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Meet Heather Gardner – from $0 to $300k in Record Time, PART 2

Posted on May 28, 2008
Filed Under Interviews | 1 Comment

By Dave Mendoza,

Heather Gardner
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the different countries where you recruit?

Heather: I currently use my telephone and computer. No recruitment software other than outlook and my social networks.

Six Degrees: What tools (technology or old school file folder, for example) did you first encounter early in your recruitment career?

Heather: Old school file folder, outlook and the telephone. Is this bad…. The phone, old school file folders are still my recruiting tools  I have updated them with online social networking though.

Six Degrees: How did your expectations of being a recruiter compare to the actual, first time you got on the phone or in the cubicle? In your opinion, how do people’s assumptions about our vocation differ from reality?

Heather: I hadn’t realized how important good sales skills were going to be for me. When I first started in the Professional Placement Recruiter position, I had to cold call a lot of candidates and companies to grow my business. I got a lot of “no’s” just like I did in sales. Being able to overcome those objections came from my professional sales experience and training. Luckily I am persistent and the great feeling of success that came with my first couple of “yes’s” outweighed everything… that and my first commission check!

Six Degrees: Worst mistake, biggest goof, lousiest practice you thought would fly but didn’t…and how that was a learning experience?

Heather: Hmmm… where shall I start with this one? I’ve made so many mistakes in my career – tons! My only hope is that I only make the same mistake once and use each one as a learning tool.

My most recent mistake was sending out a rather large LinkedIn message in search of TSR candidates to a group of former software colleagues of mine for a new client I was working with.The way I wrote the text, it was subjective to interpretation by the reader. You could read it as “I was recruiting for a new client” OR “my former employer, the software company.” Two of the email recipients were still employed at my former employer and thought I was recruiting for their open TSR positions! No big deal, except my client’s base package was double what they are paying their TSR’s! Oops… an angry email was sent to me about upsetting their sales organization, but everything was quickly resolved with one direct phone call. Again, oops! I realized that going forward I needed to be very careful and precise about what goes out to the masses. Things can easily get misread.

Six Degrees: How do you personally expect to facilitate change within our industry, and/or at your place of work? If you started that process, outline the problem, your solutions, and the vision.

I plan to be more candidate centric. Often times I encounter candidates that have a misconception of recruiters and what our role in the hiring or career search process is. If their previous experience has been less than positive, I want change that around and make it positive. I want to be thought of as a long term career partner. The active job seeker today becomes the hiring manager, gate keeper and passive candidate tomorrow. My goal is to provide the active job seeker with the same level of customer service I would provide a target customer.

I’m partnering with career development specialists; career coaches, resume writers and temp agency recruiters which I can easily refer the active job seeker to. One professional in particular that I enjoy partnering with is the lovely and talented Karen Swim of Words for Hire. Karen is amazing! She is a career coach and professional resume writer that also does career strategy planning. I am encountering a lot of people out there in career transition right now. By partnering with talent such as Karen, I am able to give the active job seeker an alternative resource to help with immediate needs.

I am always thinking big picture and long term when it comes candidates. I try to keep in touch with many of them on a regular basis. I may not be recruiting for their perfect job today, but I know I will be in the future. As a recruiter, I am prepared to switch gears and recruit for whatever talent I need to and as business needs dictate.

Six Degrees: “Best practice” you are most proud of developing (now or in the past) in your recruiting career?

My “best practice” is developing and growing my network and recruiting sources. It was in the beginning of my recruiting career and it remains so now. I am very proud of my network. I only hope to continue growing and expanding it.

Six Degrees: What are some of the frustrating aspects/obstacles to your day to day as a staffing professional and in general?

Heather: I have really high customer service expectations when working with candidates and customers. There is nothing more frustrating to me poor customer service regardless of the professional situation.

I am saddened at times when I hear horror stories from clients and candidates about working with an agency. Not all agency recruiters are alike, there are great ones and there are not so great ones. I am fortunate to work with a team that regards good customer service as an important aspect to our business and have the same high standards as I do.

Six Degrees: Considering all of the frustrations you have experienced in your career as a recruiter, — what inspires you as you continue in your career?

Heather: Job satisfaction inspires me. A candidate that I placed nearly 8 years ago recently called me when she saw my LinkedIn updated. She is still with the client I placed her at and has been promoted several times. I had a hand in her career success and this is a great sense of accomplishment. I love being a “professional matchmaker.”

Six Degrees: What one thing do you ideally hope to accomplish in 2008?

Heather: I want to continue to learning and growing with all the new online social networking tools available. I use LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter now and I am continually amazed at the endless possibilities to networking and share knowledge within them. I hope to continue this education process and get more proficient.

Six Degrees: Anything you want to plug?

Heather: I want to give a plug to the This is such an amazing recruiting community that I am fortunate enough to have joined. The wealth of knowledge and brilliant talent on the RecruitingBlogs is wonderful. The connections I have made since joining a few months ago are tremendous. I am looking forward to continuing to participate and grow with this community.

Six Degrees: How Are You Going To Change The Recruitment Industry?
Heather: By continuing to mainstream online social networking as a good recruiting and networking tools. There are so many recruiters that I encounter on a regular basis that don’t understand how LinkedIn and/or Facebook can help them in their recruiting business. As I’m learning I am also sharing this knowledge with them.

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One Response to “Meet Heather Gardner – from $0 to $300k in Record Time, PART 2”

  1. Karen Swim on May 29th, 2008 11:42 am

    I must agree with Heather that is one of the best communities on the web. I am continually blown away by the talent and generosity of its members. On a personal note, Heather inspires me to reach higher. She is such a talented professional who is passionate about her craft. She represents the best the profession has to offer and if you have the chance to work with her, count yourself very lucky. Thanks for introducing other members to Heather, and thank you for all of your efforts on behalf of this community.