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Part 2: Meet Carmen Hudson, Talent Manager at Yahoo: “How Does She Do It?”

Posted on August 27, 2008
Filed Under Interviews | Comments Off on Part 2: Meet Carmen Hudson, Talent Manager at Yahoo: “How Does She Do It?”

By Dave Mendoza

Email Carmen
(408) 349-3404
Linkedin Profile:
People Shark

PART 2 of 2

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?

CARMEN: This varies by group, position and level, but about 15% are hired from the corporate website, and employee referrals represent about 25% of our hires

Six Degrees: WHERE ARE THE “MOST HIRES” collected from at your present employer? (In terms of Quantity #)

CARMEN: Employee referrals

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?

CARMEN: I don’t know the answer, not sure of the lowest cost source. I do know that we maintain a pretty low cph, factoring in recruiting costs only.

Six Degrees: Tell us about your experience on the speaking circuit :

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

CARMEN: My team in particular looks for specialized professionals, legal, finance, corporate strategy, M&A. These are typically mid-career professionals who, in the past, have been hidden deep within organizations. With the advent of networking tools, these folks are much easier to find. Referrals are critical to us as well.

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

CARMEN: I take every opportunity possible to dial into webcasts, read blogs and I subscribe to several of the ERE discussion groups. Of course, my learning time is limited, so I focus on the areas that interest me most sourcing and candidate experience.

I don’t participate in many classroom-type learning situations that just isn’t my style. I learn from people. If I hear that someone has done something fantastic, I call them up and ask how they did it.

When I was in Seattle, I was on the board of directors of the local EMA chapter, which provided monthly opportunities to interact with my colleagues from other companies. I have a pretty big network of recruiting professionals, so I tap into individuals when I have a specific question.

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?

CARMEN: This may be off the wall, but I consider Excel to be one of the most important tools for recruiting managers. I have pretty advanced skills. I can do pivot tables, lookups, advanced formulas and charts. Excel comes in handy when you have a large amount of data to organize or analyze. I strongly believe that recruiting leaders will be required to sharpen business management skills as talent acquisition and management becomes core to business strategy. I wish I could say this without sounding like an MBA!

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

CARMEN: CD-roms! In the mid-90s, we used to get business lists on CD-roms. Cutting edge, for the time.

Six Degrees: How did your expectations the first time they got on the phones or in their cubicle differ from the reality.

CARMEN: The first time I got on the phone with the candidate I don’t know if I remember the very first time, but I do remember that I had to quickly learn how to better assess candidates. I liked everyone I talked to and wanted to hire every candidate.

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

CARMEN: Well, back in the go-go internet days, I worked for a famous online retailer. The recruiting tagline was ‘Work hard.’ Have Fun. Make History. (Can you guess which retailer?) Anyway, I was the college recruiting manager at the time, and I thought it would be nifty to express our philosophy by ordering hardhats with our tagline imprinted on them. I had this vision of a sea of hardhats with our logo at the big college recruiting conferences. I ordered waaaayyy too many hardhats; I couldn’t give them away. Plus they were awkward, cheap and funny-looking. I am sure there are boxes of these things in a storage room there. I learned that, while marketing is critical to recruiting success, it’s best to bring in the professionals to help with execution. Since then I have worked on many successful projects in tandem with the corporate marketing team.

Six Degrees: How do you personally expect to facilitate change within our industry, and/or at your place of work?

CARMEN: I think that as the talent pool shifts in demographics and characteristics, marketing will become increasingly important to recruiters. I pay close attention to marketing trends and new message delivery methods. I hope to someday blend the two disciplines.

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

CARMEN: Before LinkedIn, Jobster or any of the other networking tools, I would send out quarterly e-mail newsletters. Just by including a few personal stories and observations, sharing a few articles and links, and letting people know what I was working on, I was able to develop a very deep network. I didn’t use any fancy tools, just lots of names in the :bcc field. Viral networking is amazing. Folks shared the newsletter, they saved the newsletter, they remembered the newsletter. I wish I still had time to network this way. Now I primarily use LinkedIn.

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

CARMEN: Time. I wish I had more time to spend with hiring managers and hiring teams. For many managers, even senior managers, the hiring process is a mystery. Yet, the ability to hire great talent is a core skill for any manager. I try to develop a mini-learning session, presentation, brown bag or communication each quarter just for hiring managers.

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

CARMEN: There is this big debate going on right now about diversity, whether or not it’s outlived its usefulness. I think we, as HR professionals, have forgotten why diversity programs were developed in the first place. At the core of diversity programs and rhetoric is the requirement that companies treat all candidates fairly. Too often, I see examples of favoritism, acting outside the process, closed opportunities unfair practices that undermine diversity objectives. As HR professionals, it is our job to insist on a fair and open process thus ensuring the diversity of the talent pool. This is perhaps the toughest part of our jobs. The real business case for diversity is that by ensuring fairness, a company increases its chances of securing the very best talent available, thus increasing its chances of competitive success.

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?

CARMEN: Well, I got a hug from a new hire last week. She was so happy to be at Yahoo. I am still awed by the privilege to be a part of a candidate’s decision to make such a big life change.

Six Degrees: What one thing do you most fantasize doing/implementing/developing/inventing professionally that has yet to be done?

CARMEN: I would love to write or edit a textbook on recruiting for college-level HR programs.
Six Degrees: Anything you want to plug?

CARMEN: The Yahoo Search Blog – and the new My Yahoo Page. Both are fabulous.
I did a presentation last fall on Web 2.0 and recruiting. I would love to refresh the examples “if anyone has used advanced web technology in an unusual way, I’d love to hear about it.”


CARMEN: By becoming the first recruiter to win the World Series of Poker!


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