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The Relationship Between The Recruiter and the Career Seeker

People often have the misconception that as a recruitment firm we find jobs for people.

ACTUALLY, our role is the other way around. We find the right people for specific positions in our client’s organizations. 

HOWEVER, it is true that we do connect with many people, and that is where career seekers come into play. When people who are looking to make a career move reach out to us, we may not be able to connect them instantly to an open position, yet we may be a good source just as they may be a potential future candidate for us should the right opportunity arise.

As a recruiter I make a commitment to my clients to help them secure a candidate who will meet their specific requirements for the position and fit well within the organization. When I source potential candidates, I also make sure that the role and the organization will meet the candidate’s expectation.


To be successful, people looking for new career opportunities need to make sure that the role they are applying for actually meets their expectations and that the organization’s mission and culture fit with their values.

Over the years, I have developed a list of questions that potential candidates can use to remind themselves of the big picture and to better market themselves for the right position.


  1. What are your values and what is a good fit for you?
  1. What are your career goals and what is the right position for you in the short term and the long term?
  1. What are the main highlights of your career so far and how they could be of interest to your next employer?
  1. How have you progressed over the years in terms of experience, continuing education, and skill set?
  1. What are your transferable skills and competencies that make you valuable?
  1. What are the accomplishments and experiences that would add value and make you the right candidate for the position?
  1. What are your expectations of an employer and company culture?

Although this list is by no means exhaustive, it should help candidates focus their career search and sharpen their résumé, while providing some answers that we will be looking for undoubtedly. This in turn, will help the us, the recruiter, better understand the career seeker and when approached, it is the right opportunity to make a career move.

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Recruitment, it’s a business BUT It’s REALLY about the People.

In a market place where competition for talent is fierce, people and organizations often wonder how to choose a recruitment firm. The obvious selection criteria such as price, location, and job market or industry knowledge are not enough. Too many organizations and their recruitment firms tend to focus strictly on the bottom line when entering the recruitment process; often forgetting the human element. In launching Essence Recruitment over 6 years ago, Tracy Arno’s focus was on people. “I wanted to bring a balance to the hiring process by considering the bottom line and helping to do what is best for people and their teams,” states Tracy.

As Tracy often says, recruitment changes individual’s lives and organizations’ make-up. “Recruitment is not just about people getting a new job to maintain or increase their income, or even climbing a new step on their career’s ladder, it’s their opportunity to learn, evolve, make new connections and friends, and sometimes they even get to adapt to life in a new location. On the organization’s side, the impact of a new hire goes beyond the finances, it influences its internal and external relationships and its culture as new people may bring new views and values, as well as breathe new life in their teams.”

Recruiting the right people should lead to the financial gains organizations seek. “It all starts with people. As recruiters, we are successful when we keep our focus on people by ensuring that through the recruitment process we select individuals that will fit within the organization, and actually thrive, as well as help it continuously improve,” adds Tracy.

For Tracy, there is definitely more to recruitment than matching experience and diplomas to a job description.  She relies on doing the necessary thorough preparation work with the organization to find the candidates with the personal and interpersonal attributes and values that will complement the organization and help it grow. It is also her view that to ensure that they are happy in their new position and that they can continue to thrive professionally and personally, candidates should also make sure that the organization is one that will not go against their core values and beliefs. “I consider it also part of the recruiter’s role to assess these aspects.”

“At Essence, our mission is to guide organizations and individuals through the recruitment process by often challenging them with tough questions. Ultimately, finding the right people – helping them change their job and their life for the better – ensures organizations and their bottom line benefit from a happy, balanced, productive and committed workforce. Our focus remains on people,” concludes Tracy.

Tracy Working Business Card 2

Would You Rather Have a Service Provider or a Partner? It’s your choice!

You’ve realized that you need the expertise of a recruiting firm to ensure you hire the right people, at the right time and within the right budget.

Now what? Some would think that it’s just a matter of providing the recruiting firm with the job description and voila! Not so fast!

