Mel Gidlow: My Career as a Recruiter
What is it like to start a new career as a recruiter? We asked Mel Gidlow about her experience in entering the specialist tech staffing industry on the ground floor, overcoming obstacles and challenges, and discovering her professional passion.
Recently promoted to the position of Principal Recruitment Consultant, Mel is an account manager in Austin, Texas. She supports the build out of Software Development teams in the Southern Region of the United States. She specializes in native iOS and Android recruitment, offering tailored staff augmentation solutions for clients. She began her career with Computer Futures in March after a lay-off from her position as an Office Administrator for a healthcare company.
"I didn't know much about recruitment, to be honest. I heard about a company that was hiring from a friend at the gym where I used to work. I figured, recruitment is relationship building and helping people get jobs. That sounds like something I could do."
Like many sales-centric jobs, recruitment is an excellent career for new college graduates, people looking to change careers, re-enter the workforce, or experienced sales professionals. Mel was feeling what many in her position do when facing a lay-off, like she did not have a direction for her career. She wanted to know what the next stage of her life would look like, knowing that she enjoyed customer-facing roles and contributing to the world in a positive way.
Her first conversation with our internal recruiter consisted of an overview of the role and the challenges as well as benefits of work as a recruitment specialist.
- Get to talk to people
- Help others
- Learn new things
- Lots of cold calling
- Didn't want to be "salesy"
- Anticipated burnout
After much consideration, Mel joined the Computer Futures team as a new technical recruiter for our Mobile (iOS & Android) team. For 10 months, Mel kept her head down and worked, floating along and performing the actions required of her, hitting all her numbers, but unsure whether recruitment was the right career for her for the long-run. However, with the support of her leadership team, she made the decision to fully commit to the profession, step up her efforts, and let the choice to leave be based on whether she truly enjoyed the work, rather than because she was not performing well.
In the early days of her tenure with Computer Futures, Mel struggled with her experience joining such a specialized, niche market as Mobile tech while also learning recruitment as a practice. At the time, the Mobile division was a start-up business which made it even more challenging as Computer Futures did not have the Mobile client base that they do today. Much of our success is thanks to Mel's efforts and resilience; but we will get to that.
"After working hard and pulling out all the stops to succeed, I earned my first promotion from Associate Consultant to Consultant."
It helped in great part that Computer Futures is a company that endorses a healthy work-life balance. Romanticizing the notion of working long, arduous hours is a thing of the past. Of course, there are some days when working hours extend over 8 hours, especially in a sales-oriented role. This is often more true of the work from home culture, but a good employer will provide support and resources to set boundaries and maintain them.
"This company allows for a mix of working hard and managing personal priorities. The leadership knows when to push and when to let people find their own way with their work ethic."
One such manager was Patrick Dougherty, Sales Team Manager of Mobile at Computer Futures. He taught her everything he knew about how to do the job, do it well, and find happiness in her career.
In October 2020, Mel hit all her marks, opened relationships with new clients, and was rewarded with a promotion to Consultant. Within eight months, she was again promoted from Consultant to Senior Consultant and Account Manager on the Computer Futures Mobile Team.
What exactly is the difference between one consultant level and another?
Computer Futures' success track trajectory communicated to all new recruiters from day 1 through our Velocity program. We offer 100% transparency on targets and what needs to be accomplished to get to the next promotion, from Associate Consultant to Director.
- Associate Consultants - brand new recruiters are learning to do their jobs. They are offered support at every step of the way while they develop their skills, have multiple people to lean on and ask questions of, and are receiving specialized training in their verticals. After a certain number of deals, the training wheels come off.
- Consultants - experienced recruiters, or sometimes those transitioning from other roles, know how to do their jobs. They have been taught what to do on a daily basis, and are still offered help to excel with their clients and candidates.
- Senior Consultants - arguable the hardest promotion to earn as an individual contributor, recruiters at this level have been performing well for some time with few mistakes, have a rolling book of value, and keep their pipelines full. Training is limited to sharpening weaker skills to develop "Computer Futures 360 strength" and learning account management.
- Principal Consultants - functioning almost completely independently, questions are usually limited to special circumstances, yellow-tape issues, terms of contracts, or high-level decisions. As a principal consultant, you have not only met your goals but have been established as a role model within the team.
"If you make it through training and have a good attitude, you will be set up for success."
As a Senior Consultant, Mel could finally say that she was enjoying success as a recruiter and that this was, in fact, the career for her. She became a mentor on her team, exceeded all of her objectives, and opened relationship with new clients. One of these was a major financial platform whose business Computer Futures earned exclusively through the Covid-19 pandemic and is continuing indefinitely. Coupled with demonstrated alignment with Computer Futures' dedication to our principles, Mel quickly earned her next promotion to Principal Consultant in August 2021. She will now a team of direct reports and take pride in them developing their strengths as new recruiters.
What's next for Mel?
Branching out into a management role with the Computer Futures team is her next goal, and she believes that the company offers her the support she needs to achieve it. As her team grows, she wants to see them succeed first as a peer, and then as a leader. Mel frequently supports other departments within the company, adding value to special projects and contributing to the further sharing the Computer Futures culture with the tech industry. We are sure that she will earn yet another promotion in the very near future and is well on her way to a central position within the company.
What's good about working for Computer Futures?
Mel relates that this is a fun company to work for with above industry-standard benefits, but with that comes the very highest of standards. We observe a culture of discipline, excellence, and raised standards of transparency for all clients, candidates, contractors, and anyone else with whom we come into contact. If you're driven and ambitious, enjoy a challenge, love to learn and grow, then this is a good place for you.
If you would like to come work with Mel on the Computer Futures recruitment team, please visit sthreecareers.com and apply to one of our open positions.