Rachel Neill
CEO & Co-Founder Carex Consulting Group

Entrepreneur and co-founder of Carex Consulting Group, Shenanigan Kids (The Figgy), and Talent Bandit. Passionate about the startup space, scaling companies, raising capital, and women in tech. Find her on Instagram @Startupmama5 or visit rachelneill.com.

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In this episode of The RecruitingDaily Podcast, William Tincup speaks with Rachel Neill about how to network your way into a new role.

Rachel is CEO and co-founder of Carex Consulting Group and an expert in the startup space, scaling companies, raising capital and women in tech. This is a fantastic conversation; have a listen and let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Show Length Time: 27 minutes

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This is Recruiting Daily’s recruiting live podcast, where we look at the strategies behind the world’s best talent acquisition teams. We talk recruiting, sourcing, and talent acquisition. Each week, we take one overcomplicated topic and break it down so that your three-year-old can understand it. Make sense? Are you ready to take your game to the next level? You’re at the right spot. You’re now entering the mind of a hustler. Here’s your host, William Tincup.

William:

Ladies and gentlemen, this is William Tincup and you are listening to the Recruiting Daily podcast. Today, we have Rachel on from Carex Consulting Group where we’re going to be talking about how to network your way into a new role. It’s a great topic and recruiters love this topic. So this is going to be fantastic. Rachel, would you do us a favor and introduce yourself and Carex Consulting Group to the audience?

Rachel:

Yeah. Hi, I’m Rachel Neill. I’ve been an entrepreneur most of my career, and I’m a huge fan of networking. I am the CEO and founder of Carex. I have experience raising capital and have worked in the professional services space for over 10 years now.

William:

Fantastic. And so Carex, what’s the offering that y’all do?

Rachel:

Yeah, so Carex was initially started to really try to disrupt some of the way the staffing industry works. So we do staffing in the tech, IT, project management, and innovation spaces, and we work with a lot of venture backed startups all the way through Fortune five companies that are looking for contingent direct higher placement or subscription. And the unique part is that nobody works on commission at Carex. It’s really a focus on finding the right person for the right role.

William:

Oh, that’s nice. That is unique. Do you have kind of a slight RPO kind of model or is it more kind of a traditional staffing model?

Rachel:

We do traditional and we’re also really transparent. So we share our bill rates and we always do a one-third two-third split.

William:

Oh that’s good.

Rachel:

So our consultants know exactly what they’re getting paid. The partners we’re working with know how much their consultants are making and that way it’s transparent for all parties involved.

William:

That’s smart.

Rachel:

And then on the RPO type subscription side, we have a special offering that’s pretty lucrative I think for the startups that are in a high growth mode. They may not have an established HR-

William:

That’s right.

Rachel:

Recruiting wing, and they can for a fixed price utilize our network and our resources.

William:

It’s smart to just, if it’s not going to be core, it can’t be core in your first a hundred employees or whatever, it’s like, let someone that does it for a living do it and just get the people on site or whatever, get the people doing the work. That’s a wonderful model. Do you ever run into through your years, have you run into the how you flip someone that from a staffing perspective, they fall in love with, a client falls in love with them, and they want them to then kind of go convert to full time or convert to their company? Do y’all have a model where that can happen and it’s easy or what’s your take on that?

Rachel:

Yeah, so it’s always hard and I think it depends on what kind of model we’re in. If we’re in the subscription model, it’s a little bit more difficult because they’re an employee of ours. If it’s a consulting model, we can easily structure a buyout. And what we do is at the end of a year of consulting, our partners are free to hire that resource without a fee.

William:

Oh, that’s cool. That’s really, really good. That’s good for everybody. Again, it’s try before you buy. If Everything works out and you really like the person you want be on full board, great. But I could also see on the RPO side, that would be it’s just something to be negotiated and worked out. So that’s easy.

Rachel:

Everything’s a conversation, right?

William:

Yeah, yeah. But that’s okay. So let’s jump into how to network your way into a new role. So let’s start with the basics. What have you seen? What’s been your experience?

Rachel:

Yeah, so I’m a huge, huge fan of networking. And it’s how I’ve kind of built my career. And I always like to tell this story. When I first got into the startup and the professional services space, I ended up with the role that I had because I took a kind of odd networking opportunity. There happened to be, my son played lacrosse, one of the parents at his lacrosse game happened to run a CIO COO forum event. And on the day of the event, there were extra seats and also some extra tasks that needed to be done. And that mom reached out to me and said, “Hey, do you want to come? I’ll give you a seat for free and you can kind of help me at the front.” And I said, “Sure.” And I went, and I ended up meeting this CEO of a company that was just kind of starting to take off.

