At the Best Buy headquarters in Minneapolis last May, I gave a presentation on Marketing Yourself with Social Media…Without Being Annoying at the Social Recruiting Summit (now known as the Recruiting Innovation Summit). I was the final presenter of the day, and after I finished, I walked over to David Manaster, CEO of ERE Media. The day before, David had told me he wanted to chat with me after the conference was over. I assumed it had to do with SourceCon, since he had purchased it in July 2009 and I was voluntarily editing the newsletter. The conversation that followed led three weeks later to a really cool career change, and I just celebrated my one-year anniversary working for ERE Media as Editor of SourceCon.com and The Fordyce Letter.
For anyone unfamiliar with either of these publications, here’s a quick ‘elevator pitch’ for each:
- The Fordyce Letter is a print and online publication that caters to the third party recruiting world. It is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year and brings news and knowledge to external recruiters on topics such as placement fees, cold calling, client marketing and development, interviewing, business ownership, and how to become a “Big Biller.” Fordyce also puts on the annual Fordyce Forum conference.
- SourceCon.com is an online publication that is geared toward the “nerdy” side of recruiting – research and sourcing. Readers typically come from telephone or Internet sourcing backgrounds or leading teams of such individuals. Topics covered on SourceCon include technology resources, Boolean knowledge, search engines, data mining, social media, and other topics of interest to researchers. Two yearly SourceCon conferences are put on by SourceCon.com as well.
The last year for me has been one of tremendous growth. I jumped into my new Editor role really only having practitioner experience from which to draw. Sure, I started ResearchGoddess.com in 2006 and had gained a lot of notoriety as a blogger, but ERE Media is a real, actual media company and I knew this would be a fun new challenge compared to where I was coming from.
I humbly started my professional recruiting career (almost exactly nine years ago, actually!) in the agency world working for Jonathan Scott International, a well-known and respected recruitment agency operating in the supply chain, mobile computing, and commercial printing industries, for four years. There, I was introduced to the business of recruiting by reading old issues of The Fordyce Letter – ironically, the publication I now oversee. From there I joined SearchPath International, a third party agency franchisor, and led the centralized research effort there. I trained recruiting franchise owners on basic Internet research skills as well as ATS/database organization, social networking, and social media marketing. This was before social media really became a mainstream area of interest. After SearchPath, I worked on the corporate side of recruiting, working as a Sourcing Strategist for Waggener Edstrom, a global PR agency, and on contract with AT&T as a Talent Attraction Manager. I believe every step along the way prepared me for what I’m currently doing at ERE Media.
- My time spent in the agency world enables me to empathize with the daily grind that my Fordyce readers experience in their businesses. Let me tell you – those folks are some of the hardest working individuals I’ve ever met. They are passionate about their work and it shows in how they handle their clients and candidates. Those who own their recruitment businesses too are faced with the challenges of business ownership, management, and earning a living to support their families. If you’ve never walked a mile in their shoes, you’ve never really experienced sore feet.
- As a career-long sourcer, my love for the sourcing community is evident. From the very beginning, I have been an advocate of continuous education for researchers – even to the point where I helped established break-out training sessions for Internet researchers at some of MRI’s regional conferences. When SourceCon started in 2007, I was asked to be the Editor for the newsletter, which I gladly did on a voluntary basis for the three years prior to behind hired by ERE Media. Sourcing was my first love and I’m sure it’s obvious to anyone who knows me.
- Moving into corporate roles helped to clarify for me a lot of the disconnect there is between corporate and agency recruiters. They are not the same by any stretch of the imagination. Agency recruiting is highly competitive and volume driven – to this day, I still believe that agency recruiters who “go corporate” have a much easier transition than corporate recruiters who “go agency.” But working on the corporate side of things presents its own set of challenges: internal clients, more at stake because you’re staffing your own company, and bottlenecks in the recruiting process due to policies, politics, and inefficient systems (sorry HR, a lot of times these are caused by you).
- Working for a PR agency stretched me and helped me to make some key connections between marketing/PR and recruiting. We are very similar in a lot of manners and I’ve written about this a lot. I absolutely loved working in PR – the people are fabulous and excellent communicators and I still maintain some wonderful relationships from my time in that industry.
- 2009 was a great time to be working in the telecommunications industry in a recruitment capacity. “Mobile recruiting” was becoming hot, and I had the opportunity to work directly with one of the individuals who set the standard for mobile recruiting initiatives. I did some of my most creative work while with AT&T and I owe it to a boss who knew just how to manage me.
Over the last 12 months with ERE Media, I have been able to learn a ton from my talented co-workers — communications professionals like John Zappe, Todd Raphael, and John Hollon who collectively have more experience in publishing and journalism than the number of years I’ve been on this planet. Just so you know – there is so much more to this job than what you may think! We don’t just sit around collecting articles. It goes way beyond that.
I still source – I just don’t source for candidates. I have to find good writers, good topics, and effective speakers for the three conferences I’m in charge of programming. I have to make sure there is content up on my sites and that I pull together the monthly printed Fordyce Letter in a timely manner. I’m responsible for chatting with industry experts (that’s many of you!) and seeing who’s doing cool stuff in both the recruiting and sourcing worlds. I frequently write myself, and I offer content suggestions to others so they can write the interesting articles that you read on our sites. I have to continually stay on top of what’s going on in both the sourcing world and the third party recruiting world so that when I set the agendas for our events, the topics are timely, relevant, and interesting for those who attend. And I need to make sure you all know about us as well, so I have to do promotional and marketing activities, too.
Was this a good move? Well, I just celebrated a year with ERE Media – I certainly think so! Every day I get to rub elbows with some of the best sourcers, sourcing leaders, and third party recruiters in the business. I get to talk shop with them and be an integral part of setting trends in both industries. When I talk, people listen (or at least they pretend to!). At 32 years old, that rocks. And I don’t take any of that lightly.
Thanks to everyone who has congratulated me over the last day on this milestone. It warms my heart to feel the love. And thanks David for providing me with this opportunity. I hope to be able to continue in this role for many more years to come.