Posted on June 17, 2009
Filed Under Interviews | Comments Off on Meet Steve Rath, Mickey Mantle of Contract Recruiters, Proud Braves Fan of Square Pants
By Dave Mendoza
“One of my most cherished art pieces is a drawing I did of Mickey Mantle of the NY Yankees. Mickey signed my work back in the late 70’s. I framed it and currently have it proudly displayed in my man cave along with some of my other paintings of Pete Rose, Jim Rice, Ali/Frazier, and Rocky.”
Steve Rath is a Microsoft staffing consultant alumni with over 20 years of diverse experience aligning talent strategies with business strategies. He is an experienced talent acquisition consultant and trainer. Steve has worked with companies of all sizes in the retail, financial services, manufacturing, software, and Internet sectors, offering unique talent acquisition and training strategies with a Client Service focus. His particular expertise is in recruitment strategy design, recruitment process optimization, recruiting/sourcing, and applicant tracking software implementation. Steve has a bachelor of arts degree in Computer Science with a focus on Personnel Management.
Steve Rath is a noteworthy feature for me on a personal basis. Knowing him honors two cornerstone aspects of a life well lived for me. (1) Did you ever meet someone that within 24 hours you know you made a life long friend? One of significance? To be distinguished in your personal and professional pursuits is an accomplishment. In Steve, I firmly believed then and have since reflected that I was fortunate to have been at the right place and at the right time introduced by the right person. (2) Do you have a mentor, a brethen of sorts who consistently introduces you to people of significance? Someone who sees a connection potential amongst individuals beyond the sharing of stats and ‘how to’s’ that often represent professional environments and has you break bread with them? To have such a friend who contributes actively to your circle of established friendships is likewise a professional/personal milestone. I have one. You may know him – his name in our industry is akin to the names “Cher” and “Prince.” He had me sit next to Steve Rath. I am grateful on several levels to have two such friends who make me a better human.
That warm smile upon reflection is what Steve Rath produces in so many conversations. He is the type of person you tell your proudest moments – not for the sake of braggadocio, but because you know as he listens he identifies with what it means to you and he wa ts you to succeed just as you wish for the Steve in your life. It’s not even necessarily a reaction tied to trade news. It can just as easily be about your kid’s spelling bee or the day you planted a new tree in your garden. You may hesitate to share it, Who wants to be perceived as having odd pleasures? But Steve will smile and tell you, “That’s great I remember how excited you were when you saw it on the lot.” Steve is someone I can tell that to. This is the Steve I know. Steve is also that person you tell the embarrassing tales to, and he can often win the game no one should wisely desire to win. My one named friend is the model of that friend archetype, now Steve is a fellow tribe member. The ego is two doors to the left, we can just sit here and mind our own time. We often do and we do it in the splendor of one another’s company.
Today let me stand up and genuflect as I present an opportunity to meet my friend and colleague, Steve Rath.
Six Degrees: Tell us of your home world.
Steve: Originally from NY state, I graduated college in 1985 from State University of New York – Potsdam with a degree in Computer Science (and a minor in Personnel Management). I spent my first 12 years as a developer/programmer. I moved from Poughkeepsie, NY in the late 80’s to Raleigh, NC and then to my final destination, Atlanta, GA in 1990. I like to think I was one of the reasons why the Atlanta Braves started their incredible Division winning streak after I moved to Atlanta! It was in Atlanta where I meet my wonderful wife Marjorie with her intoxicating southern charm. We will be celebrating our 5 year wedding anniversary this September 2009. She keeps me both focused and grounded and she’s my biggest fan. I have three wonderful boys – Nicholas Dominick (12), Anthony Stephen (3), and Charles John (1). I stay quite active as a result of my two youngest and have become quite the Spongebob Squarepants fan.
Growing up I bled baseball. I couldn’t get enough of it. I played it as an 8 year old and in college as a walk on at Florida Institute of Technology (FL Tech). My dream was to play professional baseball. Of course my favorite team was the NY Yankees – Reggie Jackson, Thurman Munson, Dave Winfield, and Phil Rizzuto (as an announcer). Those were the days. I was also an avid Chess player and #1 seat on my High School Chess Club. One of the only students to have lettered in Baseball, Soccer, and Chess!
Today I’m a huge Hockey fan. I enjoy following the Atlanta Thrashers as well as the Pittsburgh Penguins. We go to as many games as we can as a family as we thoroughly enjoy the overall experience.
One of my favorite hobbies is art. I used to draw my sport hero’s as a kid – sketches, pen and ink, and acrylic paintings. One of my most cherished art pieces is a drawing I did of Mickey Mantle of the NY Yankees. Mickey signed my work back in the late 70’s. I framed it and currently have it proudly displayed in my man cave along with some of my other paintings of Pete Rose, Jim Rice, Ali/Frazier, and Rocky.
Six Degrees: How many years have you been the the staffing industry?
Steve: I’ve been in the recruiting/staffing industry since 1997 and recruiting 100% since 2002, so 7 years.
Six Degrees: How did you get started as a recruiter?
Steve: Upon graduating from SUNY-Potsdam I started my career in the software industry as a developer working primarily as a contractor to various IBM facilities in the East Coast. I had very technical jobs during that time which required much of my time with my eyes glued to the terminal (yes we had terminals – no PC’s or workstations or Laptops!). I found that I started enjoying my interactions with people more than with computers and took interest in a possible career change. In 1997 I had the opportunity to change careers and enter the staffing agency world – placing people like myself to work with clients in Atlanta, GA. I started my staffing agency career with a company called Carson Associates (now part of Spherion). It was with Carson Associates where I cut my teeth on the Sales/Account management/Recruiting side of the business. I was responsible for managing the Atlanta based Coca Cola Account as we were one of several vendors working exclusively with KO at the time. It wasn’t long after Carson Associates sold to a publicly traded company (Norrell) that I joined MATRIX Resources as a Sales Representative responsible for opening new business. After several years with MATRIX (2 President Clubs and performer of the month), I joined Comprehensive Computer Consulting, Inc. (CCCi), an established Atlanta staffing agency founded in the 70’s.
In 2004 I took my knowledge of the staffing agency world and applied them directly to my clients as a corporate recruiter/staffing consultant.
What has made me successful in my career as a Recruiter/Staffing consultant in the IT industry has been my unique combination of my technical background as a Developer interlaced with my knowledge and skill of a recruiter. I have always maintained an edge over my recruiting colleagues in my dealings with hiring managers and candidates. Understanding the needs of a hiring manager has allowed me to translate that need into viable candidates. Also understanding the needs of candidates and establishing a bond of trust, has helped me maintain relationships beyond the current requirement and create a future referral base.
Six Degrees: What single event had the most impact on your sourcing/recruiting career?
Steve: Probably the single event which had the most impact on my recruiting career would have to be the transition from the technical industry to the staffing agency industry back in 1997. The transition from developing to staffing was one of the toughest times I can remember. I recall thinking many times during that transition – where is the project plan to account for my time!!
Six Degrees: Do you have a mentor to whom you attribute your overall outlook on recruitment, capabilities, and/or model your career after?
I have had several mentors or influencers over the years as I traveled this long and winding recruiting road. There is one in particular who has greatly influenced my approach to the staffing industry to which I attribute my overall outlook and successes. She actually mentored me during my initial years in the staffing industry. She inspired me with her work ethics and her honest approach with people. She was never quick to judge and displayed the utmost in patience. She knew how to deal with people and operated solely on trust and integrity. Her actions always spoke louder than her words and her knowledge and passion exemplified her dedication to our industry and aspirations to positively influence others around her.
