People ask me all the time why I started working in career management and built MyHuntPath. Traditionally, recruiters (Headhunters) do not spend much time with people that they cannot get a fee for. When I first started working in recruiting, my company even had a specific category named for these candidates, they were in the “Can’t Help” category. Throughout my 20-year search career I have never felt comfortable with this concept and returned calls, e-mails, and took many meetings to offer help to anyone in transition.
Sitting in my parish, Fairmount Presbyterian Church in Cleveland, one Sunday in 2008, I heard a sermon that changed the course of my business. The minister talked about the idea of fulfilling your mission. She explained that each person should follow a personal mission, guided by personal interests and abilities. You did not have to feel like the only way to volunteer was through the church, you could find your own way to help people. This sermon inspired me to volunteer one hour a week to counsel the unemployed in my congregation and local community. Little did I know what I was in for.
Right in the heart of the recession, I only expected to see unemployed people at that first meeting. I was sad to see some truly disheartened individuals, some of whom had been out of work for nearly two years. What I was shocked to discover though, was the large amount of people in the room that DID have a job. These people didn’t like their jobs, wanted to move up in their careers, or were afraid they were going to lose their jobs. I later learned that close to 70% of all workers are dissatisfied with their jobs.
Everyone at that first meeting had an interesting story to tell. A lot of the people were students of some kind. While the level of schooling varied between high school, college, and graduate school (one even had a JD) all were lost and had no real idea what to do to find a job, especially in a terrible market. The rest of the group was a mixed bag. A few were over 60 looking to find some nontraditional work (like getting to leave work at 2 pm and have 12 weeks of vacation in the winter to head to Florida). I met some veterans just out of the service, ex-cons, moms that had been out of the workforce for 20 years, and a few wannabe entrepreneurs.
As I stood in front of the room trying to figure out how to help everyone, it hit me. I had to teach them all to become headhunters. I realized I only needed to teach everyone in the room to make one job placement, their own. So I switched my focus and began as if I was standing in a room full of new recruiters. That first session took only about 90 minutes but we all walked away feeling positive, excited and energized.
The following week, we had many people return and gained some new faces. Four new people commented they came because they had heard we were doing something different. I started writing down my techniques and presentations so new people could catch up and we started rolling. Everyone who followed the program started finding new opportunities and a better career path. We were teaching self-directed career management and it was working! Over time, this became the best part of my week. I really felt like I was making a difference. I was able to do just what my minister had suggested. I was helping people through the methods and techniques I had learned and perfected over twenty years in the search business.
We eventually moved to a local business incubator and expanded the program to support up to 40 different religious congregations around the Cleveland area. I later received a request from LDS Business College in Salt Lake City to do a presentation. Up until this point the many hours spent helping people were done for free; I enjoyed doing it and felt it was the right thing to do. After I completed the program in Utah, the President of LDS was so impressed with the program that he wanted me to come back and teach our proactive career management approach to all his students. I agreed, but decided to ask for a bit of compensation, which he agreed. It made me realize that turning my techniques into a business would help it reach the wide-scale audience it was suited for and thus, MyHuntPath was born. We decided our pricing would be $4.99 a month and I always joke that for the cost of a cup of coffee, you can take control of your career in one place (granted, I do drink a grande caramel macchiato).
While we worked on developing the content and building the platform, I continued offering programs all over the country. I did hundreds of one-on-one meeting, small group sessions, webinars, and seminars. My clients included the University of Virginia, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Case Western Reserve University, Breakthrough Schools, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, EDWINS Leaderships & Restaurant Institute, and the Cleveland Metropolitan School District, just to name a few.
It has been quite a journey. I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I stepped in that church meeting room back in 2008, but each time I help someone, whether its a confused high school student or a 60-year-old former CEO, find their passion and create a path to achieve that goal, I know we are doing something right. Our approach is unique. In my opinion, the best people to go to for career management advice are the ones who do it for a living, the headhunters who bring companies and candidates together each and every day.
I finally found a way to help all the people that come across my desk. I am happy that the “Can’t Help” category no longer exists in my office. Some candidates may not be right for a search, but they are right for MyHuntPath, as our platform helps all job seekers no matter their age or field. I found the way to use my talents and fulfill my mission. And now, you can use MyHuntPath to fulfill yours (or fulfill your Buffalo as we like to call it, but you’ll find out more about that when you sign up).