Executive Talent Spotlight: Ted White

1. Introduce yourself (name, brief background, etc.)
My name is Ted White, I am a recruiter with 20+ years of overall experience, mostly 15 years in Corporate, 5 years as a business owner running a small IT recruiting firm – Vertical Talent Solutions. After placing professionals all over the country, we now focus on the CT, MA, and NY markets.

2. What is your connection to ETS?
John Madigan is my connection. John offered me my first “large company” corporate recruiting role when he hired me at The Hartford in 2003 which I am grateful for to this day. Prior to joining The Hartford, I was familiar with the company as I was placing sales Account Executives and Regional Marketing Specialist across the country for Hartford Life. I had my pitch down and ended up selling myself! The Hartford provided me an opportunity to learn recruiting skills in IT, Finance and Accounting, and International at the time. They sent me on an unforgettable business trip to Ireland and London. I would not have had this opportunity if John did not take a chance on me in 2003. 

However, the real connection with John happened when we played a team building game back in the day. There may have been 20-25 of us HR / recruiting pros, a couple of decks of cards on the table with words on each card. Each person had to take 2 cards that they closely identified with, then share with the group. John and I both picked “Achieve More” and “Progress”. All I can say is – as a recruiting professional in my late 20s picking the same cards as the VP of HR, I was feeling pretty good about myself. Let’s pretend John had the same feeling :-). Since then, progress is happiness, and happiness is success – this was imprinted into my subconscious at a Las Vegas Tony Robbins Business Mastery event in 2015.

3. What is your current occupation/field of work?
Recruiter. My wife Lindsay and I co-own Vertical Talent Solutions, a small recruiting firm that we started 7/2014 when my kids were 2 and 4 and my wife was a full-time mother. At the time, Lindsay focused on the kids while I grew the business. Since that time, Lindsay is not only an accomplished recruiter, mother, and wife, she is consulting for one of our top customers where she is also heading up cultural initiatives. Although I went into this business to recruit, I have learned so much more, and continue to learn on a daily basis.

4. What do you find most interesting and fulfilling about your work?
With my family, kids, business, and a puppy who does not care how much I like being in the zone, I do not watch much TV, pay attention to the news, and I’ve scaled back personal social media use to almost nothing. I am a huge baseball fan, get updates from an MLB app, and proud head coach of my son’s baseball teams. I find it very interesting how business can be related to sports and vice versa. This past Spring, my son’s minor league youth team was an “expansion team” with rookie coaches whereas some of the other teams had been playing together for a few years. I took what I’ve learned in business (actually from my current business coach) to our team who made it to a well-played championship game. Although we did not win the title (yes, it was serious!), we built our team on respect, enthusiasm, hard work, process improvement, 80/20, encouragement, and repetition. We were successful at exploring interests, gaps, and showcasing strengths – players and coaches included, with a little luck here and there. And we had a ton of fun.

Every day presents an opportunity to learn, grow, progress as a business, professional, individual, and leader. Becoming comfortable with the uncomfortable (this one is never ending). Recruiting organizations tend to have a strong front line pulse on the economy. My team and I offer unique ways of doing things that yield positive feedback and results such as how we find people, consult with our clients, and our proprietary offer process. Hiring and industry trends are also rather interesting right now (today is 6/19/19). Companies are thriving, growing, acquiring, but at the same time this puts pressure on existing employees, and hiring to relieve the workload from these teams cannot happen fast enough. There are times when vendors feel the stress of all this, which is counter intuitive, maintain your support for the client and all will be good. We are in the most candidate driven market that I can remember in my 20 years an. It is also very interesting to see how different the hiring markets are in CT vs Boston or NY. Although recruiters can do their job from anywhere, in my opinion, there is a huge advantage to specializing in a particular geography in this market. I’m not sure CT will ever be the same as Boston or NY is right now, but these markets give CT a bit of an illustration of what CT could be like. 4 years ago we placed IT professionals in Seattle, Dallas, Charlotte, and various locations in CT. We have also placed IT professionals who live in NY, near Boston, NE, and FL. I won’t touch the republic of CA. CT, NY, and MA are keeping us busy with a preference for giving CT professionals and businesses reasons to stay in CT. Companies who are hiring right now really need to have their interview process down to a science. Then throw the summertime curveball into the mix. I expect hiring to be even more difficult after this summer.

What I find fulfilling is how progress happens when we respond the right way to good or not so good situations, and the signals that come back verifying the results of the correct response. On the company side, I really love helping CT small to medium sized businesses grow with the right people who support the culture of the organization, or when the owner of a firm says they have never had a recruiter put their company first. Helping a small business grow by 40%, filling a hard to fill position, or being reminded when I need to bring my intensity down a few notches – these situations are also lovely! On the candidate side, I really get a charge out of a someone telling me out of the blue that they are grateful for placing them at an awesome company, we improved their life, or placing a 60 year old grandfather .NET developer who went 1 for 1 after not interviewing for 25 years, with a large company! There’s quite a bit in that last one. As a straight shooter, the relationships built as a business owner are fun and working with clients who appreciate this style and give it back is fulfilling. It gets stuff done. Adapted over the years, I lead with “are you open to coaching?”.

Growing my team is also fun, this would require chapter 2.

5. What is a current issue or topic you find interesting in your field of work right now?
I love the psychology of recruiting, how consistently defining and setting the right expectations is the key to progression, and how to change the approach for the appropriate response. I take this approach with our offer process. 95% of our offers made to our candidates over the last 5 years have been accepted. This is trial and error, process improvement to the craziest level. My goal: to make more offers. I will soon announce an additional member to our team who, with her values, intelligence, and communication, will help us get there.

6. Favorite CT spot you would recommend!
West Hartford. Treva has the best food on the planet. Max Burger is the best go-to spot ever, as long as you get there before everyone else. And Poke-man is the cleanest food one can eat. Other than that, I occasionally change up my routine and bike to and work out of West Hartford area micro-brew coffee shops with wifi. Lastly, this is not a spot but more of a habit every day – before I get out of bed in that hazy state “I attract and have awesome people in my life” and “there are no limits how great today is going to be”! Try this for 3 weeks and let me know the response!

Photo: Vertical Talent Solutions | LinkedIn

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