The Cost of Starting Something New

If you’ve ever been a part of a large outfit, Fortune 500, massive corporate structure, or mega brand, you’re familiar with having things done for you.

Not in a bad way. There are serious perks that come to working with a structured company that you typically don’t see if you’re on your own or in a startup environment — benefits, structured and thorough processes, stability here and there, and so on.

At Spire, we’ve worked with many candidates who are at a crossroads in their careers - Do they jump from the startup culture and wade into the world of a large corporate outfit? Tired of the big business and looking to explore the world of something new?

This is becoming a more regular topic in conversation with the millennial generation. From a recruiter’s perspective, it’s important to pick up on these types of conversation with candidates. Having knowledge of where a candidate is a truly “good fit” can really help you narrow down the search — and help them get to where they’ll perform best and feel the most at home.

So, here are few comparing and contrasting thoughts when it comes to stepping away from big business that we try to keep in mind for those searching:

Roles & Responsibilities

Big Business: When it comes to working on a multi-functional team you typically have “swim lanes” or your own specific role within a larger team to perform in. You tend to focus and become proficient in a handful of things.

  • Specialized role in the business with limited function in other departments

  • Clear definition of roles and reporting

  • Structured environments

  • Ladders of leadership

  • Slow change

Startup: Starting something on your own requires you to wear every hat. You won’t necessarily have the time to specialize, but rather your approach is now going to turn you into a multi-disciplinary professional.

  • Exposure to multiple/all avenues of business

  • Access to leadership in (typically) direct or 1:1

  • Opportunity to wear many hats

  • Fast growth into leadership position

These are probably the biggest things you’ll have to navigate when you’re going from Big Business to a startup or the other way around.

Asking these types of questions about current situations is imperative from our side as recruiters.

We recorded an episode of The Spirecast on the subject to pair with this post. You can listen here:

Thinking Outside of the Box

A robotic approach will never allow you to stretch your innate, creative muscle.

We’re not talking abut the brushstrokes on a canvas or writing a symphony, but rather creative thinking, problem solving, and searching for a proper outcome that wasn’t prescribed.

There are moments throughout your professional career where you are met with challenges that will require a different side of yourself. Is it better to play it safe? Go by the book? Are you worried about ruffling feathers?

Complex problems require creative solutions.

If you’re stuck or finding the same results keep coming back to you, the way forward may be something slightly less familiar — albeit slightly uncomfortable. Do you need to change your approach? Do something daring? Go against the grain of your own mind? Something outside of your job description, responsibilities, or office hours?

Recruiting is oftentimes an industry where many take the following approach in their day-to-day:

  • “Bill & Fill”

  • Meet a quota

  • Find a candidate based on blanket search instead of “true fit”

  • Casting a wide net without attention to detail of the individual

  • Robotic approach devoid of personable approach

This is something we’ve consciously worked to break as a norm for our industry. Placing a premium on the connection with people isn’t something that is given to you when you sign up to be a recruiter.

“Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn't really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That's because they were able to connect experiences they've had and synthesize new things.”

- Steve Jobs

If you’re looking for an inspirational story to start your day, week, month, check out this short podcast with one of our favorite recruiting stories.

Sam's Story


“Don't tell people how to do things, tell them what to do and let them surprise you with their results.”
- George S. Patton

9 out of 10 employers would tell Samantha Cochran, a working mother, to drop her child off at daycare and commute into the office every day. There, they would monitor her/micromanage her, then have her pick up her child, quickly feed, bathe, and put her daughter to bed, spending maybe only an hour a day with her little girl. In an economy where increasing numbers of couples must both work to make ends meet, this story has become all too common. We have to change that.

She took a leap of faith by joining a small company in ATL that would allow her be a mother first and an employee second. Here is Sam’s story…

Say “hello” to Samantha Cochran.


My first splash into the staffing world was as an IT Recruiter with a company in ATL. My husband, Cayden, was working as a graduate assistant for University of West GA and we lived in Carrollton. A former college friend was currently working at the company and he is the one who set me up with the job. It was pretty “sink or swim” really. My college friend helped me through a ton and really showed me the ropes, but it wasn’t the overall best environment. Not only that, but I was traveling from Carrollton to Sandy Springs Monday through Friday. I was having to leave my house at 5:45am and most of the time was not getting home until 7:30/8pm.

I started to get the hang of things, though, after six months into the job — and turns out I was pretty good at recruiting. Then I found out I was pregnant with our first child — a girl. We were overjoyed, but I knew I could not continue with this job after she was born. I wanted to be able to be home for my daughter as much as possible.

As much as I love growing my career, growing my family is the most important. If I could have it all, I’d find a way to do it.

After a while at the company, I knew I’d need to find something more manageable for my family. A former colleague introduced me to Matt Cheij from Spire. He was trying to help me find something closer to home, but (as many of you know) the culture of recruiting in Atlanta is ultra competitive and difficult to break into. Matt mentioned that they were possibly looking to hire another recruiter for the Spire team. I went through a couple other interviews and met with a few other people on the team a couple of times. Unfortunately, it was not the best time to add another recruiter, so I continued with my IT recruiting job through giving birth to my daughter and then coming back to work for a couple of months.

