Recruiting Done Right: Here's What We've Learned after 5 Years

Covalent Resource Group is celebrating its five-year anniversary this month, so what better time than now to write my first recruiting blog?

Starting Out

Five 5 years ago, I was still pretty green as a recruiter, with only a few years under my belt!  So why in the world did I think I’d be able to help a startup get their operations running from the ground up?

I was never one to be confident or pat myself on the back.  I always doubted myself.  But ultimately, I decided it was finally time to pull up my big-girl pants and run with it…take a chance!

As I dove in, I had a lot to consider, including where to start.  It was just me and my CEO, and between the two of us we had to get our systems up and running and processes in place; all the while trying to secure our first clients and candidates.

Success Lists

We started by reading The One Thing, by Gary Keller, a fantastic book about productivity and how best to focus to achieve the results you want. One of his key strategies for success has to do with success lists versus to-do lists.  According to Keller, “success lists are short and aim you in a specific direction with an organized directive.  Whereas to-do lists tend to be long and pull you in all directions.  If your to-do list contains everything, then it’s probably taking you everywhere but where you really want to go.”

Well, we built our success lists and still burned the candle at both ends the first few months. But it worked! We were profitable within the first four months (how many startups can say that?), and we booked our first million dollars in sales by the six-month mark. It felt great—but there was more to do.

Diversity, Inclusion and WBENC Certification

From the moment Covalent Resource Partners was founded, Ann and I knew one of the keys to our success lay in recruiting from a diverse candidate pool and finding talent where other, more conventional staffing agencies might not. We also knew the challenges we would face as a woman-owned business in a field dominated by men.  So, we started networking and building relationships.  

We tapped into a strong network of IT professionals across the Detroit region and the upper Midwest. We also won Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) certification, which gave us access to a large support network that included targeted business opportunities for certified women-owned businesses.

Hitting our Stride, Growing Relationships

With our WBENC certificate in place and our processes coming together, we also saw our hard work pay off as our client requisitions became more consistent. It was time to really grow my pipeline of candidates. While I continued to recruit candidates new to me, I had the pleasure of reaching out to candidates I had worked with previously.  

Recruiting is about maintaining and growing relationships with people over the long haul and does take a bit of patience on the part of both the recruiter and the candidate. In some cases, the right “fit” for a particular candidate may not present itself for a few years. At Covalent, we prioritize taking the time to listen to our candidates and what they’re looking for in their next career opportunity. It’s also something candidates have said doesn’t always happen with other recruiting firms.  

Even if I don’t have an opportunity, I keep in touch. I truly find it rewarding to grow my relationship with a candidate, and when, I finally find the “opportunity,” it’s a great feeling for both of us.  

Moving Forward

At Covalent we’ve spent the time to create a unique approach that works for both our candidates and clients.  We know relationships are key and that having the right people in place makes all the difference given the challenges many businesses face in our rapidly evolving world. Whether it’s outsourcing work on an internal project or recruiting contract-to-hire staff, our customers know Covalent vets top tech talent so they have the right professional resources when they need them.

I’m happy and proud that five years later we’re here and celebrating our successes!  

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