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Posted on October 3, 2006
Filed Under Interviews | 15 Comments

“I can envision Steve opening the most successful sandcastle franchise ever to be seen in the Sahara.”

Dennis Smith (AKA Recruiting Teddy Bear) calls him “The Levinator.” To Recruiting Animal he’s “Vin Dieselevy.” By Any Name He’s Worth Getting To Know

For the morning coffee crowd, who start their day by browsing the latest on or ERE, Steve Levy is no stranger, he is an established commodity, and objectively speaking, a Thought Leader. That being said, the recruitment industry is a broad coalition of day to day practitioners. There are recruiters who don’t habitually read industry periodicals, attend industry events, or read recruitment blogs casually, if at all and simply pay attention to today’s req priorities. There is another subclass, a dedicated core of evangelists and followers to emerging trends who are Linkedin, taking advanced sourcing courses, bookmarking their favorite blogs, posting comments on or ERE niche groups and looking forward to the Kennedy Conference. Steve Levy is a brand name, yes, but because his experience is rich and diverse therein lies the compelling narrative to all recruiters. It is for all the above considerations, that Steve Levy becomes the first of a series of “Meet” profiles of individuals who have made an impact on our profession, binding the best attributes of “old School” relationship networking with seamless “Out-of-The-Box” methodologies and technologies.


As Principal of outside-the-box Consulting, Steve creates and manages innovative strategic and tactical HR solutions with a focus on designing and implementing great talent acquisition, talent management and organizational effectiveness programs. Steve employs a unique partnership model to “think and act” like the individual, department, or organization, drawing upon his unique experiences to implement creative, outside-the-box solutions.

Steve is the recruitment industry’s renaissance man. He’s that rare recruitment expert who is an engineer by training. (Bioengineering).Review his Linkedin profile and you immediately gather broad areas of expertise: “…expertise in strategic planning (enterprise-wide, human resources, technology), staffing (strategic planning; systems; metrics; college/co-op; diversity; immigration; recruiter development; entry to C-levels, all functions, numerous industries), organizational effectiveness (organizational design; change management; compensation strategies; executive coaching; performance systems; succession planning; talent management; employee relations; training), and career development (entry to C-levels, all functions, numerous industries).” Ask Steven about his hobbies and you’ll understand martial arts explains the towering physique (Aikido, Wing Chun Kung Fu, Kyokushin Karate), and his kinder and gentler side expressed in his gardening (stop snickering – it goes surprisingly well with martial arts), doting on his four cats (again, stop snickering – it goes surprisingly well with martial arts), and rowing/kayaking. But what truly captures your imagination, is when you read industry endorsements about Steve and appreciate the unique and dramatic impression he has left upon of fellow sourcing gurus:

“Part engineer, part sage, part architect, Steve is an innovator who stands tall for what he believes, gives openly to those who believe in him, and never takes no for an answer. His consultative approach is to coach until the desired results are attained. I frequently comment on his blog and respect his honesty.” (Shally Steckerl, Research Manager, Microsoft/ Principal, Job Machine, Inc.)

“One of the great recruiting minds of our time.” (Jim Stroud, The Recruiters Lounge, Jim Stroud, Inc.)

And then there’s my personal favorite endorsement: “I can envision Steve opening the most successful sandcastle franchise ever to be seen in the Sahara.” (Eric Nunes, Sr. Corporate Recruiter, Organon Pharmaceuticals)

As for myself, in the short time that I have had the privilege of getting to know Steve, he has delivered on all the finer points of collegial wisdom and friendship. When you ask Steve a question, whether he’s at Kyokushin Karate practice, jogging or stuck in traffic, you can be rest assured he is giving all the machinations of his mind a full work out to give you a well laid out answer and suggestions on the means to optimize your game plan. Steve is all about solutions and he gives them with a booming voice and asks for nothing in return. It’s his nature to pass-it forward and it’s in everyone’s nature to find him likable and to find pleasure in his friendship. He’s the Levinator indeed.


I asked Steven to share the love with three recruiting memories/nightmares that served as life long lessons as a recruitment professional. I pulled my chair up, leaned forward and he provided the following anecdotes:

1) “Back from 1992 through 1996, I was involved in the outplacement industry. It was here that I learned more about people, jobs, and sourcing helping people find jobs than I ever have in recruiting. The greatest memory I had was leading bi-weekly functional lead groups – Finance/Accounting, I/T, HR, Manufacturing, Sales/Marketing, General Management – where I “linked” people together (actives, passives, recruiters), offered advice on getting to the right person, and learned that functional expertise separates you from others. The best part of this experience was how virally word got out around the country that there was an excellent resource for finding talent. To this day, I stay in contact with many of the people who attended these groups. How this has manifested itself to recruiting is the approach I take to association meetings, user group get-togethers, etc. – it’s all about the relationship. When I have time, I still enjoy working with folks in transition because when they land, they really do remember how they did it – whether it was advice on their resume, a contact or two to call, or a seminar I give on how to get past the gatekeeper, these are skills that they will remember when as a new C-level executive they are in need for talent acquisition assistance. Give someone a fish and they’ll eat a meat; teach them how to fish…”

2) I distinctly remember sitting with Hal Foss back in the early 1990’s reading chemical engineering journals together in the college library, identifying interesting letters to the editor, article authors, conference speakers, etc. – Hall was a VP-Manufacturing from a very large chemical manufacturing company. He had his resume but it wasn’t topical; reading current articles and news helped me tune his resume so his resume answered the questions that the person he would report to would have about chemical manufacturing. He had the experience – it just wasn’t in tune with the state of the art. I truly believe that a recruiter needs to know more than the acronyms to be superlatively effective. You need to immerse yourself into the science and art of the function in which you’re recruiting to separate from the pack. Maybe I’m just not slick enough to do it on charm – I need to know content, direction of the function, what’s hot/what’s not to convince the passive person I’m been stalking…uh, pursuing for weeks. Otherwise I sound like every other recruiter – which I do not want to be.

