Like some (well probably most of us), I had no intention of going into recruiting. Having graduated with a bio degree, recruitment was way off my radar. I planned on going to nursing school, but after moving up to The Bay, I found myself deeply immersed in the tech environment and decided that if the opportunity to work in this sector arose, I would take it. Ironically, I was recruited into the field without much recruiting experience myself, but I will always remember my introduction to the job.
During my interview, my future co-worker tried to explain sourcing to me, “Hmm how should I word this?…Well it’s essentially like stalking someone”. It sounded interesting enough to me (although, to be honest, I didn’t quite understand what it meant to ‘source’ someone). With this definition, combined with my initial curiosity to work in the tech industry, I was sold. Excited to hand out my first set of business cards, I proudly told my family about my new role in MitchelLake. Confused as to how I could just become a recruiter out of thin air, I had to explain that I was going to start as a sourcer and eventually work my way up to a consultant. As one of the younger members on the team, I was excited to prove myself and work with the team.
How does one ‘source’ exactly?
This was the exact question I asked my co-worker (the same colleague who gave me the true definition of stalking, excuse me, I mean sourcing) who proceeded to give me the lowdown on Boolean searches. Not coming from a technical background, he did a fantastic job of teaching me the difference between back-end and front-end, which tools and technologies applied where, and how to put it all together in a search. A little overwhelming at first (I spent a good amount of time Googling almost every word), I finally got the hang of searching for Python developers and data scientists. That first couple of months I was sourcing for technical roles, and would eventually learn the non-tech roles later down the road.
Learning the process
Not coming from an agency background (unlike most of the team), I wasn’t taught the typical agency standards. I was a little wary of how I would go about learning the process. And as with most startups, there’s no one there to manage you every step of the way, so I found that I had a lot of autonomy in this role. Knowing this, I decided to shadow the consultants on the team and get to know each of their recruiting styles, with the hopes of eventually creating my own process. The bonus of working with a great team of consultants is that everyone is pretty damn good at their job, so I have an abundance of really great resources. My day to day includes working between two clients and - in addition to sourcing - working closely with my consultant and learning how to write job descriptions, screen resumes, conduct phone screens, sit in on kick-off, calibration and feedback sessions. Each consultant has their own way of running the show, which I find beneficial because I get to see how differently they approach each step of the process. My goal is to soak in all of this knowledge and devise my own system with the hopes of passing what I’ve learned to the next future sourcer.
Of course the entire process never really goes smoothly, and I’ve learned how important (and challenging) process management can be. I’ve learned how to push back on hiring managers, dealing with the crazy world of scheduling, how to handle internal politics… the list is endless. Most importantly (and something that I still struggle with at times), I found that it’s really important to be persistent, whether you’re in your third calibration session and you’re still not quite sure if you have the right profiles, or if the hiring manager isn’t responding to your calendar invites, or even just the simple idea of sending out second or third reach-outs. I’ve also been tasked with the internal recruiting for our on-site team, something that I’ve found challenging as well. I took on the project because my mentors and I believed it would be a good way to further my career development. That way I could work on vetting candidates during my phone screens, run feedback sessions, practice pushing back on my “hiring managers”, and overall just get myself acclimated to the entire cycle.
One of the issues I’m having is trying to balance my daily list of duties with the internal recruiting. I always find myself spending too much time on one project, or forgetting small but important details, but I’m slowly getting better at managing my time (thank you Google calendar). Another challenge I’ve run into is trying to think of different, creative ways to outreach. I’m constantly experimenting with my subject titles, trying to figure out which would get a better response rate and learning which ones don’t work. I’m fortunate enough that I have candidates in the pipeline, but now I think it’s time to go one step further and start to network with possible future consultants, whether or not they’re ready to make a move. That way I’ll always have that option of reaching out to the network I’ve created. Internal recruiting has proven to be quite challenging and combined with sourcing and shadowing, I can sometimes have a lot on my plate, but I know facing these difficulties will only strengthen my skills as a consultant.
Where am I now?
For those of you in a similar position, hang in there and keep pushing yourself. The finish line is not too far ahead and though I’m itching to get there, I know the only way to set myself up for success is to master every aspect of the cycle. Recently I’ve been practicing a lot of patience because I know I’m more than capable of just Boolean searching, but I’m not yet prepared to take on a role of my own. I’m torn between rushing towards the finish line but I do know that if I want to be as successful as my peers, I have to get each step of the process down. And from what I’ve seen and learned there are certain habits that set apart a great consultant from a bad one, and your ability to give a great candidate experience each step of the way will reflect that. Moving forward I plan to keep those factors in mind as I continue my path to become a consultant.
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