Over the next few weeks we will be introducing you to the speakers for the upcoming SourceCon Fall 2013 conference. Dan Piontkowski will be presenting Driving the ship – Leading and Managing a Military Veteran Sourcing Program as a part of the Leadership Track.
Tell us about your background, how you became a sourcing professional, and what you do currently.
I started out at the very, absolute bottom of the pile – a Marine recruit at Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego, CA. Since being “lower than whale snot” according to my Drill Instructors, every step since then has been a step up! During my time enlisted in the Marine Corps I was lucky enough to earn the opportunity to attend the Naval Academy and became a fine, upstanding naval officer driving warships in the Pacific. The original life plan was to do my 20 years, retire from the military and go on to whatever came next. That 20 year mark was last July. Obviously, things turned out a bit different! While in the Navy, I did a tour as an Officer Programs Recruiter – turns out I enjoyed it. It wasn’t until that I attended a job fair manning the booth for the Navy that I found out “real companies” had “real recruiters” and I understood that it was a real career path. I left the Navy at the end of that tour, and worked at a staffing agency to cut my teeth in the industry. Through networking and referrals, I ended up as a sourcer at Booz Allen Hamilton. It was a huge culture change to go from life cycle recruiting to sourcing, and tried my patience many times. In the end, I discovered more about myself and that I loved the hunt more than anything else. Since then, I used my sourcing skills to really dive into the niche of finding transitioning military members and hunting for them to hire into positions inside the company. Since then, I’ve grown into a stronger leadership role and am the Veteran Staffing Program Manager at HP. I’m able to take the skills and knowledge I have honed over the years and use it to develop more sourcers to be effective in this space, and shift the way hiring manager look at the military candidates to hire them. The man that took the chance on me and hired me into that role is going to be in attendance at Sourcecon – hopefully he still thinks it was a great decision he made back then.
Tell us about the presentation you have planned for SourceCon. What takeaways should attendees expect?
I’m really excited to be talking about leading a Veteran Sourcing/Recruiting Program inside your company. There’s a lot of moving parts to it, and while connecting the veteran to the right job is a key part of it there are many other things that should be working in tandem with that to make things successful. The key themes that are going to be addressed are Collaboration and Candidate Experience. Sourcing veterans isn’t a 1-man show, sourcing veterans a shift in the organizational behavior of your sourcers, the hiring managers looking at them, and the way you incorporate them into your regular sourcing/recruiting channels vice having it stand alone.
Why would it be unwise for someone to miss your session?
Well, for starters you’d miss my wit, charm and amazing personality. From a content standpoint, the military veteran community is a hot topic already – look around in any media outlet and veteran employment issues are always being discussed. Attending this session is going to give you a lot of the information you need to be able to go back to your company and come up with a plan on how to tap into this high value talent pool. Most importantly, you’ll understand what you as a leader can do to let your sourcers attacking this candidate pool have huge wins.
Have you been to SourceCon in the past? What are you most excited about?
I’ve never been to SourceCon before. I’ve followed the website and read articles. I’m excited that I get to hang out and talk with people that “get sourcing” and I can learn a lot from them rather than explaining that a sourcer isn’t a ‘junior recruiter’.
How do you feel about the future of sourcing?
I’m mixed on the future of sourcing to be honest. I absolutely think it is valuable and an integral part of a recruiting organization and it is continuing to define itself in terms of roles, value and leadership. On the other hand, I see the shrinking budgets and do-more-with-less need across business and quite often sourcers are becoming full life cycle out of necessity to drive the hiring process. It’s interesting to watch and be a part of and I’m always curious to see what is going to happen.
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What new tools are you experimenting with that you find interesting?
Truth be told, I’m pretty old school in the sourcing space. My best weapon is my network. In the veteran space, word of mouth and personal experience are the two biggest tools you can have. The veteran population is a fun that way – they’re out there, they are used to talking with people and having a conversation about things, and it’s usually pretty easy to spot them in large masses. The best tool you can have in this space is the confidence to stand up and talk to them.
Tell us something interesting about yourself that has nothing to do with what you do professionally.
I once ate a can of Alpo dog food, the wet kind, for a radio contest. The winner got an incredible Valentine’s day package with jewelry, a spa day, and other great things. I came in second place and got a bellyache.