5 Reasons Freelancers Should Know A Recruiter

I’m not a freelancer. I never have been. So why listen to me? Here’s why: because I was the person hiring them. I was also the person who helped businesses and agencies hire their freelancers. And I was the person who helped many freelancers find work on their own.

I spent years as a Recruiter. Yeah, I know, it can be a dirty word. I was even on a SXSW panel called “Recruiters are full of shit, I am one.” As a freelancer, you can find work on your own. But Recruiters do more than help people FIND work. They have a view into the market, you don’t. They’re also your biggest champion. If you’re new to freelancing or it’s the only thing you’ve ever known, here are five ways you can benefit from knowing a Recruiter who may never put you to work.

1. They understand the market. I hate the word “pulse” but that’s exactly what the Recruiters have on the market. It’s their job. Knowing hiring trends, market rates and understanding the needs of businesses is what they MUST know to do their jobs well. Everyone can benefit from having a little more info around the company they’re interested in partnering with.

2. They can help you prepare. Recruiters understand the inner workings of organizations. Both from talking to people who have worked there and those who hire for their open roles. Even if you found an opportunity on your own but you’re curious about environment, reputation or morale of the company, the history, even simple things like dress code, they can help. Being a freelancer, doesn’t always mean working from home, in your pajamas, so why not get the inside scoop on what to expect? 

3. They know how to help you market yourself. They can give you feedback on your resume, your portfolio and your approach. They can direct you to the appropriate people (decision makers.) You’re an awesome Designer? Great! The reality is, you might be able to design your way into anywhere, but knowing how to get in there, is a different story. 

4. They’ll throw jobs your way. There are plenty of reasons a Recruiter might pass a job to someone. They might only work “full time” jobs, they know businesses who don’t have budgets for staffing companies or they hear through their network a company, who is not their client, is hiring. I was able to pass along freelance jobs directly to freelancers, they would have never have come across on their own. You can be well networked, but a busy hiring manager can be a catch twenty-two. Recruiters often know the pain points and can send those jobs your way. 

5. They can help you negotiate. Freelancers can get stuck in a rate rut. They charge the same thing year after year. Recruiters are well versed in negotiation and market rates. They can help you figure out if you’re not charging enough and how to increase your rate while keeping your clients happy. Some freelancers are not good at negotiating what they deserve. A Recruiter can guide you through the process.

Let’s be honest, we can’t do it all on our own, no matter the career choice. Wondering what the Recruiter gets out of this? They’re playing the long game. Ultimately, it’s reciprocal. When you see their value, you’ll pass it on. And you will have friends and/or fellow freelancers who need help, from time to time, and a Recruiter can help them find work. I know plenty of freelancers who don’t want (or have time) to find their next gig. Recruiters do the leg-work for them. Either way, everyone benefits.

Good Recruiters and good freelancers thrive on building solid relationships. Sure there are crappy people who end up being Recruiters …and Developers and Designers and Teachers and Firemen. All professions have a few jerks. Recruiters do get paid based on who they place in jobs. Freelancers get paid on a project basis. Everyone has to work to get paid. If we all did it the same way, nobody would make any money.

You never know when you’ll meet someone who can change your career.




Quit Asking People If They’re Going To Have Kids


I like to think of myself as a graduation present…from high school. My parent’s were just 18 when I was born. Although I’m preeeeetty sure I wasn’t planned, I think I turned out ok. They were young, but stable, loving, caring parents. I was always surrounded by an extended family who loved me and my siblings who followed. But one thing nobody ever asked my parents was “Are you going to have kids?” They were technically, kids themselves. But had they waited a few more years, surely the question would have come up. 

I’m 34. I’ve been married for almost 2 years and our only baby is a 9 year old pup. Almost weekly, I’m asked “Are you going to have kids?” Sometimes it’s by close friends or family. Sometimes it the nail salon lady or a bartender. Sometimes it’s a coworker or neighbor. But it happens. A lot. And it’s rude. 

Why do we think it’s ok to ask such personal questions of people? We’re taught to never ask about money, politics or religion. But for some reason, it’s ok to ask about their plans around procreating. 

A few months ago I started experimenting with my answer to this question, purely for my own amusement. If I answered “Yes” the next question was usually “when?” or “how many?” If I answered “No” the conversation, more often than not, ended there. When I answered “Maybe” I often got a list of reason why I should have babies. 

The reality is, it’s personal. It’s a decision for my husband and I to make. The chances of your advice on whether I should or shouldn’t have kids, impacting my decision, is slim to none. If I want guidance on this very sacred part of life, I’ll ask. How do you know this isn’t a painful topic for me? How do you know we haven’t been trying? How do you know I haven’t been pregnant and miscarried? How do you know we’re not trying to adopt?

If you ask a woman this question, be prepared to hear an answer that makes you uncomfortable. Because being asked about having kids is equally uncomfortable. 

You never know what goes into making this life altering decision. And it’s none of your business. I know women who would love to talk about their journey to building a family or their decision not to. I know more women who would prefer you respect their privacy and their body by not questioning what it’s going to do.

If we do end up with kids, you’ll know. 




