Why I Left Corporate Recruiting

May 9, 2014
Matt Lowney
Matt Lowney

As you may have read in my previous post, “Staffing Agency Pitch: ‘We’re Different.’ Employer: Yawn.” my belief is that there’s not strong differentiation in the staffing vendor world. Too often sales pitches don’t strongly reinforce their key differences in building a business case. Said another way, most firms seem to be focused on business development and not recruiting quality.

That’s a broad brush to paint the industry with and there are certainly several very strong local and national firms, but that seems to be the overall client perspective of staffing firms. With that in mind, I recently decided to move out of corporate recruiting and start a recruiting practice (actually two different firms) with an eye to doing things differently.

Our primary business which makes outbound candidate cold calls to licensed professionals, primarily in healthcare. Our second firm is a contingency practice focused on the dental space.

I decided to make the move to:

  • Control my destiny — As a corporate recruiting leader I was fortunate to work for companies that allowed me to move up the ladder and make more money; however, that path does have a cap. Budgets do exist and even the best corporate recruiting talent doesn’t earn what top-notch third party recruiters do. Additionally, the ability to build equity in my own business is an attractive long term incentive. But for me the main driver was not economic. It was the ability to make an impact on the industry and have control over the direction of a company.
  • Make an impact (by doing it differently) — I didn’t simply want to hang my shingle and do the same thing as everyone else. I wanted to do something that was different, serve the recruiting community, and carve out a niche. I enjoy the fact we aren’t competing with internal recruiting teams, but supporting their work.
  • Upward mobility/business direction — I grew up in a family of corporate gypsies, moving from job to job as opportunities arose. When I decided to have a family, I made the personal decision to set down roots, which is great for my family. But most certainly limits career growth. For the last few years that has been a sacrifice I gladly accepted. But I always knew I wanted to shape my path. Starting my own firm satisfies my desire to stay in one place and also have a stronger claim to my own destiny.

Taking an entrepreneurial step was necessary for me. I needed to take on a new challenge. I needed to carve out my own path and, hopefully, benefit financially from such a move. I know a lot of corporate recruiters who have the same thoughts and I would encourage them to take the step. I’d love to hear from others who’ve made the step out of corporate recruiting to see if their “whys” were similar.

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