Where did you grow up and can you tell us a little bit about your childhood family, interests and activities?
I grew up in Barrington, and graduated from Lake Zurich High School.
Why did you choose the University of Illinois? What did you study?
I visited my older sister (Amanda) several times at Illinois several times and loved it. I never really considered any other schools. I was an Accounting major.
What was rush like at the time and why did you choose ATO?
I rushed in the fall of 1992 with my roommate (Al Strobl) and suite-mate (Dan Vanderweit). My roommate was a wrestler, and I definitely rode his coattails through the rush process. Ironically, Dan and I both went through pledgeship, but Al dropped out midway through (and later flunked out of school). I was one of the last pledges and I was definitely impressed with the pledge class that was in place.
What were some of the most memorable guys in the house at the time and why?
Our class was the last to live in the pledge dorm 2nd semester. At the time, a lot of juniors(94s)/seniors (93s) lived in the house (Matt Menna, Q Bailey, Goggin, Tarpey, etc). It was an eclectic crew, and made for some funny memories.
What were some (one or two) of your favorite stories from your time as an ATO?
Honestly – too many to remember. Phil Drennan streaking the DG/Theta softball game is definitely one of them.
Did you serve in any offices while in the house? How long did you actually live in the house?
I lived in the house 2nd semester freshman year through Junior year. I was Social Chair (twice) and Rush Chair.
Did you participate in any activities, organizations outside of ATO while at Illinois?
I was involved in IFC and SAA. Unfortunately my roommate (Chris Crawford) kicked me out of SAA for not attending enough meetings. To be fair, I had mentally checked out senior year. Still kind of funny though.
Looking back, what do you think were some of the most important lessons that you learned from your ATO experience?
Balancing good times and working hard. I saw plenty of smart people blow it by partying too much. At the same time, I saw plenty of people that probably could have enjoyed their four years a bit more. I also developed life long friendships that have been instrumental in my personal and professional growth.
After graduating, can you tell us a little bit about your early career?
I worked in public accounting (Arthur Andersen, later Deloitte) for a few years, before realizing that wasn’t for me. I moved from that to staffing/recruiting after a few years. My parents thought I was nuts.
You were one of the founders of Hirewell. Can you tell us a little bit about how that came about?
I was working for a tech recruiting firm in 2000/2001 that went under when the dot com bubble burst. I was naive enough to think I could do it better on my own and decided to start the company along with a business partner.
What does Hirewell do? What do you consider your company’s strengths and why? When should others give you a call?
We help companies manage their growth. We specialize in technical recruiting, HR Recruiting, and also develop outsourced recruiting programs for companies. If your organization is looking for a partner to help with hiring, we’d love to hear from you.
You have hired a number of Gamma Zeta ATO’s to work with you at Hirewell. Can you tell us a little bit about them and how that is working out… working with brothers?
Mark Slocum is a 2006 Gamma Zeta that joined us shortly after graduation. He was promoted last year and is currently a VP of Technical recruiting. Chris Bonds is a 2008 Gamma Zeta, and has been with us for nearly five years. Both have been excellent hires – very instrumental in our growth and success. We recently brought on Dion Dimiropoulos (graduating in December) as an intern. They are all great guys – and humor me by listening to my stories about the glory days.
You and Hirewell were instrumental in Gamma Zeta ATO getting our Alumni Mentor program off the ground this past spring. We had at least four undergrad Gamma Zetas get summer internships and at least two seniors get full time jobs as a result of your coordination efforts. Can you tell us a little bit about what you did and what we’ve learned from this initial experience? What can we do to make the program even stronger this coming school year and how can more guys help?
It was a fairly simple process – our Operations Manager (Andrea) ran the program. We just matched students with alumni. I’m confident with an earlier start (in the fall), the program can be even more successful next year. Having more companies hire interns will definitely help. The financial commitment is fairly minor ($2-3k for the summer), and it is a great way to develop a talent pipeline for your organization.
What suggestions do you have for young guys to best prepare for the job search process and the workforce?
Start early – don’t let your grades falter early and be active (in the house, on campus, internships, etc.). Utilize the resources that you have. There are some extremely impressive people that have graduated before you and are open to helping. Be respectful, but don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Outside of work, what do you like to do? Can you tell us a little bit about your family? Do you stay in touch with any of your ATO buddies?
I married a TriDelt a couple of years younger than me, and we have two kids (Nick – 6, and Julia – 4). We moved from the city to Park Ridge a couple of years ago, along with 1/3 of my pledge class.
I also help put together the R Gregory Swedo Foundation Golf outing (www.gregoryswedo.com). We are holding our 12th annual golf outing on August 10th. Greg was a pledge brother of mine and we lived together before he was killed in 2000. I’m proud that we’ve been able to honor him and raise in excess of $150k for a scholarship in his name. It is a great event, that draws ATOs (and non ATOs) of all ages. It would be great to see more Gamma Zetas out there this year.
Reconnect with Matthew at firstname.lastname@example.org.