Reflecting on 40 Years of Business: Dan Charney, President & CEO

As Direct Recruiters proudly celebrates 40 years in business, Dan Charney, President & CEO reflected on his tenure at DRI, and the challenges and triumphs along the way. 

How has DRI grown in the past 40 years?

Dan Charney: The reason I joined the company 25 years ago, is because I loved the niche market approach to recruiting. There was one niche market, and the thought process was that we were going to be the best recruiting firm for this specific area.  In 1983, Shel Myeroff, our Founder, had a vision for Direct Recruiters that has led to our success today. The company has grown because we duplicated his model over and over again. We simplified the process and made sure that we were on the cutting edge of technology as it relates to recruiting. Our goal has been and will continue to be early adopters and leaders within this industry.

What was the biggest challenge for DRI in the beginning? Now?

Dan Charney: In the beginning, the biggest challenge was scaling the business. Within the industry, traditionally, firms do not scale very often so breaking that mold was paramount to our success. We wanted to grow our firm of 10 people to 100 people but maintain that boutique mindset coupled with a great culture. We face the same challenge today. We keep growing and we keep the mentality of ‘never satisfied,’ even though in a bigger picture our accomplishments are numerous. We have to build a new model that will allow us to scale for the next 40 years. Through our partnership with Starfish, we now have the team in place to do that.

What has changed about DRI? In turn, what has stayed the same?

Through the years, we have hired some really great people and that is in part due to the implementation of our Core Values. About 10 years ago, we created and implemented 4 Core Values; respectfully tenacious (passionately focused), team player that acts for the greater good, positively impacts others (accountable to clients, candidates & co-workers) and solutions oriented (results oriented, takes initiative, problem solver). These values have been the foundation for recruiting, acquiring, and retaining our internal talent teams. At the time, it seemed silly to hire based on how well candidates align with our values, but they have proved to be an instrumental tool in ensuring our employees all share the same “company-first” mindset. This mindset has contributed to our success.

Even as we grow and adapt, the basis of our culture has always been rooted in fun. We’ve never taken ourselves too seriously. We work hard, but we play hard too. Staying humble has also been a steadfast pillar of our culture, so even while we celebrate our accomplishments, we know that there is always more work to be done. Shel Myeroff’s advice to me was always to “fly under the radar” and that’s exactly what we’ve done.

What are you most exited for in DRI’s future?

Dan Charney: Looking forward, I am excited about the team that we’ve assembled with Starfish and the amount of support we have now to be able to achieve our goals. We’re actively working within markets that have positively impacted society and partnering with clients and candidates that work to make the world a better place. We’re at the forefront of innovative technology and tools that help us to do our jobs better. Our team is committed to training and getting better at their jobs, and I am so excited to work with this newer generation of employees.

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