What’s a day in the life of a staffing professional like? If you’re Jenifer Lambert, it begins at the gym at 6 a.m. with a crossfit workout and ends more than 12 hours later at a dinner meeting. In between, she visits with clients, counsels candidates, reviews opportunities, discusses marketing plans, meets with staff, and more.
We know this because Lambert, vice president sales and marketing for Seattle’s Terra Staffing Group, is the star of Real World Staffing, a half-hour “film documentary” that chronicles Lambert’s work day, interspersing it with her own narration about the work she does and the passion she feels for the job.
The video provides a glimpse inside a real staffing firm, to show a side of the industry that previous shows and videos — The Headhuntress for example — didn’t. Lambert’s narration of her commitment to her profession and passion for the work she does may, at first blush, seem Pollyannish. But as the video unfolds, you come to see that there is a genuine satisfaction that derives from the successful matchmaking of employer and candidate.
It’s not just about the money, as Lambert explains. It’s that, “We’re connecting people to something that has deep meaning to their life … This is a real way to make a real difference in the world.”
Conceived and produced by Jonathan Weiner and his partner Jim Shaki, the video is a labor of love for the two men and their production firm, Mez Media.
Weiner who spent 14 years in search placing mid- and senior-level executives, founded Mez Media with Shaki in 2009, five years after founding his own search firm. He knows what it takes to be a successful recruiter, so when the idea to make a video came up, Weiner knew what he wanted.
Over the years there have been other films and videos about recruiting and recruiters. Before it was acquired by Randstad, Spherion sponsored an Internet comedy series called The Temp Life. The Headhuntress was the Bravo network’s short-lived attempt at a reality recruiting show. Last year, Top Recruiter debuted online, which is a headhunting takeoff on Survivor.
As entertaining as some of these are, none resonated with Weiner, who decided the industry needed a more true-to-life portrayal of recruiting.
“We wanted to take away the drama, fake reality, and nonsense that can be associated with the admirable work we do as recruiters and staffing professionals. We made it primarily to educate. It’s not a comedy; it’s not a drama, but rather a true film documentary.
“We wanted to accurately depict what our profession is about by showcasing a true top producer and a highly respectable firm,” he says.
Lambert was an immediate choice. A well-known trainer and speaker at industry conferences, she’s worked in recruiting and staffing for more than two decades, setting records for her production in retained and contingent search. Her membership in The Pinnacle Society attests to her success as a recruiter.
In an email Q&A, Weiner explained what led to the making of Real World Staffing and filled in some of the background on the production.
Q. How did you come to make this video? What made you think of this? Why?
A. Jim and I were flying to the NAPS conference in 2012 and I was reflecting to him how niched we had become in our video work and how we should give back and shoot a documentary film. Actually we did this for two primary reasons; one, to see if we could do it, since our expertise up to that point was shooting corporate commercial work. And two, we wanted to accurately depict what our profession is about by showcasing a true Top Producer and a highly respectable firm.
Q. How long did it take to get the pieces lined up, i.e. the concept, the sponsors, and the script? And how long to shoot and then edit?
A. First, there was no script and to complete the project it took about one year. From pre-production, securing the sponsors, planning, logistics, then shooting it for three days in Seattle. Post-production took a while since this was a passion project for us, we became very busy and editing became delayed a bit. Plus the final film was quite massive to put all the pieces together.
Q. How did you choose Jenifer Lambert as your focus?
A. It was a pretty easy decision for us. She is the real deal. A former Pinnacle Society Member and top producer. She also has a background in speaking/training. It didn’t hurt that she was also a client of ours and a good friend.
Q. How accurately do you think this portrays the world of the average line recruiter at a staffing/search firm?
A. 100 percent accurate. As I mentioned, there was no script, we had a shot list, but once the cameras starting rolling, we were just there to capture a typical day.
Q. For whom did you make this video? Who do you expect the audience will be?
A. We made this film for a large variety of audiences: the HR manager who works with recruiters and staffing professionals, the hiring managers, as well as candidates who have ever looked for a job, and lastly, we did it for our profession which has served us so well personally, financially and professionally.