3) The first time I peeled back an URL and got into a company directory – and actually recruited someone – it was early 1985. I was working at Pitney Bowes and one of my accomplishments was writing software that enabled 8088’s to speak with Apple Mac’s, VAX 750’s, IBM 3070’s/4340’s, and I think even an AT&T 3B2 (a very cool switchable DOS/Unix) and Mentor Graphic Workstations. Lots of code. Yes, I’m older than you – do you really think I shave my head because it’s cool? It’s because I look stupid with hair. Anyway, in the course of getting the Mac involved in this project, I remember playing with something called a browser and found my way suddenly peeling back into the research lab of a company that still hasn’t closed its door today (heh-heh). Names, phone numbers, personal resumes, projects, pictures of the family pets – it was all there. Well before I needed to breath Oxygen… oh, remember something called telnet? I did that too. And omg, the email ports are still open.”

4) Spent two years writing patents from 1990-1992. Not for me but I spent quite a bit of time researching patents. All I can say is if you’ve never read a patent, you must. There’s gold in them thar hills…

5) “ I did some contract recruiting in late 1999 for a very interesting start-up called VisibleWorld when there were 5 people on board (they are still around). Needed to find as many C++ developers as possible. Here’s a word of advice – when a company is new and doesn’t have a well established brand AND everyone else is looking for the same skills as are you, take all estimates of time-to-hire and double or triple them (even though a blind squirrel will find an acorn) and get it all down on paper. Talk branding with their marketing experts – get the employment and marketing brands on the same table. This project made me realize that an SLA (service level agreement) is an absolute requirement. Never be a “yes person” as a recruiter – before committing time estimates, know your environment – speak with other recruiters about how they’re sourcing, how long it takes, what special accommodations are being made, etc. To this day, I feel horrible at having essentially failed at this assignment. I really should give them a freebie…


Kudos go to Dr. Leon Schwartz, my first and most memorable boss at Pitney Bowes – to me he is the original Mr. Outside-the-Box. Always will be. Very close second is Frank Dees, whom I wish I had stayed in contact with through the years but will now since it’s public that I haven’t. Out of respect, I have to mention my friend Dave Opton, President of Execunet. He’s always been ahead of the social networking curve. And I really must mention David Manaster – if y’all could see how far ERE has grown since 1997 when I first found it. David allowed me to have ERE’s first blog and first group and I’m still amazed how far it’s come. If you’re a recruiter and you’re not on ERE, have someone check your pulse.


For creativity personified, read The Recruiting Edge, where Steve and Maureen Sharib share outside-the-box ideas on sourcing, hiring and on-boarding, and behold the very first ERE Blog, Blogging Outside the Box (ERE)

Feel free to contact Steve Levy directly for customized talent solution services



  1. Steve on October 3rd, 2006 4:08 pm

    L Dave,

    Thanks goodness I beat Dennis Smith to the comment punch; I’m sure he’s laughing his @ss off in Texas over this one (as are Shally and Stroud in Atlanta, JD in Toronto, etc.).

    But since you mentioned it – anyone need a recruiting leader? I think I know someone who is flexible with location (heh-heh).

    Thanks Dave – you’re creative writing skills are simply world class…

  2. Martin Snyder on October 3rd, 2006 5:53 pm

    Steve hooked me up with some academic research that I still use to this day; a meta study of pre-employment selection procedures and outcomes over 70 years and 5,000 experiments.

    Guess how well handwriting analysis does ?

    Levy is the real deal- both interested and interesting- a good thing because being boring bites.

  3. Steve on October 3rd, 2006 6:18 pm

    Marty- I really love it when you say “meta” in a sentence. Guess all that academic ready comes in handy – like reading “A Separate Peace” years after high school.

    So why aren’t you at the very least trying PCRecruiter (that’s the product Marty’s company developed)?

  4. Steve on October 3rd, 2006 6:36 pm

    One more thing for anyone who isn’t laughing so hard, I’m 5′ 11 7/8″ tall – hardly a towering physique. Couldn’t find the extra 1/8″ anywhere…

  5. Dennis Smith on October 4th, 2006 12:18 am

    Hey, I’m laughing all right, but from a hotel in Seattle!!!! 🙂

    All I can say, is that I was fortunate enough to make Steve’s acquaintance shortly after I started blogging. He’s as real as they come, and has served as a mentor to many of us in the bloguverse for quite some time. We need more Steve’s in the world of corporate recruiting because he has a level of sanity that’s become a scarce commodity.

    Great post, Dave.

    Steve, you still da man.


  6. The Recruiting Animal on October 4th, 2006 8:51 am

    Dieselevey Just a Commodity…

    Bull Doza just can’t stop rattling his cage, can he? First he starts up with Marty Snyder and now he denigrates the great Vin Dieselevey. For the morning coffee crowd, who start their day by browsing the latest on or ERE, Steve Levy is …

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  10. Steven Rothberg, on November 28th, 2006 11:53 pm

    Steve Levy is definitely the most knowledgeable guy who has ever told me that I don’t know squat. Come to think of it, you don’t need to be all that knowledgeable to know that I don’t know squat. Seriously though, he is one of the leaders in the recruiting world. Any organization would be fortunate to have the opportunity to work with him.

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    I thoughts its his one hand which made by two of

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