HeadSpace: A recruiter is a recruiter is a recruiter!

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Sandra McCartt, a true Texan, loves her horses. And who can blame her? They don't complain, they gladly carry her burdens, she's always getting smooches, and they love her back. Catching Sandra between work and play resulted in a great opportunity to ask her about another love, Recruiting. "I've been a local recruiter since Lincoln was a cadet." Right away, her point-blank humor sets one at ease and the pure devotion she feels for this industry is clearly visible.

Once upon a time, in 1976, there was an employment agency that had the extreme good fortune of running into Sandra McCartt, who turned it on its ear and created success with willingness to work hard and be innovative. Not one to fear the unknown, "I didn't even know there was such a thing as a recruiter." She tells a great story of how she had an order for an accountant position with a big company. She identified a perfect candidate who would take the job if he didn't have to pay the fee. Sandra offered up a guarantee (unheard of then) that he would stay. "My boss was furious! 'If he falls out,' he told me, 'you're paying the fee.' He stayed, and I thought, I did it once, I can do it again."

Sandra soon realized that the applicant-paid fee world just wasn't for her. "You know, this is just a little lower than insurance sales. There has got to be a better way to do this." That was thirty-two years ago. She started her own firm and within five years, paid off the bank note, "I have re-invented this job three times." She's seen many changes in the recruitment industry but doesn't count the latest or the downward economy as the most dramatic.

"The biggest change was the fax machine - even more so than the computer. I know that sounds weird but time changed so much. Just getting initial information out was a five to nine day process before. When the fax came along, a company would call and just fax over details immediately. It was just grand, I could send over a resume immediately. It moved the turnaround time to as little as three days." The computer? a whole 'nother story. There were those that said, "It's an instrument of the devil" and others refused to step up and learn the new technology. Not Sandra, "We have to get into the 20th century. I watched so many colleagues fade into the background. They got left in the dust of technology." Just so you know, Sandra spent a weekend practicing boolean strings. "Knowledge is power."

Her best advice for other recruiters: "It's the strong recruiters with the relationships built over the years that will last. It will be the scramblers that will fail. You have to know how to sell and understand really what recruiting is. A recruiter is a recruiter is a recruiter. Forget that you are a specialist in this or that and remember that you are, above all, a recruiter. Your specialty is that you are a recruiter. 'Get your job done and get it done cost-effectively'," keeping your ego in check is also necessary for continued success. Sandra says it with ease and a chuckle, "I got over my cheap self years ago."

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