The Recruiting Blog | People First Recruiting

We Are Talent Sourcers

Posted by Annette Kohut on Thu, May 22, 2014

This blog was written by Barbara Nordal, Annette Kohut & Pamela Habing - Talent Sourcers of People First HR's Talent Discovery Group.


Every morning we walk into our office, sit down at our computer, take a look at our recruitment projects and off to the races we go.

We are Talent Sourcers and we partner with our Recruiters to ensure we are finding the best candidates for our clients.

But what is a Talent Sourcer you ask?

Talent SourcerThere is no one definition for what a Talent Sourcer is.  It varies from one company to another.  Even the titles can vary – what might be a Talent Sourcer at one company is a Talent Acquisition Specialist at another. What is the one constant? We all seek out and find candidates for our clients.

Our days consist of putting our heads down and finding the best talent the market has to offer.  We use every tool at our disposal including the internet, social media, online communities, associations, our own networks as well as those of our colleagues, and of course, the phone.  We conduct market and industry research to learn about positions, industries, companies and their people.  We ask ourselves “where would these candidates be?” and always do our best to put ourselves in their shoes.  The search is on and there is no challenge we aren’t willing to face.

As Talent Sourcers, we are often a candidate’s first point of contact, the person who ignites their curiosity and intrigues them about the possibilities out there for them.

Talent Sourcing is more than just name generation; to us it’s an art.  This art combines logic, problem solving and creativity.  The end result is the ideal pairing of employer and employee.  We love our jobs as a Talent Sourcers as it allows us to mix our passion for technology, research and our desire to help other people.  Helping others is what really motivates us around here.  

Talent Sourcing seems to be new and therefore a mystery within many industries.  In Winnipeg it is a fairly new term and an even newer career path.  The Talent Sourcing function combines research, technology, analysis, customer service and networking.  It takes a mix of commitment, problem solving and determination to develop a unique approach on where to find candidates. Every day is a learning experience for us.  

So what does a day in the life of a Talent Sourcer look like at People First?

  • Every new project starts with identifying key information. It begins with a meeting between the Recruiter and Talent Sourcer who partner on recruitment searches. This meeting allows us to gather all the key information that we need to conduct our portion of search.
  • The next step is to research, research and then do more research. Like any new project you do not jump right into the work. Take the time to learn about the role and the company. What is the current industry? Who are the other companies that have these qualified candidates and where would these qualified candidates be?
  • Once the first two steps are completed then the fun begins. This involves developing a sourcing strategy and an advertising strategy. It is the point where we create our list of keywords, contact scripts and assessment questions.
  • Now time to find the talent!

Talent Sourcing is so much more than finding that one candidate who can do the job.  It’s about finding that perfect candidate for that one job with the right company.  We love what we do because we get to work on a daily basis with people – our team, candidates, clients and the world of people is a fascinating one indeed.

You know what else we love?  That our team is growing and we are always looking for new Talent Sourcers.  You, or someone you know may be a Talent Sourcer and didn’t even know it!  

Topics: recruitment, recruitment, talent, Winnipeg, Winnipeg, career, sourcing, creativity, team, Recruitment team, People First Recruitment & Executive Search, Recruiting, talent sourcers

What's in a Recruitment Fee? Recruitment Fees Demystified

Posted by Annette Kohut on Wed, Mar 05, 2014

recruitment feesHave you ever wondered exactly what's in a recruitment fee? Download our latest whitepaper which demystifies recruitment fees and provides an overview of what you can expect with each type of fee.

This whitepaper explores the different fee structures including Contingent, Exclusive Contingent, Engagement Fees and Retained Searches and the pros and cons of each.

Click on the button below to download.

Recruitment Fees Demystified


Topics: people first recruiting, whitepaper, job postings, recruitment fees, exclusive contingent, position profiles, executive search, Engagement Fee, Retingent, recruitment, People First Recruitment & Executive Search, Recruiting, fees, contingent, retained, contingency

This Halloween, we have a new set of candidates to recruit

Posted by Annette Kohut on Tue, Oct 29, 2013

With Halloween soon upon us, we thought we would have some Halloween fun of our own.  Last year we brought you our Zombie Hunter position profile.  This year we've discovered a whole new set of Halloween candidates.