Luckily, in late July – Matt reached out to me again and said they were ready to make another hire. I met with him and Mike a couple times and decided to make the move. I started with Spire in October of 2017, and there really is not much I can say about it other than it’s been the best experience of my working life so far. I was coming into the office two days a week and was working flex hours so that I wasn’t having to sit in traffic for hours at a time. In March 2018, Cayden was offered an Offensive Coordinator job at Emporia State University. I am fortunate enough that Matt, Mike, and I had already discussed this ahead of time and they have always promised that, when this time comes, I would still have a job and could do this from anywhere.

So in June of 2018, our family made the move to Kansas which is where we are today. Now I am working 100% remote and loving the job even more than I was before. I am definitely not saying it’s easy, but I wouldn’t change a thing. It’s all about self-motivation and, fortunately, I have that.

Now, I’m pregnant with our second child, who is due at the end of July, and I plan on working till the day I go into labor. Mike and Matt were generous enough to create a plan and goals for me to hit so that I could receive paid maternity leave.

Completely different from my old job where I received no income the entire time I was on maternity leave.

After working so hard to find the right fit for myself as a professional, it’s become just as important to pursue having it all. I knew I could and now I’m proving that I can — and I have. My work and life aren’t always perfect, but I’m showing everyone that my goals at work and life are being met.

To top off my story, I was the Recruiter of the Month at Spire in May 2019.

This recognition is one of the major aspects that sets Spire apart from my previous employers. I’m a hardworking recruiter and my results speak for themselves – and it’s recognized by leadership. So, the next time someone wants to tell you that struggling to pursue a life of fulfillment both professionally and as a working mom, know that it’s there. You really CAN have it all.

- Sam

There’s a lot of room for employers to grow. Trust us, we get it. Sometimes extending trust is a difficult thing to do — on both sides of the coin. But the truth is you should be looking for people like Sam to join your team.

How To Know If You're Working With The Right Recruiter

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Sourcing a recruiter that fits the brand/becomes a true extension of your brand, brings service after they’ve placed a candidate, and one that stays connected takes time to find.

Also, if you’re coming to the table as the candidate working with a recruiter, there are a few best practices and questions to keep handy in vetting the right person to work with.

So, we’ve compiled some thoughts on working with a recruiter in both settings.

The Client

Know the Recruiter’s Background

  • Understand where they come from and why they can make a difference for you. Just because someone says they have “worked in recruiting” doesn’t make them a one size fits all

  • References - Check a specific reference that will give you insight into the position they will be working to fill for you

    • Bonus: Ask the recruiter to provide references where a position was filled and where a position wasn’t filled. It’s good to understand how they’ve handled different outcomes/instances.


  • Make sure they are digging deep into your company’s culture to understand what makes you different. Do they know the right fit for you as they are sourcing? Can they communicate this back to you with ease?

Fulfilling Self-Imposed Deadlines

  • Oftentimes you’ll find recruiters who over-promise. Thus, hold your recruiter accountable. Make sure they are following up on their deadlines

  • Are they just “billing and filling?” Understand if they are setting the right expectations for your needs

Service After The Sale

  • Do they follow up after a candidate has been placed? This person is an extension of your brand and you want to make sure they communicate your company/brand ideals throughout the process

  • What was the experience from the candidates side? Get an idea from your candidates who work with your recruiter and see what their experience was


The Candidate

If you’re in the seat of working with a recruiter as your intermediary to a hiring manager, there several things to keep in check. Just like from the company side, a recruiter becomes an extension of your personal brand. Make this your checklist for the recruiter you want to work with next:

“Why The Call?”

  • Do they have a reason? Make sure they aren’t just sifting through resumes (i.e. Billing & Filling) to see if you’re interested. Put them to the test and see if they know more about you and your work history

"How Did You Find Me?” 

  • A good recruiter should be using the right tools to source candidates. If they found you through genuine research, this will rise to the top. This is a great first question to ask from your seat for any recruiter

Detailed Questions?

  • Are they asking detailed questions about your background and experience? They should essentially know your resume as well as you do. If they have a key interest in your work experience, they shouldn’t make you repeat your past work experience verbatim

“Can You Explain The Role?” 

  • You’ll want to hear about the role in their words. What does it entail? Can they tell you about the day-to-day? What are the KPIs?

    • Key Questions:

      • Is this position a backfill?

      • Why is the position open?

Are They Helping You Along The Way?

  • How often is a recruiter checking in on your? Are they giving you regular updates and checking in even if there isn’t any major progress or movement? Working with a recruiter who cares more about your personal well-being goes a long way.

