‘Recruiters Who View Themselves As Gatekeepers Are in the Wrong Business’

ERE member Carlos Fernandez talks about misconceptions some recruiters hold, his greatest fear in the workplace, and Al Green.

Article main image
Oct 24, 2023

Welcome to the latest installment of our series in which we spotlight talent acquisition professionals within the ERE community. The series’ aim is to showcase individuals not so much for what they do but for who they are. In other words, the focus is less on what people are doing in their roles and more on how they view work and life.

Meet Carlos Fernandez. Carlos leads talent acquisition, employer brand, and sourcing outreach for the Houston Methodist hospital system. He has also overseen multiple HR tech implementations and processes to enhance the candidate experience and recruitment delivery. Additionally, Carlos is an advisory member for the Texas Medical Center’s Hiring Red, White, and You military veteran hiring initiative and is a board member of the Houston Healthcare HR Association.

A speaker at a recent ERE Recruiting Conference, Carlos recently spoke about what he loves most (and least) about working in talent acquisition, as well as why recruiters should not view themselves as door people at nightclubs.

What is your best personality trait?

I do what I say I will do. Follow-up is a big deal for me.

What is your worst personality trait?

I’m my biggest, worst critic. I’m a perfectionist.

What is the biggest assumption people tend to make about you — be it wrong or right?

People think that I am a good athlete, probably because I’m 6’1”. I guess I’m a decent basketball player and a decent runner, but I’m not a great baseball player.

What do you love most about working in talent acquisition?

When I started my career, I loved being a conduit for the organization, connecting candidates, hiring managers, and others. I loved seeing the fruits of my labor and being able to promote the organization and promote potential candidates. As I’ve transitioned more into a strategy and leadership role, what I love is the collective impact I help make to the organization’s workforce. That means a lot to me.

What do you like least about working in talent acquisition?

It can be a turnstyle. In some cases, you have instances where attrition is an issue, and you feel like you take two steps forward, two steps back. That can be frustrating, but as long as there is a strategy and a plan to deliver, at least you can hopefully create improvements.

What is your greatest fear in the workplace?

If you asked me five to 10 years ago, I would’ve said public speaking. But getting more out of my comfort zone has helped address that. Now my biggest fear is not following through on what I say that I will do. Likewise, I always tell my team to be mindful to deliver on our service so that we can bring value to the table.

What do you most value in team members?

I love communication. I’m an introvert, but at the same time, I value wins and celebrations. I value being able to help develop colleagues, as I’m a big advocate for professional development. I want to see my colleagues succeed.

What is the most overused or overrated thing that recruiting pros believe about themselves?

That they are gatekeepers. Those who see themselves that way are in the wrong business. They need to instead think of themselves as conduits to connect people. It’s not like recruiters work for a nightclub with a red rope where they tell people who can and can’t enter. Their job is not supposed to be about turning people away so much as connecting people through roles.

What is your current state of mind as it relates to the current state of recruiting?

It’s like the stock market right now. You see positives some days, but other days can be really challenging. It’s a career path that’s not for everybody, but if you like to work in ambiguity and help impact organizations, the job can be rewarding.

Name one TA person besides yourself who people need to know?

Rollis Fontenot. He’s a podcaster and owns his own recruitment advertising organization. He’s got great insights around talent acquisition strategy.

Most important question: What’s your go-to karaoke song?

Love and Happiness” by Al Green.

Finish this sentence: Carlos Fernandez is…

Very dependable. He’s a man of his word.

Get articles like this
in your inbox
Subscribe to our mailing list and get interesting articles about talent acquisition emailed weekly!