Catherine Lund Toronto Marketing Recruiter
10 Questions & Answers by Catherine Lund, Toronto Marketing Recruiter

What are the best traits in successful job seekers? What should you ask when a headhunter calls?  Every month we ask an IQ PARTNERS headhunter the same 10 questions to help you get to know who you’re working with.  Meet Catherine Lund, a Toronto-based Marketing Recruiter who we interviewed about her experiences.

1.      What’s the first or “oddest” job you ever had?

I worked at the Gap through high school, I really enjoyed it and that was the start of client service for me, learning to please people and give them what they need.

The “oddest” job I ever had was for two summers in undergrad I was a Pepsi taste patroller.  We did the taste test, had the big Pepsi van and we’d go to carnivals, malls, and events throughout Alberta. The majority of people chose Pepsi and got gift cards, and we met a lot of angry Coke fans.  It was a great job, I made a lot of money, got to travel, be outside, connected with a lot of people, learned to diffuse situations. Coke vs. Pepsi is a hot button issue believe it or not, like Leafs vs. Canadiens.

2.      Who are your heroes in business?

I’ve always liked Richard Branson.  I know that’s probably a common one but I follow him and read everything he writes.  He’s quoted as saying he’s never worked a day in his life because he does what he’s proud of and he takes chances and doesn’t really care what other people think because he has a vision.


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

I think it’s more the perception of recruiters and the overall rap that we get in the marketplace.  There’s no barriers to entry, no degree, no accreditation, so I think what could change would be an accreditation or something that puts a company like IQ PARTNERS above someone who started doing this last week out of their basement.

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

Honestly it’s getting face-to-face as much as possible.  We’re in the era of emails but you really have to get to know someone by talking to them.  It can be on the phone but tone of voice, how they answer tough questions, how they present themselves is huge.  I think my biggest successes have been with clients because I understand their culture and what they’re looking for besides just a checklist of skills and experience.

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

“What would make this person successful in the role?” Meaning ‘how do you see this person staying in the company and growing and doing well?’ versus a list of skills and education.

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

“Why is the position open?”  Thinking of myself and my career I’d want to know, ‘Is this a company that can’t keep someone in this? Or is this a new role? Did the previous person get promoted?’ Because I come from ad agency background, if they can’t keep someone in an Account Director role, for example, and it’s getting turned over every 6 months, I want to know that and I want to know why before I go ahead.

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

Ambition and honesty.  It’s great to say “yeah I can do everything on the job description” but also know your limitations and what you could get better at.  For example, we deal with a lot of people that come from large corporations and I can’t tell you how many people have told me they were responsible for the launch of Dove… they can’t all be.  So just being honest and forthright, but also confident.

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

A woman came to interview with me, and she did warn me she was going to be a bit casual because she works in a casual office… but she showed up in a short mini-skirt and no underwear.

I’ve also had a lot of people who have had to bring their children to interviews, especially in the last year.  They normally give me a heads up, and it does give me an opportunity to see them under stress, so I’m usually fine with it.
child to an interview

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

Market knowledge.  What’s great about IQ PARTNERS is if I don’t know a client’s market I do have an expert within our company who does.  When recruiters just take any brief and say they can deliver without knowing the industry, they’re just going to throw garbage at the client.

10.  What is your idea of perfect happiness?

I think just balance; having a good work life, love life, personal life, travel life, money life.  Staying even-keel and avoiding life’s highs and lows.

Interested in learning about the way headhunters think? Visit the Meet the Headhunter blog category for all of our Headhunter interviews.  Learn more about Catherine Lund and connect with her on LinkedIn.

Mark Rouse Marketing Recruiter

Mark Rouse

Mark leads Canada’s largest Marketing Communications & Media recruitment practice. Leveraging close to two decades of industry experience in the Marketing Services and Agency businesses, he has been responsible for hiring, developing, and retaining top talent as Vice-President with companies such as Young & Rubicam, Wunderman, and J. Walter Thompson.

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