Liz Kreft: Celebrating Two Years at Schechter Reed

Few things about March 2020 can be described as serendipitous, but Schechter Reed hiring Liz Kreft fits the bill. Two years ago, just before the pandemic began, Lori Reed met Liz at their daughters’ volleyball game. Lori quickly realized that Liz’s business experience, ability to read people, and sense of humor made her the ideal candidate for a recruitment role.

Liz’s career began in the bustling world of software sales during the high-tech boom. She was constantly traveling but when she had kids, she couldn’t imagine sustaining that lifestyle. In 2003, Liz left the workforce to care for her children. When she considered re-entering years later, it was a struggle to find a sales job that offered work/life balance. She needed someone from a different field to take a chance on her, and Lori Reed did just that.

Liz’s ability to connect with people makes her the perfect candidate for recruiting. Her humor puts people at ease, and they start to open up. Instead of reducing candidates to a set of skills and experience, she discovers their story, their superpowers, and their aspirations. That approach allows for good quality matches at Schechter Reed, unrestrained by quotas. Liz and Lori share those human-centered values, making them the perfect team.

One testimonial of her expertise comes from Tristan Tatum-Marshall, a candidate whom Liz recently recruited, interviewed, and placed. “Simply put, Liz gets it. I constantly chat about my experience with Schechter Reed. Liz made what is typically a stressful process enjoyable. I was hired at an amazing company that I am thriving at today, even receiving a promotion within my first 100 days. I give a lot of thanks to Liz for believing in me. I am forever grateful.”

We are grateful she is part of our team. Happy 2nd anniversary, Liz!

Terrassa Scott: A Covid career-pivot

An email rolls in after 6pm on a Thursday from one of our top-performing Recruiting Coordinators at SAIC. The subject reads:

“I’ll be a recruiter next week!!!”

 

That’s right-three exclamation points!!! That’s how excited Terrassa Scott is to begin her first rotation as a Recruiter in SAIC’s comprehensive recruiting training program. Terrassa’s email was a note of gratitude for introducing her to the Recruiting Coordinator opportunity that started it all. She said that the job “feels like what I’m supposed to do” and “that feels amazing”.

Emails like that have kept me feeling fulfilled in the staffing business for 25 years. Terrassa was referred to me by a longtime client and I wanted to share our recent conversation. I hope it inspires others who are considering a career change.

Terrassa was an Executive Assistant who loved to collaborate with HR to schedule interviews and work with candidates. She affirmed her strengths in relationship-building through personality assessments and wanted to pursue a career in recruiting, but searched in vain for over eight months. Eventually, the HR Executive at Terrassa’s company recommended Schechter Reed as a resource.

Terrassa found the Recruiting Coordinator posting on Schechter Reed’s website. As an Executive Assistant, she had skills in time management, process improvement, customer service and a proven ability to operate in a fast-paced, ever-changing environment. These skills transferred well to recruiting.

Now at SAIC, working remotely for the past six months, Terrassa has learned to work with candidates and hiring managers, schedule interviews, generate offers, and manage the applicant tracking system. She is especially grateful for her amazingly helpful and supportive team. In a short time, she has moved up from a Recruiting Coordinator supporting Recruiters to a Recruiter (with a Recruiting Coordinator in support of her).

Terrassa shared with me, “The Futures program at SAIC is unique. It is so nice to have guidelines, mentors, and formal training before you become a Recruiter. You get it in bite-sized pieces at first and then start to dig deeper. SAIC assigns you mentors, who are very helpful and want you to succeed.”

I’m so happy to see Terrassa succeed and look forward to watching her progress at SAIC.

If you are in need of a #recruiter, #coordinator or an #administrative superstar or you know someone who seems well-suited for those roles, let’s chat!

Ana Cordova’s Storytelling Success

Witnessing my son’s college application process has illustrated the value of research, good writing and storytelling. I empathize with Admissions Officers who read hundreds of essays a day and for the 17-year old students who desperately want their applications to stand out. It is an Arms race. As a Recruiter, I can’t help but see the parallels to the job application process. With our U.S. unemployment rate at 8.4%, job postings are generating more applicants than ever.

