Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Recruiting: It's what I do

I am a recruiter.

I have good moments and bad moments. A good moment is like what just happened. A friend from church, whom I placed at a big company downtown, referred to me a friend. I am not really going to be able to work with his friend because of his experience level, but I just spent 30 minutes giving him advice about his job search here in town (he is currently in NC).

A bad moment is on a Monday morning when someone who started a job last Monday sends me an email Subject: Resignation. Let’s just say I was not filled with compassion yesterday, but today is looking up.

When I first got out of college, I worked for Olsten Staffing Services. I sold temporary help. If you can’t imagine that, I will tell you that it was an icky job. Not cleaning gutters icky, though, just challenging. I made very good money and won a trip to Puerto Vallarta. They had a fabulous sales training program and then my boss sent me to Dale Carnegie sales training, which was also fabulous.

In Dale Carnegie sales training, you have to come up with a spiel you can get out of your mouth quickly (like as they push you out the door saying NO THANKS AND DON’T COME BACK) or while you are in an elevator and someone asks you what you do.

People hardly speak in elevators, even here in the super-friendly Midwest, but that’s what I was told to do so I did it.

“My name is Caron and I sell something that may not be exactly what you ordered. It may not show up on time, it may not be as promised and it may be dressed in flip flops and a mini-skirt.”

OK, that’s sort of a joke.

1. I don’t fully remember what I used to say
2. That was back in the day when people didn’t actually wear flip flops and mini-skirts to work.

I learned that you can do a whole bunch of cold calls (do salespeople do that anymore?) in the late afternoon to make your boss happy beat the competition, but the only thing that ever comes of it are impromptu job interviews.

And why are they interviewing you all of a sudden when you were happily minding your own business? Because you are a salesperson making cold calls, which most people hate doing. (again, does anyone do that these days? I’ve asked myself, but I have not asked anyone else. I confess I am curious about it.) Hey, I never got an order from a cold call, but it kept the boss quiet happy.

I sold temporary help for 3.5 painful years. It was painful because I had two bosses. I worked for two local offices as the sole sales person in the market. One was an area manager and one was a branch manager and they were both women: painful enough?

I doubled my salary by year two and I learned two things:

1. Commission is amazing
2. I wasn’t cut out for human resources

All the people I sold against here in town went on to human resource departments in big companies. I still know in my heart I am not an HR girl. If I lose my job and have to do it, I could, but I think I would lean more towards a commission job.

Did I mention that commission is amazing? I love it, but that’s not really why I’m here telling you about my job.

I am now in recruiting for a few reasons. The really pertinent one is that although I had another commission/sales job in between selling and recruiting for a fundraising company, I really enjoy helping people find jobs. I like giving them advice about their resumes and coaching them before an interview. I don’t mind telling someone their resume is awful, but I always tell them why it’s awful.

Everyone in the employment industry has stories. I remember a woman who got a job placement on Thursday and she was thrilled. Monday morning she didn’t show up. I left a message. She got back to me and said she didn’t go to work because she didn’t have any clean laundry.

There was a man 5 years ago who interviewed and accepted a job with a company here in town. He was from up in Minnesota somewhere. Everything was hunky-dory. He signed the paperwork and on the first day of the job, he was nowhere to be found. I called his cell phone and he accidentally answered it. So I listened to the open line for about 5 minutes. It was enough to learn that he was in Nashville at a Barnes and Noble with a woman.

A young man who was also from Minnesota scheduled an interview down here and then the morning of the interview called me to say that his tires were bald and he couldn’t make it down. At that point, my boss told me that historically they had very little success with people from Minnesota. “Once they get used to living up there, no one wants to leave,” he said.

I recently had a man interview for a job in Colorado. He had a lot of experience coding in a language that is very difficult to find. He agreed to the interview and then spent the bulk of the interview telling the hiring manager why their company is making a mistake using that language and not something newer and flashier and more powerful.

It was an insurance company: they don’t really do new and flashy very well. And hiring managers don’t enjoy arrogant job candidates.

That’s what I do and I like it, so there. Pffft*

*Did anybody get my lame Laugh-In reference? Anyone?


Susan at Stony River said...

Thanks for the laughs from that one! I used to work for a temp agency; they found me some good jobs, so when my daughter needed a job last summer I drove her to Manpower. They put her right into a job that has since hired her full-time. I never thought about the other side of it, however... and now that you've told us about it, I probably will never try to find out more LOL

A piece of news said...

My mom said the same thing and I got many a job before college from the temp firms. It's a great way to land a full-time job.

Anonymous said...

I loved this story and you should write a book..or go on Leno and maybe you could moonlight in stand-up... You are a funny girl.. Yes.. Michelle

Caron said...

Naturally once I posted this, I thought of other stories. Maybe a group of recruiters could collaborate. We could call it a job advice book. Ha! What not to do! I thought for sure just last year alone that my candidates were all in cahoots to ruin my professionally.

Anonymous said...

Preach it girl.

I spent 3 years in HR before I escaped back to headhunting. I'm a fool for the commision I guess.