Rachel:

And after speaking with that founder, ended up doubling my salary and getting an equity stake, and coming onto a company that grew to be one of the largest epic consulting firms in the world. And had I not taken that opportunity that was kind of uncomfortable and didn’t promise anything reward wise, I wouldn’t have met those people and I wouldn’t have been able to parlay that into an opportunity. And so I use that as an example, because I think a lot of people look at networking as transactional. I’m sure you see that. I need something. I need something now. And so I’m going to go try and network. But really networking starts way, way before that. It’s kind of a lifestyle.

William:

It’s funny. I used to tell people that were reluctant to network 20 years ago, for whatever reason there was reluctance, I’d say, “Listen, you just got to meet one person.” Like I mean, some folks want to work the room. That’s cool. Do that. Do you. Some introverts that do something different, they go to a corner and kind of let people come to them. Extroverts do something different. Everything’s fine, but really you just got to meet one person. And I think that’s how I converted some of my friends back then that didn’t want to kind of get out and go to a place to network. And it’s like, you don’t have to collect a bunch of business cards, just have a good conversation, meet some somebody that you really like and take it from there.

Rachel:

Yeah, it’s about that being authentic. And I think I see a lot of people, what I see as a mistake, is like, somebody will invite them to coffee or they’ll have an opportunity to go somewhere and they’ll immediately think of like, well, how am I going to benefit from this? And if they don’t see an immediate benefit then they say I’m not going to do it. And some of my best opportunities have come from the things where I go into it not knowing the person or not knowing how I’m going to benefit or just being able to donate my time or my expertise. It always comes back tenfold.

William:

So one of the things that’s interesting about that is them looking things as kind of a tit for tat, I do this and I get this and moving people’s mentality over to more of a karma relationship where, hey, listen, you’re going to go and something then will happen. And there’s not a one for one, it’s not dot to dot, it’s not you put a coin in the vending machine and something comes out. It’s not like that. And nor will it ever be like that. And nor should you approach it like that. When we talk about new roles, this is actually there’s folks out there, there’s both active candidates, passive candidates. I think we’re all technically passive candidates, but anyhow, there’s folks that are out there and they’re trying to figure out how to kind of get to their next best or next greatest experience. What advice do you kind of give those folks?

Rachel:

Yeah, I think it goes back to building relationships. So before you really need something, and it goes back to your karma comment, start by meeting people, start by getting involved in the area or the community you might be interested in and I think that you’re going to find that you’ll have natural conversations and make connections that will benefit you when the time is right. And oftentimes that’s hearing about a job before it’s published, or maybe meeting somebody who enjoys working alongside you in a board seat or a volunteer position and pegs you for something. So I think it’s really starting to get out there and having your elevator kind of pitch, knowing like who you are and building your brand.

William:

So the dos and don’ts, because a lot of candidates will go and they’ll research. So they’ll research the job, they’ll research the team, the company, they’re going to LinkedIn, they’ll reach out to former employees. And when they really like something, then they’ll go and do a bunch of research and that’s something that’s basically they see it on Indeed or they see it on a career page and then they want to pursue that job. There’s kind of a path. The things that most of the jobs that I know of, they’re not posted. They never make it to Indeed. I mean, there’s some of that, of course, but not a lot of it. And so what’s your advice and really the dos and don’ts of how one goes about kind of building that network, building those relationships?

Rachel:

So I think there’s like a couple different routes. I think you can go back to saying, hey, what’s the general industry that this new role is in? Is it something I’m passionate about? We work with a lot of healthcare and health tech companies. So getting involved in like your local health tech or healthcare community and continuing to build relationships and experience in the overarching industry can be helpful. And then the other thing is reaching out if you can find out what recruiting firms or their talent acquisition groups that they work with, like having a good recruiter in your network is also super, super helpful because they usually have the ear of the hiring manager and they’re always working with different companies and hearing about different roles and oftentimes they’re hearing about those unpublished roles. So you want to be on their radar.

William:

Okay, so the recruiting managers are going in through kind of the organization and basically network yourself with, do you suggest large organizations? I bet there’d be many, but do you suggest kind of pinpointing someone that you have some type of affinity or some type of something in common with, or is it more of a go and spread if you’re trying to get into Facebook, try and get to know as many recruiters at Facebook as possible?

Rachel:

I think it’s finding out, I think if you can always get a warm introduction that’s best. So seeing if you go on LinkedIn and you can see who you might share connections with, and you could ask somebody to make that connection for you. I think also understanding what outside recruiting companies they work with. Because a lot of times an outside recruiting company will have perhaps a direct link to the actual hiring manager. And we see a lot of times, especially with bigger companies, sometimes the company prefers to hire contract before they hire for a direct placement. So even if you connected with a bunch of their internal recruiters, they may not be working on their contract type roles that would allow you to really get in the company a little bit more quickly and easily. But the outside recruiting firms would definitely know about that and know who the different hiring managers are and kind of give inside scoop.

