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Meet Maren Hogan,’s Social Butterfly, Part 2

Posted on May 18, 2008
Filed Under Interviews | Comments Off on Meet Maren Hogan,’s Social Butterfly, Part 2

By Dave Mendoza, Master Cybersleuth, Affiliate Partner, JobMachine Inc.

Managing Partner
HCI- Capital Management, for Humans
o-866-446-1868 x102

Meet Maren Hogan, RecruitingBlogs Cheerleader from Omaha and Professional Social Butterfly. She is my friend, actually .. she is EVERYONE’S Friend.


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?

Maren: As a third party firm, these are not metrics we keep. Although we have found ourselves the recipients of lots of referrals on the candidate side. The difference they see is in the communication within our firm and how we reach out to them. Omaha is a small town with lots of big firms, so when you treat a candidate with professionalism, they really take notice and tell other candidates.

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

Maren: We still find the majority of our candidates through the technical boards. We also have highly developed relationships that span a decade or more, that we can tap into for harder to find openings.

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?

Maren: Our personal networks. Hands down. We don’t have a lot of fancy tools here. We use the phone, a pad of paper and sheer Midwestern Charm! Next would be LinkedIn, followed by Dice.

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

Maren: We like to say that we target tech and talent. So if our clients are looking for a technical guru in any specialty we combine our pretty extensive network with the high-tech search tools that are available for free or that we’ve invested in and deem effective. When it comes to talent management consulting, we usually go in and help to set up a talent plan that goes out 24 months. Helping higher management see things in this strategic manner, with input from their different departmental heads and current employees, assists in the next phase, which is a recruiting and retention strategy for that same time period. This includes building a talent pipeline, helping the client to manage their brand in the candidate space, analyzing compensation bands and sourcing. Then we assist at whatever level they need in the recruiting process, it can completely outsourced to us or we can handle say only up to the offer letter or only the identification process.

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

Maren: Well, since I have been in the industry such a limited time, you might say that I’ve applied my expertise in marketing to recruiting. I read a lot of Seth Godin, so I actually think this makes me more competitive than if I’d worked in one industry since college. Beyond that, I try to align myself with some of the best minds in the business. Sometimes this has happened by accident and sometimes I intentionally seek them out and hound them until they will speak to me. They all eventually speak to me.

I am involved in HRAM, which is our local chapter of SHRM and I belong to the Omaha Chamber of Commerce, which is a great model for other chambers to emulate (local plug!). I also do some work with a local university’s human capital lab. They are doing some really high level stuff that amazes me.

Beyond that, I try to take advantage of any conferences, webinars, articles and speeches that I possibly can. I have input as a strength so I love to get my hands on information.

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?

Maren: This sounds so huckster but since we’re a small firm we currently use GoogleApps for our ATS and CRM. It’s web-based, can be used to send reminders and customized to track profitability for specific compensation bands. Plus, it’s free! For job boards, we use Dice. Sometimes in a rural/small area, I will check Craigslist resumes. I use TalentHire but don’t have the manpower to fully utilize the software. I am just delving into Rockstar Recruiting. I guess we’re not terribly sophisticated. But we never lose our data!

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

Maren: Since my career has been so short, we’re always learning. Something I really like is the advanced CRM systems available. I think these can be custom programmed to assist in candidate tracking and relationship building since so many of us are doing high volume now. I notice a lot of dissatisfaction on blogs and boards from candidates who get dropped if they aren’t the right fit.

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?

Maren: Wow, that’s loaded. Well the experience for me was very humbling, because I had been giving my husband advice for several years on how he could be a better recruiter. That all came back to bite me, lemme tell you! I think the public views us as mostly helpful, but they think our job is really easy. I know I did. However, getting a strong placement can be so exhilarating that it wipes out weeks of nothing. That part is really cool.

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

Maren: When I first started, I was stymied by the HR Tales I would hear. Since a lot of the HR professionals in our area are women, I thought that the all-male recruiting team was simply going about it the wrong way. So developed and marketed the HRAdvantage package. It was basically an incentive to improve communication between external vendors and Human Resources but for whatever reason was not at all embraced. I don’t think the idea was incorrect but maybe the timing or the marketing? I learned that while not all stereotypes are true, some exist for a reason and there are solid reasons for a seasoned pros opinions. If I would have listened to the older, wiser recruiters on my staff, I might have saved myself a lot of time and energy.

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.

Maren: Within our industry: I would like to offer my help to anyone who is already making changes. I see so much exciting stuff happening with recruiting and the segmentation therein. I have ideas but I feel that with such limited time in the industry, it could be slightly arrogant of me to try and facilitate change in the first year! But I DO try to make myself available to those who have innovative ideas and a strong drive to make them succeed. I find that I can be a great sounding board for people like that.

At my place of work: I believe that bringing social media into HCI is already making it more viable. I work in a firm where “the boards” used to reign supreme. Now, I see recruiters looking at other options and asking for help if they don’t know how to do put together a string. I know it sounds really basic but there are lots of firms out there that are NOT on the cutting edge. And despite my earlier answer, I still think that bridging the gap between HR and 3PV is important and I continue to champion that cause as well.

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

ANSWER: Well, there are a lot of things I would call my “babies” but I am still the most proud of our candidate relationships. We frequently hear that we are the best at that in our area. It’s no documented practice either, just plain kindness and courtesy. We also use specific insights from Strengthsfinder 2.0 to get a real grasp on where a candidate will fit best.

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

Maren: The most frustrating feeling for a third party firm is the feeling that we are unwanted. Say what you want about selling but that plays with your head after a while. The biggest obstacle I face is not being able to try all the technology available in our industry right now! I want a t-shirt that says: I Heart Apps

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

Maren: I am not sure if this answers the question but hiring managers going too slow or flat out offending the candidate. That used to happen more than now, I tend to do more coaching and pre-interviewing on both sides.

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?

Maren: I love where this industry is going. Seeing brilliant people choose recruiting as their profession blows my mind! I want to be here when recruiting becomes a serious profession of choice. I think it’s happening now!

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

Maren: For me, I would like to bring serious talent management change to Omaha. As a medium town that is honing in on “citydom”, there are a lot of recruiting firms but no real innovation. The industry here is similar to 1997, which isn’t bad, per se, I just want to make it better.

Six Degrees: Anything you want to plug?

Maren: My blog! Kris Dunn at the HR Capitalist said it was “chronically underexposed”!

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

Maren: I think if the issues that I am identifying in Omaha exist here, they exist in other mid size cities. Our options are broader now and I think with telecommuting growing and the recession in full swing, mid-size cities offer a quality of life and cost of living that takes the cake. I want to educate the employers in these cities to think strategically and for the long-term and with their community’s support, they can build a talent pipeline that will leave a real mark!

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