Every day I go to LinkedIn to find out who has been looking at me, or for me perhaps. Recently I discovered that a staffing and recruiting entrepreneur from California had been on my page. It seems he liked the trophy wife Craigslist ad story and was intending to email me. I beat him to it with an offer to be the subject of Five Question Friday and here we are.
Michael Dennis runs his own executive recruitment firm in Los Angeles, called Delphi Search & Consulting, Inc. He has recruited senior executives and top level management for clients ranging in size from start-up companies to the Fortune 100. The industries he has worked in include wireless/mobile, healthcare, manufacturing, insurance, high-tech, biomed, public accounting, private equity, VC's, and investment banks. His recent accomplishments include building out the U.S. operations for a leading UK digital technology company.
Two months ago, Dennis also launched a SaaS recruiting company, FindHire, with the intent to provide affordable alternatives to more expensive ATS systems. He says the company is the first to launch a recruiting app for iPad on Apple's iTunes store. Among the system's features, a source tool to locate great candidates in hard to find places, a contact mechanism to reach out to any candidate in their database and contact passive candidates directly, as well as a built-in scheduler that syncs to Outlook, Google Calendar, or iCal.
Let's get going with the five questions.
On the search side, we are seeing a lot of hires in the Intellectual Property space. We have catered to that, and in that effort brought in a legal recruiter to fill those reqs, primarily in-house. On the software side, we have seen a lot more hiring and utilization of the tools in the hospitality and retail industries, which we find surprising. Hopefully these are signs that things are really picking up.
2.) What is the biggest drag on your business, the bane of your existence at the moment?
Trying to compete with larger firms that boast a bigger brand identity. The big nationals also have large marketing budgets and can push specific levels of expertise. With my new software venture, I am up against companies that have raised substantial amounts of capital, even in the initial phase of their business, and they can create very robust, enterprise-level platforms. The recent purchase of Taleo by Oracle for $1.9 billion points to the size, and potential upward mobility, of that market. Trying to get a piece of that market as a small start-up has proved to be very difficult, but I am confident in our value proposition of significantly lowering costs-per-hire.
3.) How do you define success?
This is a tricky one. Of course there are many aspects to this, and we might define personal and professional success differently. In business, on the staffing side, creating a match between employer and candidate, finding that harmonious fit, creating value for a client, is very exciting and fulfilling. With my new company, it's the prospect of filling a need for my industry, and creating something that allows people to get jobs that may change their lives for the better.
Creating a match between employer and candidate, finding that harmonious fit, creating value for a client, is very exciting and fulfilling.
4.) Name one way you have cut costs or increased profits during the recession?
When you're dealing with smaller client budgets per quarter, it's a great time to look at tools and new solutions that can help you better manage your process more efficiently and cost effectively. For me, that's a better way to keep costs down and keep your overhead down than going out and hiring people to do the things you need to get done. Starting the software business was a hedge of sorts, and a direct response to the fact that the economy had impacted my executive recruiting business. So if a company didn't want to use my agency, and pay a high fee, then could I offer an alternative in the form of a low-cost software solution that enabled them to find and hire their own candidate.
5.) What technology do you find indispensable?
I am really software focused, and use a number of products to generate both both sales leads, as well as candidates. We are constantly going through various CRM programs to find the best fit for me and my team. Specifically, one Internet utility tool that we use is from Broadlook Technologies, a company out of Wisconsin. (Ed. note. the company says their program "automatically obtains employee names, job titles, email addresses and telephone numbers from company web sites," enhancing sales, recruiting and CRM) They have a few different products, but Profiler is the one I use when I am prospecting a particular company and looking to get company contacts. I definitely find that to be a real time saver.
Thanks for your time Michael. Good luck, both with your existing executive recruitment firm, as well as the software start-up. If you have any questions you would like to address to Michael, feel free to do so through the Comments section.
And if you have anyone you think would make for a good Five Question Friday segment, let us know, or just creep on my LinkedIn account.