 

Schechter Reed’s recent job posting generated 289 applicants through LinkedIn. One of them was Ana Cordova, a Gates Millennium Scholar with a bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry and two master’s degrees (in Genetics and Law). Within four days, Ana received a polite rejection email. She was a bit overqualified for an Executive Assistant job. Two months later, Ana tried again but with a personalized email this time to me.

 

I must admit that I wasn’t entirely sold on Ana’s fit for the Executive Assistant role. But her email was so well-written and demonstrated such a solid understanding of the job, that I wanted to learn more. Isn’t that what they say about college Admissions Officers? They should read your essay and want to meet you for coffee. Ana and I scheduled a phone call and spent almost an hour chatting. She said things like “I always loved paper jams because they help me understand how the copier works”.  By that time, the Executive Assistant search was on hold, but I knew that Ana was something special and I needed to tell her story in the right way to the right company.

 

The first client company I thought of was Digital Infuzion, a biomedical informatics company that aims to improve the quality of healthcare. I knew from past experience that their Founder and President, Hemant Virkar, likes to hire people who are agile, dynamic and can roll up their sleeves. There weren’t any open job positions that matched Ana’s background, but Hemant made time to talk to her anyway. Once again, Ana’s storytelling skills were put to the test.

 

Hemant is admired and feared for his intense interviewing style. Yet, Ana’s ability to “talk about herself as a story as opposed to a mix of skills and experience” resonated with Hemant and led to three additional interviews with hiring managers. Digital Infuzion hired Anna as a ‘temp’ to tackle a project that was on the back burner. After two weeks, Ana presented her findings to Hemant in a PowerPoint. Would you believe that she even read the book Radical Candor and incorporated the book’s teachings, a communication style to which Hemant subscribes? Ana received a job offer later that day.

 

Ana’s strengths in research, writing and storytelling made all the difference in her job search. A well-told story that demonstrates an understanding of the company, job and hiring manager, can be quite effective, especially if you are undergoing a career change. With so many kids applying to college and so many adults job searching, I thought Ana’s approach was worth sharing.
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Searching for Angel Brunner’s Executive Assistant

Angel Brunner is a San Francisco native who bought into the D.C. story and has transformed underdeveloped areas like NoMa into job-creating communities. Since 2008, her company EB5 Capital, has raised over $800M from clients in 65 countries and has created over 35,000 jobs.

Angel spent several hours discussing this search with me. Her entire company is committed to finding the right Executive Assistant for Angel and I look forward to speaking with anyone who has a history of excellence in executive support.

Scroll through the following presentation to learn more:

Current Opportunities in the Washington DC Area

Executive Assistant, Reston, VA | $80-$90K

Award-winning tech company seeks a business-savvy Executive Assistant for one of its beloved leaders. This highly-visible role in the corporate office of a publicly-traded firm is vacant due to a promotion and a unique opportunity to work in a fast-paced environment where curiosity, initiative, and efficiency are rewarded. Complex calendar management, meeting/logistics coordination, confidential information dissemination, expense reporting and a varied day of meaty projects and tactical to-dos are typical. Proficiency in MS Office, 5+ years of executive-level administration and favorable professional references required.

Recruiting Coordinator (Contract to Hire), Northern Virginia | $24/hour

Unique opportunity to learn recruiting from one of the area’s largest employers in the “apprenticeship” role. Candidates must have natural strengths in organization, communication, follow-through, and detail-orientation. Initial job centers around the candidate experience, scheduling interviews, initiating background checks and drug screens, generating offer letters, onboarding support and ad hoc projects as needed. Requirements include MS Office proficiency (Word, Outlook, Excel, and PowerPoint), solid professional references, and ability to multi-task in a fast-paced, ever-changing environment. Successful Recruiting Coordinators will be trained/mentored in best practices for sourcing, screening and interviewing candidates with the goal of moving into a full lifecycle recruiting role within 6-12 months.

