by Ben Gotkin
John Vlastelica was kind enough to welcome me to Recruiting Toolbox on this blog a couple weeks back. I wanted to take the opportunity to share with you how I got to this point in my career in the recruiting profession.
And so it began…
Over 18 years ago during my final semester at college, I started a part-time gig with a small start-up that developed survey software, which also shared office space in McLean, VA with a headhunter. I didn’t know a lot about what headhunters did, but as I got to know more about it through conversations over coffee and lunch, the more I became intrigued. I could see the parallels between my degree (I/O Psychology) and a possible future career. Psychology is the science of evaluating people and behavior. I/O Psych is the science of work, and some of my favorite courses and theories had to do with evaluating how to best match jobs, organizations and people.
By the fall of that year, I had found my first recruiting job, as a researcher with an executive search firm. This was 1994, so even though we had a computer with an AOL account, the research was truly old-school: The room of file cabinets filled with thousands of resumes, prior research, the occasional trip to the Library of Congress to source names out of corporate directories, and of course, ‘smile-and-dial’. I realized soon though that this was not quite for me and felt a need to be a part of the organizations I was recruiting for, so I made the move to corporate in 1995.
For the past 18 years, I’ve done a bit of everything, recruiting everything from hourly warehouse workers, college students, separating servicemen/women, TS/SCI Lifestyle Poly PhD Software Engineers, rocket scientists, and executives to executive assistants (and I think we all know that Executive Assistants can be the most difficult to recruit). I developed an employment brand for a global aerospace company, designed corporate career websites, created employee referral and social media programs, tinkered with bleeding edge recruitment technologies, and implemented 2 applicant tracking systems.
I’ve been a student of my craft since day 1, and take an incredible amount of pride in what my profession is all about, as misunderstood and undervalued as it often is. This pride has led me to not only want to improve my own knowledge and skills, but to share that knowledge and those skills with my peers to help them improve their own capabilities. It’s one of the reasons why I attended local and national conferences, and convinced two of my employers to join the CareerXroads Colloquium. It’s why I authored a recruiting blog a few years back and was an active participant in online communities like RecruitingBlogs. It’s why I founded recruitDC, a grassroots non-profit dedicated to producing conference-style events to expose the local community to top thought-leaders and local best practices. I believe that the recruiting profession still has so much unrealized potential, and has so much misunderstood value. It’s been my passion in life to help make a difference and to help elevate our profession to the level of respect and importance that it deserves.
And so it begins…
So after 18 years in the business, mostly in the corporate world, I now have the opportunity to work with a variety of clients to help them recruit better. Right now in my career, my strengths exist primarily in building programs and educating others. I’ve learned over the years that one-size doesn’t fit all, that just because you build it, doesn’t mean that they will come, and that everyone can always learn more and find opportunities for improvement. I think the reason why I’m such a good fit with Recruiting Toolbox is because I’m motivated by the challenges that organizations face and I believe that I can help. Everyone’s challenges are unique, so it’s a matter of listening closely and learning what those challenges are, and matching those up with the types of solutions that can truly make a difference.
I want to thank John for providing me this opportunity. I’ve felt for a while now that Consulting was in my future. I didn’t think it would be this soon, but it was my destiny. So if the time is now, I’m ready to go. In my past few corporate roles, I’ve essentially been an internal consultant, designing, building, implementing and training. I get to leverage that now with my clients, and it’s time to get started!