Category Archives: Rookie Recruiter

Bring on the Replacement Recruiters!

By Dan Ridge, Contributing Consultant, Q4B

Whether you are a diehard football fan, a casual observer or someone who still thinks that what we call soccer in the USA is the most popular sport in the world you are certainly aware of the turmoil that is being created in the NFL with the lockout of the professional referees and the use or misuse of what are called replacement refs. Games have been decided by missed calls, bad calls and no calls. The integrity of the game is at stake and players, coaches, general managers and fans have had enough. Even the Good Guys in Vegas are not too happy with the current state of affairs.

There is a sense that with all of the controversy surrounding the debacle that was witnessed on MNF (unless you are a Seahawks fan) the lockout will end with each side giving and getting some of what each was bargaining for. But what a cost! Not so much in overall dollars but in fan perception, appreciation and support to say the least.

While I was watching ESPN, ESPN2 the other night I started thinking about this lockout, how important it is to have true professionals in every position in order for an organization to be successful, to provide value and service to their customers and to insure that the product or service delivered is the best that it can be. If one part of an organization is performing at a lower level than the rest of the organization the whole organization suffers.

Isn’t this true in recruiting? If not then it should be. Think about the many times you have seen companies that are struggling with their quarterly profitability, their stock prices are less than the street expected, their forecasts are off and projections for next quarter are dismal decide to cut their internal recruiting department down to almost nothing.

How many times have you seen those same companies run job ads that suck (JATS) looking for replacement recruiters with I to 2 years of experience when their company’s fortunes begin to turn around? Do you think that there will be some bad calls, missed calls and no calls when it comes to sourcing, screening and hiring the best fit candidates for their open positions? Could there ever be a situation where hiring managers and candidates raise enough of a ruckus that company management agrees to hire or rehire only seasoned experienced professional recruiters?

Probably not. Unfortunately, unlike the NFL referee situation, company management rarely sees the difference between seasoned experienced professional recruiters and their 1 to 2 year replacements. They don’t immediately see the impact if any of a bad call, missed call or no call by a replacement recruiter. And they certainly don’t understand how impactful a great hire is to their overall success.

And that is the fault of the seasoned experienced professional recruiter. Most recruiters vary rarely demonstrate their value to their company’s success. Do recruiters track the impact on the company that their hires have made? Can recruiters point to specific instances where one of their hires saved, made money for the company; exceeded expectations sooner than expected; was promoted or had a significant impact on the bottom line, the stock price or other company successes?

It is not about quality of hire, time to fill or cost per hire metrics that seemingly all recruiters are so caught up with. The people running a company are more concerned and more interested in making money, showing a profit, increasing revenue.

Did your hire help with any of those things? If not where is your value?

There may never come a time in your company where there will occur a tipping point event like the MNF spectacle that will show case the difference between seasoned experienced professionals and rookie replacements.

That’s not to say that you shouldn’t be able to demonstrate that difference yourself. Otherwise your company will always be looking for a replacement recruiter.

One last thought. I think that it would help if companies hired a senior recruiter to review every controversial hire and insist on using instant replay when the offer is extended and accepted.

Now, I will wait for a call from the league office. I know that they can use my input in settling this matter.

“Please hold for Mr. Goodell.”



A Remote Recruiter in a Virtual Company – Or Further Reflections of a Rookie Recruiter

By Jennifer Copley, Rookie Recruiter, Q4B

I knew when I began working earlier this summer that the job might only be temporary. I had always had plans to move from my home in Denver to my dream city, Portland, OR (sorry Peyton) and pursue employment with my dream company (think sports apparel, sports marketing and Mr. Knight if you are reading this blog please give me a call).

I was all set to pick up, load up and pack up all of my earthly belongings along with some great homemade fudge (thanks again Mom) that would make the twenty-two plus hour trip bearable. I wasn’t set yet to leave my “temporary “job. And I also wasn’t set up with another job, temp or not, once I arrived in Portland.

