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Meet Krista Bradford, Principal, “The Good Search” Part 2

Posted on March 12, 2008
Filed Under Interviews, Krista Bradford | 3 Comments

By Dave Mendoza, Master Cybersleuth, an Affiliate Partner, JobMachine Inc.
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Our continuing series on the rank and file and thought leaders who make us proud of our vocation.

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?

Krista: We don’t really focus on active candidates. We’re all about targeting passive candidates. So while we do post openings on our website, we’re more about proactively targeting and going after the best of the best.

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

Krista: Our approach leverages human capital intelligence. We gather information from a wide array of sources and analyze it to transform it into intelligence that reveals the shortest path to the best candidates. Referrals from luminaries and centers of influence figure prominently.

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?

Krista: Our candidate pipelines deliver more affordable hires because they leverage economies of scale and are powered by human capital intelligence. The pipelines can deliver candidates for a single opening or across a range of roles. They’re based on an hourly rate of $90 and generally are much for effective and affordable that retained or contingency. Even better, in addition to all the candidates, the clients get all the research, from which they can make additional hires at no additional cost. It is our most popular offering.

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

Krista: Our primary expertise is human capital intelligence. It’s the Ferrari engine that we have under the hood that turbo-charges every engagement. No other firm has that. That specialization allows us to be opportunistic and work across a number of industries, which prevents issues with off-limits lists. That said, we’ve done a great deal of work in technology and Greentech, management consulting, financial services, and are one of the first firms to specialize in Corporate Social Responsibility talent. We count Microsoft, Google, Intel, Booz Allen Hamilton, Deloitte, Interpublic, Young & Rubicam among our clients.

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

Krista: At this point, we’re more teacher than student, Grasshopper, though we monitor industry training just to make sure we’re not missing anything. In my prior life as an investigative journalist, I worked undercover and in the war zone. I’ve was shot at, tear gassed, and learned how to walk through mine fields. Literally. I investigated the CIA. It doesn’t get any heavier than that. Most of my investigative prowess I learned from an amazing organization called the Investigative Reporters and Editors Association and from the National Institute of Computer-Assisted Reporting.

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?

Krista: We currently use Maxhire for candidate tracking. We use Broadlook Eclipse, Profiler, and Diver. We use other tools we consider proprietary.

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

Krista: I was an early user and advocate of leveraging technology in search. Our first database was SQL, which allowed it to scale infinitely. Eventually I got tired of all of the IT chores and all of the backups, so we moved to an ASP solution. I experimented with competitive intelligence software called Brimstone and with spidering software called BlackWidow (who names these things?)

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?

Krista: It is better than I imagined. It’s the best darned career a person could have who wants family/work balance, at least so said Working Mother magazine. All of The Good Search associates work from home, allowing them to be present and available to their families as needed. We have zero commute time, saving on gas and the environment. Better, we advocate for great executives and technologists. We help them leverage their full market value, transforming their lives and the lives of their families for the better. We deliver thought leaders to great companies, helping them grow and prosper. It really doesn’t get any better than that.

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

Krista: Hmmm. Honestly, I am passionate about what I do, and so upon occasion that passion has gotten the best of me, where I’ve been short with short-sighted clients. Now I make it a practice to avoid dysfunctional clients. What are the warning signs of dysfunction? Making demands that bear no relationship to reality. For instance, a client once asked my firm to assist with a an executive-level finance role that it had trouble filling due to the shortage caused by Sarbanes-Oxley. They insisted the person have industry experience, and if it had been a tax role, that demand would have been relevant as tax laws vary from industry to industry. But the demand made no sense as there were no industry-specific skill sets relevant for this role, that according to experts we tapped for market intelligence. Moreover, the demand for industry-specific talent reduced the candidate pool to near nothing. When I asked why the restriction to industry-only candidates, the answer came back “that’s the way we’ve always done it”. I pushed back again, and asked for more of an explanation. There was none. So we walked away. At last check, they’re still trying to fill the role.

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.

Krista: Our whole practice is committed to the belief that “there must be a better way!” So we innovate in our service offerings (our candidate pipeline), in our fee structure (we offer three options for retained), in the way in which we conduct search (powered by human capital intelligence), and in our goodness ethos. We love working with clients that are similarly motivated by the desire to improve the search experience for all involved.

