This profile is one in a series titled Monday Member Showcase. It was originally published on RecruitingBlogs.com, a recruiting and HR community, where I am a featured contributor. To read the whole series please click here.
Rob Wetzel has served for nearly 3 decades as a strategic thinker and results driven staffing manager providing best in class recruiting innovations. His career has reflected an expertise in technology as it relates to recruiting processes, identifying talent and deploying Talent Management Systems.
Rob has been responsible for creating and implementing the strategy to acquire 800 – 1,400 employees per year within North America. He partnered with business leaders across the company to understand their needs and deployed a strategic staffing solution which improved the retention rate by 35%. He created workforce planning to help forecast future talent needs, talent availability, areas of potential talent problems, and retention.
Rob developed a new career website for US and Canada to focus on employment branding and talent cultivation which became the focus to show Getronics as a “best-in-class” employer and was highly recognized by Recruiting Roundtable. His contributions in ATS design and implementation led to major enhancements which increased ROI and enhanced recruiter performance by 40%. Rob was responsible for innovations in multiple system reports to build a metrics dashboard to reflect Recruiter performance, Hiring Manager performance, time to fill, time to interview, cost per hire, cost per source, etc.
Six Degrees: Tell us of your home world.
Rob: I’ve been married to my wonderful wife for 27 years. We live in Maryland and have been blessed with 3 magnificent kids. It’s hard to believe they really aren’t kids any more. Our oldest daughter is successful in her career as a VP within her division. She has 2 sons that really keep us young. When my oldest grandson came home from his first day as a 6th grader, I asked him if he was smarter than a 5th grader. His response was “real funny Pap”. My younger grandson loves for me to do magic tricks for him. Our middle age daughter took up the Nursing route and works at our local hospital. She works crazy shifts and sometimes puts in 16 hours a day. She was a tom-boy growing up and played softball in high school and college. Our son is a Sophomore at West Virginia University where he is in the drumline. We enjoy attending the home football games to watch him perform. He is double majoring in Forestry Resource Management and Wildlife and Fisheries Management. He loves anything outdoors, especially hunting and fishing.
Over the years, I have enjoyed building various additions to our home on my own. We have a 12 yr. old German Shepherd, a 5 yr. old pound dog who is a black border collie, and my daughters Jack Russell who has way too much energy. We also have 6 pigmy goats that everyone loves to play with.
My wife and I have been very involved in all of the activities of our kids. Our daughters were selected to cheer at different Pro Bowl games in Hawaii. I coached baseball, basketball, and soccer when my son played. He also was the drum/percussion captain in our HS band.
Although I’m very competitive in nature, I am a good sport. My wife tells me that I have a lot of patience, especially when things don’t always go right. I’ve learned through the years how to handle the bad with the good.
Six Degrees: What do enjoy doing on your time off?
Rob: I enjoy sports, the outdoors, and building/fixing things. Each year I look forward in going to the beach and hunting with my son. The family loves to travel and a few years ago we decided to take a month to travel out west. We logged just a little over 7,000 miles in our camper. It was amazing to see some of the beautiful sights of nature in person.
For 10 years I was president of our local high school Athletic Boosters and my wife was secretary. I am very involved in my church and currently function as the Building Chair of a new $1.9 M facility that we are adding to our current structure. My wife and I were Youth leaders for many years. I am also a Certified Lay Speaker and have shared sermons at our church as well as other congregations.
We are involved in “Partner’s In Hope” which is part of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. We look forward each month to receive an update on each child we are helping to battle that ugly 6 letter word “CANCER”. It’s gratifying to be able to help make a difference in another person’s life. My family has also been doing “Volunteers In Missions” work for 16 years with our church. We help to rebuild homes for those who have lost their homes usually by hurricanes or flooding in many states. The past 3 years we have gone to Mississippi and Louisiana in helping to rebuild from the disasters from Katrina and Ike.
Six Degrees: How many years have you been in the staffing industry?
Rob: I have been in the recruiting world for 29 years.
Six Degrees: How did you get started as a recruiter?
Rob: Since my dad owned an agency, he persuaded me to try it out for 6months. My first impression was why would I want to do this type of job and had the feeling that I wasn’t going to like it. My college education was leading me towards computer programming. After a few months I was surprised that I started to enjoy this profession and looked forward to talk with people and to figure out what made each person tick. As I look back on my interviewing techniques, I think I started doing behavioral interviewing on my own before I even became certified in it many years later at GE.
