Using Your Authentic Voice to Connect: My path to a career in staffing
Without greater good or meaning behind my work, I feel empty. When a friend approached me several years ago about a technology recruiting position available with her firm, I was skeptical. Me, a creative person with a passion for helping others, as a technical recruiter? How was that a match? My dear friend was a creative individual as well, with a fine arts degree, so I heard her out, knowing that she was interested in helping me find a career path after having spent the last two years dedicated to raising my young children.
Upon completing my bachelor’s degree in Political Science (with an intention to attend law school and set the world on fire) I recognized that I’d prefer to immediately have an impact by working in a non-profit. After a couple of years in a couple of non-profits, I was curious about the world of business as a social venture and took a position in marketing with a CPA firm, led by a visionary CEO who dedicated her work to improving her community and the small businesses that built the fabric of that landscape. Following that opportunity, sales seemed like the next grand adventure as I explored my own entrepreneurial leanings. Inevitably, that path led me to recruiting.
My first taste of recruiting was working with an art and design college in their admissions department. It was exciting and meaningful to work with students and their families to enroll in a school dedicated to bringing their talents to life and train them in skills that would offer future employment. I began that position near the beginning of the recession and saw it through the birth of my first and second child. Deciding to take a couple of years to care for my young family, I pondered how I might return to the workforce with my varied employment background. What I knew I had (and luckily my friend understood too) was an enthusiasm for working with others in a career where my natural curiosity could always be at play.
I somewhat reluctantly decided to try my hand in the staffing industry with the encouragement of my friend. Recruiting technology, specifically IT, professionals felt awkward at first. I didn’t speak the language. I really didn’t understand the industry. And I held a misconceived notion that I should keep my creativity on the back burner as it likely wouldn’t be a way to connect with this market. It took me less than six months to realize that I was wrong.
The recruiting I did then and still do now, required truly on getting to know the individuals with whom I was working: their hobbies, their interests and their passions along with their technical skill sets and how those were applied to their specific craft. And there it was! Each consultant I worked with was passionate about their craft and I was curious about making the connections and understanding how the technology applied. Suddenly, I couldn’t wait to research (usually through conversation) how to connect the dots and find the right people with the right skills and passion for the businesses critical projects.
While connecting the technology dots, I also started to see a tapestry with similar threads running throughout. Many of the most technologically savvy people I know are also incredible musicians (more than I can count), bakers, craft beer brewers, and inventors. The “maker movement” that invites people to be hands-on with various crafts/technologies (3D printing, sewing, engineering, tinkering, etc) which inspires my own creativity, also provides inspiration to people with whom I once felt I had no similarities. The curiosity that drives me to understand how technology impacts business is not only their livelihood, but their passion.
This journey has offered many great lessons. I have learned that we are all so much more alike than we are different. I realize that when I hid my own passions and interests, it was harder to connect with others. I have the pleasure of having a fully actualized career that allows me to stay curious and also makes great use of my passion for working with people and ultimately impacting business. And the greatest moral of the story is that preconceived notions about opportunities, people, etc. blind us to reality, which is far richer than what our minds can invent. I am grateful to be on this path surrounded by stunning colleagues who are all equally passionate, many in different ways and for different reasons, yet still we have found our calling in the ever evolving world of staffing and recruiting, with people at the heart of everything we accomplish. Many thanks also to the friend that saw the spark in me that knew if I stayed curious and acted with authenticity, that I would find my way.