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

Krista: Search powered by intelligence is a best practice of which we are very proud. Research in our business has been marginalized by some retained search companies as being low-level administrative work. And it can be low-level when it focuses primarily on laundry-lists of people and companies. However, if you take a moment to analyze your data and transform it into intelligence, that’s when the fun really begins. Another “best practice” is our commitment to delivering great talent to great companies that are also employers-of-choice such as Google, which is a client. It makes us a super-magnet for the best and brightest talent, because increasingly they can afford to be choosy about where they work. Increasingly employer-of-choiceare thinking twice about what search firms they have representing them. They want to make sure that the search firm serves as a positive extension and evangelist of their good name. For instance, our practice focuses on providing concierge-quality care to candidates. How many search practices actually take the time to do that? We take the time, and it returns the favor a thousand fold through amazing referrals.

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

Krista: I’d say our biggest frustration when there’s a delay in bring our candidates in for interviews. The larger the company, the more likely this is to be an issue. We’ve undertaken steps to continue to drive the process after handing off candidates to the client.

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

Krista: I’d say not addressing the big fat elephant in the room, whatever it may be, is the most common mistake that HR people make. For instance, I’ll frequently speak with a recruiter who’ll confide that they know the hiring manager isn’t offering a competitive salary. Well, then, you need to fix that disconnect. You need to speak the truth, but do so in a way that will enable the hiring manager to “hear” you. For instance rather than say “we have a problem”, try “we have an opportunity”. It works wonders. If the hiring manager refuses to listen, then deliver a market intelligence report (something we offer our clients) detailing current openings with which you are competing and what those openings pay, as well as detailing the current salaries of target candidates and their feedback on the role. In other words, put it all down in black and white and give the hiring manager a deliverable he can take to finance to get the bump up in salary that he needs. Don’t just sit there and go through wasted motions of working on a useless search. If you take the time to deliver a report then, at minimum, you’ve shown your initiative and the onus is now on the hiring manager.

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?

Krista: Advocating for excellence on either side of the equation is what inspires me. Great candidates who deliver superior results have worked hard to achieve that end. I believe in fostering a meritocracy of excellence in candidates and clients and advocating for the best of the best.

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.

Krista: We see ourselves as change agents. We’re a new kind of search firm. We’re focused on serving clients that wish to reduce their dependency on retained and contingency while, at the same time, improve the search experience.

For leading edge working in 2008, we’ve focused on helping major corporations with CSR practices to make the connection between their Corporate Social Responsibility and Human Resources and Talent Acquisition. Research is showing that often the greatest return on a company’s investment in Corporate Social Responsibility is employee attraction and retention. We’re the first firm to get out in front of the growing interest in CSR, and to make the business case for linking those good efforts to recruiting the best and the brightest. HR people who help make the link can grow the ROI that they offer their corporations, branding their own practices internally while at the same time growing their careers.

Six Degrees: Anything you want to plug?

Krista: Sure. Joe McCool’s upcoming book Deciding Who Leads: How Executive Recruiters Drive, Direct & Disrupt the Global Search for Leadership Talent. It makes the case for much of the change that we advocate. It is a book coming out this April.

As for “The Good Search, “We’re putting the finishing touches on a whitepaper studying the effectiveness of our Intelligent Candidate Pipelines (ICPs) – projects in which we leverage Human Capital Intelligence to identify, profile, contact, recruit, screen, and deliver viable passive candidates across one or more openings. (These are roles typically put out to retained and contingency firms.)

We’re finding that, on average, we present the candidate who is the first to be hired in approx 18 business days. And that’s just the average! Pretty cool.”

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

Krista: By showing up. Every day.

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3 Responses to “Meet Krista Bradford, Principal, “The Good Search” Part 2”

  1. Work From Home on March 12th, 2008 11:33 pm

    […] Joe Hungler wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptIt’s the best darned career a person could have who wants family/work balance, at least so said Working Mother magazine. All of The Good Search associates work from home, allowing them to be present and available to their families as … […]

  2. » Blog Archive » Meet Krista Bradford, Principal, “The Good Search” Part 2 on March 12th, 2008 11:51 pm

    […] associates work from home, allowing them to be present and available to their families as … MORE >>Creadit By Fat […]

  3. No Country for Old Men DVD Review | Online Dating Club on March 13th, 2008 8:28 am

    […] Meet Krista Bradford, Principal, The Good Search Part 2 clients. What are the warning signs of dysfunction? Making demands that bear no relationship… conduct search (powered by human capital intelligence), and in our goodness ethos. We love working […]