Written by: Steve Sanders, VPGM Industrial Division
In August 2002, I found myself sitting in the lunch room of the John Deere factory where I worked listening to a corporate HR person explain that they had decided to close the factory and that I would shortly be out of a job. I had moved to the area and bought a home in 2000 and had planned to work for Deere as long as they would have me. Needless to say, I was a bit dismayed. The events of September 11th were still impacting the economy and the job market was not great. At the time, I did not even have an updated resume. I was caught totally off guard. I did what anyone does in that situation: I panicked. And then I got my resume together and posted on the Internet job boards.
I quickly got calls from all sorts of recruiters with all kinds of questions.
Would I relocate? What compensation was I looking for in my next role? One recruiter was able to get me two interviews and I was fortunate enough to receive offers from both. I selected the one that fit me best (which was actually the lower paying of the two) and worked there for about a year until my current boss recruited me away to be a recruiter.
Looking back on my experience with the recruitment industry, I do not recall being especially impressed. Sure, a recruiter secured two interviews for me and I did get offers from both but the counsel and coaching was lacking throughout the process. I also did not get the impression that this recruiter specialized in working with people with my background but rather was a generalist. Now that I am a recruiter with some tenure, I know that specialization is key. I also know that the individuals I work with often need my counsel and coaching in order to be successful in their careers.
There are a lot of parallels between that time period in my life and now in terms of the economic outlook and job prospects. I see reports of big layoffs almost weekly.
In retrospect, I should have been on a first name basis with a good recruiter in my space so that when the inevitable hiccup occurred I could have just picked up the phone that very day and immediately had that expert working on my behalf instead of putting my resume on the Internet and hoping for the best.
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