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The Resilient Recruiter

Jan 19, 2021

Can you imagine building a salesforce of 100+ staff in 5 months with a team of only 3 recruiters? In the 50th episode of the Resilient Recruiter, my very special guest Jennifer Poloni shares how having a unique approach and consistent planning process lead to the accomplishment of this gargantuan feat. 

Jennifer is the owner of the Cascadia Search Group. She started her career as a sales rep and then sales manager in pharma. After having kids she decided to join her husband in his recruiting agency which was originally part of Management Recruiters where she was a Pacesetter for 18 out of 20 years. 

Episode Outline and Highlights

  • [1:25] Jennifer shares her background - shifting from a successful pharmaceutical career into recruiting.
  • [3:40] Building a salesforce of 109 staff in five months - hear takeaways on how Jennifer’s team of three people pulled that off. Discussion key pointers: 
    • [8:00] Approach to candidate relations
    • [14:15] Keeping the team motivated
    • [15:33] Hiring and interviewing processes
    • [17:09] Challenges that the team had to overcome
  • [26:25] Dealing with HR and best practices on how to engage with all key decision-makers.
  • [28:30] When to walk away from the business.
  • [29:22] Differentiation - Jennifer explains an AI tool that is a great differentiator in the industry.
  • [32:20] Planning process tips as shared by an MRI Pacesetter (18 out of 20 years.)
  • [39:30] Cold calling best practices.
  • [43:10] Jennifer shares her challenges and proactive approach to deal with the current pandemic and the 2007/8 recession.

Delivering on a Tall Order: Making 109 Placements in 5 Months with a Team of 3 Recruiters

How do you build a sales team of 109 people in five months with a team of only three recruiters? Jennifer explains in detail how they were able to pull it off. After sharing her story, there are the key takeaways that I heard:

  • Nurturing the right connections and being there for the candidate - becoming a “good sounding board.”
  • Team collaboration and dedication - delegating and dividing tasks and working closely to ensure tasks are completed.
  • Planning and tracking - ensuring necessary tasks and logistics are taken care of efficiently.
  • Keeping your team committed and motivated.

Successfully completing the tasks, they got a repeat order. Applying a similar process, Jennifer’s team was able to complete a hiring project of 20 representatives in just six weeks!

Plan, Plan, Plan and “Make Five More!”

Jennifer’s approach has been focused on relationship building, goal setting, and daily planning. This resulted in a very fulfilling and successful career. During her tenure at MRI, Jennifer was a Pacesetter for 18 out of 20 years and two of her team members were awarded “Rookie of the Year” in 2017 and 2018 under her leadership.  

Jennifer’s planning process plays a huge part in this success. She explains: “I personally believe that this job is not a 9 to 5 job especially when you’re a brand new recruiter. I feel like you have to plan, plan, plan, and then you have to make calls, calls, calls. Now, I realize newer people are out there and they feel like emails and text messages work. But I still feel that … the foundation is making those phone calls.  At the end of the day when you feel like, ‘Oh my gosh, I’m done,” MAKE FIVE MORE.” Why the emphasis on making more calls? She added, “I just think it works. And always, that last call of the day is always the best call.” 

Jennifer Poloni Bio and Contact Info

Jennifer started her career as a Pharma Sales Representative and moved up the ranks to a Sales Manager and has been an executive recruiter for 21 years. Since 1999, she has worked as a recruiter in marketing and market research for pharmaceutical and biotech companies. Jennifer also won several awards for top recruiter performance while being part of MRINetwork, and continue to remain a leader across the executive recruiting industry. She is the owner of Cascadia Search Group based in Washington and also a member of the Pinnacle Society, the premier consortium of Industry-Leading recruiters in North America. 

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