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PART 2: Meet Pat Cronin, Vice President of Volt Professional Search: “How Do They Do It?”

Posted on August 6, 2008
Filed Under Interviews | 1 Comment

By Dave Mendoza, “SixDegreesFromDave.com
Partner, RecruitingBlogs.com
Master Cyberseluth, Affiliate Partner, JobMachine.net


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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?

Our website and postings certainly help attract active candidates to our organization. I think most people who have been in this business a while would agree that the most important sources of candidates are personal referrals and directly recruited passive candidates. Over 60% of or placements come from our database, referrals and direct recruiting.

Six Degrees: What is the source of the “Most Hires” collected from at your present employer? (In terms of Quantity #)
Personal Referrals and direct recruits by far are the source of our strongest hires.

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?

Our Lowest cost of hire is our existing database and personal referrals.


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

As mentioned earlier
o IT – Professionals, Managers, PMs
o IT – Programmers/Developers
o IT – Networking/Systems Admin/IT Support
o Engineering – Mechanical
o Engineering – Electronic
o Engineering – “Other”
o Life Sciences
o ERP
o Technical Sales/Consulting

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

We have some of the best training in the industry. Our Professional Search recruiters undergo extensive training from day one. They each attend a week long in house training which is phenomenal. We are very fortunate to have a brilliant Director of Training for Professional Search, Sue Danbom. You might recognize her from ERE. She is a featured blogger who is among the most commented on ERE.
In addition, we have ongoing formal training for Recruiters on topics ranging from sales to internet sourcing. Sue conducts a monthly national LiveMeeting training which covers topics the recruiters determine to be most useful to their desk. There is an incredible amount of follow up training, one-on-one coaching and mentoring. We are constantly updating our training program so it is current and provides our recruiters all the tools they need to be successful.

At Volt we are very fortunate to be a one of the few and the first Six Sigma organizations. It is part of our everyday culture. Six Sigma training was one of the most important learning opportunities of my entire career. Each and every employee at Volt has the opportunity to participate in any number of Six Sigma certification levels.

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?

We have two tools for recruiting. One is our enterprise wide database which currently has more than four million candidates. The Professional Search Recruiters all use another off- the-shelf product which is designed specifically for Professional Search. We use it successfully in the countries outside the U.S. in which we recruit.

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

Okay…another opportunity to age myself. When I started, we used 3X5 index cards and the Morgan Planner. While technology has transformed the tools we use to recruit I am still a firm believer that the phone is the most effective recruiting tool ever invented.

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?

I had no idea it would be so hard…as I am sure most of us realize at some point. This industry is not for the faint of heart. I think the greatest misconception about this industry is how much selling is involved. Most people prior to entering our business tend to focus on the matching aspect of the job. Yes, that is critical, and more importantly in my view is the sourcing of talent that is hard to find…those best in field individuals our customers cannot find through traditional recruiting methods.

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

I have made probably every mistake possible…that is how we learn, but the biggest……Ouch! I still wince when I think about it. In my early days, I accidentally checked a reference on a candidate with her current employer. She had not given notice and her boss had no idea she was looking. She was fired! ( I have never marketed a candidate so hard in my life.) While she was gracious about it, I cost her job. I never made that mistake again. Yes…she found another job right away…everyone always asks.

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.

I expect to facilitate change in our industry by being on the forefront of social networking Web 2.0 as a means of attracting and connecting with global talent. We are in the very infancy stages of tackling this challenge. My vision is to have a group of dedicated professionals using Social Networking, branding and buzz about the many benefits of using Volt Professional Search as a means to advance peoples career.

Our reputation as an industry needs to change. Given the current employment market and the continued reduction in the supply of skilled professionals, we as an industry need to stand up for ourselves and collectively provide a greater value proposition for our customers. We cannot continue to be seen as a commodity. It is up to each of us to demonstrate that we are a critical component in any company’s long term strategy. My personal stake in this is to operate with complete integrity.

Our industry is changing faster now than I have ever seen in the past 23 years. My mentor told me once that if I am doing the same thing this year that I did last year for my customers I am in the process of losing then one day at a time. Change is inevitable so I am committed to driving change not accept it passively. I am constantly thinking about what is next. As a Six Sigma Black Belt, recruiting process improvements are on my mind every day.

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

I am most proud of helping develop the entire methodology we utilize at Volt Professional Search that keeps the Voice of the Customer at the center of everything we do. This structured process helps us “get it right the first time.”
It has allowed us to reduce our days to fill, reduce our submittal to sendout, sendout to placement and job order fill ratio. Many very talented people were instrumental in developing our methodology. And we update it constantly.

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

Not knowing when to give up. I have a difficult time ending a client relationship. We have just developed a new tool which helps us determine our actual ROI for an order and client. This will help us be more objective and less subjective when deciding to terminate a client relationship.

Another area I struggle with personally is motivating people who just don’t want to be motivated. We give our staff all the tools they could possibly need. We train more than any other large organization that I know of and when it’s all said and done….it’s up to the individual to produce. I can’t want it more than they want it for themselves.

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

Over the years in this industry I have seen far too often the “more is better” mentality. When it comes to Professional/Executive Search, more is not better. Best is better. Quality is far more important that quantity. I see this most often when organizations try to blend contract/temp staffing with perm/Professional Search. They are very different businesses.

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?

What inspires me most is that I am never good enough. As soon as I have achieved something, there is always more to achieve. That is what keeps me going.

Six Degrees: What one thing do you ideally hope to accomplish in 2008? (OR) Six Degrees: What one thing do you find most ideal given the opportunity to develop/ implementing/ invent professionally that has yet to be done.

2008 is an exciting year for Volt Professional Search. We are hiring in all areas. The model we are implementing is groundbreaking and the remainder of this year is about finessing the model to make sure we surpass all of our anticipated benchmarks. We are in a tremendous growth mode laying the foundation now for the success in the next 3 years. We are planning 2010 right now. It’s never been so exciting!

Six Degrees: Anything you want to plug?

Did I mention we were hiring? Contact me at pcronin@volt.com to inquire about the positions we have available.

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

With vision, commitment and powerful drive….One placement at a time.

Comments

One Response to “PART 2: Meet Pat Cronin, Vice President of Volt Professional Search: “How Do They Do It?””

  1. Devin Blanks on August 14th, 2008 3:17 pm

    Dave,

    This was a supurb interview. I thoroughly appreciated its informative look into Volt, and more inportantly-Mr. Cronin’s innovative thought process. I was able to see several similarities between his ideas and mine, as well as a few familiar all-important business objectives. As always, thank you for providing thought-provoking content. I’ll look forward to more in the future.

    Regards,
    Devin Blanks
    Owner, President
    DB Search Group-Specialized Recruiting and Staffing Solutions That Make an Impact.
    612.308.9400 Direct
    devin.blanks@dbsearchgroup.com
    http://www.dbsearchgroup.com