To speak frankly, the outcome of the hiring process will also depend on the relationship you establish with the recruiter. Are you just merely looking for a firm to deliver its services or are you looking for a firm that will actually care about your organization’s future and ensure that the candidate recruited will help you flourish?

There is more to retaining a recruiting firm than just merely providing a job description, A conscious decision to establish a partnership with the recruiting firm generally leads to even better hiring success. So what does that partnership look like? It means going beyond the job description. It’s about treating the recruiter as one of your own. In practical terms some of the elements required to develop a rewarding partnership with the recruiting firm may include:

  • Taking the time at the onset to present and discuss your organization’s history, values, vision, goals and commitments with your recruiter so they can gain a thorough understanding of its culture and mission.
  • Getting to know the recruiter, the firm’s values, the extent of the services they provide and the ways in which they deliver these services.
  • Collaborating with the recruiter to ensure that all the necessary elements for a successful recruitment process are in place. It means evaluating and potentially improving the job description you prepared, possibly tweaking the organizational structure, as well as establishing the best possible timeline, job-marketing plan and budget.
  • Keeping your recruiter informed of consequential changes within your organizations, including organizational, operational and location changes. Anything that impacts the organization’s employees, the culture and mission, which could have an impact on the recruitment process and/or the type of candidate required.
  • Checking-in with your recruiter from time to time, outside of the recruitment process, to stay abreast of fluctuations in the job market and to keep them informed of the evolution of your organization, industry or field.

Really, your imagination is the only limit to what you can do to ensure that both parties gain a better understanding of each other and deepen their relationship in the process.

The more in-depth knowledge of your organization and its internal and external environments your recruiter will have, the better prepared they will be to recruit the best candidate for the job on your behalf.

Hiring is not just about finding someone with the knowledge, skills and experience for the job. It’s about finding the right person that will fit within your organizational culture and will be able to thrive and help the organization continuously improve and grow. A partnership with the recruitment firm sets the stage for even more successful hiring, retention and recruitment consistency in the future.

At Essence Recruitment, we place a particular emphasis on developing partnerships with our clients. We want to see your organizations prosper by hiring and retaining qualified high-performing individuals. Through the delivery of our services, we are committed to contribute to your success. We rely on our unique relationship-based approach with our clients, a wide range of organizations across industries and fields and as many individuals as possible.

We believe it takes commitment from both the organization and the recruitment firm to build a partnership, so what do you say? Are you ready to start building our partnership today?

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How to Hire Right the FIRST Time!

So, you’ve decided it’s time to hire. Regardless of the reasons for which you’re recruiting someone new to your organization – whether it is to fill a vacancy, to create a brand new position or to complement your existing team – hiring the right person the first time matters. Whether your in-house human resources team handles the hiring process or if you retain the services of a recruitment firm, there are costs to hiring – costs in time and in cash. One of the ways to minimize these costs and reach your operational goals faster is to find the right person within the allocated time.

Of course, you could leave things up to chance and hope that your ad hoc hiring efforts pan out immediately. But, if you are truly intent on having the right person on staff in a timely fashion, you will want to develop a recruitment strategy and implement your plan methodically. Your strategy should always start with having a thorough understanding of the role and where it fits within the organization.  Other important elements include:

  • A well thought out job description that outlines the story of the role. It should provide the objectives of the position and expectations in terms of stretch goals and potential future development, while also being clear on the traits, skills, credentials and experience you are looking for in a candidate. Other information that is helpful can include some of the internal and external relationships necessary to be successful in the position and outline the culture and values of the organization.
  • An outline of the platforms and formats that you will use to advertise the position and the opportunities you will seek to promote the opening to potential pools of candidates, such as within professional organizations, is also an essential component of the strategy.
  • Developing a timeline and schedule for the various steps of the recruitment process is also crucial.
  • Communication between all stakeholders is essential.

Failure to strategize, an inadequate plan or mediocre implementation could lead to unfortunate results, such as hiring the wrong person, not finding appropriate candidates within the allocated time, or spending more than anticipated in advertising or other recruitment promotional costs. Often, in-house human resources departments, busy dealing with day-to-day personnel matters, do not have the time to strategize and undertake a thorough recruitment process.

