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Meet Ronnie Bratcher, Recruiter by Day, Inhaling Cycling Enthusiasm Throughout, Part 1

Posted on May 6, 2009
Filed Under Interviews | 5 Comments

Originally featured on Recruitingblogs.com


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Ronnie is a professional recruiter who excels at relationship development and management within the recruiting lifecycle. With 13 years of Executive Management/Human Resources experience and 10 years of recruiting experience with the primary focus being Information Technology, he has established creative strategies within the recruiting life cycle highly adaptable to any business vertical. His experience in management brings value into the recruiting process by creating sourcing methodologies, candidate and client relationships and hands on experience of understanding business processes.

Ronnie’s career has spanned over 25 years starting in the retail industry with Target for 14 years. Wanting to move a different direction in his life, he accidentally stumbled into the Recruiting profession.

Starting in 1999, Ronnie spent six years working in the contingency area with companies such as Synerfac, Kforce, MDI Group, Davis-Paul Company and B2B Workforce. This built a solid foundation to transition into contract recruiting in 2006 supporting corporate recruiting initiatives. He has completed projects with Celerant Consulting, Microsoft and other short term initiatives.

Currently serves on the Board of the Technology Association of Georgia Recruiting Society and is a member of SHRM-Atlanta. Ronnie resides in Cumming, GA and is currently available for recruiting projects.

Q&A with Ronnie Bratcher

Six Degrees: Tell us of your home world, Ronnie.


Ronnie: I am the Father of a beautiful 6 year old daughter who is a true blessing in my life. It’s a miracle she is here today and I am mentoring her to have strong will and meet every challenge in her life, ok, I am not that militarized, but I do want to instill a strong value in her life. We have an awesome time together and I treasure every moment I have with her. We also have a pet cat named Keiko who is just plain crazy, I will leave it at that!!

Well, I am freakishly obsessed with cycling, no not motorcycles, but bicycles! Most people are fans of a sport they follow, which I am as well, but I actively participate in cycling. I am a competitive cyclist racing for a team here in Atlanta with full sponsorship. www.aaronscycling.com I am also on the Management team with the team and help decide on the direction we take to make a positive impact with our sponsors and team mates. In 2008, I competed in 51 races and competed at the US National Cyclocross Championships in December. I did not win the stars and stripes jersey, but it was a great experience! I own 11 bikes, 8 sets of wheels and massive amounts of cycling equipment in which all of this could pay someone’s mortgage!
I am like the Jay Leno of bikes, I love collecting them! Just come check out my garage!

Ok, enough about bikes, I also like being a mechanic. I cannot take my vehicles to a shop, I have to do it myself. Yes, I know that is strange, but too many bad experiences with others working on my cars. I also love tools, I admire what they can do and cannot. Sears and Craftsman are my friends!

I cannot stand being inside, I always need to be outside. So I love camping, hiking, hanging out in my garage and I love to cook as well!

Six Degrees: How many years have you been in the staffing industry?

Ronnie: I have been in the recruiting space for 10 years now. In 1999, I started with a small engineering staffing firm and moved on to work for a few contingency firms such as Kforce, MDI Group and B2B Workforce. At B2B Workforce I worked in the RPO Division. We worked with companies such as Accenture, Oracle, SAP, BearIngPoint and FYI Visual. In 2006 I decided to become a consultant and started contracting. I have worked as a Contract Recruiter with organizations such as Celerant Consulting and Microsoft and smaller projects as well. I have always been focused on the Information Technology sector and have recruited at all levels up to the CxO level. I really enjoy working with Professional Services organizations.

Six Degrees: How did you get started as a recruiter?

Ronnie: This is a great story, in my previous career, I worked for Target as a Project Manager and Store Manager for 15 years. One of the projects I had was recruiting at Colleges. So after leaving Target, I really never knew how to find a job. So after about 6mths of a non-planned vacation, I got serious in my job search and started putting my resume out there, on-line boards and such. Well, I get a call and the person says “I saw the word recruiting on your resume, how would you like to be a recruiter?” Whoa, I said, I am really looking for a management position since I ran a $30mil store and managed 300+ people. But I was intrigued and went to meet the guy. I took the position and a $100K pay cut and got started. The lesson I learned is to read peoples resume and not to recruit by keywords. Take time to learn about who and what you are seeking and target that audience and be quality driven. This is my biggest pet peeve in this business, take the time to learn about someone before dialing.

Six Degrees: What single event had the most impact on your sourcing/recruiting career?


Ronnie: I think working in the contingency space has had the most impact. It has enabled me to observe and see some of the greatest processes happen in recruiting and also has showed me the ugly side. So in turn it has been the ingredients I have put in my cupboard and use in my recruiting process. I love the hunt, the hard to find creature, the challenge drives me and when I can connect with the prize and deliver the meal to my client, nothing feels better.

Do you have a mentor to whom you attribute your overall outlook on recruitment, capabilities, and/or model your career after?

