IQ PARTNERS would like you to get to know some of our recruiters. Each month we ask one of them the same 10 questions about their lives, the headhunting business, and what you should know as a talent seeker or candidate in the current job market. This month, meet Toronto-based Technology Recruiter, Aaron Walker.
I’ll give you the answer to both. The first job I ever had was at McDonalds flipping burgers. It was a great job for learning how to multi-task, hustle, stay busy, and it’s great customer service training, so I would highly recommend it to any high school student. The oddest job I ever had was scraping old rusty paint off of an old overhead sprinkler system in a parking garage at Queens Quay and Bay, and then repainting it. I would not recommend it to anyone.
Vince McMahon, the owner and CEO of WWE Wrestling. He took a business that was pretty much a bunch of old, out of shape guys wrestling in their underwear in small gymnasiums, and turned it into the multi-billion dollar business that it is today. So whether you like the product or not, you have to give the guy respect for turning something quite silly into a huge billion-dollar industry.
One of the things that we strive for is really partnering with our clients and having full access to information so we can truly understand their business as opposed to just working off of a job description. And I think it goes both ways – there are headhunting firms that don’t treat their clients as true partners. When we can be an extension of our client’s business, they’ll get better results every time.
For me personally the secret is the technical understanding that I have. I worked for 5 years in software development, so when I talk to software development companies and candidates, I have a real understanding of what they’re doing and how all the pieces are fitting together. So I’m not relying on keywords – I truly do know how everybody fits into the puzzle, and I can use that to find the right person for the right company.
What would the ideal candidate need to do in the first year to be successful?
It gives me a quantifiable list of the things that the candidate’s going to have to accomplish, that I can then measure up against candidates who I think can accomplish them… but that’s if I have to pick one question.
It’s kind of broad, but they should ask for a short summary of the job.
You might not be looking for a job, but most of the best people aren’t looking, and if you immediately hang the phone up, you might miss out on something that would be really good – maybe for you, maybe for your friend, maybe for your brother or husband. So asking for a short summary really just gives candidates the opportunity to say an educated “no thanks” or “I’m interested, let’s meet” or “you should talk to so-and-so”.
I like to see candidates who demonstrate that they are engaged in their careers.
If you ask somebody, “tell me about your role at X Company” and they say “I was a programmer”, they’re usually not that good. If they can say what projects they contributed to, their role in the bigger picture, what they accomplished, and so on – those are the top candidates.
I did a few searches for a company in Finland, and all of the candidates’ resumes had photos and very detailed lists of their personal activities, things like trout fishing, chess playing, etc. They weren’t small sections, either, so that took some getting used to.
A good headhunter is somebody who really understands and is interested in your space.
You definitely want somebody who is a specialist and can demonstrate knowledge of your industry, as opposed to “send me a job description and I’ll find whoever you want”. The more questions they ask the more engaged they are.
Having a good life with my family… and seeing the Star Wars movie in December.
IQ PARTNERS is an Executive Search & Recruitment firm with offices in Toronto and Vancouver. We help companies hire better, hire less & retain more. We have specialist teams of recruiters in Financial Services & Insurance, Marketing Communications & Media, Emerging Tech & Telecom, Consumer Goods & Retail, B2B & Industrial, Technology, Accounting & Finance, HR & Operations and Mining & Engineering. IQ PARTNERS has its head office in Toronto and operates internationally via Aravati Global Search Network. Click here to view current job openings and to register with us.
Aaron is the IT Team Lead at IQ PARTNERS, utilizing his 12+ years of IT industry experience to connect the top CTOs, VPs, and Directors in the technology space with the most interesting and rewarding opportunities in the marketplace.