Presenting 25 Years of Recruiting Wisdom, Part 1

We recently announced that Top Echelon Network Preferred Member recruiter Marc Tappis was celebrating the 25th anniversary of his firm, Opportunity Search, opening its doors.  It just so happens that during two stints as a Preferred Members, Tappis has been very successful in the Network, as well.

Marc TappisSo . . . considering the success—not to mention longevity—that Tappis has enjoyed, both inside and outside of the Network, we thought it would be a good idea to ask him some questions.  (Yes, you could call it an “interview,” if you want to get all technical about it.)

Any, this is if the first blog post in a two-post series that reveal the answers that Tappis provided.  The second part of the series will be published in next week’s issue of The Pinnacle Newsletter Blog.  We want to read that issue, too.

How did you break into the recruiting business?

I started out in Corporate HR, first as a recruiter then as a staffing manager.  I was using a very well-known and established recruiting firm to fill openings and they offered me a position with their firm, which I accepted.
How has the world of recruiting changed during the past 25 years?

Technology is the biggest change.

When I started my company in 1987, everything was paper.  Computers were very expense and had little or no memory capacity to hold large amounts of data.  I spent a lot of time making copies, addressing envelopes, making file folders for candidates and companies etc.  The process from start to finish was slow.

You would talk to a candidate, they would mail a resume to you and that would take two days, and you would mail it to the company and that was another two days.  Answering machines weren’t very reliable, so spending time out of the office was risky.

A few years after I was in business, fax machines became popular and that made the process move a little faster, but the quality of the fax on thermal paper rolls was very poor.  Years later, computers became affordable but there was no email and no internet.  Even Top Echelon Network (called Nationwide Interchange at the time) had a system where they mailed you a disk with new candidates and job orders and you had to mail it back to them weekly.

Technology has made the job much easier.  A resume is now received in seconds versus days, cellphones allow you to talk to candidates on their way to and from work or during the day if they step outside, email allows you to reach a candidate or client at any time, and computer databases allow you search thousands of candidates in seconds and manage work flow.  Even something as simple as retreiving a message remotely didn’t exist reliably 25 years ago.

If you had a “philosophy of recruiting,” what would you say that is?

Be honest and treat people like you want to be treated. Be a good listener and listen to your clients’ and candidates’ needs.

This is a people business, so get to know your good clients and “A” candidates.  I have numerous clients that I ‘ve worked with for 10+ years and have placed countless candidates with them.  I’m the first one they call over and over again.  I take almost everyone I place to lunch and meet face-to-face with my best clients over lunch regularly.  I get to know them personally.  I think that is really important and has been a major factor in my success.

What do you think you’ve learned about recruiting, business, and people during the past 25 years?

This business really is all about relationships.  To be successful, you need to have good long-term relationships with candidates, clients, and fellow recruiters.  If you do, clients will give you more more business, candidates will refer their friends and colleagues, and recruiters will share their openings and best candidates with you.

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