Ronnie: There are so many people that I admire in the recruiting industry. I have so many mentors and friends that there is no way that I possibly could list them. I will have to say that Eric Jaquith has stood by my side since 2000 and continues to a major mentor and friend. Shally Steckerl has always inspired me to always think outside the box. Kevin Walters for showing me what dedication to what you do will pay dividends. You know, there are just way to many peers that keep me motivated to keep my blade sharp in the recruiting process. I meet these people every day and hope to continue to build a strong network of friends and peers.

Six Degrees: Tell us about your most recent gig:

Ronnie: Currently I am in between assignments and currently available, but recently I just finished a short term project hiring a Web Developer for a local company here in Atlanta. Recently I just completed a project at Microsoft working for the Enterprise Services division aka Consulting Services. This is the group who are the experts in design, consulting, implementation and support to other companies deploying Microsoft products. Very smart people! I supported the entire United States with an average of 60 openings and at one time had up to 80 openings. Quite busy! I was responsible for the entire recruiting lifecycle up to the offer. We had a 98% closure rate, so the delivery was on target. I feel I was very successful in helping Microsoft on their ROI and was able to hire 56 people which included 14 Architects which is very rarely sought after externally.

Six Degrees: What recent general news story or industry trend do you feel will have an impact on your work in the future? Why?

Ronnie: Everything from a technology perspective is affecting the way we do business currently. This has always been the case but presently the Web 2.0 movement has accelerated everything. A great example is Twitter currently, it is changing everyday. New applications that interface with it and how we can use it to identify and recruit talent. I feel as a recruiter you must stay on top of the latest idea and get involved and see what impact it is going to have from a recruiting perspective. Sure, you always need to know the basics and always practice, but I hear or talk to my peers who have no clue or just laugh at the idea of sourcing through these tools. They do not want to take the extra time to learn or try. I say boo hoo them.

Six Degrees: What industry events have you been participated in?


Ronnie: I have for the past year been on the board of the Technology Association of Georgia Recruiting Society. My responsibility is to recruit speakers to speak at our monthly event and introduce them to the attendees. I have only one publication in which I wrote an article on “The Power of Networking for Yourself” for the SourceCon Newsletter. I attended SourceCon 2008 and just returned from ERE Expo in San Diego. I have always wanted to go to ERE Expo and finally made the investment. Both of these events were incredible experiences for me. I am planning on attending the Social Recruiting Summit and want to attend a Kennedy conference soon as well. I am also a member of SHRM-Atlanta as well.

Six Degrees: How the recession has affected your particular industry niche? Has it effected your job or that of your fellow team members within the organization – to what extent?

Ronnie: My recruiting focus is in the information technology sector within the professional services. I have seen where organizations have cut back taking on smaller projects and focusing only on the larger, long term initiatives. This has cut back on adding consultants for future projects and hence the need not to have a recruiter. So in turn from a personal experience, since I started in the industry, this is the first time I have been in between projects this long. The experience of not having a project is weird, since I have constantly been working since I started in this business. The positive is I have been able to wrap up some personal business initiatives and now I am ready to start fresh on my next project. My fellow peers within the contract recruiting world have experienced some of the same perils, some have landed some nice projects and some have not. My gut feeling is the market is turning back to a positive and organizations are looking at their hiring projections and the contract recruiting service model will be back in business before the year end.

Six Degrees: Aside from simply the generic term “Networking” what specific efforts have you made on your own behalf, or on behalf of colleagues to broaden your opportunities. Are there specific groups, both online and in-person that have proved .fruitful in extending your personal brand and job seeking prospects?

Ronnie: Wow, seems like I am always Networking in one way or another. To broaden myself I have been really focused on the online initiative. As mentioned before, the Web 2.0 explosion is providing many ways to market and brand yourself. My approach has been to take it slow and incorporate here and there some dabble online. Your asking, what do you mean? Well, take for example Twitter, some peers take an aggressive approach and tweet and re-tweet everything in sight. That is just not my style. I feel like sometimes I get information overload from some of my peers. I try to focus on real time events and anything I might find of value to post. I am really excited to use these tools on my next project as they have continue to grow each month. I am also having fun with these, for example Facebook- it has been a blast to connect with everyone from high school, former bosses, fellow recruiters and of course my cycling family. I am also continuing my efforts in person with my association with SHRM and the Technology Association of GA Recruiting Society. People are aware of my abilities within these organizations so the referral process is in full swing and always will be. I also have been helping my peers on LinkedIn by reviewing their marketing initiatives and passing along their requests and referring them where I can. Also, some informal meetings with my fellow peers here in the ATL to keep the feelers out there and talk shop in a informal setting. My personal belief is the best recruiters are always showing some presence online or in person. I love talking to a 9-5 recruiter and asking them what they are doing in their recruiting initiatives and I am always amazed that they take no initiative in driving a plan to go around the typical recruiting process.

Six Degrees: What is your next career goal? What do you need to do to get there?

Ronnie: My career goal is to continue to consult to organizations and provide them with quality driven recruiting processes in which will result in lowering their hiring cost. I need to continue to build my brand by consistent networking, always being exploratory in recruiting trends and maybe contribute more to our field by eventually conducting formal training or maybe be a speaker.

Comments

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