Then it happened and it happened quickly and quite naturally, as though it was always meant to be. I know that I have mentioned how great an experience I have had in this job as a Rookie Recruiter, and all because of the two great bosses that I have had the privilege of working with, learning from and being mentored by. To say that they both rock as bosses is an understatement.

As I was discussing my move to Portland with one of my bosses and my fears about moving to another city without immediate job prospects, I was offered an opportunity that I never would have expected. I was asked if I would like to continue doing what I have been doing, recruiting for Q4B, on a part time basis. OMG Yes!

So, here I am in my dream city, working out of my virtual office, a very trendy coffee shop not far from where I live and feeling as though I never left Denver thanks to the great technology that we use, namely Skype, Google+ Hangouts and our always on always connected ATS.

I have already been able to see some of the benefits of working remotely and to think of some of the many benefits that were afforded me while working in our office in Denver with my bosses and staff.

Here are some benefits of working in an office.

  • You can develop as an employee more efficiently. When you’re onsite you can learn from other employees and receive more efficient training.
  • Work environment feels like more of a unit and team when you work onsite.  It makes you feel like you belong and directly increases your productivity when you see others around you working hard. You want to be a part of that functioning team
  • More manageable workloads.  If you have too much to do it is easier to physically show your boss that you either need more time or help from a co-worker
  • Real time experience- Working with others to complete a related goal makes workers more efficient- more efficient workers save the company money.

Here are some of the benefits so far of working remotely.

  • You can choose your work space. Office table, patio table, or in my case this morning- coffee shop table
  • I don’t have to sit through rush hour traffic
  • I can surround myself in a work environment that suits my mood.  Some days I am in the mood for classical music, other days I feel like lip-syncing to Justin Bieber in between screening candidates.
  • I have enhanced my communication skills with my bosses.  Frequency and clarity so there is no miscommunication

As I was putting this list together it became very clear to me that this opportunity that I now have, working remotely for Q4B, would never have been possible had I not worked in an office environment first.

Maybe this is my “rookie” side showing but without some very intense training, mentoring and critiquing on the part of two very talented, dedicated and passionate bosses (did I mention that they rock?) I would not be doing what I am doing today and would certainly not be reaping the benefits.

I sometimes feel like the fledging eagle that is now spreading her wings and learning to fly on her own, knowing full well that someone is out there watching over her.

Thanks bosses, I won’t let you down.

Now, what song would create the proper mood for sourcing candidates for that Reservoir Engineer position I am trying to fill?

Maybe the Bee Gees’  How Deep is Your Love….maybe.

Do You Speak My Language? Or Further Reflections of a Rookie Recruiter

By Jennifer Copley, Rookie Recruiter, Q4B

“To have another language is to possess a second soul.”  – Charlemagne

I am not sure when I first fully appreciated the importance of having learned a second language. I took French in high school and college and most of my friends and peers took some language as part of their course requirements. For many of us it was just another subject, sometimes required, that we needed to pass in order to graduate.

In college I took a few trips to France, traveled the country side, visited the museums, sampled the exquisite cuisine, the wine, the cheeses and spoke to or tried to speak to the locals in their language. Over time I became more comfortable with speaking French, my second language. And I began to see France through a different lens. And I liked what I saw.

I am now in my third month as a Rookie Recruiter for Q4B. I am also in my third month of learning a third language. A third language, you might ask, maybe Spanish, Chinese, German? No, although any one of those languages would certainly be of some use no matter what business you were in. No, the third language I am just beginning to learn is the language of Recruiting.

I read somewhere that English is considered the language of business, that French was considered the language of diplomacy (at least up through the mid 20th century) and is considered the language of love. If that is so then Recruiting should be considered the language of success.

My job as a Rookie Recruiter with Q4B is primarily to source and screen candidates for the various positions that we are trying to fill for our clients. In other words, I am the first point of contact with candidates and it is my responsibility to understand our client’s business, their market, the position and identify the basic requirements that the candidates must have in order to be considered.

From the very beginning I knew a couple of things. One, I had no knowledge of our client’s business, the position requirements and most if not all of the terminology was foreign to me. In other words it was a foreign language. And Two, I needed to approach each assignment the same way that I approached the subjects that I took in school, in other words, I needed to learn another language.