Check out our Infographic - Night of the Living Recruitment - to see what new crop of candidates we've got our eyes on.


night of the living recruitment infographic people first recruitment




Topics: halloween, recruiting fun, recruitment, candidate

Living in a Digital World – an IT Recruiter’s Perspective

Posted by Annette Kohut on Fri, Sep 27, 2013

Today's blog post is brought to you by our Information Technology Recruiter, Marny Barnes.


I am sure you have heard the cliché, “War for Talent”. I hate to give wind to that sail but it is true. There is a war for talent and in the growing world of information technology it is made even harder by this digital, web-connected world we live in.

There are LOTS of recruiters out there doing the same thing I am doing day in and day out - directly headhunting potential technologically talented candidates straight off the internet.  I have heard from many of these candidates that they get a number of calls on a daily basis.  What I don’t hear often is that the calls are relevant or anything less than a nuisance.  Not only are they receiving multiple calls weekly and even daily, they are receiving calls that are sometimes not appropriate to what they are currently doing. Too often I hear that the roles are way too junior, too senior and in some cases, not related to their current job description at all! I have been told by these same candidates that they have minimized their online presence to be “harder to find” specifically to reduce the number of calls from recruiters.  So how could I be different?

Four years ago when I first started recruiting for Information Technology, I realized just how important it was to make sure I had a strong online brand and presence.  I knew that I wanted to be the recruiter that my candidates and clients could trust, engage with, relate to and “know” before we have even met.  I was in a meeting with a client that had gone pretty well but it was not outstanding by any means.  At the end of the meeting the client asked if I was the photographer by the same name that he had found online.  I hesitantly confirmed that this was true.  The client smiled and started asking all kinds of technically related questions; what camera did I use, how did I come up with this or that idea.  The conversation went on for about another half hour and at the end I felt we had truly connected – and I left with a new IT search.IT Recruiter

The situation with the client above helped me come to the realization that in order to best connect with the IT community, I needed to be where they were.  They are online and so I need to be too.  Why shouldn’t I be giving them the opportunity to get to know me before I need them and more importantly before they need me?  It was very apparent that I needed to focus on building a transparent brand that allowed my network to really understand what I do and to share with them just how excited I am to work with them. One of the most important parts of being a recruiter is getting talented candidates to open up so I can help them find the right job FOR THEM. Building a strong online presence as an IT Recruiter became a priority.  I wanted to offer others the opportunity to learn enough about me, to talk with me, so that when we sat down in an interview, there was already a relationship formed.  I wanted to offer common ground, similar interests and a relaxed open atmosphere.

Thanks to the online community I have been connecting with, my network of IT candidates is thriving.  I love finally meeting clients that I have been conversing with online and I enjoy meeting IT candidates that know as much about me as I know about them.  I am excited to be a part of the way we do business in this ever changing market.  What makes my job incredible is the opportunity to share what I love about technology with these candidates and more importantly to learn as much as I can about what makes them tick!  What are they passionate and excited about?  What about their jobs makes and keeps them happy?  As a recruiter, it is so important to me that both candidates and clients get exactly what they are looking for out of working with me; “The Perfect Fit”!  I love my job and I want to help you love your job too.

This network is also a huge benefit to my clients.  When I advertise a new career opportunity, my network has been integral to helping me spread the word.  Twitter retweets and LinkedIn shares have brought me some of the most amazing clients and candidates I’ve had the pleasure of working with. From Skullspace to the Secret Handshake Society, Twitter to LinkedIn, I have been learning the best places where I can contribute and make connections.  I understand the power of targeted recruiting but I now also understand the power of being visible, of sharing information, of engaging in conversations and the power of digital relationships.

There is no one magic formula to recruiting.  It is a constantly changing recipe of targeted calls, networking and just being present in all the right places; physical or virtual.  And speaking of virtual, feel free to drop me a line on Twitter @MarnyBarnes or LinkedIn.

