Top 100 v1.09 Bill Vick

Top 100 v1.09 Bill Vick

Posted on 23. Jun, 2009 by in Blog, Top 100

By John Sumser

The origins of American outsourcing are found in “third party recruiting” (TPR). The Recruiting task is so complex and innovation so rapid that most companies choose to outsource some component of the work. Long before there were organized process oriented management companies (RPOs), the “headhunter” moved onto the organizational stage.

In good economic times, about 500,000 people work in the TPR niche. They range from contract recruiters to tony boutique firms resembling investment banks. They fill slots for every aspect and level of the labor market. The rich diversity of business models and target markets makes it extremely hard to generalize about the various TPR operations.

TPRs come in a variety of flavors:

  • Retained Search Firms (Sometimes Called Executive Search)
  • Contingency Search Firms (Working for a percentage of annual salary)
  • Contract Placement Agencies (Generally Technical Contracts, high-end Temporary)
  • Staffing Firms (Temporary Help)
  • Contract Recruiters (Guns for hire who maintain a desk inside a corporation)
  • Recruitment Process Outsourcing Companies (RPOs)
  • Sourcers (who provide names and connection but no closing services)

Each of these types of business approaches the task of providing labor from a different perspective. Within the industry, there is a strong differentiation between ‘temp agencies’ and ‘executive search /component/option,com_jcalpro/Itemid,28/extmode,flyer/date,2392-10-01/”>cialis herbal alternative firms’. The differences (since even the most permanent hire lasts about 3 years) has more to do with the relative status of the employees being brokered than the duration of their employment. TPRs make their money on the same basis as the people who they process: salaried employees are priced as a percentage of annual wage; hourly employees are priced as a makeup on each labor hour.

The animosity between TPRs and internal employees working in HR is the stuff of legends. One side views the other as lazy and stupid. The other side sees its external competition as opportunistic and overpaid. Good communication between the camps is a rarity.

To complicate things, the TPR universe is the source of all interesting innovation in Recruiting and most of HR. The reciprocal animosity is one of the primary barriers to the rapid adoption of new technologies that work. The situation is so intense that one never sees TPRs briefing new technology at HR related conferences. This is in spite of the fact that all of the interesting new techniques have emerged from TPRs over the past 40 years. Fax machines, web sites, job boards, SEO/SEM, social recruiting, community development, email marketing, profiling all have their roots in the world of TPRs.

It’s a simple thing to explain. The only relative advantage a TPR ever has is speed. New technologies are the only source of new speed improvements. Finding them is a question of survival for all but the most networked, button down, good-old /component/option,com_jcalpro/Itemid,28/extmode,flyer/date,2392-10-01/”>cialis herbal alternative boy recruiting operations.

Bill Vick has been the driving engine behind the TPR segment’s innovation for almost two decades. With a history that ranges from the Marine Corps to the Fuller Brush C, Vick has led the life of an entrepreneur in a wide variety of forms. He’s half sales genius, half nerd. He says, “I’ve never met a gadget I didn’t like.”

A Karate sensei, Vick entered the Recruiting business after a long and varied career which included a stint where Zig Ziglar was his boss. In the 80s and early 90s, MRI revolutionized the TPR world with a system that provided consolidated training and services for franchise holders. Vick went to work for what is arguably the most interesting franchise in MRI’s history, the Dallas off that eventually became Kaye Bassman. A recruiting natural, Vick began breaking all sorts of records. No matter how great his success, he never lost touch with the computer industry (he founded and ran a chain of computer stores in the early 80s). With over 20 years in the Recruiting trenches, Vick offers the unique perspective of someone who knows the business and how to improve it.

In the early days of the web, Bill founded and grew the Recruiters Online Network, a precursor to today’s recruiting communities. The network featured recruiters who helped each other fill openings, share long-distance expenses and collaborate. These days, he continues to expand the effectiveness of the Recruiting profession through a couple of key initiatives:

  • Extreme Recruiting TV Showcasing the use of video, Vick interviews the thought leaders and real performers. If you want basic Recruiting training, watching all of Vick’s videos is a good start.
  • is an ongoing set of essays about the labor market.

Bill Vick exemplifies a necessary kind of influence. Over the years, he has been willing to make grand experiments in public places. By risking real failure, he creates the opportunity to demonstrate the utility of a new idea or technology. In an arena where influence usually flows from an advertising budget, Bill Vick sets an extraordinary example.

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2 Responses to “Top 100 v1.09 Bill Vick”

  1. Jason Davis

    23. Jun, 2009

    John, Bill absolutely deserves to be profiled as part of this series. I remember Bill way back from Recruiters on Line and in fact I remember getting the courage to call him to see about getting some input on the first version of when I launched it back in the late 90′s I remember he picked up the phone and I got so nervous I hung up on him. It’s one of those things about the telephone and recruiting in that it provides a high level of anonymity. In any event, we ultimately did talk and we have been friends a long time. Bill is constantly doing and adapting and as a result, he has the respect of the industry. A while back I interviewed him and below is the link.

    Thanks for everything Bill. Your footprint is big in the circles I spend time in.

  2. Rayanne Thorn

    23. Jun, 2009

    Thanks John. Bill’s presence in this industry is a blessing and extreme good fortune. He has shed light on issues and recruiters/HR professionals for quite some time now. It’s nice to see the light on him for a change.

    Thanks Bill.