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Career Spotlight: Staffing Agency Owner

"Why do you do what you do?" is a question I have often asked over my recruiting and coaching career, to allow me to better understand the person more from a big picture perspective. One can never assume why someone likes it or how they got to that point in their career, and because of that, I love sharing stories of people in my network that inspire and show folks that there are many ways to reach the same goal - not all of them how you might assume! For my blog in 2021, I'm focusing on highlighting a variety of professions to share with folks out there who are either still figuring out their next step, or know what they're interested in, but could use a little external motivation!

Today's spotlight is on Suzanne, an executive recruiter who runs her own staffing firm here in the Northwest, and who I have referred many management-level coaching clients to over the years. In this interview, Suzanne describes not only what her work as a Staffing Agency Owner is all about, but also how she got there, why she loves it, and her top pieces of advice for job seekers looking to get into the field.

Check out Suzanne's professional journey...

Describe what you do as a Staffing Agency Owner.

My company, Acumen Executive Search, specializes in the recruitment and placement of executive and leadership talent. I supervise a team of three amazing women, serve as account manager to our clients, and of course recruit and present candidates to my clients.

What do you enjoy most about this kind of work?

What I do truly changes people’s lives - it is great to see the influence one person can have on a company!

Describe your career path to get here.

It wasn’t a straight path into recruiting! I came from Finance and M&A, went to grad school, and fell into recruiting. I worked for a large recruiting firm in Seattle before returning to Portland and working for a small recruiting and staffing agency. After a life change, I started my own company.

How did you gain the skills to do the work? What helped you advance?

Being a hiring manager helped a lot - I know what a corporate team looks like, what has worked, and what has not. I think we all have seen what one poor hire can do to a team! Because we focus on culture and “fit”, and align those values, we can place higher caliber candidates with our clients.

I am lucky in my career to have strong mentors and guidance throughout my career. I am true believer in ‘givers gain’ and try to help others along their path. As a professional, I still need help from others and regularly reach out to my network, participating in peer-to-peer CEO groups, and focusing on continuous learning.

What advice would you offer to someone wanting to get into this line of work?

Build a strong, broad network of trusted advisors and industry experts. Do it authentically. Offer to help. Ask hard questions and listen. And lastly, being a matchmaker is a true love. If you are a connector, not scared of picking up the phone, and really want to make a difference, consider recruiting. I truly feel like I change people’s life. I love what I do.

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