Executive Assistant/Chief of Staff, Bethesda, MD |$100K+

Newly-created role to support one of the most exciting investment professionals in the world. High-performing startup environment in need of day-to-day tactical and substantive support for its Founder and CEO. Shift seamlessly between personal and professional life coordination, scheduling dinners, events, and travel. Heavy calendar coordination, process improvement and acting as an ambassador for the company and the CEO. Interface externally with high-profile clients; anticipate problems and opportunities to remain “one step ahead”; troubleshoot computer issues, video conferencing and other last-minute hiccups with a cool head. Work collaboratively with two other administrative professionals, delegating and mentoring where necessary. Show genuine curiosity in the business to maximize involvement and understand the “big picture” and the supporting details.

Please reach out to Lori to learn more.

Lori’s Podcast Picks for the Holidays (and beyond)

As we approach the season of road trips (traffic) and flights (delays), consider picking up a podcast. They are quick, easy and free to download and they will surely arm you with interesting conversation nuggets at the holiday table. Here are my top 5 right now:

1.      Hidden Brain—NPR’s thought-provoking episodes center around human behavior and will change the way you see yourself and the world around you. Host Shaker Vedantam’s smooth storytelling arms you with interesting topics that encourage conversation and debate.

My husband and I spent half of our Valentine’s Day lunch discussing “You 2.0: When Did Marriage Become So Hard”.

2.      Serial (Season One) – This American Life’s award-winning podcast was my first love and changed the way I felt about rush hour in D.C. It chronicles the gruesome murder of a high-achieving high schooler and the ex-boyfriend who was convicted on questionable evidence. If I could invite one person to dinner this holiday season, it would be Sarah Koenig, the brilliant investigative journalist who narrates each episode.

3.      The Happiness Lab – My latest obsession is from Yale Psychology professor, Dr. Laurie Santos. She explores the human mind, our emotions and how an understanding of both can help us in the age-old pursuit of happiness. I have forwarded Episode 10. Making the Grade to several mom friends and hope it lands in the hands of FCPS or even better, U.S. Department of Education.

4.      Up First My car radio rarely leaves NPR so it’s no surprise that their daily digest is my preference for unbiased news from around the world. Most podcasts are under 15 minutes, perfect for that doughnut run or the guilt-ridden trip to the gym that follows.  When you return to work in January, you might even keep it around for your daily commute.

5.      The GaryVee Audio Experience – Best-selling author of business bibles Crush It, and Jab, Jab, Jab, Right HookGary Vaynerchuk shares valuable advice for entrepreneurs who want to build their brand on social media platforms. Enthusiasts find so much more than business advice in Gary’s podcasts. They find philosophy, comedy, inspiration and trend spotting. His clairvoyance with the Adidas brand and his candor turned my 16-year old son into a fan.

Like recipes, podcasts are easy and fun to share. Please reply with your own favorites and let me know if you love or hate any of mine.  Happy holidays!

Photo by israel palacio on Unsplash

“Taking a Little Step Back” proves fruitful for SirusXM’s Vice President, HR Business Partner

“A+ candidate who is perfect for HR”, read my notes when I first interviewed Shelley Wooten (now Colon) in 2006. Shelly responded to a Craigslist ad for a Recruiting Coordinator even though she had recently earned her Master’s degree and worked in middle school counseling and non-profit development. Shelley realized that she may have to “take a little step back to get opportunity for growth” and she did just that when BearingPoint hired her as a temp. That temp position quickly resulted in an offer of direct employment, which Shelley declined in favor of joining XMRadio (SiriusXM now). Fast forward 12 years and Shelley is now the Vice President, HR Business Partner at SiriusXM in their New York office (and the proud mother of a three-year old boy, Auggie). We recently connected with Shelley for reflection “I knew I had a lot of relevant skills and experience to offer but was not sure how to best fit them into a corporate environment.  I really credit Lori and Schechter Reed with seeing that potential and setting me off in the right direction.”

 

We are so proud of you, Shelley, and we love being part of your story!

Recent College Grad Learns why Temping is Tempting

 

Jade Belcher, a 2017 JMU grad, was referred to Schechter Reed by way of a trusted client. Jade was working as a substitute teacher at FCPS and teaching preschool three days/week. Like many recent grads, Jade was applying to entry-level jobs in nonprofits but not having much success. When Lori Schechter Reed heard of a newly-created Learning & Development Manager role with her client, Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA), she immediately thought of Jade. Jade took the leap of faith, resigned from her job and jumped into the world of Learning Management Systems. Jade proved herself to be such an asset during the temp period that SHEA created a full-time position on their staff and hired her directly last month. Lori Schechter Reed stopped by to congratulate her in person and thought to share her story. Congratulations Jade!!

