Name: Jean Muurahaine, Managing Partner – College Park Consulting Group, LLC
Current Profession: Executive Recruiter
What led you into this profession?
When I graduated from high school, I would occasionally do secretarial temp jobs through “Kelly Girls”. I was fascinated at the process of staffing and had a strong inkling I would really enjoy doing what the staffing coordinators did… interviewing and placing people on jobs. It seemed like a natural fit to me. Some people use recruiting as a stepping stone to move into HR or other areas. Some people, like me, are born to this job and have made a life’s work of it. From that first job in staffing, I took a career path into management with roles such as Staffing Manager, Branch Manager and National Service Delivery Director. From there, I segued into Corporate Recruiting and then into retained Executive Search and Project Management with one of the largest Executive Search and RPO firms in the world. In late career, my path changed again. I decided it was time to open my own small recruiting firm. I’m now Managing Partner and Executive Recruiter of my own firm specializing in Sales/Marketing, HR, and Manufacturing leadership. I plan to do this until I retire in a few years.
What appealed to you about this profession?
The people interaction and fast pace. I was an outgoing introvert. I had very good people skills and, though a quite type, could develop instant rapport with people. I genuinely enjoyed people. I sat behind a desk doing administrative tasks as a secretary, but really hated it. Staffing was a blend of administrative work with sometimes hours of chaos…ringing phones, a steady stream of people, urgent mandates. The local branches of the agency were run like small businesses. There was a lot of creativity and strategy involved in the job. In my first job as a staffing coordinator, I learned how to manage/coach people, manage gross margin and profit, create candidate attraction strategies, assess talent, work with clients, customer service, and work toward goals. I learned how all aspects of a business from sales to marketing to customer service fit together in a cohesive strategy for a successful business.
What did it take to get into this position?
One connection lead to another. After getting my BA in Psychology, I was unsure of my next steps to find a career. As so often happens in life, it was synchronicity that lead me to landing a great position. I had moved to a new city and was interviewing for HR positions without much luck. I managed to get an interview with a large company, but they didn’t see a fit at the time. My interviewer, however, knew a staffing agency owner who was looking for someone. She thought I would be a terrific fit and she referred me to him. I interviewed and received an offer within a few days. I loved that job and stayed for 9 years.
What is the best part of your day?
When I have pulled together a great slate of candidates for my client’s position. This doesn’t happen every day, but it’s the time when I get to do the things I love most….coaching for successful interviews, debriefing with the clients and candidates, negotiating, strategizing.
What is the worst part of your day?
Definitely business development- my least favorite thing in the process.
What is the average salary and perks of the job
It depends! There are so many variations and entry points to this job. I would say a typical starting salary with no experience may be around 35K – 40K. An experienced Senior Recruiter can make 70k to the “sky’s the limit” with an average of 70K – 120K. Again, it depends on experience, and whether one is working in a corporate role, 3rd party, RPO, or on a contract (1099) basis. An experienced Technical Recruiter can earn $60 – $75 per hour. A retained search recruiter can make 200k+. In a bad year, such as in a recession, a 3rd party recruiter could make zero dollars.
How would someone get started in this profession?
The barriers to entry are actually pretty low. I think HR is much harder to enter. Seriously, people enter this occupation from all walks of life. Usually, a college degree is all one needs to get in but, degree is not always required. A temporary staffing agency is a good entry point if you are fresh out of college. A base salary is usually provided, plus a small bonus based on profitability of the office or other success measure. Sometimes, individuals will move into recruiting after having been in other professions. In this case, a degree plus business experience is usually all that’s required. Corporate recruiting is a little tougher to enter because it is usually considered HR. It’s very competitive and one would need to start as a recruiting coordinator or come up through a company through another route. If possible, I would intern somewhere to get experience on your resume. Once you are “in” you are “in” and you can start building experience. Then you can decide in which direction you want to take your career.
What words of advice and/or recommendations would you make to someone considering this profession?
What words of advice and/or recommendations – This is a terrific profession and, in my opinion, doesn’t get enough recognition in the world of careers. It’s a great stepping stone to get into HR through recruiting. And, where else can one have the impact on people’s lives and the business marketplace, and have such high potential earning power without advanced degrees and years of experience? In many 3rd party agencies, one needs to be good at and enjoy sales to be successful. If you are not interested in sales, I would look at temporary staffing, RPO (recruitment process outsourcing) or corporate recruiting. Some RPO companies recruit entry level graduates and train them as “Sourcers” or Coordinators. It’s also possible to find agencies where the sales function is separate and this could work too. One does not need to be extroverted to be successful in recruiting. But, you must like meeting new people, talking to people and have a genuine interest in people and business. Also, it’s important to remember this is a business career, not social work. Good computer skills are also a necessity. You will spend a lot of time looking at resumes, e-mailing, and using social media on computer screens.
Recruiting is a spectacular career that can take you to places you never dreamed. And, this is an understatement. There are many, many options in this field. For the individuals who get in this business and find that it’s in their blood, you can rule the world.