By Dave Mendoza, Adjunct Faculty, JobMachine
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Jerry is one of those people you instantly like and feel a camaraderie much akin to someone who has sat on a lawn chair on your deck with a beer in hand for many a summer night.
From a chat discussion to live at RecruitFest, RecruitingBlogs.com keeps bringing people from across the country and the world together, learning, singing and laughing. With Jerry we get all three. A practicing recruiter with a high grossing contracting firm who also happened to submit his talents on guitar with vocals for the RecruitingBlogs video contest and, not least, his ability to have us laughing throughout dinner in Toronto at Recruitfest on the first night at an RBC feast.
Avid Outdoorsman, Familyman, Recruiter, contracting firm owner, singer, musician, and staffing software innovator, he still finds time each and every day to contribute at RecruitingBlogs be in a forum or a chatroom discussion. My friends, - we have ourselves a Renaissance man and a familiar face in Jerry Albright, a family member within a tight knit community. Meet my good friend, Jerry Albright ...
Q&A with Jerry Albright, RBC Regular & Founder of Verbal Summary
Six Degrees: Tell us of your home world, Jerry.
Jerry: Nikole and I married in 1994 and have been enjoying our lives together for nearly 15 years! We have 3 children – boys Reagan (7) and Reed (5) and our little girl Hannah (3). Our home is in rural Northeast Indiana where we enjoy gardening, swimming in the pond on hot summer days and being actively involved with our kids! Nikole works at Oak Farm Montessori School where our children attend.
In the summer we really love getting away in our camper. Venturing to new places and seeing how much the kids love exploring is a perfect way to get away from the desk. I’m an avid outdoorsman – so our family enjoys a varied menu depending on the season! Walleye, morel mushrooms, venison and pheasant are some of our favorite meals together.
Six Degrees: How many years have you been a recruiter?
Jerry: My recruiting career began in June of 1987. I remember seeing an ad in the Fort Wayne paper with the following headline: Human Resource Consultant. Are you enthusiastic? Motivated? Influential? It then listed the phone number to call. I was certainly motivated, as at that point in my life I hadn’t decided on a particular direction. Enthusiasm has also been a part of anything I do. So all I needed to learn was how to be influential which sounded great to me! I called the number and have stuck with it ever since!
Six Degrees: What single event had the most impact on your sourcing/recruiting career?
Jerry: I haven’t thought about that before…..It would most likely have to be the impact of my first few placements. The “big picture” of recruiting really sunk in. I remember feeling like I had really accomplished something. . I had been in sales roles before recruiting but something just felt completely different. I fell in love with it! Since then I have never taken any placement for granted. I can remember the names and companies of nearly everyone I have placed.
Do you have a mentor to whom you attribute your overall outlook on recruitment, capabilities, and/or model your career after?
Jerry: I have been fortunate in my career to have several mentors – each of whom gave me invaluable insight into the fine art of staffing. Richard Pulse is the one who hired me and gave me my start in 1987. His training and guidance was fantastic. It’s really hard to quantify just how much impact he had on my career because if it weren’t for him I’m quite certain I would be doing something entirely different with my life.
My other mentor in the recruiting world was Bruce A. Bone. He was the one who showed me the absolute necessity to personally visit each client your represent. That is one of the things that have stuck with me over the years. If you are going to invest your time and effort with someone (clients) – you simply MUST meet them and build that relationship in a way that only face to face meetings can do.
Six Degrees: Tell us about your Day Job, Jerry:
Jerry: I am the owner of Professional Search Group as well as Verbal Summary. Professional Search Group was founded in 1998. Since that time I have developed clients throughout the Midwest. We are a small group of independent recruiters working together to fill our client need within the I.T. and Engineering community.
We have a focus in I.T. and Technology and also recruit within the Engineering world for several key clients.
Six Degrees: What recent general news story or industry trend do you feel will have an impact on your work in the future? Why?
Jerry: It would be foolish to not recognize the economic landscape we are all dealing with. It is refreshing for us all to be reminded of the true nature of our work and the focus and discipline success requires in the staffing world.
Six Degrees: What is your next career goal? What do you need to do to get there?