 

Transparency, Trust, and the Executive Recruiting of Tina Tyree

Lori Reed, founder & President of Schechter Reed, takes great pride in recruiting for administrative talent and she has stayed true to that specialty during a 20-year career. Every so often, however, she will embrace a search that forces her out of her comfort zone.

Lori had grown quite impressed with the vision and passion behind Digital Infuzion’s President, Hemant Virkar, after placing an Executive Assistant with him. When Digital Infuzion approached Lori about a newly-created VP of Operations role, an unconventional search for Lori, she embraced the recruiting challenge. Throughout the process Lori learned about supportive PMO’s, AGILE project management, CMMI certifications and government contract pricing. She reached out to over 40 candidates and submitted eight over a four-month period.

Tina Tyree was a program director in the Health IT space and a 10-year veteran of her company, earning her MBA along the way. She struck Lori as the quintessential up-and-comer, poised for a role in executive management and that was exactly the vision Digital Infuzion had for their new VP of Operations. Lori was transparent about her background but what she lacked in technical and executive recruiting expertise, she made up for in client familiarity. According to Tina:

“Lori had the relationship with the client, so she could provide me with guidance along the way. That was the biggest difference for me-the caring role Lori played in really trying to make sure it was a good fit for me and a good fit for her client. She spent a lot of time talking with me and discussing the requirements of the job and where I met them.”

Lori works tirelessly to understand her clients-not just the facts and figures, but the company culture. The same can be said for her candidates. Beyond the resume, there is a whole narrative to uncover that exposes motivators, fears, principles, and the human element that paints the full picture.

Tina’s interview process spanned three months. During that time, Digital Infuzion was working to uncover the person behind the resume. “We were looking for talent such as self-awareness, vulnerability, aspiration and curiosity”, offered Hemant. They found that and more in Tina Tyree, Digital Infuzion’s new VP of Operations.

couple finds love abroad and dream jobs in mclean

World Travelers Find Love Abroad & Dream Jobs in McLean

Janco and Amanda first met in 2012 while working and traveling abroad. They met in France and continued to travel (both independently and together) across Europe, Asia and Africa for the next few years. Janco is from South Africa but agreed to move to the U.S. to put down roots in Amanda’s hometown of McLean, Virginia in search of their dream jobs.

 

Before traveling the world, Janco earned his accounting degree and had a great job as a Cost Accountant in South Africa. He expected to find something similar in Northern Virginia’s thriving job market but experienced months of rejection. One Recruiter even suggested that he take up work as a Receptionist! Thankfully, Janco was introduced to Lori of Schechter Reed and as Janco shared “her professionalism, contagious optimism and attentiveness made the experience so positive.”

 

Janco landed at one of Schechter Reed’s longest-running and highly regarded clients, Capital Automotive Real Estate Services (“CARS”). Janco is approaching his 2-year anniversary and still says that he can’t believe his luck. “With Lori’s help, I really hit the jackpot. I am so happy that I partnered with Schechter Reed that I introduced Amanda to Lori after a few months and she, too, landed her dream job.”

 

Lori first interviewed Amanda last August and was struck by her tremendous potential. Instead of focusing on Amanda’s frequent job changes to prepare for and live as a world traveler, Lori worked to uncover Amanda’s natural strengths and transferrable skills. Together, they explored five job opportunities within Lori’s client companies and they learned from each one. “Lori worked with me for several months to land THE job, my dream job, that meets my desire to work for an excellent company which operates based on its principles, values its associates, and is socially conscious.  I also wanted to work in the McLean area as I could not envision battling the beltway every day!” Amanda is in her third month at Mars, Incorporated and thriving. While she doesn’t allow herself to indulge in the unlimited candy at her disposal during the day, she takes tremendous pride in working for this beloved brand.

 

 

“The last two years have been a transitional period for us- moving to the U.S. together, getting married, finding our own place. With the jobs Lori helped us find, we feel we have achieved all the dreams we had when we moved to Virginia in 2016.”