~ Marny Barnes

Topics: social media, twitter, linkedin, relationship, candidate fit, Information Technology Recruitment, recruitment, Recruiting

5 Years in Recruiting - post from a Talent Sourcer

Posted by Annette Kohut on Thu, Sep 12, 2013

celebrating 5 yearsIt’s funny how time flies when you’re having fun.  It was 5 years ago this August when I accepted my position with People First Recruitment & Executive Search, starting out as an Administrative Assistant in the Executive Search division. I remember waiting on pins and needles for the job offer to come through and how excited I was about joining such a respected and well-known employer. A lot of exciting things have happened over the past five years.  Little did I know then where my path would lead me!

Fast forward five years and today I’m a Talent Sourcer, supporting our Recruitment professionals and our Talent Sourcing & Consulting division.  People First invested in my learning and development and as a result I’m now professionally accredited and part of an elite team of specialized researchers (we call ourselves Talent Sourcers!), the first of its kind here in Winnipeg.  Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined my career choices leading me here – especially because I didn’t know a role like a Talent Sourcer even existed – but here I am today working in the most rewarding career of my life and absolutely loving it.

The best part is that I also get to flex my creative muscles by leading our division’s marketing efforts.  My past training in graphic design and experience with HTML has really come in handy when tasked with designing materials and deploying various marketing campaigns.  I enjoy the change in pace this aspect of my job affords me, as well as the creative control and responsibility I’ve been given. Learning how to navigate the social media landscape with LinkedIn and Twitter (I tweet as the Purple Squirrel) has been a challenging learning curve for me but at the same time it’s been fun learning something new!

Proposal writing is another aspect of my job that is very rewarding to me.  Both my sourcing and marketing hats have given me strong insight into our business, I know our team and our abilities inside and out.  I help write our responses to various RFPs, RFSO’s and other requests for information and nothing can beat the feeling you get when you find out a proposal you’ve worked long and hard on, together with the rest of your team, has been successful.  It’s a huge adrenaline rush.

I would be remiss not to mention the team I am lucky to work with.  Our team is made up of extremely talented and professional individuals who contribute to my job satisfaction in a big way.  It’s the reason why I love my job so much to be honest.  Never before have I been surrounded by mentors of this calibre, people who truly are the best at what they do. We’re like a family and celebrate our successes and challenges, always having a lot of fun along the way.  The opportunities for learning and advancement have been limitless and I’m so thankful for the growth I’ve experienced over the past 5 years.

It’s always been important to me that my employer have a vested interest in the community I live in.  I’m proud to say that People First is 100% committed to giving back and has been a strong supporter of the United Way for over 10 years.  I even had the opportunity to be part of the United Way fundraising committee for the past 3 years. We’ve been involved in numerous other fundraising initiatives that matter to me too, things like the Christmas Cheer Board and the Dragon Boat Races.  It feels good to work for an employer who really does care about giving back.

5 years ago I didn’t know what lay ahead and never could have predicted the phenomenal change and growth our company has gone through. Perhaps the most important piece was joining the People Corporation family. We’re now part of one of the fastest growing companies in Canada – something that really appeals to my entrepreneurial streak!  One of my fondest recent memories which really drove home how much we’ve grown happened during our annual company gathering.  Our CEO asked everyone who had joined the company during the past year to stand up.  I couldn’t believe the numbers – we had almost doubled in size. How exciting is that?!

There is nothing better than working with talented and professional people within a company that is growing at such a dynamic rate.  Thanks for the past 5 years People First, it’s been a memorable and truly remarkable ride. One that I hope continues for another 5 years! 

~written by Pamela Habing, Talent Sourcer and Creative wiz extraordinaire

Topics: talent sourcer, recruitment, Winnipeg, team, Recruitment team, People First Recruitment & Executive Search, Recruiting

Recruitment Networking - you’ve made the contacts, now what?

Posted by Annette Kohut on Tue, Jul 09, 2013

Written by Linda Chammartin, Accounting & Finance Recruiter for People First Recruitment & Executive Search


I recently attended the Manitoba Business Summit where I met many talented and friendly CA’s and CMA’s.  What a great group of professionals to spend a couple of days with. 

