Hiring University

Hiring University! Podcast Episode #4: Carolyn Betts – CEO Betts Recruiting

Hiring University
Hiring University
Carolyn Betts

More than 25 million Americans were laid off in April, and that’s just the official count. Unofficially, some economists estimate that more than 52 percent of Americans under the age of 45 have lost jobs, hours, or been furloughed. Ursus CEO Jon Beck and Carolyn Betts, CEO of Betts Recruiting, discuss the state of the market, best practices to help those looking for work, and looking for talent.

Greetings and salutations all and welcome to today’s episode of Hiring University, also known as Hiring U!  We are very fortunate today to have Carolyn Betts, founder and CEO of Betts Recruiting based in San Francisco, California, and throughout the United States. Carolyn is here today to talk about best practices for those looking for jobs, and for those looking for talent, specifically for sales, business development and marketing folks.  I’ll let Carolyn tell you a little bit about her company and some initiative Betts has planned and then we’ll talk a little bit about what’s happening in the world today in terms of behaviors both pre and current pandemic. Finally, we’ll spend a little time finding out more about Carolyn and her own career, and some of the things that she’s learned along the way.

Carolyn, welcome to Hiring University!  Tell us a little bit about Betts Recruiting and the work that you do.

Hi Jon, so yes, we have two lines of business. We have our traditional services business where we help companies with creative staffing in, as you said, sales, marketing, customer success, people to join their teams and help them generate revenue. And then we also have a technology platform, which you can see in my background that allows internal recruiting teams to access tens of thousands of data rich profiles for sales talent specifically can hire them directly through the platform.

So, what are you seeing out there? What’s happening out on the street out on the street these days?

You know, it’s interesting because it’s almost like every day is different, right? When this first started, the first week shelter in place happened about 80% of our clients put hiring on pause.

And so, we’ve obviously had to change our strategy. It was security companies, collaboration, healthcare, we’ve been seeing our business grow in those verticals, but overall hiring has slowed tremendously. Our creative staffing agency did 20% of what we did in April 2019 and April 2020 in terms of revenue.

However, when I’m looking at May, we have a bunch of offers out to candidates. One of our clients made a verbal offer yesterday. They met up with the candidate in Nob Hill for a final interview, masks, social distancing, and made the offer while walking together. People are getting really creative and we’re focusing our energy on companies that are still hiring throughout this pandemic

If I’m a job seeker right now, what are the tactical things that I’m doing? And again, it can be a little discouraging. A lot of people are saying though, or they’re on pause, but how can I use your example?  How can I get creative as a job seeker to stand out to talent recruiters?

I think we recruit mostly go to market people. And so, I think that for sales specifically treating your job search like a sales process, right? So, you know, top of funnel is huge. Have conversations. Yeah. And talk to as many people as possible, let them know, Hey, I’m on the market.

Here’s what I’m looking for. And the more people you talk to, the more doors are going to open, and the more opportunities are going to come your way. Um, you know, what you’re not going to want to do is, you know, lay in bed all day and, you know, watch Netflix. So, treat it like you would your sales role.

I talk to a lot of candidates, it’s amazing to me, how many of them start the conversation by apologizing to me for wasting my time. And I say, absolutely not!  You’re doing the right thing!   If the goal with social distancing is to stay away from each other, the goal and job searching is to connect with as many people and have as many conversations may not lead to a job offer, but it will, it odds are along the way it’s going to lead to something.

Anything else, you know, that are, that seem obvious that maybe some people miss?

No. I think one thing that I enjoy seeing is when people that are searching for jobs, post on LinkedIn about their experience and, you know, but having it be, you know, you want to represent yourself as somebody that people will want to hire.

But I think the more that you put yourself out there of, you know, here’s what I’m doing, here’s what I’m seeing and taking the time to build your personal brand is really big. And yeah. So how about you?

Yeah, I agree. I think if, if, if it was competitive always to get a job, even before the pandemic, people have to raise their games even more so.

And so, the, the importance of attention to detail, right. And we hear this all the time. Don’t have spelling or grammar mistakes on your resume, make sure that, you know, your experiences relative to the job that you’re applying for. Post as much information and content about yourself to, to distinguish yourself from other people be politely persistent, right?

Those are all the things that are going to make the difference. Cause everyone’s gunning for the same job, it’s even that much more competitive for that same position. You have to do things or make sure that you’re top of mind, we say the squeaky wheel gets the grease, right? It’s an older term, but it’s absolutely true and more so now than ever.

