A writer finds himself, you know, between chapters sometimes.
When that happens, he finds the usual roundup of possibilities: Contract jobs that never seem to fill, positions for nameless companies that might want to talk to you. Maybe. If only you could talk with someone who can find you a job you’d love …
Meet Liz Khodak.
Visiting her office uptown during a job search years ago was different. We sat at a table and talked. She listened. She took notes. (I tried to read them, but I’m lousy at reading upside down.) It was a very different experience.
If you ever need a job in the creative space in Charlotte, look Liz up.
She’s still a friend, all these years later. She’s a blogger, and a mom, and a great conversation. And she loves what she does. Isn’t that what we all want? I’m honored to have her in a #GirlsRock interview.
Eli: When you were little, what did you think you’d grow up to be?
Liz: Ha. A doctor…a “baby doctor” or an “animal doctor.”
Eli: Nice. Did you even have the toy doctor set?
Liz: Of course! 😊
My girls have doctor sets now and they love taking care of their dolls and mama.
Eli: I definitely want to get back to your girls. But when you were in that doctor phase, what was it about it that you liked the best?
Liz: I think as a child you don’t see the negatives or the difficult things about a job, so, of course, I just wanted to play with babies and/or animals and help them feel better.
Eli: So now what do you want to do?
Liz: I know it sounds cliché, but I am loving being a recruiter. I get to utilize all my creative knowledge, am challenged constantly and get the feel-good moments when you make a connection and both client and candidate are happy. That aside, all I want to do is feel good about what I do, be a good role model for my daughters and have balance in my life.
Eli: Did it always feel satisfying to you, as a recruiter? Or was there learning to be had?
Liz: I always knew that it was probably very satisfying, but until I placed my first candidate in a job, I didn’t quite understand how great that feeling is.
Eli: Tell us what you can about that first one.
Liz: Company wants a digital facelift, the candidate is seeking a new challenge with a company that appreciates the balance and offers a chance to grow. After some back and forth, and some tummy butterflies, candidate and company finally meet and fall for each other. An offer is made and accepted and we get all the good feels. Now, that candidate is building a team and we are enjoying working together again. 😊
Eli: So you’re kind of a matchmaker, huh? Butterflies and everything. That actually makes tons of sense to me.
Liz: YES! We totally think of ourselves as matchmakers. We actually tell our candidates AND clients that it’s a lot like dating – the better we get to know each other, likes and dislikes, strengths and weaknesses, the better we can do our job.
Eli: What are some of the keys to that? What are the equivalents to those long walks on the beach and Pina Coladas?
Liz: Honesty, transparency, asking the right questions and listening…and, of course, actually meeting in-person!
Eli: Tell us some of the things you just can’t get from a resume that you have to see in person.
Liz: You can’t get a true feel for a person’s personality and culture without meeting them. You can’t see how a person interviews and presents their experience without sitting face-to-face. You can’t really get to know a person without having an in-person connection and getting down to the bottom of who they are as a creative and what gets them excited about opportunities.
Eli: These people skills – do they serve you in your life away from work?
Liz: It’s always beneficial to know how to approach people and not be afraid to ask questions. I think most people want to help or want to share their story and, in a world that’s becoming more and more impersonal, I think it’s really important to be social and have live interactions.
Eli: Kind of like in the blogging community. How’d you get started with that?
Liz: When I first moved to Charlotte, I joined the Charlotte Mothers of Multiples to meet people and one of the board members introduced me to Charlotte Smarty Pants. It seemed like a great way to get to know my new home!
I haven’t been as active in blogging the past few months, so it’s time to get back into it.
Eli: You could write a post on the similarities between being a mother of multiples and a recruiter. Are there parallels there?
Liz: Never thought about it that way but, yes, lots of juggling and emotions for both. 😊
Eli: What are some of the challenges you face every day with that juggle?
Liz: Having enough time for everything! There just aren’t enough hours in the day!
Eli: If you could have one extra hour in your day tomorrow – what would you do with it?
Liz: Watch cartoons in bed with my girls.
Eli: How has your job changed since you started? And where do you think it’s heading?
Liz: The job doesn’t change; What changes is the atmosphere in which we work. Right now, the job market is tight so companies see value in us helping to identify talent as soon as they become available or interested in new opportunities.
Eli: Are those the toughest candidates to find? The ones who maybe aren’t looking much at new opportunities, who maybe haven’t put themselves out there yet?
Liz: And, yes, of course – it’s always more difficult to find folks that haven’t really expressed interest in new opportunities. We also want to be mindful not to poach talent from companies unless the candidates have expressed interest new opportunities. We always try to keep both parties’ interests in mind and not to step on any toes while still keeping a steady stream of top-notch talent coming through our doors for meetings.
Eli: What would you tell someone who has a job, but wants to try something new?
Liz: Good question. It’s always easier to find a job when you’re in a job, so that’s a good place to be when you’re beginning a search. Since this is a more passive search, I would recommend working with a recruiter (or several) that focuses on the specific industry the candidate is working in. A recruiter that understands the market and is able to focus in on roles that check off specific boxes for the candidate and help make more thoughtful, confidential introductions.
Eli: I can’t believe I didn’t ask this yet! How did you get this job?
Liz: I moved to Charlotte from New York as a trailing spouse and I come from a fashion design and marketing background. Needless to say, my options were limited here. I was familiar with Creative Circle from New York, so when I saw a posting about an office opening in Charlotte, I couldn’t believe it! I hit apply and was told by the internal recruiter that I had ninja-reaction time because I was the first application they received. The process took a little bit; I was working for another company in Charlotte that was great to me and gave me an opportunity when nobody else would, so I was really thankful and felt terrible leaving them.
However, Creative Circle offered me a chance to use all my knowledge from my career to help others in the creative world to pursue their dreams! Couldn’t pass that up.
Eli: Any time an employer refers to you as a ninja, that’s a good sign! One last question: What advice would you give young women when it comes to choosing a career?
Liz: Talk to people who work in fields you are interested in, consider internships or work in the industry to see if it’s all you imagined it to be and remember that things change!