Six Degrees:Tell us about your latest contract recruitment efforts
Steve: Well Dave, this is an interesting question as I’ve been engaged on many staffing projects over the past few years. I’ve taken projects where I’ve simply sourced (Microsoft), as well as projects where I’ve consulted with staffing departments of small to mid-sized organizations (Manhattan Associates, Hanna Strategies, RightNow.com) and functioned as a full life cycle recruiter (Home Depot and Genesis10).
I am currently working on an engagement with RightNow Technologies. The are a small to midsized global company focused on creating CRM software. I was hired to evaluate their staffing process and recommend enhancements, best practices, optimize recruiting strategy, and sourcing techniques.
Six Degrees: (A) What other companies’ recruiting operations do you admire or have heard are best-practice examples?
Steve: This is a difficult question to answer as the ebb and flow of recruiters add to and take away from a successfully operated recruiting department. The team and its leadership typically account for a successful operation. I know most all operations I have been involved with have operational issues to contend with and ultimately it’s the leadership which provides the direction and compliance.
(B) In what aspects are they superior?
Steve: The aspects which make one companies’ recruiting operation superior over the other is a solid foundation of sound processes put in place. Processes that account for both the hiring manager experience as well as the applicant experience. Personal accountability and the support of executive level to ensure compliance must exist to some degree. Bottom line is the superior recruiting operation sends a clear and consistent message both internal and external of its company.
Six Degrees: What recent general news story or industry trend do you feel will have an impact on your work in the future? Why?
Steve: Well, besides the fact that our economy has severely affected the overall health of our recruiting industry I’d have to say technology wise the explosion of Web 2.0/social networking has positively impacted my work. Why? Finding and reaching out to talent has reached a new level for recruiters. While traditional methods of networking have always had there place, creating virtual business and social networks have made it easier to connect taking advantage of economies of scale. With the explosion of blogging, LinkedIn, Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter, recruiters now have access to a resource pool larger than anyone could have ever imagined.
Six Degrees: What is your next career goal? What do you need to do to get there?
Steve: My next career goal is to take my consulting to the next level. Continue assisting small to midsized staffing organizations realize their potentials – building best practices, staffing optimization, sourcing strategies, branding, best practices for applicant tracking utilization. While I have enjoyed the tactical side of recruiting and staffing, I’m enjoying the strategic side of building stronger organizations.
To get there is to continue building my resume. My business currently relies on referrals and recommendations. As I continue to build my reputation and my network, I believe my business will also continue to grow.
“I have known Steve since 2002. Steve is extremely professional and trustworthly. Steve truly cares about his clients and always wants to make sure they are not only happy with his services but that he does everything possible to ensure they are given the best service. Steve has a wonderful personality. Steve is very smart and a quick learner. When you meet Steve you will be able to tell right away, like I did, how much he cares about people.” November 30, 2008
Susan Van Dyke, IGT
“We brought-in Steve to take the lead in staffing for our IS, SAP, and Thin Client Engineering groups… he did just that. Steve immediately took the reigns thus allowing for the Staffing Organization to flex with the growing needs (strategic and tactical) of the company. Steve met and exceeded the expectations of all our groups (including the SAP department, in which IGT heavily utilizes SAP apps and modules). Steve truly understands Staffing and how to effectively manage the groups with whom he works.” September 26, 2008
Cory Burk, Program Manager – University Relations, IGT
“It was indeed my pleasure to have Mr Rath working with our team. He has an excellent understanding of the technical recruiting world. The groups he helped us support at Microsoft (through sourcing) are some of the more difficult teams to please. His understanding of the roles, technologies and his sheer ‘stick-to-it” style was a BIG PLUS for us. He was on point for helping us find some KEY HIRES for critical projects. I am hopeful that our paths will cross again!” August 2, 2008 Top qualities: Great Results, Personable, Creative
