As recruiters, we are in a unique position where we not only assist individuals with figuring out the next steps of their careers, but we also get a glimpse into their personalities, histories, and aspirations. Ever since beginning my career, I have tried to remain connected to the human aspect of recruiting. I strive to remember that at the receiving end of every prescreen, interview, or other communication, there is a person who has entrusted me with part of their job search at what is most likely a vulnerable time in their life. Without being too sentimental, that is certainly not something I think of lightly.
When thinking about what to write, I kept returning to the idea of how we have the expertise to have a positive impact on those around us. I put together some ideas for how we can leverage our skillsets to contribute to our communities beyond our day-to-day of connecting candidates with jobs.
Last September, I started working with a nonprofit called Minds Matter that helps high school students prepare for college. I initially joined as a mentor to work with a student on a weekly basis on college applications, schoolwork, and SAT prep. I also help with the organization’s recruiting efforts to find additional mentors. I’ve been an interviewer for my alma mater’s alumni interviewing program for the past 2 years. It’s been a rewarding experience to contribute to organizations that are so important to me while also utilizing the skills I use every day at work. Other ways to get involved include helping to recruit volunteers or sponsors for a charity event or fundraiser or teaching an interview/resume prep class at a school career fair.
In my friend group, I have become jokingly known as “that friend who’s like a doctor, but for jobs.” I’ve edited resumes for friends, siblings of friends, friends of friends, or whoever really reaches out for help. I’ve helped friends navigate tough conversations like salary negotiations or job resignations. Sometimes I’m not able to help them out with a referral or job lead, but I can still be a listening ear about the frustrations of a job search. I’ve also connected with individuals through my university’s alumni organization and college marching band. When I was a student, alumni helped me tremendously with my job search and interview preparation, so it feels great to give back and give someone else a helping hand.
At the end of the day, recruiting is an imperfect business run by imperfect people, and there are the daily frustrations and unexpected challenges that accompany what we do. Whenever I feel especially overwhelmed, I try to take a deep breath and remember that at its core, the heart of recruiting is making connections and building relationships. If I’m able to leave work every day feeling like I helped someone, even in the smallest way, it feels worth it to me.
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Kelly is a Recruiter for the Project Solutions Group, where she supports recruiting efforts for JustinBradley’s clients based across the country. Previously, she was a researcher at Park Square Executive Search in Boston, MA, where she worked on searches for clients in the technology, higher education, and life sciences industries. A native of Yorktown, Virginia, Kelly attended the University of Pennsylvania and graduated with a degree in cognitive science, while also dabbling in Korean studies and linguistics. After her stints in the historical cities of Yorktown, Philadelphia, and Boston, Kelly is looking forward to exploring Washington D.C. In her free time, she can be found running, doing crossword puzzles, and experimenting with new recipes.