In today’s Greatest of All Time Interview Series, Wilson Cole, president of Adams, Evens, and Ross interviews Tom Erb. Tom Erb has been in the industry for nearly 25 years, while working with the biggest staffing and recruiting agencies. He’s been at numerous conferences in the tradeshow circuit and loves nothing more than to give back to the staffing and recruiting industry.
How Did Tom Get Into The Staffing and Recruiting Industry?
Tom got his undergrad degree in Business Administration but had trouble finding a job. He decided to help out a friend who landed a job in Columbus, Ohio. He then proceeded to apply for several jobs at the Columbus Dispatch where he got an interviewer job at Olsten Staffing.
What Personality Characteristics Make a Good Recruiter?
Tom and his team went ahead and did a personality assessment regarding the qualities of a good recruiter. This assessment was to determine what makes an A-player recruiter. They came up with seven competencies, but the following stood out to them in particular.
“It's the ability to push on past adversity. It's you know some people call it grit you know it's that ability to do that.”
“Things don't rattle recruiters. You know high-level high performing recruiters just aren't rattled by things as much because this is very much an up-and-down kind of industry. You just go on to some of the recruiting forums on Facebook and LinkedIn and read the ups and downs that people have sometimes on the same day and to be able to get past that and continue on is very important.”
Connecting With Others
“It's the ability to connect at a level to where people develop a level of trust with you, to where they keep wanting to come back to you, to where they refer people to you and you're able to ultimately develop this robust network especially when you're talking about search and specialized search. The ones that are really successful develop a robust network of connections.”
What Piece Of Advice Would You Give To A Newbie Coming Into This Industry?
Tom advises newbies to avoid becoming generalists as there is a talent shortage. They should be looking for an opportunity to specialize, but not too specialized because if a downturn in your specialization happens then you could be in trouble. You have to be broad enough to avoid these downturns, but specialized enough that it creates extra value for you and gives you the ability to create your own network.
What Advice Would You Give the Seasoned Pro That's Been Doing This For 20 Years?
To the seasoned veterans, Tom’s advice is to adapt to the changes that are happening in the industry. Things are changing rapidly across the world and not just the staffing and recruiting industry. This means that everyone has to be fresh and open-minded to these changes. Pros really need to take a look at the way that people communicate.
What Advice Would You Give Companies Who Are Too Afraid Of A Recession?
“Be aggressive during recessions” is Tom’s advice for companies that are fearing for their business during a recession. During the 2008-2009 recession, Tom and his team refused to “batten down the hatches” and hide in a corner like other companies. Instead, they refused to let the recession bring them down and they increased their efforts to beat the slowdown caused by it.
I do enjoy trying to get people to improve themselves.
We need to be willing to adapt to it or we're going to fall behind.