By John Sumser
The first thing you don’t think when you meet Eric Winegardner is, “This is the corporate VP of Product Adoption at a Billion dollar company.” Maybe, “Where does that dude get all of that energy.” Or, “Who picks his shoes.” Or, “Man, if I was only that good looking.”
Kidding aside, Eric is the public face of Monster.com (at least in the Recruiting community). He travels relentlessly to spend time with groups of his clients. That means he’s a regular on the conference circuit. He helps Monster understand how to make its investments in this or that aspect of the HR universe.
Among other things.
Winegardner is an Ohio boy made good. Life on a farm led, obviously, to an early career stocking shelves in grocery stores. Even then, Winegardner obsessed about job quality. He focuses on delivering enthusiasm and value. You can be sure that that grocery store had the best looking shelves in Cincinnati.
Eric learned the ropes from the ground up. Prior to joining the Monster team in March of 2004, he was an active and vocal customer for over six years. He spent three years as a recruiter in a niche Executive Search firm and five years responsible for the U.S. recruiting operations of a Fortune 500 financial services organization.
These days, after years in Boston, Winegardner commutes to work from Cincinnati. His team of 25 in Boston is responsible for training and product solutions. He manages them by setting priorities and moving on.
He laments the consequences of the first generation of Internet Recruiting. “We’ve built a generation of sourcers. It’s as if there was nothing but the transaction. Early Internet tools made companies more capable of hiring. But, the art of Recruiting suffered as a result. It used to be a hiring centric sport. Today, it’s all about filling the req. We went from Recruiting to Sourcing. In order to woo top talent, we have to head back towards Recruiting.”
That’s impressive talk for the head of product adoption at a job board. “The definition of job board has changed in the past several years. We’re just starting to do the education required to help our customers catch up with what we do.”
That’s why you see Eric at the edgier parts of the Recruiting Industry. An active participant at Recruitfest and deeply involved in the Social Recruiting Summit, Winegardner is helping the Monster battleship execute a necessary turn. Take a look at the “Twub”
Eric is both an example of and an advocate for “the Power of Passionate People”. He envisions recruiters who:
- Always know who their next hires are going to be
- Know how to see hardwired attributes like optimism and a ‘calling’
- Are the company brand
- Believe that their purpose is life changing.
It’s easy to be influential when you are everywhere. Of all the people covered so far in this series, Winegardner has the harshest travel schedule. He shows up at every event, trade show and coffee klatch. When he’s there, it’s an enthusiastic blur.
In each interaction, Eric strives to be fully present. He listens well and is always on message.
The role is complex. Winegardner is both mouth and ears for the Mother ship in Maynard, Massachussets. He collects customer input relentlessly and feeds it back without a sugar coating. More so than anyone else on the list to date, Winegardner is effective both as an external influencer and an internal one. That rare coupling makes it likely that Eric will be a key industry player for a long time to come.