Jerry: Next for me is to continue developing the presence of Verbal Summary in the marketplace. Having been a successful recruiter for many years is allowing me to shift gears just a bit and follow an idea all the way through.
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?
Jerry: I really can’t say enough about Verbal Summary. If you can just picture how many times each day recruiters make marketing call into every company in the marketplace. They have absolutely nothing NEW to present to the clients. Faster? I doubt it. Better? Really. Lower Fee? Please….. When all is said and done there is nothing new taking place for our clients. They are getting resumes in Word format the same way they always have.
So it all gets down to providing a truly different (absolutely unique) service to them. Verbal Summary is a tool which allows you to add targeted audio right on top of the resume. So when your client reviews a candidate you have introduced they just click the play button and LISTEN to the candidate describe their particular background for that position. Clients love this.
Six Degrees: What tools (technology or old school file folder, for example) did you first encounter early in your recruitment career?
Jerry: About the only tool we had was the telephone. What I learned during those days was the importance of listening. It seems that with the overload of internet tools we use now – there isn’t much “listening” going on. In fact there is more silence that anything. The process has shifted from “conversation” based recruiting to a more question/answer/email format. I don’t see as much investment in getting to know your clients and candidates as much as we use to. So the tool that has stuck with me is the good old telephone. (Rumor has it the phone is making a comeback!)
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?
Jerry: Well – for me I had never heard of such a thing. It was all brand new for me and it felt quite natural.
Six Degrees: Worst mistake, biggest goof, lousiest practice you thought would fly but didn’t…and how that was a learning experience?
Jerry: I’m all about learning from mistakes! Luckily I haven’t made too many big ones. After deciding to “do my own thing” in 1998 I did make the mistake of hiring people based on reasons other than what I knew from my previous 10 years in the business it takes to be a success. I made the mistake of assuming the people I hired had the same desire for success that I did. It cost my some real money and lost opportunities to figure that out!
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.
Jerry: It has been quite apparent to many of us “old school” recruiters that the general level of service provided my many agencies has become stagnant. Find a candidate. Send the resume. Start again. Our clients are getting resume after resume in the same boring fashion they have for years!
I am personally committed to changing the way recruiters make presentations to their customers. As mentioned I have developed a tool for very easily combining audio with resumes. This tool is saving clients considerable time by being able to hear highlighted parts of their interview with the recruiter. The benefits of using it are endless. It is also used to capture your discussion with the client and add that to a written job requirement to be sent to your candidates. They love it. They get to hear the CLIENT describe the job – not just the recruiter’s interpretation. Candidates can very easily refer jobs to their associates just by forwarding the link you send. It’s amazing.
Six Degrees: What are some of the frustrating aspects/obstacles to your day to day as a staffing professional and in general?
Jerry: Clients now hide behind a wall of voicemail and email. It had been getting harder and harder to reach out to potential clients that had not worked with me before. Up until developing Verbal Summary I had nothing new to offer them.
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?
Jerry: What inspires me are the goals and dreams we have as a family. My lovely wife Nikole inspires me! My children inspire me! Recruiting has always been a gift I feel lucky to have received.
I am inspired when I drive down the highway and see names of our clients on the trucks. It makes me feel in some small way a part of the big picture.
There is not a single profession I can think of which offers such a balance between life and work. Recruiting for me is simply a way of life! The flexibility is something which few careers offer. I can take my work with me – leave it at the office – let it consume me for whatever time it may – or anywhere in between. The choice is up to me!
Six Degrees: What one thing do you ideally hope to accomplish in 2009?
Jerry: I will continue to get the word out on Verbal Summary while maintaining the level of placement activity I expect from myself. Should be a very busy year!
Six Degrees: Anything you want to plug?
Jerry: Everyone should really check out Verbal Summary. If you want to offer your clients something absolutely revolutionary…..this is it! It’s one of the few tools I have ever seen which actually give you something that will open client doors for you. It really does!
Six Degrees: How Are You Going To Change The Recruitment Industry?
Jerry: In a small (but growing) way I already have!