“Steve is an excellent recruiter who helped me source for numerous positions while he worked for Microsoft. His expert advice and all his dedication throughout the recruitment process were paramount. His support and understanding of the recruiting process as well as the technology space makes Steve an outstanding asset for any company.” June 17, 2008
Doug Kester, Technical Recruiter, Microsoft
“I am very impressed by the speed and responsiveness with which Steve and his team have responded to my queries and concerns. This is very difficult to do when working with such high-value clients as Steve does, which certainly send to him hundreds (thousands?) of requests daily. He is a real responsiveness star, and a role model for recruiters everywhere.” May 15, 2008. Top qualities: Great Results, Personable, On Time
Bernard Hayes, PMP, The Home Depot
“I had the privilege of working with Steve in Home Depot’s Supply Chain group. His passion to attract right talent to the group and more importantly, post-recruitment follow-through is amazing! Steve is one of the most sincere HR recruiters that I have seen.” December 8, 2007
Vijay Sankararaman, Sr.Manager, Supply Chain Technology, The Home Depot
“I have had the pleasure of working with Steve now for several months. He is by far one of the most ethically, hard working recruiters that I have worked with. Steve is a dedicated worker and always seeks to do the right thing. He is also a great resource of information and always willing to do what is best for the customer! I have enjoyed working with Steve because you don’t have to second guess or wonder if he will meet your expecations.” July 5, 2007
“Steve started with Manhattan Associates as a Contractor and eventually moved into the Manager role. Our team rallied around him at all times. Steve has a strong recruiting foundation and understanding of recruiting. His skills, knowledge and experiences allowed the rest of the team to focus on our recruiting and know we were headed in the right direction. Steve is a solid asset to any Talent Acquisition team.” April 21, 2009
Greg Freed, Senior Technical Recruiter, Manhattan Associates
“Steve was a pleasure to work with and is one of the best recruiters that I have ever had the privilege getting to know. Steve consistently follows up on candidates finding the best fit and is willing to listen to exactly the type of person that I am looking for. He is open and honest and a great communicator. Steve also has tons of industry knowledge and seems to be connected everywhere. He really made a huge impact on the Corporate HR recruiting team. He brought in the right people and was able to motivate his associates getting things done. If you are looking for a recruiter then I would highly recommend utilizing Steve’s talent. He is one of the BEST!” May 15, 2008
Lyndon Kolb, Strategic Account Management – Hardware, Manhattan Associates
“Steve Rath is an effective, results-oriented manager who works well with all levels of the organization. He ensures that his direct reports have what they need to be successful in their roles. He gives a great deal of feedback and manages his recruiters’ workloads well. He is very easy to work for and work with.” January 18, 2007
Barbara Marks, Corporate Recruiter, Manhattan Associates
“Steve invited me to come aboard with Manhattan Associates as a contract recruiter. The 3-month engagement was extended twice to seven months. We worked beautifully together because Steve was even-tempered, steady, always encouraging and kind to candidates and colleagues, even in the midst of learning his new role as Recruiting Manager, implementing a new enterprise applicant tracking system, and enduring increasing governmental recruiting regulations. He really does a great job of helping others move along gently, no matter the pressure on him. We were friends before I went there. We are even better friends now!” January 18, 2007
“I worked with Steve to help find several people to expand my Siebel and SAP teams. Steve went out of his way to find high quality people and to do them quickly and efficently. He was exacting in his screening and his can-do attitude made working with Steve a pleasure. He was creative in his searches and problem solving, while meeting all deadlines. I would recommend Steve and would certainly enjoy working with him again.” December 3, 2007
Stephan Cavarra, IT Application Dev Mrg, Hanna Strategies, LLC.
“Steve is an excellent hire for anyone looking for a top notch recruiter. He has the ability to hone in on what the needs are and drive to filling the needs in a quick and efficient manner. Steve and I worked together for a while and once he understood what I wanted he was a bulldog. Great catch for any company looking to grow their talent base in all aspects.” November 30, 2007
Annant Patel, Manager – Supply Chain, The Home Depot
* Originally published on RecruitingBlogs