December 08, 2000, 1:46 PM — CARL LOPES IS director of employment and Steve Baraban is the technical
recruitment manager at Staples, an office-supply retailing chain based in Framingham,
Mass. Staples last year filled 256 corporate IT positions and currently has about 65
positions open in its dot-com division alone.
InfoWorld: What is your most fertile recruiting ground?
Lopes: We have seen the Internet ramp up in three years from being almost
inconsequential to being the No. 1 or No. 2 [recruiting tool]. But it's incredibly
people-intensive. In addition to recruiters, we have developed a staff of five
researchers who use the Internet, mine home pages, [and] also go into Monster.com,
etc., and pull people's [names] out of those databases.
InfoWorld: Do you also use employee referrals?
Lopes: Referrals are another [important source]. In addition to employees, we also
pay external people [who make referrals]. ... We pay $5,000 after the [new hire] has
been with us for 90 days.
InfoWorld: What are the hardest positions to recruit for?
Baraban: Anything Web-oriented is extremely difficult. Any database customization,
such as Oracle-type work, is very difficult.
InfoWorld: How does the dot-com competition shape up?
Lopes: Our experience is that typically the smaller dot-com companies ... have
offered more vacation, a more aggressive 401k plan. Base salaries have been larger,
typically. We have found that we need to be very competitive with dot-coms. We
initially thought we could just offer stock.
Baraban: But to play devil's advocate, there are a couple of dot-com companies that
are at such an early stage of development that, yes, we do have more [to offer] in
traditional benefits and a 401k.
InfoWorld: How important is Staples' long, established history in selling recruits
on the company?
Lopes: We are looking for the kind of person who is attracted to that. There is
rapid growth, and there is a dot-com phase to the company, but there's more stability
InfoWorld: What other benefits do you point to in recruiting IT candidates?
Lopes: We have a very aggressive stock option program that drops down to the
professional level. ... A programmer with two to three years experience could get in on
the stock as soon as he joined the company.
InfoWorld: What about the nonmonetary benefits?
Baraban: We have a day-care center on site in an adjunct building ... for Staples