"Here is my greatest piece of advice on networking: Do it even when you don’t need it yourself"
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Bruce is a high connector on Linkedin and an avid social media activist with over 20 years of engineering experience in the telecommunications, aerospace and semiconductor industries. Bruce has an Expertise in Engineering/Management recruiting in engineering (semiconductor industry, oil and gas, construction, geology etc.) which he shares with his staff at Technical Professionals, Inc. - it is what makes his firm unique - they are all engineers by training. As of 2009, Bruce now has offices in the US and Canada.
Q&A with Bruce Tracy
Six Degrees: Tell us of your home world.
I have a wonderful girlfriend named Tracy (and yes, when we get married it will be Tracy Tracy). She has two great boys aged 10 and 6.
My hobbies include almost anything that is done outdoors. My favorites are running, hiking, kayaking, gardening. One of my proudest recent accomplishments was to break 3:00 in a marathon; my time was 2:51.
Taking care of our World and our environment is also very important to me. Nearly every decision I make every day involves asking the question: “How will this impact the World”.
Six Degrees: How many years have you been in the staffing industry?
I started my own recruiting company, Technical Professionals, Inc. in September of 2003, so I have been recruiting for almost 6 years now. Full disclosure though, I did work for a firm for 2 weeks prior to that
Six Degrees: How did you get started as a recruiter?
I was an engineer for nearly 20 years prior to becoming a recruiter. I recognized a need for someone that understood technology to become a recruiter in the technical world. I started out recruiting solely in the semiconductor industry, but have since expanded my business to almost anything techie (and some things not so techie).
Six Degrees: What single event had the most impact on your sourcing/recruiting career?
I don’t think it is an event so much as the advent and expansion of social networking. I have always believed in the power of networking in successful recruiting. The advent of social networking forums like Linkedin, Facebook and Twitter ,to name a few, have had a huge impact on the ability to effectively network within the industry.
Six Degrees: Tell us about your day to day as a staffing professional
Well my responsibilities are numerous. I am involved in sourcing, client development, applicant tracking system development, research, web site development, making coffee and anything else that needs to be done. When I started by business I did a bit of research and found out that the average recruiting firm employed 2.3 people. My firm is a bit under average with 2.0 people.
Six Degrees: (A) What other companies' recruiting operations do you admire or have heard are best-practice examples?
I won’t actually name any specific companies, but I have over the years worked with many other small firms, doing fee-splits, sharing research, etc. and I have found that, in general, the industry is a very professional one. I am always amazed at the willingness of people in the industry to help one another. So that is a general observation that I “admire”.
(B) In what aspects are they superior?
I tend to like to work with other recruiters who are customer focused. By customer focused I mean both sides of the equation. I want to work with others that care as much about the candidates that they represent as their clients. I believe that is what it takes to be successful in this business.
Six Degrees: What recent general news story or industry trend do you feel will have an impact on your work in the future? Why?
Well I believe that the economy as a whole has turned a corner. There is some bright news coming out and the stock market seems to have reversed its negative trend as of late. In my experience, these economic sings typically precede company hiring.
Another trend that is having a huge impact on our industry is social networking. Position sourcing has taken on a whole new face as of late due to networking. I believe this trend will continue in the future.
Six Degrees: Tell us about your broader involvement within the staffing industry
My broader involvement really involves working with other recruiters and agencies and also helping to foster a positive networking experience. I have hundreds of recruiters in my network reach and I try to assist anyone that asks for help in any way.
Six Degrees: Can you detail how the recession has affected your particular industry niche? Has it effected your job or that of your fellow team members within the organization - If so, to what extent?
Well, the recession has certainly changed my company’s structure. As I mentioned, our sole focus when we began operations was the semiconductor industry. An early sense of a slowdown well over a year ago led me to broaden my company’s focus to include many other engineering and non-engineering disciplines. Since we are a small firm we can be very flexible in the work that we focus on. At the same time we do keep our core focus in the semiconductor and related industries.
Six Degrees: Aside from simply the generic term “Networking” what specific efforts have you made on your own behalf, or on behalf of colleagues to broaden your opportunities. Are there specific groups, both online and in-person that have proved fruitful in extending your personal brand and job seeking prospects?
Again, I will not mention specific networks or companies, but in the last year or so there have been a number of new companies in the industry that have provided avenues and sources of jobs to recruit for. These companies sign up companies and/or other firms that advertise their positions and allow other recruiters to work on these positions for a fee. I have participated in several of these. Although this work does not replace my company signing on with clients of our own it has been a great source of supplemental requisitions to work on. It is also a great way to become familiar with other companies and agencies.
Six Degrees: Given your own Trial and Error experiences as a Networker, what advice do you have for your peers on what NOT to do?
Here is my greatest piece of advice on networking: Do it even when you don’t need it yourself. Here is what I mean by that. I am heavily involved in “social networking websites” and have been on some of them almost since their beginning. I continue to build my networks at all times. One thing I have noticed about some “networkers” is that they form their networks when they have an urgent need for help; as an example, when they have been laid off and need a job. This is not what networking is about. Networking is about developing a support group where members help each other at all times, not just when they have a need. I feel very strongly about that.
Six Degrees: What is your next career goal? What do you need to do to get there?
I truly believe that with current and future technologies the face of recruiting will change. I believe that there will be a lot more fee sharing in the future and a lot more agency interactivity. The industry can no longer operate in a vacuum and those that do will struggle to survive. We need to pull together as an industry and help one another. By the way, Kudos to you Dave for being such a big part to that activity. My next career goal, if you can call it a goal, is to remain a big part of that and to facilitate that change where I can.