Before I begin working an assignment, a job order, I read the information that the client gave us during our needs analysis meeting. I then research the client’s web site, picking up information on the company, the culture, any press or media information, their blog (if they have one) as well as information on their key executives. I also read their own job description on their site. I then research their LinkedIn page, their FaceBook page and their Google+ page in an effort to gather even more information. I make a note of any specific words, phrases, terminology that are unique to this client’s business. I look up the definitions for these words, phrases and terminology in order to better understand them.

With each assignment that I am given I am slowly beginning to learn a third language.

The language of Recruiting is quite broad. There are just so many dialects, so many colloquialisms, so much local slang. Every industry has its own way of speaking; every job has its own terminology. Learning to speak French certainly was a whole lot easier, but perhaps not as rewarding.

Learning to speak Recruiting has opened up doors that I never dreamed existed. And just like my experience with speaking French on my trips to France allowed me to see that country through a different lens, learning to speak the language of Recruiting has allowed me to see the opportunities that exist in each of the markets that Q4B works and the value that we bring to both our clients and our candidates, through a different lens. To say the least this experience has been eye opening. And I like what I see.

So, do you speak my language? Or should I say, “Parlez- vous Recruiting?” Because I can speak yours!

Reflections of a Rookie Recruiter

By Jen Copley, Rookie Recruiter, Q4B

“Wisdom was not at the top of the graduate school mountain, but there in the sand pile at school” –Robert Fulghum.

I recently graduated from the University of Northern Colorado with a Communication Studies and French degree (if you need some help ordering a good wine at your favorite French restaurant, call me). Like every fresh out grad, I spent the better part of my senior year writing resumes, looking at job opportunities on Career Builder and Monster and generally stressing about my chances of landing a job, any job in this economy.

A little over a month ago my mother (thanks Mom) introduced me to a friend of hers, Jennifer Brownell, a remarkable woman who had just become the Managing Director of an established managed recruiting services firm, Q4B. Jennifer was in the process of setting up operations in the Denver area, hiring staff and preparing to expand Q4B’s target markets and service offerings.

I am sure that my mother (thanks again, Mom) thought that perhaps Jennifer could use some help, any help in getting her office up and running, functioning on all cylinders. And it wouldn’t hurt to be working for a company that helps people find great careers.

So, I was hired on as a part-time intern, initially handling various office chores and making several daily runs to the local Starbucks. I began working closely with Carmen Lapham, who was brought in by Jennifer to be the Director of Recruiting and Operations.

Soon, within days, I was being asked to help Carmen and Jennifer with the work of recruiting. I was being taught the fine art of sourcing, screening, selecting and marketing by two very talented, dedicated women.

And it turns out that aside from feeling excited, challenged and rewarded for the work I was being asked to do, I felt prepared to do it, to take on the various tasks I was given.

What prepared me for this job, what allowed me to feel that I could do it wasn’t the fact that I graduated from college, wasn’t my degree in Communication and French, wasn’t even my desire to always do my best, to be successful.

My preparation goes all the way back to my first experience in school. It turns out that all I needed to know about recruiting and working for Q4B, I learned in Kindergarten.

Robert Fulghum in his best selling book, All I Really Need to Know, I Learned in Kindergarten, lists 11 things that can be learned in Kindergarten and here is how I have seen them applied at Q4B.

  • Share Everything –

Communication is the key to success in any personal and professional setting, and perhaps even more so in the recruiting business.  At Q4B, we have a great channel of communication internally and externally with other employees and customers, our clients and candidates. Making sure that the candidate has all the information about an opportunity; making sure that the client has all the information about the candidates; making sure that everyone involved in the recruiting process has all the information they need to do their jobs successfully, that is sharing everything.

  • Play Fair –

Jennifer Brownell and Carmen Lapham are the greatest authority figures to work under.  They play fair.  They work hard.  They both fix problems tactfully and use positive reinforcement properly. They also play fair with Q4B’s clients when negotiating business and setting the fees for services. They also play fair when closing the candidates on a realistic salary range to consider for any job opportunity. But don’t challenge them to a game of Trivial Pursuit – that’s a whole other ball game!