With the conference behind me and hundreds of business cards from attendees that visited the People First Recruitment and Executive Search booth, I have to admit, I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed. I had a clear goal heading into the summit and that was to build my Accounting and Finance professional network.   Well, I definitely accomplished that as I met at least 90% of the attendees.  Now I find myself staring at hundreds of business cardsnetworking, business, recruitment wondering what to do next.  Should I call each and every one of them, even if we didn’t get to have a one-on-one conversation?  Should I email them?  Should I do that now or hold off for a week or two?  I’m not really sure what the protocol is post conference.  Therefore, I’ve done what we all seem to do these days when we don’t have all the answers, we go to the web. 

The first article that caught my eye was written by Her Campus and was from the point of view of someone in the middle of a job search looking to land their perfect job following University.  I found the advice relevant in the fact that there are certain follow-up procedures and processes that should be used whether you are job seeking, selling a product, recruiting candidates or just strictly a participant in a conference.  I think the idea of a phone call and an email combination is fine and I like that it clarifies to do so within 24 – 48 hours so everything is still fresh.  I also think that having a script ready should you actually make contact is key as you don’t want to be caught off guard should the phone actually be answered on the other end!

Another article that caught my eye, due to the simplicity and straightforwardness of the content is titled 8 Steps to Building Relationships After a Networking Event from Careerealism.  I was happy that I stumbled upon it because it made me feel more at ease.  All 8 points are relevant but what really stuck out for me was #8, “Make a 30 day plan”.  This to me makes sense, there was a great deal of planning and preparation that I put into attending this conference so I shouldn’t expect that I’ll wrap everything up within a couple of days.  The mindset should be that of “relationship building” and that really doesn’t happen overnight. 

So what am I personally doing for follow-up?  I started by grouping and prioritizing my contacts as suggested in the “8 Steps” article.  This is a great place to start as this step is what I consider to be the “low hanging fruit” of goal setting and whenever I can cross a task off of my “to do list” it gives a great sense of accomplishment (which is extremely motivating early on in a project).  Also, by grouping and prioritizing I am able to customize my follow-up. 

My next step in this process will be to make my 30 day plan for those that I’ve made a real connection with as a result of my follow-ups.  This will include sending pertinent Accounting and Finance information to these key contacts or perhaps some articles on the keynote speakers from the conference.  It could also be recruitment relevant to their industry that will grab their attention and give us a talking point for a follow-up phone conversation.  These “touch points” will be the foundation for building ongoing relationships with key accounting and finance talent in the industry. 

By reaching out, finding out what interests they have, what motivates and drives them, I will over time, build a strong set of candidates for my Accounting and Finance recruitment practice which will in turn, set me up for success with my clients.  We have a large amount of companies here in Winnipeg that are constantly searching for top talent in the Accounting and Finance field.  The ability to provide these companies with the skills and experience they need to ensure their business moves forward is of great importance to me.

I look forward to seeing where all of this takes me and will let you know the outcome a few blogs down the road.

Happy Networking!

~Linda Chammartin

Topics: Linda Chammartin, Accounting and Finance Recruitment, Manitoba Business Summit 2013, business networking, recruitment, People First Recruitment & Executive Search, business, candidate

Recruitment Celebrations

Posted by Karin Pooley on Fri, Feb 01, 2013

Recruiting great staff is a very difficult process and there are big steps you must take along the way.  Sometimes you get it right (hopefully most times) and sometimes you get it wrong.  After completing that long walk, and finding that perfect person, you want to take a big sigh of relief and hope that you made the right decision.  Years later they are still with your organization and the right hire was made - you retained them, they are so very successful and they love their job.

It’s a great day at People First Recruitment and Executive Search.  We have added a new member to our growing team and we are celebrating a milestone for another.

Today marks the 5 year anniversary for Marny Barnes our IT Recruitment Practice Leader.  Congratulations Marny and thank you for all of your hard work and dedication.  You are a gem, a true team player and a fabulous contributor to People First HR.

We are also celebrating our new team member Linda Chammartin, who now leads our Accounting & Finance Recruitment Practice. 

A great start to 2013!

