Life as a Corporate Recruiter: Q & A with Robert Pitman

Robert Pitman is a Corporate Recruiter at Robarts Clinical Trials in London, Canada and is responsible for overseeing all recruitment activities for the London, San Diego, and Amsterdam offices.  Below he shares info about what he does, what he loves about it, and the path he took to get there…and some pro tips!

What’s great about my work?  Being a Recruiter allows me to have conversations with new people every day. From every interview or pre-screen I learn something about other jobs, companies, and so on. Also, being a Recruiter allows me to use my observational and active listening skills to make an assessment of whether an individual will be a good fit for the job and the organization. I feel very lucky to be in a position to help people realize their potential.

A typical day?  Lots happens!  Gathering and sharing information, screening applications received over the last 24 hours.  For the long-listed candidates, pre-screen phone interviews are scheduled.  Usually, I conduct 1-3 interviews a day either in person or via Skype.  I send pre-screen interview notes to hiring managers for review, book corresponding future interviews, share job postings on LinkedIn, conduct headhunting activities using LinkedIn and over the phone.  I check industry news sites for any happenings in the world of CROs (Contract Research Organizations). I update recruitment metrics, review the status of current initiatives and perform “after care” – checking in on new employees that recently started in their positions.  And I create a plan for the next day…

An unusual day?   Unusual days might involve one (or several!) of the following:  brainstorming new recruitment initiatives, scouting pipeline candidates for future opportunities, conducting benchmarking or searching for information about competitors, attending a networking event, reviewing employee selection interventions, researching new talent acquisition tactics….there is always something new to learn!

Coolest thing about my job?  Currently, I am responsible for all of our vacancies which span Canada, the US, and the Netherlands. Having global responsibility is quite exciting as it has added a new layer of complexity to the recruitment process. There are nuances to each market and candidates often have different experiences and values. Another great aspect of my role is that I get the opportunities to hear other peoples’ “work stories”!

How did I get here?  During my first year at Western University, I applied for a summer job through the Federal Student Work Experience Program (FSWEPRP).  I was lucky enough to be selected for a position with Human Resources & Skills Development Canada (HRSDC) and I held this position for 3 years, including during the school year. I had various mandates but the general mission involved helping youth (age 15-30) to find employment.  I really enjoyed this and ended up taking a number of classes related to Industrial/ Organizational Psychology at Western. I found Dr. Allen’s class one of the most interesting and practical in my time at Western.

One of the employees I managed while at HRSDC turned out to be a networking guru. We kept in touch over the years and he introduced me to the internal recruiter at Hays Specialist Recruitment in Toronto. I went through a number of interviews- including an Assessment Centre -  and was selected to become an agency Recruitment Consultant for the pharmaceutical industry. Agency recruitment definitely had its challenges, but I managed to build a solid base of clients and worked for three years with Hays, placing over 40 candidates and billing over $650,000.  Contingency recruitment – as this is called – can be very unpredictable.  In addition, as a consultant you can feel like the work is quite transactional.   

So, after three years, I decided to return to school to complete my Human Resources (HR) Certificate in pursuit of the Canadian Human Resources Professional (CHRP) designation.  After that decision, it made sense to look for opportunities on the corporate side. I am originally from Windsor and have family in London, so when the position with Robarts presented itself, I jumped on it right away. It was definitely the right decision.  I could not be happier!

Some info & advice   Becoming a recruiter typically requires a college or university degree and coursework specialization in HR is helpful.  Increasingly, the CHRP designation is expected and the Certified Recruiter designation is also recognized.  To become a Corporate Recruiter it helps to have prior agency recruitment experience.    

Recruitment isn’t for everyone. Its most challenging aspects involve time management and communication. You deal with a huge number of stakeholders and candidates and it can be difficult to communicate effectively with everyone and on a timely basis.  However, if you are a social individual who enjoys building relationships, applying your observational skills, and you take an interest in I/O psychology, a career in recruitment could be a great fit!

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.”

 

It’s a Jungle Out There: The Jobmanji Story

By Guy Baldwin

Starting a new business from scratch isn't the easiest thing to do, but that's exactly what Jacob Johnson and Guy Baldwin have done with their inspired idea to create a jobs website that pulls all the information from thousands of recruiters into one easy-to-access place.

Jobmanji is the new kid on the block in the online jobs sector and is taking on a market that has been established for many years and is highly competitive. The launch of Jobmanji's Canadian site, following hugely successful launches in the UK and US, marks another milestone in the company's global strategy.

Jacob and Guy knew exactly what they were taking on when they developed the concept of Jobmanji. As Jacob explains: "I had experienced the frustration of both recruiters and job seekers when I was doing IT work for a recruitment agency. Recruiters were having problems getting their information out to where they wanted it to go because there were so many different job sites available, and people looking for jobs either didn't know where to go for information or had to trawl through multiple sites to find what they wanted."

So the idea was born to create one website to pull together all jobs available on other sites as well as those posted directly by recruiters.

As Jacob says: "What we wanted to do was save job seekers the hassle of searching dozens of websites and making recruiters know that their jobs are easily accessible in the one place. We've put a lot of resources into giving recruiters and those looking for work the information and back-up to be confident that Jobmanji can deliver what they need."

The proof of the pudding is in the eating, and Jobmanji has satisfied many appetites since its initial launch at the beginning of 2013.

Guy, Jobmanji's Marketing Director, says: "In our first year we have had 1.2 million unique visits, 7.9 million page views and advertised 3.75 million jobs in the UK alone. That shows that Jobmanji is offering exactly what people want, and our central hub is delivering a really effective service."

So how does a business idea in the sharp, competitive world of online recruitment become a reality? It needs the right people to deliver the vision, and this is where Jobmanji has brought together the ideal team. Combining experience of cutting-edge technology and astute business administration, the company has the expertise to continue developing its concept worldwide and the resources from investors to achieve the vision.

"Make no mistake," says Jacob. "Our goal is to help people who want to find jobs and those who want to attract the best people for their jobs. The process for Jobmanji is simple and that's how we intend to keep it. No more wandering through a maze of other job seeking sites – everything is here."

Jacob's background is in computing and includes the ability to program in several languages, administer Linux servers and work with cloud computing and network security. These skills allowed him to develop the basic site whilst Guy continued research and developing the company. Guy's experience ranges from working for a successful family business doing corporate restructuring and insolvency to managing a variety of enterprises including construction, manufacturing, haulage, marketing and recruitment, skills that have helped build Jobmanji into the successful company it is today.

The idea of one central job search site proved attractive to investors, and with that financial impetus the company took on Marcos Lujan as a core team member. Marcos' background and training is in IT, having studied computer science in the USA, and he has wide ranging knowledge of both hardware and software issues as well as the ability to program in several languages. His experience in online marketing has brought significant added value to Jobmanji, and he is responsible for the company's search engine optimization team.

Jacob is clear about Jobmanji's vision. "Everything starts from an idea, and our idea was to help people who recruit and those looking for work to place and find jobs from a central website'" he says. "We use sophisticated technology to ensure users are able to find jobs quickly, matching their skills and experience to what recruiters are looking for. Our aim is to make it as easy as possible for recruiters to upload information and for job hunters to access it.

" Another important aspect of Jobmanji is our section on tips and advice for jobseekers. We want to share our knowledge of the recruitment business so that people can find and prepare for their dream job.

"It's a jungle out there and if you can't see the wood for the trees you're looking in the wrong place. With Jobmanji you're looking in the right place!"

Since its launch Jobmanji has already proved phenomenally popular both with recruiters and job seekers, and the core trio of Jacob, Guy and Marcos are moving forward with their plans to add more countries to the site.