  • Don’t Hit People –

I know we could get away with actually hitting people when we were in Kindergarten. None of us packed too much of a wallop. But there are other types of “hitting” that I have seen practiced in the adult world that are in many ways much more harmful than a right cross to the chin. I am referring to verbal “hitting” of employees, subordinates, clients, customers, vendors and candidates.  It is not a good practice to hit any one and certainly doesn’t make any sense in the recruiting business, where everything hinges on the strength of the relationship that recruiters establish with their clients and candidates. We don’t hit.

  • Put things back where you found them –

Hard copy or digital it doesn’t matter. If you take something from somewhere always put it back. This includes resumes, files, job orders, notes, reference material, sourcing material, company info. Jennifer and Carmen are insistent upon this. Information is key in the recruiting business. Knowing that the information will always be accessible is equally important. Put it back is my motto, along with twenty (and counting) others so far.

  • Clean up your own mess –

This applies to just about everything that we do. Not just physical mess, like papers and files on a desk top or coffee cups and left over lunch around the work space. But the other messes that we sometimes find ourselves in, such as, not following up with a candidate as promised, not following up with a client, not checking references, not closing the candidate properly, promising more than can be delivered to either candidate or client, agreeing to do something and then not doing it. These are all messes and if they are yours then clean’em up! So far at Q4B, the messes if there were any have either been cleaned up by the messer or the cleaning crew. Oh, wait, we don’t have a cleaning crew!

  • Don’t take things that are not yours –

At Q4B I have been taught some basic things about ownership. Candidates are “owned” by the recruiter who sourced them, screened them and in many cases presented them to the client. Clients are “owned” by the recruiter/business development person who identified the account, presented the proposal and got the engagement agreement signed. And as long as those who “own” something have documented their “ownership” then there is no possibility of someone taking things that are not theirs. Honesty is our policy.

  • Say you are sorry when you hurt someone –

This applies to anything that might be said to candidates, clients, employees, peers, vendors, partners, contractors, consultants by any one, by any means. I have not seen any evidence of this at Q4B, not to say that it could never happen, which is why there is a social media policy being developed that will address what is being said by any one in the company through any SM channel. Luckily, the company has some good role models.

  • Wash your hands before you eat –

Or maybe it should be wash your hands before you greet. I have noticed that Jennifer and Carmen schedule a number of face to face meetings, mostly with potential clients. Those candidates who are local to the Denver area will also be interviewed face to face, by either one or both. I have had the opportunity to attend a few meetings and de-briefings. People always shake hands. My impression is that aside from the information on job opportunities, candidate’s qualifications, interest and availability, and establishing a profitable, long term relationship, Carmen and Jennifer want to leave a good impression. Not germs.

  • Flush –

This refers to the obvious, but also to other types of waste that need to be disposed of quickly and sometimes quietly (thanks Moen) or avoided all together. Working at Q4B and with Carmen and Jennifer, I have seen very little waste of time (candidate’s, client’s and our own), energy, resources, opportunities.

  • Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you –

And so is a good bottle of wine (French of course) and some cheese; a cold can of Oskar Blues Dale’s Pale Ale or Mama’s Little Yella Pils and pizza; or just that first latte in the morning. Especially if there are others around (co-workers, bosses) to enjoy it with. All work and no play…..etc.

  • Live a balanced life – learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some

I learn every minute of everyday working under these two women.  I think about how successful they are and how I can reflect their actions into my own work and life. I draw connections between candidate and career/listen to Carmen paint an enticing picture of the job for the candidate, and the candidate for the client. And we all sing and dance at work when the perfect candidate is hired.

So this is what I was taught in Kindergarten, along with a few other things that I will discuss in future blogs.

And I will leave you with this one last thought which is still true, no matter how old you are, when you go out in the world and look for a job, it is best to hold hands with a good recruiter and stick together.

Thanks Jennifer and Carmen (and Mom)!