The focus of this Five Question Friday is Paul DeBettignies, a Minnesota-based IT Recruiter. He is Vice President of Recruiting at HireCast Consulting, author of the Minnesota Headhunter blog and Co-Founder and Coordinator of Minnesota Recruiters.
Paul is a frequent local and national speaker, as well as writer, on the subjects of recruiting, HR, career, networking and social media. He is also involved in the Minneapolis and St Paul technology, marketing and social media community as a sponsor, volunteer and mentor.
1) What is the biggest growth area in your business right now?
After 13 years of being on my own doing full time perm placements in IT, I merged my practice with Steven Sorsveen who has specialized in IT contracting and consulting and taking advantage of our combined strengths. We work with companies of all sizes, but the folks that need the most help are startups and emerging companies. In most cases they do not have staff to help with the hiring, nor the network of technologists in place to do it on their own.
2) What is the biggest drag on your business, the bane of your existence at the moment?
“Hurry up and wait.” If you watch CNBC or read The Wall Street Journal you hear about some companies hesitant to hire because of uncertainty in the economy. We see some of that, although it did get better in the second half of 2011. I am great with the “hurry up”... not so much with the “wait.” Having said all that, the biggest bane of my existence is usually me. More than anything or anyone else I tend to get in my own way.
3) How do you define success?
Success for me on the business side has always been when a client calls proactively to say they need a hand. When they call us first, then I know we have done a great job. Same thing with candidates... we talk to a lot of people and only a small number get placed. However, it works out when they refer their friends because we treated them well. To me, that’s another sign we're doing it right and succeeding.
"Success for me on the business side has always been when a client calls proactively to say they need a hand. When they call us first, then I know we have done a great job."
4) Name one way you have cut costs or increased profits during the recession?
As a “one man band” during the recession it was hard. And I am going to be really transparent about it, and tell you I got my butt kicked. It was difficult at times to compete with the larger groups who could dedicate four recruiters to one position. What saved me was I knew of companies that needed help that my colleagues were not aware of. They were all fighting over the same finite pool of companies. The other thing was while recruiting for them I spent a lot of time consulting with my clients about branding, sourcing, their hiring process and basics of recruiting.
5) What technology do you find indispensable?
The phone. No joke. I was an early adopter of the web, blogs, applicant tracking system, LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. I was doing SEO six years ago. All of those are great tools, but we need to talk to people. Making calls (lots of them) is core to the business. I am not of a gadget guy and have been using a BlackBerry for years. I am shopping right now for an Android phone but I care little about all the apps and features. I need a phone with an unlimited calling plan, voice mail and call waiting. I guess that makes me a little “old school." It works though!
"We need to talk to people. Making calls (lots of them) is core to the business."
Thanks for your time Paul. And if you know someone who is a good candidate for a future Five Question Friday, please let us know.