonstrated ability to be strategic, is highly organized and very collaborative.” January 8, 2008
Paul Gray, Director, HR MBGs and CDO, Freescale Semiconductor

“Kal is always thorough, professional, and a wealth of knowledge regarding candidate fit and alignment with our business strategy. With Kal as my staffing partner, I have been confident that we are seeing the best candidates and making the best offers to secure our top recruits.” August 13, 2007
Wendy Middlebrook, HR Manager – Talent and Culture, Freescale

“Kal Luben has been very helpfull and professional in my search for a position that allowed me to use my skills and knowledge. As a result the position with the best fit was found at Freescale Semiconductor.” July 9, 2007
Vadim Kushner, Engineer-Intern, Motorola

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