Marny Barnes - IT Recruitment - People First Recruitment & Executive Search        Linda Chammartin - Accounting & Finance Recruiter - People First Recruitment & Executive Search       

Marny Barnes                              Linda Chammartin

IT Recruitment                            Accounting & Finance Recruitment

Topics: Information Technology Recruitment, people first recruiting, Linda Chammartin, Accounting and Finance Recruitment, Marny Barnes, recruitment, Recruitment team, People First Recruitment & Executive Search, Recruiting

Technology and the Future of Recruiters

Posted by Karin Pooley on Fri, Dec 14, 2012

A colleague of mine tweeted this article yesterday: “Recruiters: Your Days are Numbered” and when I read it my first inclination was to re-tweet it.  The only problem was that I was limited by the number of characters and I wouldn’t be able to clearly express how I felt about this article concerning the “future of Recruiters.”

I know why she tweeted it.  She was equally disturbed by the fact that a blog could be written about a career she so passionately and firmly believes in and that the success of an entire profession which is built around people (and the relationships you develop with these people) can be thought to be replaced by technology.

So often you read, regardless of the position or industry, that eventually a company or a function will no longer be relevant because technology will replace it.  Don’t get me wrong; we here at People First Recruiting completely support and embrace technology – in fact I love it and would like to have more of it.  What was shocking to me about this article is how recruiting can be boiled down to “3 critical ingredients” - sourcing, screening and verifying.

Boy, if only it were that simple. 

Any recruiter, one paid by a company like us here at People First Recruiting or one who works internally for a company, knows that recruiting is just not that simple – an industry focused on people never is. 

What’s interesting about this article is that it refers to technologies that only cover a small piece of the world of recruiting.  Recruiting isn’t just about finding 'key words' that match a job profile – it is about finding the right person for the role.  Sure, technology can run 24/7 - sweeping LinkedIn and/or the online world to hone in on the right keywords – but can technology then call that person up? Talk to them? Get a sense of whether or not they are truly happy doing what they are doing?   Analyze the actual fit between employer and employee, culture and personality?  Needs versus desires?

While we do embrace technology and look at technology as a partner in our business to help round out our skills, we still ensure we invest in our people.  An example is adding and training people to join our Talent Discovery Group; individuals who everyday utilize research techniques, social channels, and networks.  They turn to their existing relationships to reach out and engage with potential candidates to inform them of some of the incredible opportunities we have with Canadian businesses. 

When our clients come to us they need 3 things:

  • find me the best candidate
  • within a reasonable amount of time
  • for a fair fee

Never do they ask what specific technological tools we used to find that person.  Instead they ask us how we will go about our search.  Where will we focus?  Have we filled a position like this before?  Do we understand the role we are filling on their behalf?  Once they are satisfied we then use a proven methodology and approach to finding them candidates.  The next questions our clients ask us are: What is our screening process?  Do we know how to interview for these roles?  How do we assess candidates?  And so on.

The point I am trying to make is that leaders of companies are not looking for a person to just fill a role, they want the whole package.  They want to partner with experts who use the best processes to find the right candidates; experts with the strongest experience and knowledge to assess the fit and qualifications of candidates.  Companies want to be assured that the person we find for them will be that right fit so that they can retain that individual and remain free to focus on their business.

If you are a Recruiter right now and you believe your job is to simply source, screen and verify then you are missing out on what is the most fulfilling and rewarding part of your job as a Recruiter.  We have the privilege of meeting new people who are making important career decisions every day.  We get to learn about great companies and meet great leaders and then we get to bring the two of them together in what is hopefully a perfect match.  That cohesion is what gets us excited around here.

In an industry that is all about people, technology can never be, and will never be an aspect that will replace the human touch.

recruiting and the human touch


If you haven't figured it out, I am pretty passionate about recruiting, as is the team that I work with.  Because we love what we do and because we are growing - we are looking for more Recruiters to join our team here in Winnipeg.  Never considered recruiting before?  Take a look at our 10 Reasons You May be a Recruiter...and not even know it.  If you identify with these 10 reasons...drop us a line.

~Karin Pooley


Topics: relationship, candidate fit, people first recruiting, recruiter, employer, recruitment, Winnipeg, team, Recruiting, business, candidate

One more look at recruiting fees - Exclusive and Retained

Posted by Karin Pooley on Fri, Sep 21, 2012

I previously wrote a blog on The Pros and Cons of Contingency Recruitment and even though we are an exclusivity recruitment firm, I know many companies do prefer to work with multiple recruitment firms. The purpose of that post was to show the benefits and potential challenges of contingency recruitment from my perspective.

