Meet the Headhunter: Carly-Anne Fairlie, Public Relations Recruiter

November 20th, 2014

To help you get to know the headhunter on the other end of the phone, each month we at IQ PARTNERS profile one of our recruiters by asking them the same 10 questions. This month, meet Toronto headhunter Carly-Anne Fairlie, a PR & Marketing Recruiter.

1. What’s the first job you ever had?

The first job I ever had was mucking out stalls, grooming horses, and baling hay at a riding stable in Zephyr, Ontario. It taught me the value of hard work and it’s where I learned to get the least pleasant tasks out of the way first thing (in this case, you guessed it… mucking stalls).  To this day, I try and tackle the most difficult things in the morning when I’m fresh, so I don’t have them hanging over my head all day.

2. Who are your heroes in business?

This was a hard question for me to answer because I am inspired by the people around me on a daily basis.  Some of my recent inspiration comes from bloggers who have turned their passions into successful careers.  Not only do these women share their talents, but they also share pieces of themselves in their writing and are not afraid to tackle difficult subjects.  Some of my favourites are:

We can blog it!

Lisa Charleyboy aka Urban Native Girl and Editor In Chief of Urban Native Magazine.  She is currently filming a documentary series as she creates the first print issue of the magazine and grows her media empire.

Jen McNeely, creator & Editor In Chief of She Does The City “an imperfect life guide for women”, has made it part of their mandate to promote philanthropy among young professionals; and they are involved with over 50 local fundraisers annually.  She has also made the transition to motherhood and I love how honestly she has written about it and incorporated it into the site.

Ree Drummond aka The Pioneer Woman is one of my favourites and a blogger I’ve followed for years. Her passion for cooking and writing about life on a working cattle ranch in Oklahoma has evolved into a cookbook and TV show on the Food Network.

Finally, Maegan Tintari of love Maegan who shares her creative flair for DIY fashion, beauty and home décor, and is in the midst of writing her first book.

3. How do you think the recruiting business could be improved?

I think the partnership aspect is very important.  At IQ PARTNERS we strive to partner with clients to really get to know them and do a dive deep on more than just a job description and set of skills.  We take a consultative approach and provide opinions and insight based on our conversations and research.  Recruiting can be improved by putting a greater focus on partnership, relationships, and the human aspects of the business.

4. What’s your secret in connecting smart people and great companies?

Again, it’s working as a partner.  I try to have real conversations with both my clients and candidates, getting to know who I’m talking to and developing a friendly connection with them… and in doing so, getting to learn their idiosyncrasies and things that they need (or don’t need) in their team members.  Then I do the same with candidates, to really get to know them and have open and honest conversations to determine if the opportunity will be a good fit.

5. If you could only ask clients one question when getting a recruiting brief, what would it be?

What do you like most about working for your company?

Their answer can give you good insight into the personality of the person and even the company’s culture and values, which I think are so important.  Qualifications and responsibilities can be fairly black and white, but I want to know what matters to the hiring manager/company and therefore what should matter to the ideal candidate.

6. What question should every candidate ask when a headhunter calls?

Why are you interested in me?

If I’m calling you specifically, it’s because I’ve reviewed and narrowed down my pool of candidates and you came out as one of the top picks – so ask me why I think you are a fit.

It’s a great idea to learn how you stood out amongst the competition and gives the recruiter the opportunity to tell you why they think you might be right for the role.

7. What trait do you most like to see in a job-seeker?

It’s a tie between passion and self-awareness.  I love to meet and work with people who are passionate about what they do; it makes for a really interesting conversation.  But being self-aware, in terms of knowing your strengths and areas for improvement, really shows a level of professional maturity that clients will appreciate.

8. What’s the funniest thing you’ve ever seen in an interview or on a resume (no names please)?

Once I had somebody come in to meet with me for a potential role, and unfortunately they’d had a serious allergic reaction and their eye was swollen shut.  It was a bit of a shock when I walked into the room, but this person was a trooper, did a great job in the interview, and was an awesome candidate for the role… but I have to admit, it was comical.

9. What’s the one quality companies should look for when hiring a headhunter?

Integrity.  If you are going to hire a headhunter, you want to be sure that they are going to do right by your company.  You need to be able to build a strong relationship with them and you have to be able to trust them to represent your company to the public and bring you the right candidates for your role.  You need to be sure that your recruiting partner will:

1.  Position your company and opportunity correctly in the marketplace;

2.  Ask you the right questions to really understand what your company is all about and who will be the best fit; and

3.  Be able to have tough conversations with you and give you honest feedback.

10. What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Just to be healthy, happy and successful in life.  I’ve worked hard and am pretty happy right now.

Or else sun tanning on a beach with a drink in my hand!


Interested in learning about the way headhunters think?  Visit the Meet the Headhunter blog category for all of our headhunter interviews.  Also learn more about PR & Marketing Recruiter, Carly-Anne Fairlie, and connect with her on LinkedIn.

IQ PARTNERS is an Executive Search & Recruitment firm with offices in Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver. We help companies hire better, hire less & retain more. We have teams of specialist recruiters in Financial Services & Insurance, Marketing Communications & Media, Emerging Tech & Telecom, Consumer Goods & Retail, B2B & Industrial, Technology, Accounting & Finance, HR & Operations, Energy, Mining & Engineering, Life Sciences, and Construction, Property & Real Estate. 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.

Catherine Lund

Catherine Lund helps lead IQ PARTNERS as Sr. Director, Client Services and specializes in recruiting for integrated, digital, and eCommerce roles. She is an avid networker and proven business development and marketing professional who has placed mid to senior level professionals across Toronto.

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