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Six Degrees: Tell us about Your Company
Verbal Summary - www.verbalsummary.com
- is the first of its kind. It’s a "Presentation Tool" designed for every desk in the staffing world. It allows the recruiter to easily combine audio with a resume for effective and powerful presentations to their clients. They simply record a conversation with their candidate creating an MP3 file. This audio is then easily uploaded along with the resume to the website. This profile is then turned into a friendly link for sending to their client. All activity taking place from that point forward is tracked instantaneously on their “dashboard”. You will now know immediately when your client has reviewed your presentation. That alone is worth the price!
Take a look at this example candidate profile!
Six Degrees: How was Your Company Founded?
Our industry has been fixated on candidate sourcing, social networking and storing candidate profiles. There has been very little (if any) thought put into how we’re presenting these individuals to our customer base.
In searching for a way to make our candidates stand out from the crowd we found nothing available.
I’m an old school recruiter. My success comes from having conversations – REAL conversations - with candidates and clients. Lately many of my clients have begun to rely more and more on email for communication. This frustrates me. After developing an excellent understanding of my candidate’s background and qualifications – I then have to throw it out the window and just send a plain old email with resume attached! I had to change that.
Often times during the initial part of the process the client begins with a phone call to the candidate. This is usually a few days in the making and the end result is in essence covering the very same ground your client is paying you for! So this tool simply had to be built. I now take specific parts of my interview audio with the candidate and stick it right on top of the resume.
There are hundreds of products to help us keep track of our candidates, but nothing to move them forward once a match has been identified. With that in mind we built the industry’s only tool geared toward our client’s first impression of the candidate that requires NOTHING NEW from the client or candidate.
We have significantly changed the way our customers expect to be served by reconstructing the entire ‘resume sending’ process. We’re now introducing the “person” to our clients, not just their resume.
Six Degrees: Where did you go and find investors?
This was done in-house. This project was done with a team of outside software developers. They helped me put my idea into a workable design and then took it from there. Being the first software product I had experienced it was a fascinating and rewarding process…..expensive…but rewarding!
From the initial concept to product launch took just under 1 year.
Six Degrees: Your Company’s Value Proposition
With a world gone crazy with all kinds of technology to find candidates – there is simply not a single, straight-forward tool to help you “brand” your “product” once you’ve identified a solid candidate for your client. I find it amazing just how much money is spent in the recruiting world just to make sure everyone has access to all the same resumes their competitors do – but nothing is being invested (yet) to set that resume apart from the crowd for your client.
Using Verbal Summary is a way for you to CLEARLY provide an incrementally better service to your client. Without a doubt clients absolutely love the ability to LISTEN to the candidate speak directly about their experience for the job. All the client does is click the link you send. Your email is a sharply branded message sent from Verbal Summary. The customer just follows the link. No downloads, passwords or additional software is required on their end. Your client can review YOUR INTERVIEW AUDIO at any time that fits into their schedule.
Six Degrees: What is the pricing structure for your services/products?
$50/month for the first account with discounts for additional users in the same company.
Six Degrees: What is the future for Your Company?
The future is great! Being the first tool of its kind I have noticed it taking a bit for the idea to catch on with the recruiting public. Once a recruiter sits down and really looks at it the advantage in using it becomes absolutely clear. I know most recruiters think in terms of placements so I’ll put it this way – if you make just ONE additional placement in 30 years due to VS – then it has paid for itself! Why WOULDN’T someone use it?!
Six Degrees: Do you blog?
I’m a recruiter – not a journalist or reporter - so I really haven’t felt the need to blog much. I’ve never thought the general public needed to know my every thought – but to each his own.
I am a regular on RecruitingBlogs.com though. Sometimes I’ll put something together over there. I have had the pleasure of hosting Talent Talk Cafe several times and have really enjoyed it. It is a chat every Tuesday and Thursday at 3pm EST on the front page.
I strongly believe every recruiter in the world should be a member there. Each day is a learning opportunity. The volume of information there is mind boggling!
Six Degrees: Tell me something others may not know about you.
My home is heated by burning corn which heats water in a boiler. That water is then pumped through my homes original gas/forced air system. The fan blows across the radiator and sends the heat throughout the duct system. It’s very quiet.