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The Resilient Recruiter

Feb 8, 2023

No one is immune from challenging economic downturns and it is certainly the case for my special guest, Michael Pietrack. Making his second appearance on the show, Michael humbly shares his experience of dealing with a severe slump in his market.


Michael’s shares his strategy for surviving tough times and emerging as a market leader. In this inspiring interview, Michael explains how he navigated past recessions and his approach during the current climate. There are lessons for leaders and recruiters alike, including how Michael keeps a healthy mental space for himself and his team, remains relevant and brings value to his customers in a downturn.


You’ll discover the proactive steps to overcome a slump, including best practices and strategies for MPC marketing and cold-calling. You will also hear about Michael’s new book, Legacy, which is about values that guide the choices we make in life and in business.


Episode Outline and Highlights


  • [01:41] Michael gives a realistic picture of the current climate of the market he serves, which is medical affairs in the pharmaceutical industry.

  • [03:18] What to do when companies are downsizing.

  • [08:07] Having an agile mindset - changing the roles of your team members to address the needs of the business.

  • [10:21] Discussion on MPC strategy.

  • [17:30] How to position yourself during downturns to take advantage of the upswing that always follows.

  • [21:00] Michael shares his cold calling and voicemail strategy.

  • [23:36] Michael explains how to keep a safe mental space for his team.

  • [28:35] The power of telling stories to communicate and engage with your team and clients.

  • [32:43] Michael discusses his newly published book: Legacy.

  • [38:28] Insights on being noble in the recruiting business.

  • [40:38] The challenges Michael had to overcome to publish his new book

  • [49:00] How choices play a significant role in shaping one's life and success.


Focusing on Doing the Right Things During a Downturn


Since last time I spoke to Michael, the market he serves has contracted significantly. 


“The market in our particular industry totally flipped. We went from the healthiest market you can imagine in 2021, and it just started to nosedive. The business just evaporated. We went from having 99 recs down to 9 as a firm. We carried over 9 from 2022 to 2023.”


The current economic environment for a lot of recruitment firms can pose an unpredictable challenge to owners, no one is immune to what Michael’s team had experienced. If this were to happen to you, how would you have responded? 


Michael, being the resilient leader that he is, possessed a healthy mindset on dealing with a business slump. For him, it is important to keep the team busy and remain relevant. Below are the takeaways that he shared:


  1. Putting relationships first - bringing value to both candidates and clients. Not only from a long-term financial ROI perspective, but Michael and his team sincerely believe that this is a good time to build good relationships.

  2. When talking to Hiring Managers - start talking about positions that will pop up when conditions are better. Forward-thinking for when ‘the thaw happens’ can give them an edge against their competitors.

  3. Staying Agile - the team had to rotate roles, from recruiting to business development. It can be challenging at first, so effective communication with your team is essential to making a successful transition.


A Business Leader’s Guide on Dealing with a Business Slump


Recruiting can be the best job in the world when things are going well, but can also be the worst job in the world if things are not going great. So as a recruitment business owner and leader, how do you ensure that you and your team are able to stay strong?


Michael shared the proactive steps he is implementing in his team:


  • Valuing activity more than valuing the results. Michael shared how they gamify activities by creating contests. Keeping people engaged that way has been working for his team and he encourages other business owners to do the same. 


  • MPC Strategies. You will hear Michael’s ingenious approach to MPC marketing


  • Cold Calling Strategies. Michael also shared his cold-calling strategies and dealing with voicemail.


The most important topic we covered is having the right mindset regarding your business, candidates, clients, and being mentally prepared for what the future holds.


Leaving a Legacy and Being Noble in the Recruitment Field


Michael and I talked about his new book, Legacy: The Saga Begins. This book is an allegory about overcoming fear and self-doubt and finding courage in the face of adversity. Essentially, it’s about values – becoming noble, making choices, and believing in your own abilities. He wrote the book during the pandemic when the world is feeling anxious about an uncertain future. Michael and I discussed how the book’s message is relevant not just for families but also to recruiters - especially as it relates to being noble and making the right choices.


Our Sponsors


This podcast is proudly sponsored by i-intro and Recruitment Entrepreneur.


i-intro® is an end-to-end retained recruitment platform. Their technology and methodology allow recruiters to differentiate themselves from the competition, win more retained business, bigger fees, and increase their billings. Their software combined with world-class training enables you to transition from transactional, contingency recruiter to consultative, retained recruiter. Instead of being perceived as a “me too” vendor, you’ll be positioned as a “me only” solutions provider. Be sure to mention Mark Whitby or The Resilient Recruiter. Book your free, no-obligation consultation here:

Recruitment Entrepreneur is the world’s leading Private Equity firm specializing in the international recruitment industry. If you’ve dreamed of starting, scaling, and selling your recruitment business, this is your chance. James Caan and his team at Recruitment Entrepreneur are actively seeking ambitious recruiters in who they can invest. They provide everything you need to grow a successful recruitment business including funding, financial expertise, coaching and mentoring, operational strategy, back-office support, marketing, and talent attraction solutions. Be sure to mention Mark Whitby or The Resilient Recruiter. Start a conversation here:


Michael Pietrack Bio and Contact Info


Michael Pietrack is a leading Pharmaceutical Industry recruiter from the US. His firm is called TMAC Direct, the executive recruiting arm of The Medical Affairs Company, which is the international leader in direct hire and contract staffing for Medical Affairs.  Michael is known as one of the top five billers in the US, and because of that, he is a sought-after speaker and trainer.  He runs a high-performing desk while overseeing several teams.  His hobbies include creative writing, Bible study, and spending time with his wife and three daughters.



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