EDITOR’S NOTE: Learn more about the people behind recruitAbility. We’re profiling each of our employees to shed light on their career paths, what they do in their free time, lessons they’ve learned, and much more. View all profiles here.
We’re wrapping up our employee Q&A series with Nad Elias, CEO of recruitAbility. A proud UT alum, Nad has spent his entire career in the recruiting industry, and he founded recruitAbility in 2017 to address an unmet need in the market.
In his spare time, he enjoys spending time with his kids and family, following UT football and the Dallas Mavericks, and serving as a regional board member for the Entrepreneurs Organization and Big Brother Big Sisters of Central Texas.
Explain what led you to start recruitAbility?
I’ve been in the recruitment and staff augmentation world for 20 years and scaled several companies. During that time, I began asking CEO’s and hiring managers what they liked least about recruiting firms, and also what they liked best. What they liked least was a much longer list, and that was unsettling to me considering how passionate I am about what we do.
The most common feedback was that recruiters are focused only on the placement and not the relationship. Once the hire was made, most said that their recruiting partner just went away while keeping their fingers crossed hoping that the hire makes it through the guarantee period.
There was no accountability after the hire, and we started recruitAbility with a mission to change that. That’s why we offer a 1-year guarantee and retention analytics to make sure the talent we connect our clients with become long-term players in the organization.
What has been the biggest learning experience of running your own business?
Fail all the time. If you’re not failing, you’re not trying hard enough. I’m always looking for new ways to fail because it means we’re pushing ourselves to be the best.
If you didn’t work in recruiting, which industry would you choose?
I would be a Lifeguard and camp counselor at a summer camp. You get to be social, have fun, work with kids, and be outside. I often joke with people that ask me that, because I have such fond memories of that time, and it’s one of the most enjoyable jobs I’ve ever had.
My other love was to be a sports agent representing professional athletes since I wasn’t good enough to be one. I actually applied to law school and thought about going before I got a job as a recruiter.
What’s the most gratifying part of your job?
We change people’s lives with every connection we make. There’s a true purpose in what we do. Careers rank in the Top 3 of nearly everyone’s list of life priorities, and we get to help people with that priority every day.
Gratitude is the best compliment we can receive. When a candidate thanks us because we found them a job in their hometown so they can be closer to their mom who has stage 4 cancer – or when a CIO calls us and tells us that the team we put in place changed the trajectory of the organization and was a main catalyst in their series C funding round – it’s those stories that keep us driven to do what we do.
What are the biggest challenges that companies face in terms of attracting talent?
The challenge over the past couple of years has simply been a shortage of talent to fill the jobs that our economy created. It’s a simple math problem; the baby boomers created the largest economy our country has ever seen. Gen X followed and kept it going, and now the millennials are leading the way. But there’s not enough people to do the jobs that have been created. That’s where efficiency becomes important. We’re now creating opportunities for innovation and automation, where one person can now do the job of 2-3 people.
The current climate (COVID and post-COVID) has put talent on the streets. The challenge that companies are going to face is making sure the A talent gets through the B and C talent that is flooding the market. It’s harder to screen now because the market has become saturated. It also will become harder to get someone to leave what they perceive to be a stable job for a new one. People are naturally going to be more hesitant to change, and we’ll need to overcome that.
What’s the most common mistake you see companies make in the hiring process?
They make the wrong hire because they move too fast and just react from a job posting instead of using all the resources out there. Companies need to be proactive instead of reactive when it comes to hiring. Be on the lookout for talent all the time, not just when you absolutely need it.
Where do candidates trip up most frequently in the interview process?
Lack of preparation is what we see the most. Do your homework on who you’re meeting with, and there’s no such thing as being overprepared. Every interview is important, so be ready. And ask plenty of substantive questions. Don’t ask about salary and benefits in a first interview. Rather, focus on questions about the role itself. It shows you’re interested.
For someone who wants to begin a career in recruiting, what’s your best advice? What are the most important skills required to be successful?
The most important skill is servant leadership. You need to act with an intent to serve with every action you take. Another important skill is a natural willingness to listen and respond. We’re mostly extroverts and relish interactions and developing relationships every chance we get. The last skill is having that competitive edge; you need to relish competition and winning.
The best advice I can give to someone wanting to begin a career in recruiting is to seek out and find the ones that are doing it right. Set up meetings with them; the good ones will gladly meet with you. There’s so many that do it the wrong way, so you want to be sure to be part of a team that does it right and puts service above all.
What’s your favorite place to order delivery in Austin?
We love Thai food. Madam Mam’s is a home favorite, and my new favorite pizza is Jet’s in South Austin.
What’s the No. 1 thing you can’t wait to get back to post-quarantine?
Eating out with friends. Friendships fuel me, and I’m just about done with Zoom meetings.
Any hidden talents?
I’ve got a natural chip on my shoulder that nothing is ever good enough. That fuels me in everything I do. I hate losing, and I play to win in everything I do. So winning at any sport or game I play is a hidden talent that I don’t always succeed in, but I love to play. At 43, I still play team sports – flag football and basketball. I also enjoy individual sports such as tennis, swimming, and golf. Like I said, I don’t win as much as I’d like to, but I always play!
Describe a recruitAbility tailgate at UT games, and how can people get invited?
recruitAbility has a tailgate right outside Texas Memorial Stadium with a full bar and BBQ for every game. It’s an opportunity for friends of the firm to come together and just have fun. To get invited, just reach out to one of us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We love to make new friends!