Top 100 Influencers v 1.76 Bob Corlett

Top 100 Influencers v 1.76 Bob Corlett

Posted on 16. Mar, 2011 by in Blog, Top 100

Top 100 Influencers v 1.76 Bob Corlett

Great talent in the HR and Recruiting universe rarely arrives in a straight line fashion. None of the stories of the Top 100 to date involve a person who went to school to become a member of the HR Industry. This is particularly ironic when you think about the amount of energy that gets spent trying to get the right people trained for the right job. Given the serendipity with which HR influencers arrive on the scene, it’s surprising that there isn’t an HR Silo for Talent Randomization.

Bob Corlett is a great example. He began his career as a Systems Engineer at EDS. (Bob says that you should interpret ‘Systems Engineer” as ‘business process guy’). In his early career, he helped companies map and transform processes. Once the discipline waas formalized, it was called business process reengineering. Bob began back in the days of Deming and Total Quality.

That background is the essence of Corlett’s impressive contribution. Although he doesn’t use the word, Corlett practices a Kaizen approach to life and work. Simply, Kaizen is about a sustained focus on focus upon continuous improvement; a relentless search for the better way. Corlett applies his Systems Engineering skills to the delivery of talent and the building of his business.

From his view, influence is the essential element of effective work as a headhunter (which he is) or a leader in HR. Influence is what allows people to see possibilities. Influence changes the level of appreciation for the object of influence. It has two basic elements.

First of all, you have to meet the bare minimum threshold for credibility. He calls it ‘curb appeal’. Do you look legit and are you an actual expert or are you just another poseur. Without curb appeal and expertise, there is no influence.

The second component is the make or break aspect. Do you get to frame the issue? Once you have the ability to shape the conversation, you have everything you need.

Influencers shape thought with a combination of expertise, credibility and the willingness and capacity to own the entire argument. They probably don’t spend much time counting up the dimensions of their own personal influence. They are much more likely to be making things happen.

One of the key issues in the measurement and assessment of influence online is the virtual impossibility of getting a handle on people’s ability to have impact. The way that influence manifests itself spans the entire range from motivating to destroying motivator.

Preventing things is as influential as making them happen. And, organizations and industries need both aspects of influence.

Corlett’s Recruiting process includes a massive reengineering of the entire process from the job narrative to the number of people who get to see resumes. Here’s how he describes the process of engaging a candidate:

Step 1. Pass the first smell test.

Step 2. Tell the candidate an interesting story about the company or the job.

Step 3. Then ask, “Do you want to have a conversation?”

Step 4. Have a very disciplined phone conversation focused on the prospect’s competencies

Step 5. Candidate isn’t sold, she has a conversation about fit. Reads the blueprint has professional interview, not sales pitch.

Step 6. Help them be consistent in the interview process

Bob understands that there is more to the game than perfecting the process. Recruiting is changing. Increasingly, HR Departments, Vendors and other ecosystem members are all becoming publishing houses. The next wave of industry innovation is all about content development and management. Corlett is way out ahead of the game on this.

The company’s newsletter is designed to arm the decision makers who are their customers. The newsletter covers talent and business strategy questions. The fact that he edits it and writes for it is no small tribute to his understanding of where the industry is headed. Here are a couple of examples.

And, just for emphasis, here’s his current bio:


Bob Corlett is the founder and president of Staffing Advisors – a retained search firm in Washington DC.  Despite being half the cost of everyone else in exec search, or perhaps because of it (their fees average  12.5% of annual salary) they have earned the staffing industry’s only award for exceptional client service – Inavero’s 2011 “Best of Staffing” award.

His company is totally focused on serving small to midsize businesses, associations and nonprofits – so you may notice that Bob does not seem to care much about hiring problems outside of that realm, or branching into other services.

As the developer of The Results-Based Hiring Process®, Bob is one of Washington’s better known thought leaders on staffing and recruiting.  You can read his blog posts in The Washington Business Journal, in his email newsletters, on his company blog – The Staffing Advisor, and on Twitter. (Of course there is a separate blog, twitter account and Facebook fan page for job seekers).

Bob volunteers with the RecruitDC unconference crowd and also runs his own a face-to-face networking group for HR and staffing pros, called the Staffing Alliance of Maryland Employers.

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