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.

Culture

  • 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: