Getting the Right People in the Right Job! Danielle’s Recruiting Story

By Craig Leonard, WorkStory Ambassador at Western University 

Danielle Giannattasio is a Recruiter for Aerotek, a leading company in the recruiting and staffing industry. As a recruiter Danielle’s job is to place suitable candidates in positions assigned to her on a contract basis. She specializes as a Technical Recruiter within Aerotek’s Engineering Services division. Specifically, she pursues engineers –  technologists, mechanical and electrical designers, and a wide range of specialized engineers.

This is far from the typical 9-5 job. Danielle’s schedule is mostly based around that of her clients and contractors. Typically, she begins the day by meeting with the other recruiters in her office to discuss the most urgent positions that they are working on. After prioritizing business, Danielle begins the recruiting process by using job boards and the company’s own database to screen for candidates, depending on the type of position she is trying to fill. Much of the workday is spent interviewing applicants to uncover what they themselves are looking for in a career and what their interests may be. Danielle also coaches selected applicants on their interview skills to help increase their chances of landing jobs.

Danielle thinks of herself as a subject matter expert in the engineering field, and because of this she is able to act as a consultant to her clients. While her primary objective is to provide the most qualified candidates, she also offers business and industry advice based on her daily interactions and findings in the market. Once she is successful in getting a candidate hired, her job is far from done. She continues to work with the contractor throughout their employment to ensure that they are satisfied, and moving towards accomplishing their own goals. When asked what it takes to be successful in recruiting, Danielle says, “A competitive and hardworking attitude…recruiting is about generating results under pressure.”

To get to where she is today, Danielle began by earning an undergraduate degree in Political Science at McMaster University. After completing her degree, she was unsure of what direction to head. She knew that she enjoyed working with people and had always excelled at sales, which fueled her decision to enroll in a Human Resource Management Post-Graduate program at Humber College. Danielle loved the one-year program but was not convinced by the end of it that she wanted to pursue a career in human resources. A requirement of her program was to complete an internship and she began inquiring about various companies and sections of human resources that she wanted to work in. She begun looking into recruiting companies and realized that given her interpersonal skills and passion for sales recruiting was a unique field that she could see herself working in. She then reached out to a number of individuals who were working as recruiters to learn more about what the staffing industry is like.

Funnily enough, after speaking with a number of recruiters she was approached by a recruiter at Aerotek for an opportunity to work in the company. The interview process for Aerotek is unique. It involves a 3-step interview, followed by a “half day”, during which the interviewees work at an Aerotek office for a half of a day to fully submerge themselves in the Aerotek way of life. After successfully completing this rigorous process Danielle was hired in June 2015. Although Danielle entered the staffing industry in order to complete a program requirement, she is fiercely passionate about her job and continues to love it and excel at it. When asked whether she would take the same educational path to her career in recruiting Danielle says, “Absolutely. While I don’t think that a background in human resources is necessary to do my job, I’m not sure that I would have ever entered the staffing industry and come across Aerotek if I didn’t get into it.”

What Danielle loves most about about her job is the fact that she is doing something different and learning something new, every single day. Although she was initially nervous to enter the engineering field without any prior knowledge of the industry, Danielle, as a naturally curious person, didn’t have a hard time networking with industry experts to gain some insight. “During any given week, I talk to at least 100 engineers, all from different backgrounds, with different educations and experiences.” One encounter Danielle remembers fondly is when she met one of the men who took part in designing the Mars Rover!

“Working in engineering has opened my eyes to so many things that I wouldn’t have paid attention to before. You wouldn’t believe how much you can learn from simply listening to other people’s stories.”

Danielle explains that the most satisfying part of her job is hearing that a client is pleased with their employee. “People rely on employment for their livelihood and it feels good being a part of that for someone.” Staffing is a competitive industry, and Danielle loves the competition involved in hiring the best people to the best companies, along with the challenge that comes with the pressure to make deadlines. She states that staffing is a unique industry; “You are dealing with the most unpredictable product – people.”

Danielle’s advice for people searching for employment? “Recruiters look for people that know what they want from a job or an opportunity. Although this may be difficult with the vast number of opportunities out there, it is important that you begin with an end goal in mind.”

 

Leading a Customer Advisory Team: David’s Story

By Michelle Doyle, WorkStory Ambassador at Western University

David Ennett is the supervisor of the customer advisory team at StarTech.com, a manufacturer of hard-to-find IT parts. The focus of the company is to make it easy for IT professionals to identify, find, and use the parts they require for their tech solutions. StarTech.com is a well-established international company, operating 24 hours a day, 5 days a week, in 8 different languages!  “It’s great to be part of a London company that has become a global business,” David says.  

David works with a team of 20 advisors who service customers via phone, webchat and e-mail. The majority of his time is spent working with the members of his team to provide them with the support necessary to help them be successful in their roles.

