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 Riel LaPointe.
1. What’s the first or oddest job you ever had?
I think I was about 8 when I had my first paper route. My first paycheque was for $3 and I felt like I had won a million dollars! My first real job as a teenager was flipping pizzas at Mother’s Pizza in Scarborough when I was 15. I met some of the coolest people in the world while working there and many of them remain my best friends to this day, even after 30 years.
2. Who are your heroes in business?
Two former managers I reported into. The first is Dan Ehrensperger who I worked with for 5 years, and the second is Sherri Strong who was my branch manager when I first got into agency staffing. The most important thing I remember about them is that they both proved that you don’t have to be dominant to be an amazing leader. They were friendly and helpful almost to a fault and I respect and admire them both tremendously for that.
3. How do you think the recruiting business could be improved?
As far as agency recruiting goes, there are way too many “fly by night” shops that give our industry a terrible reputation. I have worked with countless recruiters over the years, many of which are phenomenal, and many others – not so much. Too many are focused on their commission instead of the human beings they are trying to help match up.
I urge companies and candidates to get referrals before joining forces with any recruitment professional, just like you would when you buy a new car or house. Read testimonials and Google them and do your research/homework. It’s a big investment to spend your time partnering with them so don’t waste your time with someone who is not qualified to help you.
4. What’s your secret in connecting smart people and great companies?
Thoroughness and instinct. I screen countless candidates for every role that I work on. The good ones I work very hard to match up with existing opportunities. I actually have candidates who have followed me over the years and I have placed several times in various contract roles. For the other candidates who aren’t a good match for what I’m looking for, I spend the time to skill-market their profile to my clients for more suitable opportunities. Regardless, for virtually of my candidates, I provide at least one or two tips and suggestions on how to better market themselves so that they have at least something to take away from my meeting with them.
5. If you could only ask clients one question when getting a recruiting brief, what would it be?
What are your ‘must-have’ skills/experience and what are your ‘nice-to-haves’? There’s a big difference between the two, and if you know them upfront you’re going to save yourself a lot of time and energy by not submitting the wrong candidates.
6. What question should every candidate ask when a headhunter calls?
Ask them for as much detail as possible about the role upfront, which includes the role itself and details of the company and upcoming opportunities within that company. Don’t let a recruiter just tell you what the role is and email you a job description. Get all the details over the phone initially so that you can determine at the front end if it’s a potential fit for you. If they can’t provide you with detail, then they shouldn’t be recruiting for that company or that role.
7. What trait do you most like to see in a job-seeker?
Openness and honesty has always been my number one. The more honest each job-seeker is with me, the better I can help them out in every aspect of their job search.
8. What’s the funniest thing you’ve ever seen in an interview or on a resume (no names please)?
I once came across a resume with someone’s email address that was about 50 letters long and consisted of about 8 names. It was like [email protected].
A simple [email protected] would have been a little easier. Just my humble opinion.
9. What’s the one quality companies should look for when hiring a headhunter?
Strong work ethic. Someone who will genuinely work hard for you and with you to ensure a true partnership. Headhunters are an extension of a company’s HR department so it’s a “must” that they work just as hard on their roles as if they were working directly for that company.
10. What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Aside from the Leafs winning another Stanley Cup before I die, I would have to say that I’m as close to perfect happiness as I have ever been in my life due to an amazing work/life balance which I have now. I work my tail off during the day with my work family and have a lot of fun doing so… and then when I leave the office, it is pure family fun time with my wonderful and supportive wife and young son. When you don’t have to stress out about work after hours and you can genuinely leave the office at the office — that’s perfect happiness to me.
IQ PARTNERS is an Executive Search & Recruitment firm in Toronto. 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.