“He could sell a ketchup Popsicle to a woman wearing white gloves.” In the old world of sales, there was an interchangeability about sales professionals. If you could sell knives, you could sell cars, insurance, anything. For a time, sales was perceived as trickery and smooth talking less than people who understood products and tried to solve problems. Successful businesses have transitioned to be partners to their customers, providing value more than simply products.
Like modern sales, good recruiters need to specialise in the industries they’re recruiting for in order to understand the intricate needs of the businesses they’re working with and to properly vet their candidates to ensure they have the skills they claim. If a recruiter lets a candidate who is all bluster and no performance through to a company, it can torch that reputation going forward. Our friend Greg Savage wrote on his LinkedIn page:
Anyone can match a résumé with a job description. That takes a week or so to learn. And you may even make some placements. But it’s the craft of recruiting I am talking about. The art. The skill of it. That takes years. Decades. Forever. Great recruiters are sponges. For life. You are never totally ‘on top of your game’ in this business. You can always get better.
That’s why Interpro looks for recruiters like Jenna Payette in our Brisbane office. While she’s a dynamite recruiter, it wasn’t her first choice. Or in the top 10. “To me, going for a digital programming role was a no-brainer, I got to be creative daily, grow my knowledge, meet other creatives, and keep up to date as to technologies and how they were changing/evolving.”
Growing up, Jenna’s passions were in tech and gaming. In college in Texas, Jenna studied design and production of 3D animation, something that she’s continuing in her spare time. “I have also worked on a short that has yet to be released called “Special Delivery” that is a story revolving around a space delivery boy and an abandoned space dog (It has a very “Jetsons” feel). I was a 3D modeler and texture artist.” The project is currently in motion-capture and will be released to film festivals once it is completed.
There’s a stereotype about the “creative type.” They’re flighty, unpredictable, and prone to fits of passion. While there may be periods of frustration, the vast majority of successful creators know about how to use structure to create a product on-time and on-budget, how to work through the tedium of creation, and pre-emptively finding and fixing problems. Jenna says, “My background in 3D modelling allows me to understand creatives on a deeper level, I understand the highs and lows, the small technical frustrations, deadlines, pressure, and the feeling of doing a lot of work that people will never know you have done, etc. All of this easily relates back to understanding my clients and candidates easier, relating to them on a truthful and understanding level, and being able to understand even easier where they would fit and what they need from me.”
A good recruiter is one who has experience in the industry. “When my clients know my background from the beginning, they are able to talk to me on a more technical level and be confident I fully understand what they are saying and needing and that it’s not just going in one easy and out the other.”
Being able to talk to candidates on their level, says Jenna, is essential:
Creatively I know about the processes, what it takes to create a (java) program from only being told what they need (essentially, creating everything from nothing) which allows me to relate to candidate frustrations and client needs. I understand that programming languages; that it can be tedious and frustrating and that debugging is no one’s favourite thing; which allows me to easily identify pain points for clients and candidates. My background in 3D modelling allows me to understand creatives on a deeper level, I understand the highs and lows, the small technical frustrations, deadlines, pressure, and the feeling of doing a lot of work that people will never know you have done, etc.
Recruiting—and being good at it—comes down to knowing about technologies and being able to communicate with a wide variety of people. Jenna’s opinion is that it’s essential to anticipate needs to help facilitate a successful project. “It is a role in which you are not only getting to see from beginning to end you get to constantly connect with people, learn about all types of business’, you know you are helping people and get the feeling of fulfilment when you get the client and candidate what they want, and you continue growing yourself whether that be creatively, professionally, or personally.”
The question, then, is why Jenna is working in recruitment and not in the industry from within she recruits. She says she fell into the recruitment. “I met with my (now boss) Emily about putting me into roles for two creative agencies. Emily saw potential in me and my skill set, and that I had a sales background and although had set up interviews for me, ultimately turned me around into recruitment. It made such a great transition because being new to Australia, I knew very little about the creative world here, what technologies were “frequent” here, etc. I was easily able to use my sales background and combine it with my creative Java skills to connect with candidates and actually understand what they were discussing and needing from me. I think that’s what made it such an easy transition, being able to understand my client and candidates needs so easily and clearly.”
Jenna continues to work on her passion projects on the side, something that Interpro encourages. We know that people are at their best when they feel fulfilled in both their work and personal lives. Jenna’s on-board, encouraging anyone thinking about creating something: “Make time for it. It is so easy to say you’re tired after a long day of work, but you need that outlet, you need that change of pace in your life. Your passion is what drives you forward. Don’t ever forget what you are passionate about, that is a very important piece of you that can be relatable to a lot of people.”
Recruiting is a challenging business. We’re constantly making connections with different businesses, juggling multiple projects, and helping people find fulfilling work. We have a diverse team of consultants from every walk of life. If you have technical skills and an interest in helping businesses complete complex projects, Interpro would be a great place for you. Send your CV to Katherine Murray for a confidential chat.