I was recently asked why I went into recruiting. Did I loss my job, was I unemployed for awhile... The truth is not that easy and perhaps sounds a bit strange to others...
I got into recruiting by having a recruiter try to recruit me from my loan officer position with a major regional bank back in 1989; apparently another loan department at another bank was interested in talking with me. I had never heard of recruiters or headhunters and was confused and puzzled by the call. I went to my boss and told him I just had the
weirdest call and went on to explain that some guy wanted to meet me about a job with another bank! He laughed and said 'you've made your mark; you're now getting calls from headhunters’. I still didn’t understand. He explained that recruiters found and stole people out of companies that matched what their clients (other companies) were
looking for. He told me that someone at one of our competitors had heard about me and must want to talk with me and that the company had hired the recruiter to find me and entice me to talk with them. I wasn’t sure I believe this and wondered if someone was playing a joke on me.
During the next few days I received three more calls from those so-called recruiters. During the last call I asked the recruiter what he did all day. You know: is this what you do all day, call people up and try to entice them to leave a perfectly great job where they have friends and are happy to go work for some place where they don’t know anyone and don’t know if they’ll like it or not? The guy (uh, recruiter) replied ‘yeah, and I talk with companies too about what type of person they’re looking for that would make a great addition to their company and I believe you would be a great asset to one of my clients’. I thought what baloney – he doesn’t even know me other than my name and he won’t tell me how he got it.
As I thought about this the next few days an idea was beginning to form in my brain – or was it in the pit of my stomach? I was intrigued by what the recruiter said he did and was interested –not in another banking job – but in being a recruiter. I researched and found five ecruiting firms that – according to others were good firms. I then called each firm to set up an appointment to talk with them about me being a recruiter with them. And yes, I was still working as a Loan Officer at the bank. The first three firms were all over me about taking another position with a different bank; I took my resume with me when I left their offices. The fourth firm said they worked with the largest and most profitable companies in southeast Michigan – this while I am in a waiting room where magazines worked as a leg for
a broken table and the recruiter wore a nylon t-shirt with fuzzy balls sticking all over it, polyester pants that were too short for him and socks with obvious holes. I’m there in a suit, white shirt, little tie (it’s the 1980s) and heels – this was not the place for me! Luckily I did not give up and went to see the fifth and last recruiter firm. What struck me as I walked in the door was that the receptionist (dressed in a suit) stood up and said ‘Welcome, you must be Cora, I’ll let the Dennis know you are here. Would you care for some coffee or water’? WOW! Very different from the first four places I went! Dennis came out and greeted me and took me back to his office. On the way I noticed that everyone was wearing a suit – not sport coat and slacks, but a suit. Dennis asked why I felt I would make a good recruiter and we were off on the interview. After speaking to him I spoke to everyone else in the office – found out that suits were mandatory for men and women and they answered all my questions about what a typical day of a recruiter entailed.
There were recruiters recruiting in different niches so I learned different views on an average day from each. But one thing was common throughout the conversations – they were committed to being the most professional and the best. I was thrilled when I was offered a position o work with them.
I went back to my boss at the bank and told him I was leaving. He asked ‘to be a recruiter’? I said yes, it is everything I love about business development and sales without the banking politics. He reminded me that were politics in all companies and that in recruiting it was every man (woman) for himself. If I could survive the environment in banking I figured I could in recruiting. My banking boss than laughed and said ‘You’ll be good. You have the interest in people, the tenacity to stick with it, a thick skin and the commitment to do what’s right. Enjoy yourself’. Then he said you know it’s a commission job and you won’t have 5 weeks of paid vacation anymore – I replied that he didn’t pay me that much and if I made what I thought I could make I would be able to still have 5+ weeks of vacation.
It's 2011 and I still love recruiting! I ran to it because I saw the fun and challenge of the game and of course the money is what you make it to be. The only change I have made is that I opened my own firm in 1993 – more about that later!