Five years ago I was a 25 year old salesman working for a social media startup in the South Bay. I couldn't picture having a better job. My colleagues were all young, tech savvy, entrepreneurial surfers and marketers living the dream in the early days of Silicon Beach. Then, one day the company closed. I was laid off and my whole life changed.

Shortly after being laid off I ended up having lunch with my cousin who had just landed a job with a staffing & recruiting agency. I had no idea what a recruiter was so I took the time to learn as much as possible. Immediately I fell in love with the idea of matching people with jobs . I decided to make a career change and fortunately, I got a great job with a leading firm in Los Angeles. 

Over the course of four years I put my head down, worked hard and put my entrepreneurial spirit to rest. I went corporate. I learned the whole recruitment processes from  A - Z.

Almost immediately I noticed a ton of inefficiencies and lot's of dishonesty. I also noticed people weren't very tech savvy or entrepreneurial in recruiting (especially the bosses and managers). None of my colleagues were actively seeking out better solutions for the recruitment process, no one was discovering productivity apps and no one was mobile with their businesses information. 

Throughout my career I would talk to my colleagues about apps like EvernoteSlackPodio and Trello and no one knew what I was talking about. I would read Tech Crunch and discuss new companies that recently got funded in the area and still no one was on the same page. Most people didn't know how to change their email signature in gmail. I even remember one day I had to explain to someone that some search results on google are actually ads.

I began to realize that my passions and interests really didn't line up with the interest of a typical recruiter. I saw so much potential with online marketing and recruiting but I couldn't even get a solid conversation going about MailChimp or developing a newsletter. 

When I thought about what my employers actually offered, it wasn't much. Let's tally it up.  An office, a printer, a computer from the 80's, a phone, an email address, some craigslist ads, strange colleagues that didn't know what Tech Crunch was and Ultrastaff - the worst recruiting software on the planet. After 4 years working for two different agencies I decided to quit my job and start recruiting with about $300 to my name.  I really didn't even have a plan I just left and decided I would figure it out. 

In six months I learned more about recruiting, technology, social marketing and efficiency than I ever had in four years in an agency. After six months on my own I convinced an awesome tech savvy dude to partner up and help out with tech recruiting. He was a god send!

We spent time learning about our clients, the pitfalls of using recruiters and hold ups in the hiring process. We also jumped into recruiting tools and exploring different ATS systems. We must have done 3 demos a day for 3 weeks.

At one point my partner and I spent a week completely dissecting LinkedIn Recruiter. What we found is astonishing and sad. I'll write about this and link to it another time.

We also explored many job boards, lead generation sites, contact info verification sites, outsourced recruiting, referral networks, social recruiting, events, paid advertising and much more. We were able to spend time learning valuable lessons we could never learn within an agency. 

We discovered that agency recruiting is crazy inefficient. So we created OCEAN STREET

This article was written by Quintin Ford, a recruitment entrepreneur located in Playa Vista, CA. Quintin is the Founder of OCEAN | STREET and avid blogger and social media guru. Learn more about Quintin on LinkedIn.

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