His day-to-day work consists of coaching the team and being readily available for assistance. David is very passionate about what makes exceptional customer service and makes an effort to put this at the forefront of how the team operates, “I believe that the best manufacturers not only create excellent products but also provide stellar service. I spend a lot of my time thinking about how we can do continue to enhance the experience for our customers.”

David says what he enjoys most about his job is “working with incredible people across the entire organization”. He explains that it is motivating to work in an environment where people enjoy what they do and work together to support one another. Everyone at StarTech.com is dedicated to their customers and is committed to succeeding in their work.  Along with this incredible commitment to customer service, the team also has a lot of fun.  “We celebrate Halloween like no other employer in the country (seriously it’s a big deal around here) and have employees who volunteer as fun ambassadors (that role is exactly as it sounds) who plan various events and activities throughout the year.”

Most of the fun, however, is experienced in the daily atmosphere of the organization.  StarTech.com is a place where everyone cares for each other and enjoys being part of the team. This supportive attitude creates a great sense of community – “the passion that everyone has for the business and one another is palpable”. The team appreciates that collaboration is not only the key to being successful, but is also essential for creating this meaningful, rewarding and fun workplace.


How did David find his way to StarTech.com?  He explains that his career path was not exactly “planned”. He, like many other students, was not sure what he wanted to do professionally.  As he sees it, however, this confusion and uncertainty, while at times uncomfortable, is actually very healthy. It forces you to really understand yourself better and come to understand what you are passionate about.

David pursued a B.A. in Political Science and M.A. in Canadian-American Relations at Western University. He says that the liberal arts and social sciences are valuable as they teach students to “think critically, problem solve, write well and engage with a diverse set of ideas and people”. He argues that these are essential skills that are transferable to almost any workplace.

During his university career, David also took on various leadership opportunities, including president of his students’ council, where he learned to enjoy responsibility for projects and leading others. “I quickly found that the best leaders are consultative in nature and strive to empower and enable team members to play a large role in making decisions and sharing in success,” he says.

After completing school, David worked at Staples as a supervisor for a year, where he oversaw the service departments of his store, along with leading a team of 10 associates. It was here where he saw firsthand how great customer service can significantly impact the growth of a business. He has brought this passion for great service with him to StarTech.com.

David’s advice for new graduates is to not fear entering the workforce and to take on roles that may not link directly to your education. University can only prepare you for so much. Wherever you end up, take it very seriously, work hard, and embrace the idea that “no task is too small”. These are the skills he believes are most important for his generation.  “As millennials we need to show other generations that we are capable of working with humility and respect. If we can do this I think we will succeed.”



Multiple Jobs, Pieced Together by Passion: Anna-Lise Trudell’s Story

As told to Elyse Trudell, WorkStory Ambassador

Like many of our generation, I have multiple jobs going at the moment, most in the field I am passionate about—the non-profit, violence against women sector. I feel as though it is a process of piecing together one’s career. It’s not about finding it and landing it, but about taking on different opportunities, be they jobs or volunteer positions. Many opportunities, all pieced together, can make up the equivalent of a full time job—helping you to build a name for yourself in your sector, and garner the experience you need.

I am currently the Program Coordinator of ‘Girls Creating Change’, at the Sexual Assault Centre London. Girls Creating Change is our girls’ violence prevention group, where we focus on building a girl’s sense of self-worth, empowerment and a sense of themselves as change makers. The girls meet once a week with facilitators, for a hangout and discussion time on: 

• gender identity and what it means to be a woman

• self-esteem, boundaries and being assertive

• healthy sexuality

• violence, self-harm and bullying

• agency, leadership and taking action (http://sacl.ca/youth/relationships-plus/)

In this position, I am part PR rep, selling the program to the girls and to community organizations; I am part manager, overseeing a staff of 3 facilitators and multiple volunteers; I am a program developer, partnering with research institutes to help support ongoing research on girls’ programming; and, I’m a fundraiser, grant-writing and budget managing to support Girls Creating Change. Most of these skill sets weren’t taught to me in school---I had to learn them as I went.

I’m also the Project Coordinator for the Coalition Assisting Trafficked Individuals. I’ve coordinated the development and implementation of a training program aimed at addressing human trafficking for over 300 front line staff in our region, writing and publishing a 60 page manual, facilitating 25 training sessions, and co-chairing monthly Coalition meetings where I have developed workplans and responded to over 20 bosses around the table. As is the case for the position with Girls Creating Change, I did not learn these skill sets---financial management, work plan and project development, specific facilitation models---in school. So what did my schooling help me with?