Six Degrees: What single event had the most impact on your sourcing/recruiting career?
Rob: Early in my career, I helped to coach an applicant that had just moved to the states. This person was very intelligent and just needed a chance to prove herself. I worked hard in trying to find her an opportunity where she could grow with a company. After several months, I placed her with a Fortune 500 company. A number of years later, I ran into her and found that she was a Sr. Mgr. of a large technology group and was looking to fulfill a large development contract which she had out for bid. I would like to think she awarded this contract to me because I helped her out earlier in her career. She mentioned that she knew I would work hard on the project and felt comfortable that I would complete it on time. I did deliver the project on time and within budget. I have recognized over time that when you go the extra mile to help others, it always comes back tenfold.
Do you have a mentor to whom you attribute your overall outlook on recruitment, capabilities, and/or model your career after?
There are a few mentors out there, but I think I really gravitated to Jack Welch’s philosophy when I worked for GE. He communicated regularly that he wanted people to think outside of the box. I know that is an old cliché but I find myself one of those people. I’m always trying to streamline a process, increase the ROI, or finding a way to use technology to enhance productivity.
Six Degrees: Tell us about your contributions in your various roles throughout your staffing career
Rob: For many years I was the Recruiting Operations Manager at Getronics which recently was acquired by Compucom. My recruiting organization was honorably mentioned at ERE’s Excellence Award ceremony for “Most Strategic Use of Technology” and “Most Innovative Recruiting Process or Departmental Solutions”. I strived to make sure we had the best processes available within the recruiting organization. I enjoyed finding ways to make recruiting more efficient especially when we hired between 800 to 1,400 employees per year. I have about 15 yrs experience in developing, redesigning, and implementing several Applicant Tracking Systems. I also have served on the Advisory Board for several Talent Management companies. I enjoy mentoring my staff and working with senior management to create strategic plans to fill the staffing needs of the organization.
Six Degrees: What recent general news story or industry trend do you feel will have an impact on your work in the future? Why?
Rob: One of the areas is social networking. Many people have been using sites such as Linkedin, Facebook, Myspace, Twitter, etc. As more people continue to use these social networks, the dynamics in recruiting will continue to evolve as well as technology. These social avenues provide more opportunities to build larger networks and to tap into higher level forum groups.
Six Degrees: Have you participated in speaking events, publications, or other recognitions where you have you represented your company:
Rob: Spoke at the ERE convention in San Diego a few years ago regarding “Maximizing Your Metrics Across the Organization”. I mentioned earlier of the two awards we received from ERE which were “Most Strategic Use of Technology” and “Most Innovative Recruiting Process or Departmental Solutions”. Recruiting Roundtable also recognized Getronics recruiting website as “Best In Class” in 2006 after we spent time upgrading our branding presence.
Six Degrees: Worst mistake, biggest goof, lousiest practice you thought would fly but didn’t, and how that was a learning experience?
Rob: I worked for an agency a long time ago that started to use 90 second video clips on Program/Project Managers. We would invite them in and shoot a 90 second bio clip that we would share with our clients. One client that I visited had just upgraded from the old Beta tapes to VHS. Unfortunately, when I met with several VP’s to review these candidates profile, I realized very quickly that I couldn’t share the videos because I had Beta tapes. Lesson learned was to be better prepared to meet specific requirements of today’s ever-changing market.
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.
Integrating talent management modules within one application. Many companies today have multiple applications (onboarding, workforce planning, performance management, etc.) from different vendors and are having major issues in getting them to talk to one another. Getronics was one of those companies. Many man hours are spent in trying to integrate these modules and usually end up with a spider web nightmare. Most of your common ATS vendors offer these modules that integrate with one other as well as with Peoplesoft, SAP, Oracle, etc. It will cost some money on the front end but will save time, money, and many hours of frustration in the long run by purchasing these modules from your ATS vendor so you can track everything within the same application.
Six Degrees: “Best practice” you are most proud of developing (now or in the past) in your recruiting career?
Rob: At Getronics, I received an operational excellence award for being the driving force to streamline the recruiting process. I implemented and rolled out an electronic version of the old manual process to approve requisitions. I took a 2-3 week approval process down to an average of 1-2 days. Some requisitions were approved within hours utilizing this new application. I also was able to provide a bonus for the approvers so they could see where the requisition was in the process and who still needed to approve it in real-time.
Six Degrees: What is your next career goal? What do you need to do to get there?