So, finding the right recruitment firm may be the first step you need to take to ensure the success of your hiring process. A recruitment firm with experience in your region, an extensive network in a wide array of professional fields, a thorough understanding of the job market, proven expertise in tailoring recruitment strategies and a track record of lasting successful candidate placements could help ensure you recruit the right candidate once and for all, and do it on time and on budget.

Essence Recruitment specializes in working closely with organizations’ leadership and in-house human resources teams to customize strategies that meet the organization’s needs and will help enhance its overall performance. Their recruitment expertise is focused on the selection and hiring of the best-suited individual to fit the organizational culture, values, and goals. In the end, the right recruitment firm may save you time and money, demonstrating that it pays to hire the right person the first time!

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My organization is […] Can you confidently fill in the blank?

Recruiting is a perfect time for self-reflection, well, organizational self-reflection that is! To be able to hire the best person for the position, and prepare for the selection and interview process, you need to be able to answer of few questions yourself. How easily, confidently and accurately can you fill in the blank in the statement “My organization is…” or answer the question “How would you describe your organization?”

The hiring process should prompt you to assess your organization so you can be sure to bring in the right talent. So, when was the last time you thought about your organization’s vision, mission and goals? Have you updated them lately? If it has been a while, do they still reflect the organization today and its intended purpose? Have the values you relied on evolved over time or are they even more relevant today? Actually, what are those values? Can you name them? What are the organization’s commitments and why are they important? How do the organization and its employees demonstrate these commitments? To bring someone new in the fold you need a good understanding of the organization’s mission and the values and behaviours it relies on to accomplish its objectives, as this will help you determine the most appropriate type of person you will need to recruit.

Beyond a person’s education, training, skills and experience, they need to be able to “fit” within the organization. It means that new recruits have to be receptive and agreeable to adopt and share the organization’s vision, mission and values; they also have to be able to adapt, contribute and ultimately enhance the organization’s culture. Again, to be able to adequately assess potential recruits, you should be aware of your workplace culture. How would you define your current workplace culture? What makes your workplace unique and allows you to attract and retain talent? How would you describe interactions and interpersonal relations among peers and with management? What are some of the common behaviours and attitudes that differentiate your workplace from others or that are not tolerated? How do people communicate in the workplace? Would you consider the work environment as formal, informal or casual? What does your current team look like, is it diverse? Work practices, processes and policies also play a part in the culture in that they reflect the organization’s philosophy and its ability to evolve and assess its strategy to achieve its goals. Having a thorough understanding of the culture is essential to ensure the success of the recruitment process.

Organizations often identify the need to recruit because a position is left vacant or a new opportunity arises that requires the creation of a new position, however rarely do they take the time to assess the recruitment needs as part of the overall organizational outcomes. At Essence Recruitment, as your partner in the recruitment process, part of our role is to help you make sure that your new recruit will effectively contribute to your mission, share your vision, respect your values and deliver your commitments. Being able to complete the statement “my organization is…” is the first step.


Small Businesses Can’t Afford NOT to Hire a Recruiter!

When it comes to hiring, many business owners don’t think twice about the process, they get caught up in just filling the position. By the time they zone in on the fact that there is a skill to hiring the right person for the right position at the right price, they have likely already experienced large amounts of frustration, wasted valuable time and either wondered why they haven’t found a suitable candidate yet or why their new recruit doesn’t actually fit in their organization or worse is not able to deliver the anticipated results.

Recruiting agencies provide a skill set that unfortunately many internal human resources teams really do not have the time or means to develop and maintain. When the market place is flooded with potential hires because the economy is in the tank, the right recruiters will help you identify the best candidate for your organization. Likewise, when the potential candidates are far and few between because the economy is hot and there are more job openings than qualified professionals, a partnership with a recruiting firm will ensure you gain access to the right potential hires. Recruiters cultivate a deep knowledge of the job market and its correlation to the economy of the region and the local business community. They nurture relationships with a wide array of potential candidates across sectors and keep their ear to the ground in terms of people who may be willing to entertain a job switch. They are also keenly aware of the recent positions offered in the region and the total compensation packages they commend. Recruiting agencies’ value comes from being able to match the right person not only to the position but also to the organization, hence ensuring a high hiring and retention success rate.

