She mines resumes for A-list job candidates - SanTan Sun News SanTan Sun News

She mines resumes for A-list job candidates

October 1st, 2021 development
She mines resumes for A-list job candidates

By Paul Maryniak, Executive Editor

Record millions of people are leaving their jobs across the country and around the world, some citing burnout and others searching for new opportunities or a change in career.

Sarah Johns not only is one of those people – she’s looking for people who are looking to make the leap.

And if they’re not looking, part of Johns’ job involves trying to lure them to her client’s workplace – especially if they’ve exhibited the kind of A-list talent any employer would like to have.

Johns is a recruiter, who, with her husband Matt, owns the Chandler-Ahwatukee-Tempe franchise of Patrice & Associates, the largest hospitality and retail executive search firm in North America and, at 25 years, one of the oldest.

While Matt continues in his job as an engineering manager, Sarah left hers and started their business in August.

For 15 previous years, the mother of two had been in supply chain management – a job that she agrees hardly prepared her for her new gig.

“It is a bit of a career switch,” said Johns, who underwent extensive training her for the world of recruitment.

In many ways, she probably couldn’t have picked a better time – or a more promising career opportunity – judging by recent research on a phenomenon dubbed “The Great Resignation.”

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that in June alone, the number of job leavers increased by 164,000 to 942,000 in June. Some are calling this period of the pandemic “The Great Resignation” as more and more workers leave their jobs to either pursue new careers or focus on more personal time.

The job site surveyed the landscape and found 95 percent of workers are thinking of quitting their jobs. Two-thirds felt there were job opportunities awaiting them and 92 percent were considering switching careers.

Johns can sympathize with those respondents.

“To be honest,” she explained, “I was looking for an opportunity that better suited our family as a working mom. I wanted some more flexibility and control of my future and schedule and I was looking to find a career that helped me to help other people. I was feeling ready to make a change.”

While it boasts of its record in the hospitality and retail industries, Johns’ company points to a broad array of clients looking for management-level people.

Its website lists nationwide and local restaurants, hotels, retail and grocery chains, assisted living facilities, hospitals, airport concourse outlets, spas, catering and wedding venues, casinos, companies that hire sales and customer service representatives – to name a few.

“We have a background in hospitality,” Johns said. “We are the largest hospitality recruiter in North America. However, we recruit for any industry. And we recruit management level and above both for hospitality and for other industries, because I see we do.”

In her early months in her new work, Johns’ biggest challenges have been those of  both small business owner and career changer.

While she said “the biggest challenge so far has been a few things as a first-time, small business owner – learning to manage the things that come up in a small business,” she concedes she also has had to master “learning the new field” and “learning how to apply my skills that I have to the recruiting work.”

Then there was the challenge of “getting familiar with the hospitality industry and getting up to speed with what is going on in the industry, how things are structured – that sort of thing.”

But her training and innate abilities have helped her overcome those challenges. “It took some time to feel comfortable but we’re ready to go now,” Johns said.

She was not terribly surprised when she discovered “some industries have a crying need for personnel.”

“I was maybe a little surprised at how great the need was, but also understood it, given what’s happened in the last year and a half.”

The hospitality industry, from restaurants of every size to hotels of every dimension, has been particularly ravaged by the pandemic.

Many have found that surviving shutdowns was easy compared to finding talent and dedication in every position, from waiting tables to running the show.

Johns said the restaurant industry has rebounded quickly “and we have many clients that are looking for anywhere from entry-level jobs to the management level positions.”

“Given what’s happened in the last year and a half, I think that companies are having to pivot again. They’re having to work hard to get people back into the workforce and maybe look at their company culture and make sure that they’re offering a great place to work… They have to be competitive to get good A+ candidates.”

Johns also can tap into her company’s database of some 500,000 job seekers and notes that it also has a unique system that, unlike many job websites, pays close attention to clients’ needs.

“We use multiple sources to do recruiting, but we really try to understand what it is they’re looking for first, what their need is and then we derive a plan to come up with the best opportunity to get them candidates quickly.”

That includes culling through applications – or sizing up someone who already has a job and figuring out if there’s a way to lure them to a client’s job vacancy.

“A lot of times recruiters are just maybe pulling resumes and just turning resumes over to a client. We go beyond that,” she said. “We research resumes. We have our own database. We have a screening process that we go through to make sure that we’re getting the best candidate. We do our own interviewing and reference checking before we present a candidate to a client.”

For job seekers, she said, “We also help coach candidates and help them with their resumes and help them pull out their accomplishments so that they are strong in their interviews.”

And both employers and job seekers “have a direct, dedicated account manager” so they  are getting personalized service.

Johns pointed out that her company already has an extensive national network that it can draw on to help find the right person for a client. Many times, it might simply involve finding someone willing and able to relocate to another part of the country.

“We utilize the network that we’ve built up over the last few decades,” she said, adding that on her website, there’s a link for restless people to upload their resume and a letter on what they’re looking for.

“I’m able to place candidates in jobs across the country,” Johns added. “Most of my client development will be here in Arizona, but we’re able to work with candidates in Arizona and in other places.”

As she goes along headhunting and placing, Johns also is already discovering the sense of satisfaction she wanted in a new career – one where she is giving back and growing personally.

“It’s really exciting to help people find jobs, help people find a career that helps improve their lives,” Johns said. “You’re also helping an employer in the community meet their needs. And so I feel like it’s a  win win.”

To reach Johns: or n