Let’s switch to the other side of the table. If I’m a hiring manager focused on creative staffing now. What should I be thinking about believing that things are starting to prepare for reopening, whatever that looks like?

Well, you know, it’s interesting. The best companies right now are seeing this as an opportunity to up level their teams, right? If there’s people that have been hanging on that just haven’t been cutting yet or doing what it takes to be successful and move the company forward. There’s now more talent on the market. And I talked to somebody yesterday who had somebody from his team that was difficult to manage. Say that he got another offer and he was like, great.

And this person’s like, please, like, I don’t see him as a top performer, you know, the organization does, but I don’t, I find him very difficult. Like tell him to take the offer.

It’s a different market now than it was, you know, six weeks ago. And in sales, there’s our organization, our phones were ringing off the hook for years and now our people have to prospect, and they have to figure out who’s hiring.

I think that’s a really important message for both traditional and virtual employees during this time, you have to adapt and recalibrate and raise your game because the rules have changed, right? The old playbook doesn’t necessarily apply. And if you’re not doing that, you may be left behind.

There are people that are finding safe Harbor right now and may go try to find something better, it’ll be interesting. I think the one piece of advice I would give to anyone is make sure that. You know, if you’re going to do the things that’s best for you, that’s fine. But make sure you communicate the people understand if you tell them the reasons why you’re doing certain things, they may not be happy with you, but you have to communicate.

Train them up and, you know, take the time to get people ramped. I see less of that out there now. Right. And it’s very hard to train very junior people that aren’t very experienced remotely and it’s hard to manage them and make sure they’re doing that. And this is very specific to sales. So. And I think that that’s a cultural thing that younger people tend to care more about than the more experienced people.

I think that actually the more mature talent prefers stuff like flexibility, and more money. Right?  maybe more vacation time to spend with their family and be able to go on spring break and ski week and all of the things. So, I think we’re going to see companies start skewing their benefits, 401k match.  Millennials do not care about that for the most part, but older talent does some more experienced talent does.

Shifting gears again, let’s talk a little bit about Carolyn and your own personal career trajectory and try to glean some, some insights from that.  Okay. I give you access to the way back machine. You hop in it and you can go back to the day or when you first started your own personal career, real job, not babysitting or like that. What do you tell Carolyn, starting your career with the information that you know now sitting here today?

You know, it’s interesting because I don’t have a lot of regrets or any, my first job out of college was selling yellow page ads. It was tough, right? It was 2003. The internet was just becoming a thing. I got a lot of no’s, but I built great relationships with my clients. And, then from there I fell into recruiting and I did on GMO for four years, I went to CareerBuilder. I learned how to sell recruitment technology and then the enterprise. And I started this about 10 years ago. And you’re now we’re diving into the tech world as well. So, um, not a whole lot of, you know, I really don’t have any regrets.

Tell me something about you that. Is true or that you think is true that almost nobody else, or at least your employees don’t agree with.

Gosh, maybe I’m completely naive. And I think they say everything I say is genius and gospel. One of the narratives I always hear at Betts, is that our clients are very picky. Oh, they’re so picky. Right? And it’s like, that’s why they come to us. Right. Our whole job is to work with big clients to find the perfect person.

And, and I think that. You know, if it’s absolutely unrealistic, we it’s our job to set expectations. However, most of the time it’s not right. It’s just harder to find these people, which is obviously why they’ve hired a creative staffing agency or a technical staffing agency.

What’s the best compliment you’ve ever received?

I think it’s just that I really genuinely care about people and because I find that to be very important. And so, when people recognize that it means a lot to me.

What inspires you?

I think, just really helping people to forward their careers.  Watching people build these incredible companies. I fell into this line of work, but I still do it because it’s so incredibly rewarding every single day to watch people grow businesses and grow their careers.

What are you most proud of?

I’m proud of the quality that we strive for. And in most cases deliver to your point, when I hear somebody say, well, the clients will pick you, this is such a tough position.

It’s this a hard job, and if you don’t like the grind and being knocked down 10 times to get up on the 11th, it’s probably not the right business for you. So, I think that our team takes pride and attention to detail and communication and quality is what makes me proud.

I really appreciate you coming on, your sense of humor answering the tough questions. Promise me that we’ll do this again in a couple quarters. When we’re on the other side, he can look back and discuss perhaps over a beverage or two.

Carolyn Betts of Betts recruiting. Thank you.  Stay safe. Stay well. To our listeners until next time, keep grinding and keep the faith.