William:

That’s a really untapped space. I really like that you brought that up because I can see the direct. So if you want to work with Gusto, okay, there’s a path there, you can look people up, et cetera. But I haven’t heard of a lot of candidates networking with staffing or RPO, et cetera. That’s just really, really, really smart to reach out to those folks again, as a candidate, but also just to get to know and connect with people, just to be on LinkedIn with them, to understand kind of what your strengths are and be able to be in their network so that when they’re looking to fill, then you’re already part of their network. I don’t know that candidates do that as much as the direct side.

Rachel:

Yeah, like I know from Carex because we work with a lot of candidates, I love connecting with people, even if they’re passive and they may not be looking for something today. And just having them on my radar and really understanding what it is that makes them tick and what they’re looking for. And then when that perfect opportunity comes along, they’re top of mind for me to reach out and say, “Hey, guess what? I heard X is hiring.” And I’m able to give them the inside scoop and tell them a lot of details that they probably wouldn’t get just from a posting that they see on Indeed or on LinkedIn.

William:

So when they reach out to you, this is now we’re getting into some dos and don’ts here. When they reach out to you, what should they do in their reach out? Again, you don’t know them from Adam. What should they do and what shouldn’t they do?

Rachel:

Yeah, I think the more proactive they can be, usually the better. Having a clear idea of what is important to them is always really helpful for us. So is it the role? Is it the compensation? Is it the location and the travel? Those are kind of some big buckets that can help us. And then really trying to just make the time to connect and help us understand their backgrounds so that, we’re not experts in their particular area often, so if they can have a breakdown of why they think they’re good at what they do, it’s super beneficial. And then building that rapport or making the time to build that rapport with us.

William:

I think one of the untapped parts of that is the informational interview where you reach out to someone and say, “Listen,” especially younger talent, early stage talent, it’s just such an easy way to reach out to someone and say, “Listen, I’d love to get to know you and I’d love to get to understand how you got to the place you’re at.” Like that is just such an untapped kind of way to get to know someone. And again, you can do that over Zoom. You can do that in person. You can over LinkedIn, you can do it over a lot of different ways, but the point is you reach out and then you basically say, “You’re obviously successful. I’d like to know how you did that.” And again, kind of untapped. I think one of the things that I love, you’ve given people information around, again, direct, I think people get that, but really leveraging staffing, RPO executives, and recruiters in a way of saying, “Hey, listen, this is a wonderful network that you should be a part of.”

William:

So I love that. So we didn’t get to some of the things that they shouldn’t do, but obviously, let’s do that because I know that’ll be important as well.

Rachel:

I think some of the things that I see candidates do that always like raise red flags are setting up time to meet or have a conversation and then just not showing up to the meeting with the recruiter. That’s always a red flag. Or being very transactional just in the sense that they don’t respond to your messages when you have questions or you’re asking them or you’re sending them job information to see if they’re interested and only responding if they need something in that immediate time. And then the second thing is when you’re having that conversation and if you are talking and trying to build the rapport, not bashing your current employer or your past roles. Sometimes people get carried away and they see it as a vent session. And that is always concerning when we look to place somebody into a new position.

William:

It’s interesting, because you’re starting on that journey to build trust. So this is, here’s how you don’t build trust, you set an expectation and then you don’t fulfill on it. So I think that setting meetings and then setting any, again, calls, meetings, and then being prepared. And some of that can be your preparedness can be just a list of questions, things you want to get to know about the person and things like that. And I think that people are open to that. They’re open to those conversations. You’ve just got to kind of get out of your own little box. For those that are reluctant, so obviously your firm deals with a bunch of candidate flow and you see kind of candidates all over the spectrum, those that are really, really aggressive and those that maybe aren’t as aggressive in building their network. What’s the advice for folks that are reluctant or maybe not as good at just getting out there and doing it? Like how do you not motivate, but how do you kind of get them over the hump?

Rachel:

I think a buddy system’s always good. And I know it’s kind of weird where we’re in the COVID pandemic right now. And so there’s far less in person than there was, but having somebody that you can rely on to kind of be your right hand to help you get more comfortable so that you at least know one person. Setting an agenda. And maybe agenda is not the right word, but setting a goal. Like you said earlier, just talk to one person or pick one thing to do that’s proactive per month. So it doesn’t have to be overwhelming and you don’t have to jump in with two feet. You can kind of like dip your toes in the water and get comfortable.

