My Job Search and How It Has Helped Me In Recruiting

So, I left my last company recently and there were many reasons why. Poor management, poor decision making on deals, awful database for sourcing, no "A" orders on the board, and horrible orders to work on. It was an unexpected departure, but at the same time it was literally a blessing. I have never been happier leaving a job, and to be quite honest, I have come out of the whole thing on top. Bigger base salary, increase in responsibility, better commission plan, better management, older company with a fresher approach, and I now have a sales staff who knows how to...well...sell.

This all being said, I have to stay focused on the important part of this whole process...what did I learn and how has this made me better? I realized that when I started this process, I have never really had to interview before. Not saying this with arrogance, just with shock. The first agency I worked for hired me because I was entry level, had a good head on my shoulders, and a good technical knowledge. The second firm I went to two years later really had no interview. I met the VP for lunch and he offered me the job by the time we got our food. When leaving SNI, there was nothing in front of me. I had nothing lined up, no prospects, just the people I had met in the past and my LinkedIn account.

The first thing I did was to go home, crack open a beer, and enjoy myself. It was a Friday in mid June, so I went out on my patio, kicked back in an Adirondack chair, and relaxed. After a fun weekend of golfing and spending time with friends, I started focusing on my job search. There were some things I needed to prep before getting started...who do I know, who do I know is hiring, and where will I want to work? That last one is critical, because I just came from hating my job and wasting loads of my time, so I wanted to make sure that where I went was of value to me from a perspective of personal and professional growth, but also minimized stress.

This being said, the first thing I did was create a list of companies I didn't want to work for. That list was comprised of companies I have beaten, heard credible horror stories about, and companies I just flat out don't like from an operational standpoint. Here is that list, and I really hope I don't offend anyone...these companies are on this list because they are not right for me, but could be for others:

  • Robert Half (and yes, that one is first for a reason)
  • TekSystems
  • Addecco
  • Technisource
  • Matrix
  • Stone Resource Group
  • GES
  • Pyramid

I didn't want to work anywhere that had a metric-driven desk, to be quite honest. I am best when I can work independently, not micromanaged, and am given the ability to work with the client, as well as the candidate. Not that I don't think metrics are important. I know that every day in staffing is different, every situation changes, and some days people just don't answer the phone. Using that common sense, I do not want to be managed that way...because it shows that you don't trust your employees to make the best decisions. Someone with 4+ years of technical recruiting experience with good tenure should know what it takes to succeed, so let them work.

Now I had to make sure I was organized. I made a spreadsheet for job leads that had company name, contact, source, status, phone number, email address, website, location, and date added. I then added another sheet that had active interviews with the same information so I could keep track of those as well.

I was now ready to get started. Here is a list of my first calls out in order:

  1. An old co-worker of mine from SNI who is mainly in Healthcare IT. He sent my stuff over to two companies, but I never heard back.
  2. Reached out to TechniPower, my old employer who has been trying to get me back for about 2 years now. They wanted me to come in to meet to discuss opportunities they may have. Scheduled.
  3. Called Keith at The Intersect Group, left a message. Got a call back from Tim, who wanted me to send a resume and come in for an interview. Sent and scheduled.
  4. Remembered I had a connection, Angela at TRC, who asked a while back if I was looking. Never responded...so, I went to their company page on LinkedIn, found a job they had posted for a Sr. IT Recruiter, and applied. Got a call the next day from Angela directly asking why the hell I didn't call her sooner. Scheduled.
  5. Looked up the number for the Atlanta Recruiting Group. Reason being is that I received a message from Beth there about 3 weeks earlier asking if I knew of anyone. Well, I did now! Spoke with her for a while, she got me submitted to two companies, Matrix (remember the list) and Anteo Group. Scheduled two interviews.
  6. Called another old co-worker who got me in touch with Pareto who was looking for a Sr. IT Recruiter for a new division. Talked with Brian there. Scheduled.

That was really it for the first day. I had scheduled 6 interviews for myself in a day. At this point, I spoke with my parents who asked if I was worried. I told them no, I will have multiple offers within 2 weeks with this kind of activity. They said, "Well Zach, I don't think you should get your hopes up." I just laughed that off...not due to arrogance, but due to me knowing the market. I knew for a fact that I was going to have this activity just based off of my prior experience as a recruiter. When you have a good candidate in a tight market, you are king.

So, to keep this short (too late), by the end of the two weeks, I had 13 total interviews, and 3.5 offers. I say 3.5 because I had 3 firm offers (letters and all) and 1 that didn't want to offer it unless I would accept, and I didn't want it (remember the list).

What I learned

I learned a few things through this process. Technical Recruiting is extremely hot right now in Atlanta. Like, on fire. I really only needed to make 6 phone calls to get 6 interviews. On my best day in staffing, I don't think I could do half of that.

Another thing is how to interview. I had never done it before, but have counseled a lot of people about it. It was a confidence booster to find that my techniques work, and that being prepared for interviews is crucial. Crucial. There is no excuse for not being prepared for an interview. They take priority over most, and it really isn't a terribly involved process. Look over the company website, stalk the interviewers on LinkedIn, and generate 5-10 questions ahead of time. Know yourself, know your resume, and think of objections you could get to your situation, experience, and overall resume so that you are quick on your feet. Never lie on your resume, absolutely never. Never burn a bridge, even in the interviews...never know what they may be able to do for you in the future.

Where I chose and Why

TRC seemed like the best home for me. Not a start up office, good managers with passion for what they do, no micromanagement or lack of trust walking in the door. They are focused on getting people to work and not the BS that may come in-between. They also have an engineering division in the same office, so candidates could be traded for the blended orders. No dealing with flip credit or candidate ownership issues. No politics yet, which is refreshing. I get to do what I need to do and don't have to worry about someone peering over my shoulder on a minute to minute basis.

 

I now love my job again, and I believe I made the right decision.

Views: 258

Tags: IT, interviewing, recruiting, staffing

Comment by Tim Spagnola on August 10, 2012 at 8:10am

Thanks for sharing Zachary. Good lessons here and I appreciate the insights. The best of luck to you in your new role.

Comment by Jerry Albright on August 10, 2012 at 9:30am

Great read with my cup of coffee.  Good luck!

Comment by Zachary Sines on August 10, 2012 at 10:23am

It was a fun process.  I thought, "I have never seen a recruiter's perspective on getting a new job."

The best part was meeting all of the talent out there...there are some studs/studettes at these companies that would be a huge value to work with, but this situation I am in at TRC is just awesome.

Thanks!

Comment by Leslie Mason on August 10, 2012 at 1:46pm

Great post Zachary, thanks for sharing.  Been in the same type situation myself in the past. :)  Glad to hear the market is hot... best of luck at TRC!  

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