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  • Writer's pictureAnn Willets

The Candid Recruiter - Who am I?

I entered the world of public relations at twenty-one-years-old, fresh out of Syracuse with a bachelor’s degree in PR.

I landed my first job as an administrative assistant at a bustling New York agency. I had all of the same qualifications as my male counterparts, and sometimes more, but in the early 1980s that didn’t matter. I was the admin, while the men of my graduating class were kick-starting their careers as account executives.

This was one of my first obstacles in PR. But like any obstacle you’ll ever face, you have to make something change in order to move forward. I decided to make myself known and a truly valuable asset, whether my co-workers liked it or not.

If I overheard a press release needed to be done, I offered to write it. They let me, and I was relentless. I did every task I could get my hands on. Every experience was thrilling. Each opportunity brought me a step closer to proving myself. Sooner or later, no one could deny my abilities. I was allowed to do PR work and given PR tasks but was still considered an administrative assistant.

The rest is history. I broke into the industry at my next job after being promoted from administrative assistant to a junior account executive (after much persistence). I then spent over a decade working at agencies and for people who scared me, people who had my back, people who made me want to pull my hair out, and people who changed the way I live life.

I started my first agency at thirty-four-years-old, and then a larger, second agency. Running an agency, a family, and personal life wasn’t easy, but I would never think of squandering all that I learned. That’s why I’m here, writing to you.

Today, I don’t operate any agencies. I work as a consultant for a number of clients and am celebrating my twenty-third year as an entrepreneur and agency principal.

Three years ago, I committed to recruiting. In PR, you may have to recruit for your agency. When you run your own agency, you’re always in the process of recruiting. After owning two agencies, and managing a large NYC agency, I’ve hired and fired hundreds of people.

However, becoming a recruiter has given me yet another view of the PR world. After observing the successes and failures between candidates and employers, I can understand how and why things go wrong, and how to prevent them.

After a single interview with a job candidate, I can typically gauge which of my clients they could be a great fit for. Sometimes, job applicants need more time to work out the kinks of the interview and job-hunting process. I hope I can add some authentic insight and advice that will help you get there.

You can count on me to always tell you the unvarnished truth. I’m not known for my political correctness. I’d rather tell people the truth so they can succeed, which sadly, is not something most potential employers will tell you.

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