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Meet Michelle Bennett, Part 2: How Does This Microsoft Sourcing Alum Do It?

Posted on April 20, 2009
Filed Under Interviews | 1 Comment

Michelle Bennett
Employer: Microsoft Alumni
Position: Sr. Technical Recruiter
Employment Summary: Microsoft, HP, Ingersoll Rand
Austin, Texas
LinkedIn Profile:
Facebook Profile
RecruitingBlogs Profile
• 719-640-1572
• Email Michelle:
**Contact Michelle Directly About New Corporate Staffing Opportunities

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?

Michelle: Microsoft’s corporate website brings in a lot of resumes because of their strong Staffing Marketing program. They have several effective campaigns that target different demographics, such as diversity (, college (hey, genius), etc.

My goal was to have 40% of my hires come from employee referrals; however, the amount of submittals from the employee referral program has been on a downward trend over the past couple of years. Based on what I’ve heard from employees, this decline may be because of the delays in action once a resume was submitted (over complicated process) and the lack of reward given for referrals that were hired.

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

Michelle: At Microsoft, the most hires come from internal transfers for jobs that were not “entry level”. I’ve been at plenty of companies that say there will be ample career growth and options but have never seen it executed anywhere as well as Microsoft does it. The next highest sources are contractor conversions, corp websites, and internet job postings. They also have a centralized sourcing team which will produce a great pool when set loose on a specific project. Personally, I always had the best luck networking on sites like LinkedIn and looking around on blogs related to the technology.

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?

Michelle: If I remember correctly, the lowest cost per hire source at Microsoft was the employee referrals. However this data was difficult to track because of systems issue.

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

Michelle: All of the client groups that I was partnering with were hiring only niche talent but I’m not comfortable disclosing any information since a lot of them have not been announced.

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

Michelle: At Microsoft, there is usually money built into the budget for internal and external training and everyone is encouraged to continue their education in this way. It’s then up to the individual to seek out whichever they want to take. I’ve attended some great ones recently at SourceCon and from individuals like the amazing Shally Steckerl.

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?

Michelle: It’s a system that is no longer supported by the manufacturers called XpTEN. Because of the difficulties of having a robust applicant system that would integrate with the other HR systems, these tools have always been a sore point. They are however in the process of implementing a new system that will ease the pain and should go live over the next couple of quarters. It’s already up in other countries as the US group is the last to receive.

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

Michelle: Paper and lots of it! Reflecting on it now, XpTEN is better than paper and file cabinets!

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?

Michelle: I’ve found that most people don’t understand what our challenges are and how difficult it can really be to find the perfect person for the role. Even in times like these when the unemployment rate is high, it remains challenging because of the needle in the (even larger) haystack effect. Long term attrition needs to be on the top of mind when considering overqualified candidates.

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

Michelle: My biggest blunders are usually from pushing too hard to make something happen. A great example of this is finding the person who has what it takes to do the job but not the motivation to move and make the change. It takes finesse to successfully court the passive candidate and timing is everything. I’ve learned that the hires that are the most work are not always the best hires.

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.

ANSWER: I’ll be able to better answer this one once I know where I’m going next, but I see a number of big areas where there are common issues within staffing. Data and numbers happen to excite me and I always use metrics to define what’s working and what’s not.

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

ANSWER: I’ve been fortunate enough to have worked with companies that were growing quickly yet still small enough that change was possible. Some of the projects I’m most proud of have been around training for hiring managers and interviewers.

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

Michelle: I mentioned this earlier but it’s worth saying again, the most frustrating hurdles are when we in the staffing organization create overcomplicated processes that unintentially hurt the client and candidate experience. I’m passionate about this issue and will continually look for ways to improve wherever I land.

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?

Michelle: I actually like what I do and see these obstacles as opportunities where I can make a difference. Because of this career, I’ve talked with some really amazing people and nothing feels better than making that perfect match of the right person for the right job.

Six Degrees: What one thing do you ideally hope to accomplish in 2009?

Michelle: Join on with a company that values my abilities and then find some incredible people to help develop the business and future products. That’s my plug Dave. 😉 Thanks for your encouragement and gentle Facebook pokes to do this interview.


One Response to “Meet Michelle Bennett, Part 2: How Does This Microsoft Sourcing Alum Do It?”

  1. Susan Graye on April 22nd, 2009 9:32 am

    I worked with Michelle at HP. She is truly a skilled recruiter. She contributed a number of best practices to HP including the development and implementation of an easy to use interview scorecard.

    Thanks so much for sharing this on your site.