I am going to conclude, for now, my posts on fees by shedding some light on exclusive, retained and retingent fees or as some call it, container fees.  Personally I don't care for the words container or retingent.  Here at People First we just call them engagement fees.

Why a recruiter promotes one fee contract over another is normally based on the complexity of the search and risk management.  We ask ourselves the following questions: 

Complexity of the recruitment:

    • Is the role executive or a hard to find, scarce skill set?
    • Is it a local, national or international search?
    • Is the role in a specialized industry?
    • Will the search process need to be changed or expanded due to the nature of the role? 

Risk Management:

    • Has this position been vacant for a long time?
    • Could there be challenges identifying candidates because of the total compensation?
    • Is the scope of the role so narrow that it may take much longer to bring the search to a successful conclusion?
    • What is the perception of the company in the marketplace?

As I attempt to provide definitions behind the exclusive and engagement fee options please keep in mind that every recruitment firm will structure them differently.

Exclusive Contingent:

    • Typically this contract is promoted when the search is more junior in nature and the role can be filled locally.
    • The company agrees to work with the recruiter exclusively and will not hire others.
    • The company can continue to search for a candidate on their own and hire their candidate if preferred.
    • Fees are charged only if the company hires the recruiter’s candidate.

Engagement and Retained Fees:

  • These fees are almost always for executive level, professional and complex recruitments.  Essentially, recruitments that are potentially longer in duration due to the complexity.
  • The fees are structured in installments with an installment being billed immediately upon starting the recruitment.
  • The installments continue in stages either a) at the end of the recruitment or b) two additional installments during the recruitment.

There are of course many points to be considered when it comes to recruitment fees, these are only a few examples. In the end the recruiter must be completely confident they can fill the position and the company must trust that the recruiter has the experience and capabilities to find the best candidate.  It's always in your best interest to ask questions surrounding recruiting fees.

the different types of recruiting fees

Topics: people first recruiting, recruitment fees, exclusive contingent, risk management, container fees, recruitment, business, contingent, retained

Pros and Cons of Contingency Recruitment

Posted by Karin Pooley on Thu, May 31, 2012

Truth to be told, we are not a contingency recruiting firm so this will be one of the more difficult blogs for me to write.  However prior to joining People First I spent over 15 years as Branch Manager of a few national contingency recruiting firms and I was once a big believer of the model.

With contingency recruitment you are not required to pay a recruiter a placement fee until you have selected your ideal candidate – “payment is contingent upon hire of candidate”.  The other key differentiator with contingency verses retained (which I will discuss in a later blog) is that you are not working with the recruitment firm exclusively.  You can continue to search on your own and work with multiple firms if you so choose.

Here are my views of the pros and cons:

  • You don't pay fees unless the recruiter refers you a hireable candidate
  • You can still recruit for the position on your own
  • The recruitment can be cancelled at anytime with no fees charged
  • You can work with as many recruiting firms as you choose
  • You could receive a lot of resumes - fast
  • You should have a lot of candidates to interview
  • You may be able to negotiate fees
  • You will generally hire a candidate that is available to you quickly but they may not necessarily be the right 'fit', resulting in turnover
  • The chance for disputes is higher since the placement will be awarded to the recruiting firm that presents the resume first – determining “who got there first” can be very awkward
  • Because of the "who got there first" point, a thorough and targeted search specific to your company and the role is rarely, if ever, performed
  • You could face some potentially embarrassing candidate situations if the candidates are working with multiple recruiting firms
  • Managing the communication and referral processes of one, two or even more recruiting firms can be challenging
  • It takes much longer to bring the recruitment to a successful conclusion

Earlier I wrote that I was a big believer in the contingency fee model. Why?  Because once upon a time I felt that a Recruiter does not add value until the right candidate is found.  I don’t believe that any longer.  My belief now is that finding the right candidate is the end result of a strong, mutually rewarding partnership and, the value we provide the client and candidate leading up to the hire. 

Topics: recruitment, Recruiting, candidate, fees, contingent, retained, contingency