Resume Advice - Giving Feedback On The Bad & Good

  • A recruiter that helps you prepare for the position at hand will give you the good, bad, and the ugly. If your recruiter isn’t giving you any feedback — both positive and where improvements can be found, then you’ve got some room to grow

    • One major thought: See if your recruiter can help you with your resume by offering advice on how to “write the best resume” for the position they are working on.

Working with a recruiter from both sides of the coin can take some forethought. Keep these lists in mind the next time you’re on either side working with a recruiter.

Want to catch our podcasts that cover both topics? Check them out here:

5 Things You Should NEVER Say In An Interview

Interviewing for a position you really want can be nerve-racking and cause you to act in abnormal ways. Being on the spot, constantly having to keep composure, answer questions on the fly… all of this is hard and believe us — we know it well. 

So, in preparation for a conversation with your hiring manager or recruiter, your best bet is to not only prepare your professional acumen, but to also prepare your best self. When it comes to promoting the best parts of your personality, work history, awards, and so on, you’re more than likely coming out of the gate swinging. However, in our years of recruiting, we’ve seen some things we want to make sure you can avoid saying/doing. 

The 5 Things

1. “What’s the PTO Policy here?" Maybe save this question for the end of the interview and make sure you position this one with a bit more diplomacy. 

  • The better way to ask: “I’m curious about how the team handles time off with the flow of business at the company. Do most people find time to use their vacation?" This way you’re asking more generally and trying to find the answer by teeing up the hiring manager. 

2. “Is there good work/life balance at the company?” Ugh. This is a tough one. It’s something we all strive for and it’s achieved in fewer instances these days. However, coming across as “I don’t want to work TOO hard” is a bad foot to start on.

  • The better way to ask: “Is this a results-oriented company?" This question will position you as an expert. You’re a goal-oriented person and you’re thinking in that vein. Make sure you’re projecting your own performance is what will be of value to the company/position.

3. “Man… my current employer is terrible.” This is just a non-starter. If you’re in a place where you want to speak negatively about your current employer or previous, just don’t. Find someone who isn’t trying to hire you — like someone at the grocery store…. or your dog. 

  • The better way to say this: Don’t complain. Complaining is a surefire way of getting the call/interview to end quickly. Make sure you pair any shortcomings with potential solutions or opportunities in how YOU would handle things better next time around. 

4. Recruiter: “Do you have any questions for me?” You: "No.” Oh, boy. This is a frustrating one — and one we’ve encountered more than we’d like to say. 

  • The better approach this question: Don’t just flat out say “no.” Instead, go with something to the tune of “You know, I have a list of questions here and you’ve answered all of them throughout our conversation today. If I think of any follow-up questions, I’d love to email them to you, if that’s ok?"

5. Using Profanity. No. Just no. This is a definite non-starter for all of us — and probably every recruiter/hiring manager the world over.

  • The better approach: Just don’t use profanity. Period. Here’s the thing, sometimes hiring managers want to lure you into a false sense of security with them. Don’t fall for it and definitely don’t let your guard down. Also, if you have the mouth of a sailor, maybe try to bring it down a notch before your interview.

For a quick recap of these things, check out our accompanying podcast on these 5 things.



By next year, close to 50% of the workforce in our country will be made up of Millennials. (We’re talking about professionals today who were born between 1981-1996.)

The most inclusive generation. The most tech-savvy. The unicorn-like when it comes to general management and retention — there are dozens of “millennial-isms” that we all throw around.

Some of the most important aspects of professional life for a millennial pale in comparison to previous generations. A few key things we’ve learned over the years —

  • Millennials give remote work high value — both in current positions and when job searching

  • Quality of the workplace matters significantly in job satisfaction

  • Accelerated opportunity to grow in a position is paramount when making a career move/decision

  • Inclusion in company decisions, feeling valued on the team, and being heard are major components for the Millennial generation when it comes to job satisfaction

  • Lastly, millennials are constantly seeking ROI — but not an investment of self, rather an investment of their time

Time is the most important thing you can give someone in today’s world — leaders have to recognize this. We all have less margin than we’ve ever had.

If you’re in a leadership position in your company, the collective letter from the Millennial generation is this:

Time, while finite, is the mechanism that drives us. The more our time is valued, the more you’ll see us unlock every bit of potential our generation is capable of. Return on Time (RoT) is the true differentiator.

Hear Mike and Matt’s perspectives on hiring practices, management styles, and expectations of millennials on this episode of The Spirecast.

Listen Now

Spire Welcomes New Talent, A New Look, & A Fresh Perspective

Spire Welcomes New Talent, A New Look, & A Fresh Perspective

First, we’ve been busy over here at Spire. and, like all great things in life, change is inevitable. Change that comes in many forms and propels us into a new season of life. Change that give us a fresh outlook on all that is to be done and how we can help create the best work force the world has known today.

We’re happy to unveil a brand new look for our company — our new logo above and this crisp new website you are perusing right now! We’ve been at this for almost 8 years and we wanted to come back to our clients with renewed energy for 2019.

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