All recruiters are not equal. The most efficient recruiters will want to create a partnership with their client. They will know and understand your organization so they can source the most appropriate candidate for the particular vacancy faster and ensure the right fit. There is no doubt that most businesses understand the value that recruiters bring, unfortunately, many choose to ignore recruiters’ track records in a misguided way of protecting their bottom line.

Yes, many assume that recruitment fees are out of their reach. The fact is that the questions you should ask yourself are:

  • How much time can we afford to go without XYZ’s position being filled?
  • How is the vacancy affecting overall productivity and existing employees’ moral and efficiency?
  • What will hiring the wrong candidate cost the organization in the long run?
  • Does our internal human resources team have the manpower, resources and job market knowledge and sourcing ability to find the best candidate for the job?

If the answers matter to you and your bottom line, you cannot afford not to partner with a recruiter to ensure you hire the right candidate in the least amount of time, and who will fit within your organization and deliver the results you expect. Hiring is more than placing an ad online and sifting through resumes. It’s about finding the person who has the skillset, experience, knowledge and values to thrive in the environment your business offers.

Tracy, Joanne and Nicole at Essence Recruitment pride themselves in knowing and understanding their clients and their business to ensure they can source and deliver the best-fit employees. Their deep understanding of the recruitment process and professionalism in sourcing and securing candidates can save you time, effort and money in the long run.

You wouldn’t leave running your business to chance, why would you leave the recruitment of your team to chance?

Essence Recruitment
(306) 652-5209

1815 D Lorne Avenue
Saskatoon, SK  S7H 1Y5



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When is the last time you’ve taken some time to really think about the people you see at work every day? The fact is that once the organization chart has been defined, the people hired to fill the positions and that that the teams seem complete, we rarely take the time to truly evaluate our in-house talent.

In most cases, we hire people at a specific time, under given circumstances and to take on defined responsibilities and projects. Just like people evolve, develop their skills and grow their experience, teams and projects transform. From time to time it pays to assess our current talent to ensure that the organization still has the right people in the most appropriate positions, with the adequate responsibilities and working on the projects best fitted for their skills, experience and aspirations. Regular performance management is one way to gather some of the information necessary to evaluate talent. It is necessary to keep track of people’s skills, any additional education and training they may have received since being hired and specific experience they may have developed. However,  to fully evaluate the organization’s talent, people have to be assessed in the larger context of functional and cross-functional teams and the overall organization chart. The objectives of current activities and projects and the specific expectation for people to achieve them also have to be taken into consideration to provide an accurate picture of the internal talent pool.

So, why should organizations take steps to assess their talent? Well, it’s about people. Most organizations agree that they are only as strong as their people and teams and many even recognize that “employees are a company’s greatest asset – they’re your competitive advantage” as said Anne M. Mulcahy, former CEO of Xerox Corporation. Yet, few organizations take the time to regularly question whether they continue to have the best suited people in the right roles and whether their people have what they need to be successful in their positions – be it the skills, experience, team members and equipment. Do your people have what they need to continue to develop and achieve their highest potential and to continue to positively contribute to the organization’s success? What does it take to be able to protect and nurture your “greatest assets” and preserve your competitive advantage? Maintaining and growing its activities as well as launching new projects require that the organization have the right mix of people who continue to share the organization’s values and an organizational structure that supports the organization’s vision, mission and objectives. Are functional and cross-functional teams adequately staffed to be successful? Could the organization be in need of different or more talent to reach its goals?