I did an undergrad in Honours Specialization Political Science and Minor in Women’s Studies at Western University. I loved political advocacy, and was drawn to issues facing women. But I hadn’t the slightest idea what this degree could lead me to in terms of a career…..and so I opted for grad school, doing a Master’s of Public Administration at the University of Ottawa. This program appealed to me because it seemed to have a practical application, you learned how government agencies functioned, how a public servant went about supporting government programs, and there was an internship component to the program. This internship was a great opportunity for me, as it led me to be a political staffer on Parliament Hill for one year--a phenomenal experience in political advocacy!

But I missed learning, I missed being surrounded by like-minded individuals pursuing gender issues. And so I returned to school, to do a PhD in Women’s Studies at Western University. I started volunteering at the Sexual Assault Centre London during my second year of the PhD. This volunteer position eventually led me to making the connections I needed to land my jobs with Girls Creating Change and the Coalition Assisting Trafficked Individuals. Both combine my interest and love for policy and programming, along with a focus on gender and social justice. And by making these connections, but seeking out mentors in the women who have been in the field longer than me, I have the fortuitous chance to partner my PhD research with the Girls Creating Change program.

I can’t claim to have masterminded a linear path to where I am today---it is rather haphazard. That is my biggest take away from my story, that we don’t need to know exactly what we ‘want to be’, and have a specific game-plan in mind to get there. Make connections, foster mentor relationships with those whose careers you admire, and be patient.

Supply Chain Analyst: e-Commerce

What I do:  I work for one of the biggest retailers in the world where I sincerely believe one has the chance to make a difference. The corporate culture is fantastic especially when you know about the employees who work there. I was hired initially within the Space Planning team where I conducted space analysis and provided business recommendations on how to optimize space across all stores. I worked cross functionally with new store planning, store operations, replenishment and merchants to execute successful planograms. I also got to manage several “space optimization” projects to improve process accuracy and efficiency within our stores.

After working in that role for around 10 months I recently had the opportunity to become a Supply Chain Analyst and made the switch into eCommerce. This is our biggest growth area and I am now part of an amazing team who are trying to build the next generation of Walmart Canada. My job is to manage the flow of goods from our vendors to the customer and ensure all our items on the site are in-stock. The best part about the job is because we are a learning business, you get to learn something new everyday!

 What I like about it: I have the best team. I couldn’t ask for better mentors and bosses when I look up. I work with fantastic people with wonderful stories and it really makes a difference. On the other hand, the work is extremely engaging, very cross-functional and strategy-oriented.

My path:  I went to school at King’s University College, Western University. I was heavily involved in student government, sports and extra curriculars in general. I have been fortunate to come across wonderful teachers and peers who have instilled much confidence in me where I feel I can really overcome any foreseen challenges that lie ahead. My advice to anyone interested in my path would be to go & be involved in school, to meet people and share ideas and find ways on how you can make a difference!

Barshan Quadry

Business Liaison at Youth Opportunities Unlimited

I love my job! No doubt about it. While all career opportunities have their ups and downs this job has been great thus far. I am approaching almost 10 months with the organization and no one day is the same. I am a front line work with Youth Opportunities Unlimited (http://www.you.ca/ ) in London, Canada.  I work in Career Services to help youth secure employment.

I work with a number of employers in our community to Job Develop. On a typical day I can be meeting with clients and employers to discuss possible opportunities. With clients, I help to develop their resumes, find an area of interest and do job searching. With employers, I meet to find out their needs, suitable candidates and discuss other ways that we can work together for the benefit of our youth. As well, I network in the community to be a face of the organization and let them know the great things that YOU has to offer.

The best part of my job is witnessing a youth and their excitement over getting a job. It is a rewarding feeling! I love the staff here at YOU as we are all working together for the betterment of youth in our community. We have existed for over 30 years and have been able to really make our mark in this community. It is great being able to branch out to the community, share our message and really pound the pavement.

I think that I got this job because I have tried to make a face for myself in the community. I have worked with a number of organizations through previous employment and volunteer opportunities to branch out and network. I have dedicated myself to working with non-profit organizations to focus on a delivery of service and partnerships that can be mutually beneficial to those that we serve in our community.

I have a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science and Criminology with a Post-Graduate in Corporate Communications and Public Relations. As well, I am a Board member for the Pride London Festival and a committee member with the London Diversity and Race Relations Committee. I attend a number of community events and really see the value in organizations like Emerging Leaders.

My biggest piece of advice.... GET OUT THERE! Meeting people in your community, network, volunteer and show what you're passionate about. I think most jobs are not found in a posting but in the relationships that we build with others. How great would it be if an employer recognized your name before you even went for an interview! It truly is the ultimate advantage. I'd also recommend to keep learning and always try new things.

It is always good to keep your ear to the ground and find out what is happening locally. Read the paper, check local news and see what’s happening in your community. Knowledge of your area and your industry will go a long way in helping you to answer tough questions and be prepared.    Good luck!

Chad Callandar