Ask any recruiter how they got into the Staffing Industry, and they’ll all tell you the same thing: ‘I ended up here.’
That’s because recruiting is like the pop-up shop of careers. It’s not a college major, nor is it a career path that people really consider when they’re just starting out. Rather, recruiting tends to reveal itself to people in need of a change or new opportunity and draws them in, often unexpectedly.
From recent grads to tenured professionals, the world’s staffing firms are filled with former teachers, lawyers, bartenders, accountants, chemists, marketers, product managers, entrepreneurs and the like who ‘ended up’ in staffing during a period of career transition. The job’s dynamism and earning potential attracts people from a uniquely diverse range of backgrounds, and a select few do exceedingly well.
This is one of those stories.
Employee Spotlight: Jeff Bennett
Managing Partner, San Diego Technology Division
HOW I GOT HERE
Recruiting wasn’t always my forte. My first experience with recruiters was after college was when I went to a large national staffing firm to have them find me a job. My degree is in finance, and I thought approaching a recruiter would be the perfect way to get started in the financial world.
I went in for an initial interview and met with a few people. Then they threw me a curve ball. The team thought I would be a great fit for an internal position as a Finance Recruiter at their firm. They explained the basics and offered me the job. I decided to accept it to see where it could take me.
The corporate environment in that large, publicly traded firm got me up to speed quickly on the ‘ins and outs’ of the recruiting business, and I got a taste for what it takes to succeed in this industry. Ultimately though, big staffing firms are all about the numbers, and my journey there ended when I was let go. Although I wasn’t as successful as I could have been, I decided to pursue another recruiting position.
WHAT PEOPLE DON’T REALIZE ABOUT STAFFING
Mentally recharged, I landed my next job at a staffing firm called Yoh. Yoh didn’t have a finance division, and this was where I first gained exposure to Information Technology (‘IT,’ or ‘Technology’) recruiting.
It was during this transition that I also learned a fundamental truth of staffing, which is that you don’t have to be an expert in the positions you’re working on in order to succeed. This really broadens your opportunities.
In my case, I realized that I didn’t need to know how to write code to recruit great developers, for example. What I did have to know about is the recruiting life cycle, basic job functions, the tech lingo related to the positions (if applicable) and how to build lasting relationships on both the candidate and client sides. So that’s what I focused on, and I left finance behind to learn everything I could about technology recruiting.
THE NEVER-ENDING CYCLE OF TECHNOLOGY RECRUITING
I stayed at Yoh for a year and a half before moving on to a much smaller, boutique IT staffing firm. That’s when everything really started to click.
Over the next two years, I built networks, maintained relationships, learned the recruiting lifecycle and took new on challenges which is what led me to PROVEN – my home of almost four years now. As Managing Partner of our San Diego Technology Division, I recruit for positions ranging from software developers and system administrators to IT Executives, entry-level technology positions, business analysts and everything in between.
Tech recruiting is a lot more dynamic than most fields. With finance and accounting, there are only so many categories of positions you can recruit for, whereas with IT, there are so many subsets of technology-related positions that it really is a never-ending cycle. Plus, there’s a lot of demand top tech talent right now. People used to think of hiring an IT candidate as more of a cost, but now, there are companies with IT departments up to 100 people. They are business enablers.
THE KEY TO SUCCESS
Over the course of time, the recruiting process has evolved from mailing and faxing resumes to now having endless ways to find candidates. The lower hanging fruits are traditional tools such as job boards, LinkedIn and networking events. Most people rely on those resources when they are just starting out.
Where I find the most value is through referrals. Over time, I’ve grown my network to a point where most of my clients and candidates come through referrals. IT people know lots of other IT people, and I can often get to the right person quickly by knowing who to ask.
That’s why relationship building is so important in this business. Your network needs to be strong, not just big. People who achieve long-term success in staffing are the ones who stay in touch with their clients and candidates and keep trying to provide value long after a placement is made.
One of the things I love the most about recruiting is building relationships and genuinely helping people find a position they love. It sounds cliché, but it’s true – helping people find the right next step can have a major impact in their lives.
Having an entrepreneurial mindset is really important in staffing because in reality, you run your own business within a business. Every day is different – you never know what you are going to walk into each morning.
This can be stressful at times, but it’s also the beauty of the job.
There are always new positions to work on, new people to meet and new ways of finding candidates. Recruiting is never dull. There are people I find with all different skillsets and needs, which means I’ll never be conducting the same search.
While there is a lot of flexibility as a recruiter, processes are always changing, and you’re going to get some curve balls thrown at you. Our products are people. They’re not robots or widgets. You constantly have to put yourself in the client or candidate’s shoes to be successful. Always be prepared for the unexpected.
Throughout my career, I’ve always looked up to my managers for inspiration and advice. Now that I am a manager, I try to reciprocate that same mindset with my employees. What gets me up in the morning is being there for the team. They are learning and I am learning with them. We go through this process together and nobody is on their own.
Jeff’s team is hiring! To learn more about San Diego Technology Recruiting opportunities at PROVEN, email Jeff directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bio in bullets:
- Hails from New England and currently resides in Pacific Beach
- Graduated with a BS in Business from the University of New Hampshire
- Has clocked almost 10 years of progressive experience in sales and recruiting
- Leads one of PROVEN’s most profitable divisions
- Consistently ranks as one of PROVEN’s ‘Elite Performers’ (our top award!)