Peggy McKee, owner of PHC Consulting, can be found at www.phcconsulting.com

What do you do for a living? iStock_000000161621XSmall.jpg

I connect sales, sales management, and marketing candidates with companies in the laboratory industry. The laboratory industry supports physicians by providing information about a patient. This information is utilized to determine next steps in the patient’s treatment. I do work with some companies that are research laboratories. Their products are the building blocks of information for pharmaceutical industry and medical device industry to use in product development.

How would you describe what you do?

I get to know my client companies – what they do, why they are unique, what their compensation packages, and specifically what jobs they need to fill and what type of experience, education, and attitude they desire for their successful hire.

If you like a team environment, this is not for you. No one is on your team. The candidate only wants the job. The client wants to fill the position and would rather not have to pay you a fee. So, if you need someone to care about you this is not for you.

I try to find the right person and convince them to interview with my client company. If all goes well, I make a placement.

What does your work entail?

Lots and lots of phone time. I probably spend 5 hours a day on the phone. A wireless headset is a must. I enter information about candidates and companies into a software system that tracks all of my calls and activities. I probably send 100 emails a day that are personal and then another 1000 emails a day to potential candidates. Because you are dealing with people, there are always emergencies and schedule changes. I check my email as early at 6 am and as late as 10 pm.

How did you get started?

I was a regional sales manager at a diagnostics company and traveled over 60% of the time. I had a child and wanted to reduce my travel and still make the money that I was used to making. I had been so disappointed with the quality of work that recruiters did for me, I just knew I could provide a better service.

What do you like about what you do?

I love the people interaction. I enjoy being an expert in my field. Lastly, I love helping someone in the job search or a manager that needs a great hire.

What do you dislike?

I dislike people who say they will do something and then don’t. And because of the number of people that I deal with, I have this happen more often.

How do you make money/or how are you compensated?

I make money when a candidate that I have presented is hired by a client company. They pay me 30 days after the hire. Usually, I guarantee that the candidate will be there for a period of time. If the candidate leaves before that time period, I have to replace the candidate with another candidate or refund their money.

How much money do you make?

Usually, I get an agreed upon percentage of the base salary. Industry average percentages range between 20 – 30%. The only variable is how many candidates I place during the year. The lowest year I have had was 13 placements (I was pregnant – very sick). My candidate’s have salaries that range between $45k to $150k per year. So you can do the math….It is important to understand that there are different classes of recruiters. There are internal company recruiters that make salaries similar to any HR person. There are external recruiters that do contract work who make a set amount for a period of time and some bonus based on success. There a lot of “mom and pop” recruiting companies that are run out of their home. Because of their low expenses they don’t have to make very many placements in order to be successful. Larger firms like MRI hire recruiters and pay them some % of the %. Usually 30-40% of the base fee. I would be very careful if you are considering joining these types of firms. It would be important to understand what type of working hours they are expecting – some expect 10 hours a day. I saw a survey the other day that said the average third party recruiter (like me) makes $85k. I am not average.

What education or skills are needed to be a recruiter?

I think, to be the best recruiter, you need to have hired and fired employees. Not very many recruiters actually have this type of experience. And most managers are so stressed when talking with recruiters, they never ask the background of the recruiter.

What is most challenging about what you do?

Dealing with people as a product is very difficult. I can sell like a champion and then turn around and watch my product walk off.

What is most rewarding?

The flexibility, the money, the people interaction and the fast pace are very rewarding.

What advice would you offer someone considering this career?

I would say that is important to be honest with yourself about what makes you happy. If you like a team environment, this is not for you. No one is on your team. The candidate only wants the job. The client wants to fill the position and would rather not have to pay you a fee. So if you need someone to care about you this is not for you. If you have not hired and fired, I think you are at a distinct disadvantage. Lastly, you have to invest in this business. I have an expensive tracking system, an expensive website www.phcconsulting.com, an expensive phone system, 6 expensive computers, and I pay for ongoing training and candidate development tools. My costs this year are greater than $200k. It is very stressful to see this type of money going out, knowing that I have to make that plus in order to make a living. If you aren’t going to invest, you won’t be successful. I get calls from fellow recruiters asking if I think they should pay to have a website redone or get an administrative assistant. I have had both of these for 9 years. They are struggling to make a living. I think there is a correlation here.

How much time off do you get/take?

I have all major holidays (not all government holidays) and I probably take another 6 or 7 days vacation. I’m a bit of a work- aholic. But if you don’t answer the phone, you could miss that great candidate or client. I know other recruiters take off more (those that work for themselves) but they don’t earn what I do…

What is a common misconception people have about what you do?

They think this job is easy. I have sold for a long time. This is the most difficult sale.

What are your goals/dreams for the future?

I have 2 full time recruiters, 1 full time office manager/administrator, and some backup researchers now. I want to have 4 to 5 full time recruiters. I would like to take more time off to be with my family and to spend more time riding horses.

What else would you like people to know about what you do?

They can read my blog at www.phcconsulting.com/WordPress/ if they would like to learn more about this industry, the job search, how to work with recruiters and a lot of other neat information.