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Meet Robert Gray, Hire Image, Executive Search – “How Does He Do It?” (Prt 2)

Posted on June 9, 2009
Filed Under Interviews | Comments Off on Meet Robert Gray, Hire Image, Executive Search – “How Does He Do It?” (Prt 2)

By Dave Mendoza

* Originally Featured,

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Personal Causes: Breast Cancer fundraising/awareness
Office/Cell Number: 978-474-8055
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Activities: Executive Search. Connecting Rainmakers with other Rainmakers. Solution sales best practices. Life coach, Youth Football, Off & Def. Schemes/playbook.
Interests: Web 2.0, Recruiting/Networking, Cross-fit training, golf, skiing, poker, add kite surfing and treasure hunting.
Favorite Music: DMB- Tim Reynolds, black eyed peas
Favorite TV Shows: college football live, American Chopper, Extreme engineering, golf channel (it relaxes me), anything Poker (relaxing).
Favorite Movies: the one I’m writing… tbc
Favorite Books: Built to last, Crossing the chasm, fast forward, the new new thing, getting to yes, how to become a rainmaker, winning youth football with defense, concepts of the spread offense

Q&A with Robert Gray

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?

Rob: Inbound submittals represent about 15 % of our placements; I would bet most have been directed to our site at this point. 40% of our placements come from “trusted sources” aka referrals. It’s really the lifeblood of any quality recruiting firm.

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

Rob: Again, referrals. “Good people know good people”. It’s a great way to build “collateral” within your network, especially in this current employer driven market.

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?

Rob: Candidates turned recruiters, it’s all about domain expertise. We love to hire candidates that have a passion for networking (most do, but you’d be surprised how many Sales reps have no interest in developing leads- that’s all changing)

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

Rob: Senior pre sales engineers. Good ones are walking placements, great ones are “Gold”. Every great sales rep has an even greater pre sales engineer behind them. (Also termed; Solution consultants, systems engineers). This is a great niche to target and one I have focused on for the last 10 years.

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

Rob: ERE has some excellent webinars. Outside of conferences, Webinars provide the most effective way to train yourself and your staff on the latest technique or trends in this industry. We also like the talent buzz, Kennedy, Fordyce and

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?

Rob: We use Maxhire as our ATS, Zoominfo for sales intelligence and for compensation data. Linked In and The Ladders have also played a role in our recruitment strategy. No boundaries at all.

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

Rob: Custom candidate tracking and SFA (Pivotal and Onyx software). Never had to fax a resume in my career, thank God.

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?

Rob: My expectations were influenced by the people I sat next to. I was fortunate to be trained by some of the best in the business. The assumptions most intelligent people make is that there are true professionals in every industry. Do your homework and “interview” your recruiter, the top ones are not hard to find, just ask.

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

Rob: Worst mistake, wow, so many to choose from in the early years. Giving up candidate control on offers is the most common for new recruiters, it’s also the toughest skill to attain especially in a talent rich market like the Boston. Pre close all offers as best you can and downstream. People covet what they want, make them covet you.

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.

Rob: It all starts with fee negotiation; don’t cheapen our services by agreeing to ridiculous terms with clients that want exploit us. 100% refund for 90 days, 12-15% fee’s are nothing I’d ever consider. It hurts all of us when recruiters agree to such terms. Stick to you value proposition and don’t sell yourself short.

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

Rob: The Hire Image sales candidate evaluation and scoring system. Some of it is listed in this interview. Call me when any questions at 978-474-8055.

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

Rob: There’s a lot of frustration right now in the market, but having clients pull the plug on active job searches when I have built a final pipeline of candidates is the worst. It’s happened more times in the last three months than I can ever remember. There’s no way to downstream that one.

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

Rob: Again, it’s the “start and stop” practices of clients (HR) right now. The quarter numbers start to fade off projection and the six open rec’s I got at the beginning of the quarter vanish. I “get it”, you can’t predict this with great accuracy, not all clients are in the same boat, but the tide does affect them all.

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?

Rob: I have been an executive search recruiter for over 12 years now and have the battle scars to prove it. I love this industry and I have a loyal network that follows me. The money can be great, $100k + quarters, running your own business and helping people shape their careers is worth it. Recruiting has got to be in your blood and you have to love it or it just won’t work out. I’ve been an athlete all my life, this game has a different uniform and rules, but the competition is all too familiar. Pick up the phone and make something happen, every call is a mutually exclusive event, that’s the beauty of this business.

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

Rob: 2009 is the year of change, getting into new verticals and domains, pushing the edges and getting way outside your “comfort zone”. If you don’t grow (personally and professionally) you’ll probably be forced out of the business this year. Don’t let that happen

Six Degrees: Anything you want to plug?

Rob: Yes. I have seen a great new offering by ResumeFit. I love this new concept for the corporate HR world. Here’s the quick sell: Employers are being overrun by job seekers at a rate never before seen and recruiters are struggling to identify who in the pile has talent. Resume Screener from ResumeFit addresses this problem in a very unique, cost effective way and our solution can be directly embedded in your current recruiting processes:

· Success Profiles – we first create a validated profile of what your top performers look like
· Role Fit Survey – when applicants apply for a job they complete a brief, validated on line survey (15-20 minutes)
· Role Fit Index – you immediately get a numerical score that ranks candidates on a scale of 1-10 against high performers already in the role
· Survey Results – reports and results can be uploaded directly into your ATS and searched against (see attached report)

Don’t make your recruiters sort through piles of resumes looking for needles (talent) in a hay stack (resume piles). Provide them the technology they need to ensure they spend time recruiting the best talent, not looking for it. Contact me on 978-474-8055 and I’ll put you in touch with them ( HYPERLINK “” for a free consult, demo and pilot to see how we can help your team better manage your applicant pools.

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

Rob: Not sure if we need wholesale changes, but rather modifications to our offerings. We need to take a holistic view of the recruiting life cycle, more consultative and become advocates for keeping jobs in the US and not outsourcing to foreign lands.


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