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Part 2: Meet Diana Roberge, Sourcing Her Way to New Adventures

Posted on August 4, 2009
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Six Degrees: What types of training in sourcing/recruitment are available to you and have you taken advantage of?

Diana: When I was first brought onto the team at Unum my manager set up training with Shally Steckerl. Since then I’ve tried to read up on recruiting trends from as many sources as possible. I subscribe to a number of daily industry related feeds and allow myself time to relax with a good cup of coffee during webinars whenever possible.

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

Diana: Paper files for requisitions and an old AS400 system for an ATS with 5 short lines for notes for each candidate…my times have change!

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?

Diana: I thought this was going to be a challenging profession with a lot of rewards if I put the effort into it. I was right. This profession is always evolving. If you remain open to change and continually seek to improve your skills so many opportunities open up to you. People outside of this industry are usually shocked to hear all the things I do in a day and the tools I use to get those things done. It’s not a matter of reading a resume, stamping yes or no on it, sending it to the hiring manager if appropriate and then walking away. It’s about so much more including creativity, negotiating and respect for all parties involved.

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

Diana: I had 4 H-1B visa applications on the doorstep of the processing center at 6:30 am the day the pool of new visas opened up several years ago. I had assured the managers we would get the visas. The visa cap was met within hours and 2 of our visas were denied. I called the hiring managers affected to explain what had happened and that I was looking into alternate visas. They were both quite upset and went to my manager sure that I had done something wrong. Granted I had done nothing wrong in filing the applications and no one could have predicted that an entire year’s worth of H-1B visas would be spoken for within hours, but I had assured the hiring managers we would get the visas. I learned 2 things. Look at the alternatives and come up with a solution quickly AND never assume any visa process will go smoothly. You must keep hiring managers informed of the progress and always explain the risks.

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

Diana: I plan on continuing to drive for improvement surrounding the candidate experience. One area is to simplify the process for candidates to connect to recruiters and stay connected…this is critical. How many are lost due to the length of time it takes to fill out an on-line application? How many get through the on-line application only to feel lost in some database with no personal contact? How many speak to a recruiter once only to hear nothing from them again? These are just some of the things that affect the candidate experience and for many places need a drastic overhaul.

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

Diana: I call everyone back who leaves a voicemail message within the shortest time possible. My aim is to call back within the same day or within 24 hours at the latest; same with email. It may be a small thing, but small things can make a difference and be the force that drives someone to reach out to you again. It’s another way of making people feel connected and not just a number.

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

Diana: “Surf Control” being applied (and re-applied every so often when I least expect it) by the corporate IT department universally with no regard to functional responsibility of the employees. The entire staffing team has been denied access to numerous sites including LinkedIn and Facebook. I’ve had to explain on numerous occasions despite my official title being “Senior Staffing Research Internet/Database Mining Specialist” why it is important for the team to be allowed free access to the internet. In addition, each time “Surf Control” reappeared I’ve needed to get official approval to have it removed yet again. Is this silly or what?

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

Diana: In general there has been a lack of sustained attention paid to the power of networking and the importance of building pipelines. Too much focus and time wasted waiting for the right candidates to see the ads and apply through the applicant tracking systems or paper application systems.

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?

Diana: When you are a recruiter no two days are ever alike. Each opening and person you encounter during the process to fill that opening are unique. You have to understand so many little details and nuances along the way pertaining to specific needs and timing.

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

Diana: Land in a new position where I can make a positive impact towards a strong, proactive, team that isn’t afraid to try something new in order to attract top talent to their organization.

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

Diana: By being a catalyst for constant improvement in the ways recruiting is approached. Constantly improving my skills and knowledge base and freely sharing it with others.


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