Really knowing your people will help you make sure you have the right individuals, in sufficient numbers, making up the best teams that fit together to accomplish the mission and reach for the vision. It does take some effort to get to know your talent pool. Do you have people within your group who can ask the right questions, review the documentation and gather the information required to fully assess the organizational chart? Essence Recruitment has the expertise to provide Talent Assessment in order to fully understand your organization, its past, present and future. We aim to understand your current team, your values, your culture, your vision and your organization’s potential limitations in terms of talent pool. Essence Recruitment’s Talent Assessment can help you reach your aspirations in terms of organizational structure and people performance.

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As a professional recruiter, this is a question I often get. I’m going to answer it and give you some food for thought. But first things first – let’s be clear on the definition of a recruiter. A quick Google search will lead you to the business dictionary’s definition of a recruiter as “an individual who works to fill job openings in businesses or organizations.” However, according to the Association of Professional Recruiters Canada, professional recruiters have more to offer beyond trying to match job seekers with open positions. They have the knowledge and skills required to reduce recruitment costs, lower the risk of erroneous hiring decisions and avoid needless litigation. In short, a professional recruiter can save you time and money.

Many people think that because they know the job and went through the interview process once or twice before that they can recruit. We, recruiters, beg to differ. There’s a lot more to successfully recruiting than just dusting off the job description, placing an ad and meeting a few candidates. Effective recruitment matters because ultimately your organization can only be as good as the people that make it. As James C. Collins put it in his book Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…and Others Don’t, “Those who build great companies understand that the ultimate throttle on growth for any great company is not markets, or technology, or competition, or products. It is one thing above all others: the ability to get and keep enough of the right people.” Getting the right people requires method and skills, it means having a solid recruitment strategy and implementation plan.

Before starting any recruitment process, you need to ask yourself a few questions? For example, if you are recruiting for an existing position, now is a good time to reassess it. What are the duties and responsibilities? Do you need the position in its existing form? How does the position contribute to your organization’s goals? Does it require special skills and education? How about the personality requirements? Doing a thorough assessment early will allow you to be clear on the type of position and person you require. An experienced recruiter will ask the right questions so you end up with a precise job description and compensation package, a well-formulated job ad and position marketing strategy, and a fitting matrix to select the right candidate.

Beyond the job itself, how well do you actually know your organization? You may wonder why that matters, but having a clear understanding of the impact of its structure, culture and values will also help you recruit the best candidate. Successfully filling a position means more than just getting someone to do the job. Experience, education and drive are not enough. How will the individual fit within the organization? Are their values in alignment with yours? Would you hire a vegetarian to sell meat? Probably not! Is your organizational structure optimized to reach your goals and help your employees meet or excel their objectives? Again, a professional recruiter can help you take stock of your organization’s features and screen potential candidates with these features in mind.

Why do I need a recruiter when I already have a human resources department? That’s another question people often ask me. Well, the real question should be – is our human resources team well versed in recruitment? Not all human resources departments are created equal. There are many diverse disciplines within human resources, although they all contribute to people management. It’s kind of like carpenters and bricklayers; they each contribute to the construction of a house but bring different skill sets. Internal human resources professionals often focus on the management of employees once they have been hired, such as management of their benefits, training, discipline, promotions and more. Recruitment professionals focus on all the aspects that have to be aligned to ensure your satisfaction and that of the new recruit for a positive long-term relationship. We bring expertise in the design of the right position to meet operational objectives, the offer of fair rewards for the position, the delivery of pointed interviews to efficiently identify potential recruits, and finally the selection and attraction of the best candidate.

As CEO of Essence Recruitment, I believe in “hiring slow” – that means taking the time necessary to understand your organization and its existing workforce. It is about establishing a partnership to contribute to your organization’s overall success. So, next time you think you need to hire for a new or existing position, think professional recruiter first.

Tracy Arno

CEO, Essence Recruitment

February 2017


Quits Are Up: 7 Employee Retention Strategies Your Company Must Have

A comprehensive people strategy is not comprehensive if it doesn’t include a proven retention strategy for holding on to the employees you’ve worked hard to recruit into your company.

