By: Sam Starrett
Like a lot of people, I came into recruiting almost by accident. Before starting what I considered to be my “real career,” I had several jobs in customer service, first at a call center, and then in the phone room for the legendary Powell’s Books in Portland, OR. As I began to outgrow those roles, I looked for a way I could leverage my customer service experience into a field that was both more challenging and more lucrative. I decided to go into sales.
My godfather, a salesman and sales manager himself, recommended I reach out to Opti Staffing Group, a company that he had worked with to find employees for his sales team. The recruiter I spoke with there liked me but couldn’t think of a role for me with her clients. At the time I was very green. I had no sales experience at all and was basically just leaning on the communication and self-presentation skills I had developed in the customer service arena. Instead of presenting me to a client, Katie, the recruiter I was working with at Opti, recommended me to her boss, who ultimately hired me as a Skilled Trades Recruiter, placing welders, machinists, mechanics, forklift operators, and other blue-collar roles throughout the southeast Portland area.
I said I was looking for a sales role, and I don’t mean to imply that I didn’t find one. I worked a full desk at Opti Staffing for several years, which means I was both selling job orders and recruiting on my own jobs. I loved it. After a few years, I made a pivot and went to work for a specialty firm called Whitman Partners for the opportunity to elevate my recruiting work into the executive search space, and because at the time I was attracted to the resiliency of the healthcare market, which is where Whitman specializes.
At Whitman, I grew a lot professionally, met great people, and developed a deeper and stronger understanding of recruiting, not to mention industry knowledge in healthcare. During my time at Whitman, I also had the opportunity during and after COVID to work on a fully remote basis. I had not even considered this possibility before, but with my family growing it quickly became indispensable. It also offered me the freedom to move and keep my job, and in May of 2022 I relocated my family to Moore, Oklahoma, a suburb of Oklahoma City where I was able to purchase a house and my wife was able to quit her job and stay home with our two young daughters. After several years in that role, I decided it was time to bring what I had learned and the skills I had developed back to a full-desk position and once again do my own sales as well as recruiting, so I started my job search again.
When I met Bill, we immediately clicked. I could tell we were very much on the same page about business, recruiting, and professional values, and we instantly got along well. After a really good conversation, he made me an offer. I thought it about it for a few days and ultimately decided that The Headhunters would be a great place to take all of my previous experience and combine it in a new context where I would have the freedom to bring all my skills to bear and do what I always wanted to do, which is own the recruitment process from beginning to end.
I am excited to be part of this team, to merge everything I have learned so far together, and to take my career as a recruiter to the next level as a Headhunter.