Emotions and Sports


photo credit: Robert Beck/Sports Illustrated

I tend to be an emotional person. Usually you know exactly how I feel. For better or worse, I’ve made efforts to not be so vocal about my emotions (particualarly in the work place.) But at times, its unavoidable. You’re going to hear my celebrations, complaints and banter on Twitter and Facebook during basketball or football season. If sports can make me jump up and down, have mini heart-attacks and scream at the TV, I can only imagine how the players feel. Why do sports evoke so much emotion in those who don’t even participate in the game? And why do we not expect it from athletes?

In 2012, the Patriots lost the Super Bowl. I happen to be on a plane from Portland to Boston as it was happening. There was a collective sadness as we got off the plane. You could literally see tears in people’s eyes and it was totally silent. You would think that someone died. Why? Because it’s how we connect to others. It’s something that we can believe in. It’s something to get excited about. And the opposite of excited is bound to happen with any team’s fans at some point.

You can probably see where I’m going with this. You shove a microphone in the face of a player walking off the field after winning the biggest game of his career, so far, you’re asking for emotion. Raw, adrenaline fueled emotion. That’s what we saw from Richard Sherman. But stop and think for a second what YOU were doing when this was happening?

If you’re a 49ers fan you were probably cursing at the TV, damning the refs (I agree that wasn’t the right call) and over all pretty frustrated. If you’re a Seahawks fan you were probably jumping up and down, high-fiving your buddies, cheersing the person next to you and screaming (at least I was.) So take those emotions, multiply them by 100 and then you likely have the emotion of a person on the field…of a PLAYOFF game.

While I don’t think it’s right to talk negatively about people, particularly on camera, I think we need to think about what we do expect. Imagine if they interviewed Marshawn Lynch and they got forced one word answers. Boring! As noted in the Forbes post “22 Brief Thoughts About That Richard Sherman Interview,” this is the kind of thing Journalist want. And it’s the kind of televsion you want. You want to see the emotion (mad, sad, happy, whatever.) That’s why you wait to see what the losing coach or QB have to say. You know it’s going to be heavy hearted but that’s what helps people relate to professional athletes. You’re upset your team didn’t win and you feel for them.

So before we go harshly judge the sentiment or reaction of an athlete, think about your emotions related to sports. Next time your team loses or is treated unkindly or you witness a dirty play from an opposing player, think about how you would react in the moments immediately after. Richard Sherman is not a thug. He’s certainly not an idiot. He may not be our idea of “classy” at times, but he’s aware of his behavior. The article he wrote today isn’t exactly an apology, but I think there is a lot of truth to it.

2013 Mentors & Influencers- Thank You!

2013 was a learning year for me. I learned a lot about marketing, social media, content and myself. I try to learn and absorb as much as I can from those around me. For better or worse, I feel there is always knowledge to be gained, nobody who you come in contact with. But there are a two people who, without their guidance or influence, this year wouldn’t have taught me so much.

Susie Hall– The President of Vitamin T

I’ve worked under Susie in some capacity for the last 4.5 years. The last 2.5 years I’ve reported to her directly (until my recent role change.) I can honestly say I’ve never learned more from one individual, professionally, than I have from her. Besides being wicked smart, she has a way of continually inspiring our entire staff. Her knowledge of the staffing industry, marketing and career development has helped me grow into a completely new profession. Years ago, she believed in me when I came to her with 9 years of recruiting experience saying I wanted to make the move to the marketing side. I wanted run social media for the new brand we were launching, Vitamin T. Not only did she believe in me, she helped me every step along the way. I learned so much about myself, the way I interact with people, process, organization, self assessment and picking my battles. I have a completely different career path now. I don’t believe I would have had this chance many other places. I’m still awfully stubborn, but I’m so proud of who I’ve become and the knowledge I’ve gained, over the last few years. I owe so much of the direction to Susie. I’m sad to no longer be directly reporting to her, but I believe she’ll continue to be a mentor for me.


Nicole Guinther– Event Manager at Aquent

Over the last couple years we’ve worked very closely and traveled the world together. She’s turned into a good friend and a true inspiration. Nicole took on the daunting task of weight loss and living a healthier life in 2013. Down 50 lbs, she didn’t follow a fad diet. She worked out. Hard. And she changed her eating habits. She introduced me to paleo. At my heaviest in years, I decided I would give it a shot. Holy amazing! My skin is better, my sleep is better, I just FEEL better everyday. Paleo coupled with a more active lifestyle has been an incredible change for me. Physically I’m capable of more than I had ever imagined. I don’t see a trainer every week, like she does and I’m pretty sure she is far more regimented than I am. But without Nicole’s determination to do things the right way, the healthy way, I may have never discovered the paleo lifestyle. Or at least not’ve been so inspired to try it out for myself.



Overall, I feel like my career and my health are headed in the right direction. In 2014, one of my many goals, is to continue to seek out professional and personal mentors. I know it’s really my own choices that make these things a reality. But the help of those I admire and trust helping lead the way is more appreciated than I can express. I feel lucky and thankful to have Susie and Nicole in my life!