Q&A with the “WizardSourcer” Jonathan Kidder ’11

Since graduating from Bethel, Jonathan Kidder ’11 has carved a niche for himself as a leading voice in tech recruiting. Kidder is a senior technical recruiter at Amazon, maintains a blog on recruiting, and has written several books.

By Jason Schoonover ’09, content specialist

September 12, 2022 | 10:30 a.m.

Jonathan Kidder ’11

Jonathan Kidder ’11

Early in his career as a recruiter in the tech industry, Jonathan Kidder ’11 earned the nickname “the wizard” from his coworkers. When he noticed there were few blogs focused in the staffing industry, he created a blog—wizardsourcer.com—to promote industry trends. Along with the blog, he’s gone on to write and self-publish several books to help tech recruiters and job-seekers. Kidder, who earned a B.A. in Business from Bethel, continues developing a niche as a tech recruiter, staffing expert, and corporate trainer. Here, Kidder reflects on his path from Bethel to his current role as a senior technical recruiter for Amazon.

What drew you to a career as a tech recruiter and your role at Amazon?

I always knew I wanted to work with people in some way. I enjoyed communication and felt that I would be best suited to work in the field of marketing or communications. My professors at the time recommended that we take as many internship opportunities as we could. So I ended up doing several internships during my junior year of college—focused in the social media marketing space. Once I graduated, I secured a full-time role at a company called Allegis Global Solutions. I was hired to promote one of their client social media accounts for employment branding purposes. I got to sit next to the Talent Acquisition team at Best Buy corporate and got to witness firsthand what it was like to be a professional recruiter. It was an open cubicle with non-stop hustle and bustle from the recruiters. They would take calls and I would listen in on the conversations. After six months, I asked my manager if I could become a recruiter. A decade later, I’m still in the professional field and I work at Amazon corporate in North Loop, in Minneapolis. I’ve been at Amazon for roughly four years and I enjoy every moment of it.

What does a typical day look like for you as a senior technical recruiter at Amazon? What type of candidates are you and your team seeking, and how do you go about finding the best candidates?

Every day offers a new challenge and obstacle. You're working with hiring managers, conducting intakes, phone screening candidates, and scheduling interviews. My team at Amazon is based locally in our North Loop office building. We support Middle Mile Product and Technology, which is the heart of shipping technologies of Amazon. We have so many amazing goals for the future—like using less carbon and using electric shuttle vans for transportation. We’re on the cutting edge of these types of technologies! I recruit for corporate positions across the U.S., including our Minneapolis Amazon office. I've been so blessed to work at this company and I wouldn’t have gotten the opportunity without starting my education at Bethel University.

What does a recruiter actually do?

Even if you’ve only been in the job market for a short period of time, you’ve probably crossed paths with a recruiter or two already. For many industries, they are a crucial component that keeps organizations running as efficiently and smoothly as possible.

A recruiter normally does the full-cycle process from getting HR approvals, to publishing the job opening, to screening applicants, to submitting applicants, and setting first and final round interviews. Talent sourcing is the process at the beginning of a recruiting funnel. You go out and actively find and prospect passive candidates and convince them to apply and become active in your process. A recruiter usually handles everything, including talent sourcing, but some companies hire sourcers to go out search for active and passive leads. I've done both roles in my career but currently, I'm a full-cycle recruiter at Amazon.

Talent sourcing has become the most challenging part of recruiting, especially during COVID-19. Finding active and available talent is time-consuming and tough. It's certainly a great time to be looking for a new job since there is a lot of market demand.

Why is tech recruiting so important? And for large companies like Amazon, why is it vital to have recruiters like yourself finding the right talent for positions?

It means everything. A company can only thrive by having qualified employees. Recruiters go out and find and qualify the skill sets needed to fill roles. Recruiters are constantly competing for the best possible talent across the globe. In a competitive market, a recruiter is probably talking with a professional who has several offers in hand. So, selling perks, professional growth, total compensation, and other benefits are important to persuade those potential candidates.

You have a passion for training recruiters, and you’ve established yourself as a voice in the tech recruiting field, publishing books, writing blog posts, and giving speeches and presentations. Why is it important for you to be a resource in these ways?

It’s a fast-moving industry and there’s not that many professionals that focus on the training aspects in recruiting. You don’t necessarily need a degree to start recruiting. So, because of that, many professionals do not know the fundamentals.

It started with me creating a personal brand, and then I started selling services on my blog, and then finally went into publishing books during the peak of COVID-19. The books have gone around the globe—I’ve had recruiting professionals from many countries reach out.

"I had a great sense of community at Bethel throughout my time there. The business program felt like a small and intimate group. I was able to meet one-on-one with professors and connect outside of the classroom."

— Jonathan Kidder ’11

What drew you to Bethel and the business program? What are some of the key ways in which the program helped prepare you for your career?

My family drew me to Bethel. My brother completed his degree in art and my father worked at Bethel for many years in the purchasing department. I grew up on the campus, attending events, going to football games, etc. When I was finally ready to go to college, it was a no-brainer. I really enjoyed meeting the professors, and it just clicked.

I had a great sense of community at Bethel throughout my time there. The business program felt like a small and intimate group. I was able to meet one-on-one with professors and connect outside of the classroom. Many of my friends attended larger universities but did not have this type of experience. Smaller size classes and more one-on-ones really were impactful for me. It helped shape me professionally and made me more successful in my career.

The business department also helped me learn how to present. Being able to improve on presenting and doing large projects with others has helped me tremendously in the business world. Projects and team meetings are important and that's something that I learned while attending Bethel.

With your recruiting experience, what advice would you give to students who are about to earn a degree and enter the job market? And you wrote LinkedIn Networked: Learn How to Master LinkedIn to Land Your Dream Job. How important is it for job-seekers to utilize LinkedIn well?

We’re facing uncertain times. I graduated during the peak of the recession and somehow made it. Students will need to be proactive: find internships, connect, network online for roles. Do whatever it takes to land the role.

For more advice from Kidder on how to best utilize LinkedIn as you pursue your career, read a Bethel Blog post he wrote on the subject.

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