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PART 2: How Does She Do It? Meet Jacki Leonard, Regional Manager – Workforce Solutions

Posted on August 16, 2009
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PART 2: How Does Jacki Leonard Do It?

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• Community Volunteering: Special Olympics, Avon Walk for Breast Cancer
• Personal Causes: (financial support if in addition to volunteering,) –New Hope village –offering services to people with disabilities, Avon Walk for Breast Cancer
• Office/Cell Number; 415-613-5863
• Personal Email –

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?

JACKI: Referrals played a very big part of our local recruiting strategy. We worked very hard to promote and reward our referral bonus incentive. Locally speaking, approximately 40% came from referrals –both customers/candidates and about 60% came from our various job postings –including our company website which was directly linked to the major job boards.

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

JACKI: This could really vary depending upon the type and volume of positions we were recruiting. For the higher end positions our best source was referrals –whether they were referred directly to us or we would go out and ‘hunt’ for that referral, the majority came from someone we knew or knew us and our reputation.
For the higher volume types of positions –call center reps for example, the boards were typically our best resource – craigslist was great for high volume results.

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?

JACKI:That’s a tough one because there is a cost associated with poor quality. But, overall, the best hires come from referrals.

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

JACKI:I was responsible for the following disciplines; Acct/Finance, HR, Sales/Marketing, Customer Service and all levels of administrative functions.

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

JACKI:I was fortunate to work for a company that invests a lot in training and ensuring that we are providing the best tools to our employees. So, I attended various trainings throughout the years but there is not one that stands above the rest. I learned the most from those around me and by just doing it.

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?

There are so many amazing tools out there. Today I mainly use Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter and Monster to name a few. But, I do have to say that, to me, LinkedIn is amazing for both connecting with passive candidates and developing contacts within your target clients.

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

JACKI: Well, this goes back a while –but when I first started we didn’t use technology, we used Victor Files –yikes! However, in the early/mid 90’s Volt created their own database and continued to evolve and update this tool.

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?

Well, the first time I actually interviewed someone I was so intimidated – I think the interview was about 40 minutes and I missed half of what I was supposed to get – I was following my training to the T. Obviously, I got over that. I think there are a lot of really good recruiters out there and some, well, not so good. In my opinion, the good recruiters are the ones who ask good questions, know how to qualify a client/order and interview their candidate to truly understand their background, successes, challenges –what makes them good at what they do. I’ve seen too many recruiters want to just throw paper at a requisition and that’s not successful. I think people think this job is easier than it is –they don’t understand the amount of information you need to uncover to get it right. Not only is it the hard skills, but the cultural fit, the soft skills, etc….

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

JACKI:Wow, I used to have a tendency to overcomplicate things. I learned over the years that the “KISS” method really does work…Keep it Simple Stupid…and I’ve followed that practice to this day.

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.

JACKI: Continually working with the hiring managers to see the value of spending time upfront with their recruiter –whether they are working with an internal or external recruiter, there is so much information that can’t be gleaned from the job description. It is an awesome feeling to turn a hiring manager into a ‘believer’ that this investment is well worth the time.

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

JACKI: One of the most difficult things we all face in the recruiting world is time…not enough of it in a day. One thing we did recently that made a big difference was the use of video messages to keep in touch with our candidate (and some clients). Working in an agency you can get overwhelmed with the volume of candidates that your team sees in a week –so we started using Vipe Videos ( to keep in touch with our database. We would use to:

Send targeted message regarding a job
Promote Referral Bonus
Highlight “hot jobs’ of the week

The results were amazing. The candidates felt that we were more invested in their career goals and keeping them apprised of what was going on in the job market and we increased our referral program by 22% in 6 months through this tool.

We also used this tool with our clients – we had one in particular that was going through a huge ramp up for their holiday season –they needed 100+ customer service professionals. Part of our resume process was to include a video they created stating why there would be good for the position…the client loved it and it decreased the time to hire significantly.

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

JACKI: Trying to connect with people. Everyone is so busy and even though we have a hundred different ways to connect, it is often times a game of hurry up and wait.

It is incredibly frustrating when a hiring manager gives you a ‘Mission Critical’ req that they need to fill ‘ASAP – you and your team jump on it to identify these hard to find individuals and then the client doesn’t get back to you…..urhhh. I’ve learned over the years to schedule a time with your client during the initial call for follow up and up-dates.

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

JACKI: I think keeping the ball moving. As I mentioned above, often times hiring managers get pulled into a different project and the hiring process just ‘stops’….this is frustrating for the candidate, recruiter and ultimately the hiring manager because they don’t have the person they need when they need them. Companies have to figure out how to keep things moving even in really busy times.

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?
The diversity of this business. Where else do you get to work with so many different people and so many different industries? I love that part of it!!

JACKI: There is never a dull moment. What other type of industry or business do you get to work with such diversity. I’ve learned to much about amazing companies that aren’t mainstream, they’re not in the news all the time but they are cutting edge and excel at what they do. I love that I get to learn so many new things every day.

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

JACKI: My main goal for 2009 is to find or create an opportunity to work with amazing people in a company that has a strong business plan, is socially conscience and aware and make a difference in their staffing/talent acquisition team. Additionally, I would like to master the use of web 2.0 technology for identifying those hard to find candidates.

Six Degrees: Anything you want to plug?

JACKI:Yes, VipePower – I mentioned this earlier in the interview as a tool that I used to increase our sales and marketing efforts but it can be used as a very powerful tool for all recruiters to reach those hard to find candidates as well as to market your top applicants. I think it is even more beneficial in these economic times as it has such a strong ROI (and the investment is minimal to begin with). Just think about how much time and money we all spend on job posts – we get hundreds of candidates, the majority are not necessarily qualified – but may be for something else. So how do you manage your inventory? If we had a magic and easy way to do this, we could all make more money by filling our reqs faster and creating opportunities for our ‘hot candidates’. Vipe can help by allowing you or your candidate to create a quick 15-30 second video to email to your clients/targets to introduce yourself and present what makes you unique. It is really exciting to think about all the possibilities with this tool. It can be a strong differentiator from your competition.

Here is a sample video that a recruiter might sound out to bring a candidate to market:
Check them out at

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

JACKI: Well, I don’t think I am going to change the recruitment industry but I do know that I can make a difference. I’ll continue to develop relationships and learn from those around me and hopefully be able to bridge the gap, even if just a bit, between the hiring manager and the recruiters…that’s my goal!


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