That may sound logical, but many, if not most, small businesses overlook this critical component in their human resources program. In a recent Watson Wyatt survey, more than 50 percent of the responding companies said they didn’t have a formal strategy for retaining employees once they had been successfully recruited.

So why is that? I think the answer lies in a misperception about what factors actually drive retention.

Here are 7 vital employee retention strategies:

  1. Track retention. If you don’t measure it, it won’t improve. If you don’t know which line managers are doing well and which are not, you’ll not know who needs coaching. And if you don’t know where you stand relative to your industry, then you’re probably one of the worst.
  2. Train first level supervisors. I don’t claim to be an HR expert, but good supervisors are crucial to retention. Steve Miranda, who is an expert, says, “Employees don’t quite jobs. They quit managers.” That’s an overstatement, but not by much. Top on the list of best practices is regular meetings with employees about performance and expectations.
  3. Hire right in the first place. Too many employment interviews are about personality: whether the job candidate matches the manager’s personality. Focus more on job skills and you’ll get a better fit, which is more likely to lead to a long employment tenure.
  4. Offer employees a path to greater pay, recognition and responsibility. Not everyone can rise to CEO, but every employee can build skills. Find a way to recognize those skill and challenge employees to gain even more skills. That makes not only a better employee, but one who feels a sense of accomplishment and success.
  5. Look for ways to increase flexibility in work conditions. Can you accommodate non-work responsibilities and desires of your employees? Overly rigid work rules can drive good workers away.
  6. Look for stressors, and train leaders on how to help employees in stressful positions.
  7. Re-evaluate your benefits package. This isn’t to say that benefits need to be increased, but that the package should meet the needs of those employees most likely to leave the company. All too often, very senior managers think about what is important to them, not the 30-somethings who are considering changing jobs.

What’s not on the list? Salary. Sometimes you need to adjust total pay, but companies usually spend too much time thinking about pay and not enough time thinking about the other issues that make employees feel good or bad about their jobs.



Assessing Leadership: 3 Reminders When Evaluating Your Leadership

“True leadership cannot be awarded, appointed, or assigned. It comes only from influence.”

Influence can make or break the success of your ability to lead well and determine the direction of a company itself. However, we too often move through the motions without thinking about ways to increase in influence.

Leadership is tough. Growing is hard. Any leader will tell you that the giving and receiving of both criticism and encouragement from others is crucial for leadership growth.

How are you intentional in these areas? How well do you receive it?

Today, we challenge you to think of the following…

When was the last time you:

  • Reflected on your own leadership?
  • Had your boss assess your leadership?
  • Invited your direct reports to review your leadership?
  • Sought feedback from your family on the way you lead?

In answering those questions, you may realize that it’s been a while since you had the chance to assess your leadership and learn from it.

Here are a few reminders as you begin to evaluate your leadership:

  1. “A leadership position is usually given to people because they have leadership potential.”
    This seems fairly simple, right? You are a leader because you have potential. However, you must make great use of that potential. Recognize that your leadership is only as good as the lowest level you’ve mastered. As you assess your skill level and aim for growth, you are the master of your own influence. You realize that small things matter. Mastering the basics of influence only grows your platform in the long run.
  2. “Leadership is action, not position.”
    When assessing your own leadership, go with your first instinct on your skill level. Begin by truthfully and honestly discovering where you stand. From there, you will know how to take action. If leaders aren’t acting upon their influence, they likely are resting on their laurels or position without making progress in their abilities.
  3. “Every leader has these two characteristics: (A) they are going somewhere and (B) they are able to persuade others to go with them.”
    Do you have those two characteristics? Do you feel like you are using them well? If you recognize that you are going somewhere, but you are going alone, now is a great time to assess your leadership and evaluate how you can improve. Knowing where you’re going and effectively sharing that with others is a recipe for success.

Overall, know your team. Know how they perceive you. And lastly, know yourself.

As you begin to think about your leadership level, we’d love to know: When was a time you received feedback from a team member that made an impact on your leadership?

An article by the John Maxwell Team.