March 2021 – For the Love of Recruitment

I fell in love with recruiting entirely by accident. As I look back at how it all unfolded, many of the stars that aligned taught me so much, and I have incorporated much of my accidental career path into my current day-to-day.

In 2006, I moved home to Halifax after 2 years in Toronto. I was sleeping on my mom’s living room couch and needed a J-O-B! I was waitressing but my goal was to move into my own place and I needed something with stability.

I applied for a contact centre sales position through a staffing agency, as my background had been in contact centre (Xerox) and sales (Weight Watchers, Xerox), and I thought it would be a no brainer to be hired back into the space I’d left before I moved to Toronto.

I met with the recruiter and spent 2+ hours with her going over my background, skillset, experience, and what I enjoyed about my career to that point. We had a great rapport and I was confident her next step would be to send my resume to her client. I was wrong!!

She said ~ “I’ll be honest with you Jen, I don’t think this is the right role for you.”

I pushed back and said I’d use it as a stepping stone to grow within the company.

She asked me to leave it with her and to trust her.

Fast forward a few weeks later and her Branch Manager reached out to me to say he’d heard great things about my meeting and he’d like to chat with me about an opportunity at their staffing agency. It was a business development role and I started the following week.

I would find the business and the same person who had interviewed me would find the talent to be hired. It was awesome!!

I love learning about other businesses, how they operated, how their hiring needs were a critical piece of their growth, and how we would help them. This is still something that excites me daily and I love being a part of, as the owner of my own business.

About 6 months into my role, there was an opportunity for me to move into a hybrid type role ~ finding the business AND finding the talent!

I called it ‘FIND it and FILL it!’

I had the Branch Manager teach me the basics of recruiting and I’ve honestly never looked back, nor could I imagine doing anything else.

I spent 2006-2009 in the agency world and then transitioned into corporate recruitment, with almost 2 years at EastLink and close to 10 years at Manulife.

I’m obsessed with finding incredible talent for organizations and I’m equally obsessed with doing so in the contact centre space. I was fortunate enough to look after 90% of the hiring for EastLink’s contact centre and I learned so much about talent pools, candidate interviews, hiring manager’s needs, running job fairs, checking references, identifying who would likely grow within the organization, and the strategies that go into all of these pieces.

When I started at EastLink it was for a 3-month contract and it was to bring hiring back ‘in-house’ as the turnover rate through agency placements was 95%!!!! Astronomical was an understatement!!

Turning that around and seeing retention increase significantly is, to this day, a highlight of my recruitment career!

In 2011, I moved to Manulife where volume recruitment across Canada was my initial focus and I was able to leverage skills I’d learned from my time at EastLink.

Fast forward once again, this time to 2017 and I raised my hand to take on a bulk hire for one of Manulife’s contact centres. It was an adrenaline rush to be back in the space I knew and loved!

Other recruiters on my team thought I was crazy for saying I loved bulk hires with very tight turnaround times but I knew this is where I would thrive ~ and thrive, I did!!!

By mid-2018, I was hiring for all 5 of Manulife’s contact centres with locations in Halifax, Montreal, and Kitchener-Waterloo. I even did some for the US side of the business, hiring contact centre specialists for John Hancock.

I was a strategic partner, collaborating with hiring managers, directors, and some VPs around the hiring plans, forecasting our numbers, presenting the business case on increasing base salaries to be more competitive in the market place, implementing referral bonus programs, and piloting a small work from the program. I was doing all the recruitment pieces I loved but I was also ingrained in the contact centre space from a different perspective and it is there that I truly saw why this industry is an amazing career opportunity for so many different people.

I’m 2019, I hired 253 full-time employees across 5 contact centres, 3 Canadian and 1 US location.

Some of those hires have quickly excelled and moved into leadership roles or other business units.

Some are crushing the role they were hired into and I am grateful to have played a role in helping someone find a career they love!

Recruitment for me isn’t filling a seat, it’s creating a career opportunity that changes someone’s life. That offers them a career they love while supporting themselves, their families.

Now that I’ve transitioned from employee to self-employed, I am relentless in ensuring candidates and companies find what they need through the hiring process. I don’t believe in hiring for the sake of hiring ~ I believe in finding talent and matching it to opportunity but also knowing when to approach a different leader or hiring manager for a candidate who may be a better fit for their team vs the original role they applied to.

I build relationships and I trust that the strength of those relationships are what set me apart in this space ~ and I flipping love it every single day!!

My ultimate goal is to make sure I help as many people as possible feel the same way!