William:

What’s funny is, what’s great about this conversation in general is recruiters love referrals, that’s both internal and external. They love hearing from somebody that they know, trust, that says, “Hey, Alice is fantastic. I’ve met with her a bunch of times. You’d love her. I think she has the skills that you’re looking for.” Recruiters love that. Just makes everything so much easier. So they love that. So on the other side of this, for the audience that’s listening, there’s a reason. We’re not just talking about oh, network for networking’s sake or building your network for at one point you might want to have conversations, et cetera. The other side of this that we haven’t really spent a lot of time on is recruiters value referrals over sourced candidates. They always prioritize those. So take us into that for your recruiters or just things that you’ve seen with how people treat referrals.

Rachel:

Yeah, I always treat referrals, like I mean, we treat everybody well and professional, but a referral usually we give them the VIP treatment. We’re making sure that we are setting up time with them right away, that we’re really understanding and doing a thorough job speaking with those referrals, because we know that when somebody vouches for somebody, they’ve got some skin in the game too. And if it’s somebody who we’ve screened before and we think is a great candidate or an employee or placement, we really value the people that they’re sending our way. We know that they’re saying, “Hey, I think this person’s great and you should talk to them.” So there’s a higher likelihood that they’re going to work out in a position if we place them, which is important to our business.

Rachel:

So referrals are just, they’re amazing. And it’s also a great way, a lot of consulting firms or staffing firms have referral bonus programs, so it’s a good way to get a win-win. We give a $500 bonus for placement that we make from a referral just as a thank you. And so it can be a win-win on both sides.

William:

So we started with one of your success stories of just kind of a happy accident that turned out really, really well. I want to get your take on just things that you’ve seen, not just personally, but from other folks, even in your organization or candidates that have come through your organization, et cetera. What are some of feel good stories if you will, or just some of the success stories of people that have kind of networked their way into a new role?

Rachel:

Yeah, I’ve seen so many great things and I guess this is like another personal one, but one of our executives at Carex came through because we met volunteering at our kids kindergarten class. So I think networking, when people think of it, just to clarify, a lot of times think it has to be like a business networking event. But networking happens across the course of your life. It’s volunteering, it’s meeting new people, it can be in any facet. And this one happened to be a more personal one where they needed field trip chaperones. And so that person, I got to know them and stayed in touch with them. They ended up being in a similar industry. And then when they were looking to make a change, ended up contacting me and I already had a lot of respect for them.

Rachel:

And so they’ve been able to come over and I think provide value to us and hopefully we’ve provided value to them. So I love of the stories that don’t just involve like, hey, I went to a business networking happy hour event and I did this, but it’s more weaving your lives together and building those authentic relationships.

William:

Yeah, which again, the premise is you start with the good and being authentic and you build trust and over the course of time, you build camaraderie and then people feel comfortable, feel comfortable recommending you into things and you feel recommending them into things. I think that’s another thing that we probably should hit on. It’s a two-way street and it’ll always be, if it’s done correctly, it is always a two way street.

Rachel:

It is. And I just think that when the main thing, when I like peel back the onion leaves of networking is it doesn’t have to be specific to work and it’s really about building authentic relationships before you need something. And it’s as much as the give as it is the take. So you might be giving for a while. And like you said, not putting the not receiving something right back, but eventually that karma bank fills up and it comes back to you

William:

Drops mic. Walks off stage. Well, that was wonderful. Thank you so much, Rachel. But I mean, first of all, just the way you’ve approached it, the way you’ve told stories around it, but also that there at the very end, you’re explaining to people, it’s like, listen, this is the last thing you want to do is at the last minute, when you need something, then network. It’s like, you need to build this network, build that trust and build all of that stuff well in advance of needing something. No one likes that guy or that gal that needs something at that moment and then wants to network with you. Like that’s not networking at that point. That’s actually asking for something at that point. You’re beyond the point of networking, but thank you so much for carving out time for us.

Rachel:

Yeah, thank you so much for having me. This was a really great conversation.

William:

Awesome. And thanks for everyone listening to the Recruiting Daily podcast. Until next time.

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The RecruitingDaily Podcast

Authors
William Tincup

William is the President & Editor-at-Large of RecruitingDaily. At the intersection of HR and technology, he’s a writer, speaker, advisor, consultant, investor, storyteller & teacher. He's been writing about HR and Recruiting related issues for longer than he cares to disclose. William serves on the Board of Advisors / Board of Directors for 20+ HR technology startups. William is a graduate of the University of Alabama at Birmingham with a BA in Art History. He also earned an MA in American Indian Studies from the University of Arizona and an MBA from Case Western Reserve University.


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