An Interview With Nancy Nash

Recently, Senior Search Consultant, Nancy Nash, was interviewed by our Newsletter Editor.  They chatted about her career as a recruiter and working remotely.

Editor: How many years have you been recruiting?

Nancy: Gulp… since 1992, so 22 years. I didn’t have a job when I graduated college. Two weeks after being home, I opened up the phone book and called a local search firm to see if they could place me somewhere. I ended up working for that firm for 16 years.

Editor: What significant changes have you seen over the past 22 years?

Nancy: The obvious changes have been technology related. The number of resources that we have to work with is staggering. Dare I admit that when I started recruiting, email didn’t exist and the worldwide web wasn’t yet commercialized! You literally had to explore companies in trade books, magazines and the newspaper. Candidates had to go to the library to research a company prior to an interview. Resumes were faxed to us. Anyone still have a fax machine? I remember hearing that recruiters would be put out of business when the internet was main streamed. I remember hearing that sites like LinkedIn would replace us. Despite all the technology advances, recruiting itself hasn’t changed much. It is still a people business. It is still a business that absolutely requires communication. It’s about us picking up the phone and having a conversation. You can’t get to know someone without speaking with them live. Regardless of the many changes, the recruiting process remains the same.

Editor: What advice would you give to today's professionals as it relates to dealing with executive recruiters?

Nancy: Oh, I feel I could write a book here…

1. Be honest. If the job isn’t for you, that’s fine, say no thank you. If something changes during the process (like another offer coming through,) let us know. If you have a deal you are about to close and can’t see leaving the company for a few months, then tell us.

2. Know that your actions speak louder than your words. Saying you are interested in our client and then not being available for an interview, speaks volume.

3. Don’t make a decision until you have all of the information needed to make that decision.

4. Never base your opinion of a company on the feedback of a ‘buddy’ who previously worked for that company. More often than not, that person was let go due to performance. Their ‘sour grapes’ could hold you back. Things change within companies; management, product offerings, and over time the culture.

5. Always keep your resume current.

Editor: If you could give a CEO 3 tips for obtaining great talent, what would that be?

Nancy: 1. Make sure your entire organization knows how to drive the interview process, is successful at telling your story and can communicate why someone should join your firm versus the other opportunities that are out there in the market. You may think that everyone internally is ‘singing the same song’, but often they are not.  

2. Hire for culture. There are many components that make up the culture of your organization. Yes, skill set is important, but at the end of the day it is the DNA that you are hiring for. Hire folks that have a positive attitude, that are easy to work with and not too difficult to manage. Go with your gut. Look past the resume. Find out what they are good at, what they struggle with and what they have enjoyed most about the work that they have done.

3. Get to know the recruiters that your company is using. We have clients where we have placed multiple key executives into the organization yet still cannot get on the CEO’s calendar. Especially in start-ups, recruiters are often the market’s first exposure to your organization. We can be the most effective marketing campaign that you might undertake, but we need to have the right information to convey that message to the market. You will reap the rewards of the time that you invest upfront with recruiters.  

Editor: How do you explain head hunting or executive search to someone who is not familiar with your profession?

Nancy: The boring description is that we source candidates for highly specialized positions that our corporate clients are looking to fill. I like to say that I’m a sports agent for the technology industry. I’m making introductions between clients and candidates. I’m negotiating contracts. I’m making recommendations with regards to options that my candidates and clients may have. I’m relied on for my guidance in many aspects of the business, not just hiring. I’m expected to be knowledgeable about the work I do. In many ways, recruiting is a sales business. The difference is that both our client and our product are people. We have to be good at knowing and understanding both.

Editor: As a remote employee of TMG, what insight would you give to others?  What are the pluses and minuses of working remotely?

Nancy: There are definitely advantages and disadvantages. On the plus side – the obvious positive is the commute – non - existent!  I’m about 50 miles outside of NYC in Northern NJ. The majority of commuters are headed east toward NYC. The traffic is ugly. Also on the plus side, remote workers don’t get bogged down in the office politics or gossip. There’s no ‘Who’s behind closed doors’?

On the downside; salespeople are social by nature, we need to talk, to bond, to crack jokes. That can be hard by yourself. You miss the office buzz and the camaraderie of co-workers. You lose the opportunity to feed off of the folks that work with you. I love listening to how other people do and say things. You obviously lose this when remote.

My advice would be: 

1. You have to be well equipped. I’m set-up here like I would be if I was in the office. I have all the bells and whistles. I’m tied into the corporate network. I work off the company phone system, etc.

2. You have to have a routine and be consistent. I get up the same time every day. I go to the gym, walk the dog, take a shower and start working at the same time each day.

3. At some point, you have to shut work off and step away from the office.