The Faces of Mee Derby is an initiative to share the stories of our team and their journey’s through the staffing industry from a personal and professional perspective. COVID is bringing us all together in a whole different way by connecting through technology. From our home offices to yours, we invite you over the next several weeks to get to know the Mee Derby team through this video series. It is a fun look at who we are – collectively and individually – how we got into staffing and what the staffing industry means to us. This week we are hearing from Jill Balick:
Why staffing? How did you end up in this industry?
Like many other people staffing was a career that I happened into. When I started, I was working for what was then a New York City based staffing company where I worked in their commercial division, putting temporaries to work mostly in light-industry and lower end administrative roles. It all evolved from there. I began mycareer not knowing anything about staffing but 30 years later having fully embraced the industry.
How has your journey led you to Mee Derby?
When I moved to North Carolina in the early 90s, taking a sabbatical after my first child, Robin reached out to check a reference for a former employee of mine. In our conversation she spoke about the fact that she had some clients that were outside of the DC metropolitan market that were looking for some recruiting support and she was wondering if I would be willing to take on some recruiting for Mee Derby. And… here I am still.
Was working for Mee Derby the first time you had worked remotely?
I’ve never worked out of an office, when I first started to work with Mee Derby it was before cell phones and our bullhorn database ,so it really was true remote working . I identified candidates by the old method of looking and trying to find talent, ,not through Linkedin but by various other methods.
I had never worked remotely before Mee Derby but it worked perfectly for me in terms of where I was at that point in my career and my life. Mee Derby has been so impactful for me in helping me navigate not only my career but also it has worked in tandem with my personal life.
What have been the benefits of working remotely both personally and professionally?
Professionally, it has enabled me to stay in the recruiting industry while at the same being present in my children’s lives which was hugely important to me as they grew up. Now I have adult children but throughout their entire youth, I was actively engaged in the schools they went to, I was the president of the parent-teacher organization, I ran the annual campaigns, I was the president of the board of directors for my childrens elementary school. Really I was able to be present in the day to day with my family but also able to continue in my career without skipping a beat. That’s very hard to do in my opinion and that’s been a huge gift for me.
It has enabled me to maintain the trajectory of my career without having to step back, which really is unusual, I don’t think you can do that in most other situations.
How does Mee Derby impact the staffing industry?
I think we have impacted the staffing industry just if you just look at the number of candidates that we have placed over the years, we’ve made a huge difference in the trajectory of people’s careers. In addition to which, I think we have made a huge difference in the organizations that we have placed those candidates with. Especially if you look at each individual to see that they really have evolved and have significantly helped to grow their organizations. The way we continue to impact is by providing guidance to people on both the client and candidate side, in allowing both companies to grow and for candidates to grow in their career.
Why should someone work with a recruiter in their job search?
I think there are a number of reasons to work with a recruiter. First, as executive recruiters, we advocate for our candidates on a number of different levels. From the candidate’s perspective, we advocate for the candidate by helping them to identify the right opportunities for themselves and on many occasions reaching out to clients when there aren’t opportunities for the candidate that are currently on the market. We, by nature of our relationship without clients, are able to present the candidates with the right skillset and cultural fit to the client.
Additionally I think that looking for a job is one of the top three most stressful things that happens in somebody’s life. So if you have a partner with whom to work, who you know is going to be honest and forthright with you with regard to the way in which you will be presented to a client, who will help prepare you for an interview, who is going to help you understand what the job really pays and how to get the best financial remuneration for yourself is hugely important.
As far as a client, we have resources and depth of relationships that they’re not necessarily going to have. Also, we are able to help them sort through the large number of candidates they get because we are able to target really what they are looking for from a skillset perspective and also a cultural perspective.
What are your three favorite aspects of working for Mee Derby?
The first I would say is the people I worked with, the relationships I have with my colleagues, with Robin, with Kim, with Jennifer, and the team have spanned a long time.
The second thing is that it’s a great career opportunity, it’s financially rewarding, it’s competitive and provides me the opportunity to do some really nice things personally.
The third thing is that I do really feel that the job I’m in enables me to make a difference in somebody’s life. When I look back on what I have done professionally, I feel like I’ve fulfilled something else inside me which is really to do something for somebody else, to make somebody else’s life better. That’s very important to me as a human being.
How do you stand out as a recruiter?
I would say that one of the ways I would define myself is as a relationship recruiter. I have relationships that span a long time. The other aspect is that I’m very honest and forthright. When a client gives me feedback, I share that feedback with the candidate to help them and to make changes or present themselves differently when they interview the next time. I’m not here to make you feel better necessarily but rather I’m here to help you to help yourself.
From a client perspective, I’m very tenacious. If a client gives me a job order that is fillable and I take the order, I commit to that job order. It may take me six months, but I feel very committed to my clients to find them what they are looking for and while it may take time, I feel like my ability to hone in on my clients needs and be tenacious in filling those needs without giving up really makes a difference.