Knowledge to Build On by Guest Blogger, Alex Goodman, Freshman at University of Wisconsin

Doing my high school senior project at Direct Recruiters Incorporated, or DRI, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. Sure, I had an elementary concept of the recruiting. However, walking in on the first day I was determined to find out more. My sponsor, David Peterson, Managing Partner, made sure I did just that. After picking his brain, I learned how complex and difficult recruiting really is. Essentially, there is a set process of finding, calling, and acquiring passive candidates. The complexity arises in the fact that DRI’s candidates are basically their “products” to client companies, and in this industry the “products” can say no to job opportunities or say yes at first only to change their minds later. It is up to the recruiters to think on their feet, have their best interests at heart, be empathetic, and personable all in an effort to move a well-settled candidate into a new job.

After having this long and interesting talk with David, I shadowed and listened in on his current projects along with his team.  I did this nearly every day that I came into the office and was impressed. The skills that he explained to me in the initial conversation were demonstrated in real life and in real-time. Not only that, but I felt the personable vibe of the conversation along with the necessary business vibe just by being in the same room.

As the days went on, I decided that it was time to put my knowledge to the test. After discussing possible phone projects with David, he and his other co-workers came up with some ideas. They gave me a list of people, a phone, and a script with basic questions to ask potential candidates. Without hesitation, I dialed a number and tried to read the script to a real person; I froze immediately. I was nervous, robotic, and lost for words when dealing with these people. The workers at DRI truly made it look easy. However, they assured me it was totally normal considering I had no formal training and had me call more people. By the end of the two weeks of the project, I was flowing through the script and even was able to make small talk to these total strangers.

Lastly, the aura of DRI’s office was nothing short of friendly. When I arrived, David took me on a tour of the office and had me greet most of the employees. Every time, I was given a firm handshake and a warm hello. And every day after that, the people I passed in the office continued that homey vibe. On occasion, I was even able to sit down and have a casual conversation with other workers. Also, I had the privilege to sit down with the President and Marketing Manager separately. These two were extremely knowledgeable and were able to answer every single business, and even life question, I asked.

My experience at DRI can be summed up in one word: Valuable. I learned more about business than I ever could in a textbook, participated in recruiting, and even networking. From the work I did, to the lessons learned, I enjoyed every day of my senior project. I was not only exposed to the dynamic world of recruiting, but also to a vital base of knowledge that I can only build on.