CWB of the month: How Networking Got Me A Cool Job

The following is a cross post from our CWB of the Month, Amybeth Hale. You can check out her original post and other topics at www.researchgoddess.com.

It’s pretty obvious that I’m big into using social networks to their fullest extent. As if no one knew that before! I need to give a major hat tip to networking because, after all, that’s how I landed my job at Waggener Edstrom. I decided it would be a neat thing to go through the steps of the process on how exactly I got my job and how networking and new social media played a major part in it.

Susan Burns, who is the former Worldwide Talent Acquisition Leader at Waggener Edstrom, has always been a very creative thinker. She was working with Steve Fogarty, the former Senior Sourcing Strategist at Waggener, when he was presented with a new opportunity at Adidas, so they needed to find a replacement for him. Susan had a long-standing relationship with Joel Cheesman from an SEO standpoint – Joel was managing WE’s pay-per-click campaign and she wanted to try an alternative method of advertising for this position, so she approached Joel. They decided to use Joel’s own Cheezhead blog, as well as his network of bloggers, to promote the job via CheezAds. So Susan first created a graphic promoting WE and the Sourcing role, layered in an H3 campaign and worked with Joel to use the referral tracking code to track results and ensure payout for referrals. Joel then set about sending out the unique HTML code to his blog network to post the job opening. At the same time, he also sent a few select people the full job description for the Sourcing Strategist position.

Back in the fall of 2006, I had met with Joel while I was up in Cleveland starting my job with SearchPath because I was interested in starting my own research blog. Joel was gracious enough to spend a couple of hours with me over dinner talking to me about some best practices and how to get my feet wet in the world of blogging. Over the next several months I worked on my blog and it became a fairly popular read within the recruiting and research community. In the spring of 2007, Joel invited me to participate in his CheezAds campaign, and I accepted. I was one of the bloggers who received the HTML code for the Sourcing Strategist job and placed it on this post (ironically, targeted sourcing and research techniques!) – I was advertising for the job I would eventually accept, though at the time I did not realize it!

What piqued my interest was the email Joel sent me with the Sourcing Strategist position description. I almost did not even respond to it because in the original description there was an element of candidate development, a skill I do not have. However, the rest of it intrigued me so I submitted a response to the company.

About a week later, I received a response from Susan indicating that one of the recruiters would be reaching out to me. I was contacted by the staffing coordinator shortly thereafter and scheduled for my first phone interview with Nikole. After some schedule shuffling, we finally nailed down a date and spoke for about an hour. The conversation went very well, and we set up a phone interview one week later during which I spoke with the Sr. Vice President of People Services. We also had a great conversation, and within two days we were making arrangements for me to fly out to Portland for some face-to-face interviews.

At this point in time, I had started doing some ‘snooping around’ on LinkedIn to find some of the people with whom I’d be interviewing at Waggener. I wanted to find out some information on each of them so that I could ask them some questions about their background while they were interviewing me. Along the way, I happened to see the name Steve Fogarty on one person’s list of contacts, and I noticed his title while at Waggener – Senior Sourcing Strategist. I got curious and reached out to Steve to find out a little bit about the company, the position, and the expectations. After I left my interviews in Portland, I immediately sent connection invitations to all of the people with whom I’d interviewed. Within the next five days, I was offered the position and accepted.

I also have a sourcing colleague who started at the same time as me, Kristin Kalscheur. She got her job at Waggener in much the same manner. She saw a job posting on ERE for a Sourcing Strategist and went to LinkedIn to connect with Susan and express her interest in the position. Kristin told me that because at the time she was living in L.A., had she not taken this extra step, she probably would not have interviewed for the position!

Interestingly enough, after I started with Waggener, I learned from Nikole that the fact that I would not do candidate development was almost a deal-breaker! But Nikole told her manager that I would be worth taking a look at, and the rest is history so I am ever thankful to Nikole for taking a chance on me!

So upon my hire, I connected back with Susan Burns, only to find out that she was also going to be a presenter at SourceCon 2007. We made plans to meet up and have lunch together there, and we have since developed a nice friendship even though we do not work together as she has ventured out on her own with Talent Synchronicity.

Steve Fogarty, who used to hold the Senior Sourcing Strategist position at WE, has also become a very good network connection. Since we linked up during my interview process, he has been an incredibly informative and helpful colleague.

Joel saw his efforts through the H3 campaign come through, and according to him, he was able to put a few more gifts under the Christmas tree last year, just by helping me get a new job.
And me – well, I have a cool job with Waggener and some great new connections. Ever since I accidentally stumbled into this industry in 2002, I’ve realized the importance of who you know and connect with. I think this is a perfect example of the benefits of developing good connections within your network. If I had not known Joel, I never would have known about this opportunity. If Joel hadn’t developed a good relationship with Susan, she might not have taken advantage of his blogging network. If Susan and Steve hadn’t tried to come up with some new and innovative ways of bringing in new talent, they never would have thought of Joel. And if any part of this network had become detached, I might not have been able to take advantage of this cool opportunity with Waggener.

Lesson to be learned here: make sure to take care of your networks! You never know what treasures may be hidden within them!

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