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How I Became A Headhunter, Part 1

I have been getting some inquiries the past few weeks from visitors to the blog wondering how anyone, in this case me, becomes a Headhunter.

One thing about me, I have a belief in telling it the way it is. For better or for worse.

I graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1995 with a degree in International Relations. I had interned for Congressman Jim Ramstad (R-MN 3rd) in college and had thought about going to work for someone full-time. The problem is that I was then and am now today a middle of the road kind of person. I know, I know, I have heard it a million times. The only thing in the middle of the road is a white line and road kill.

It was that kind of mentality that pushed me away. I thought politics was becoming more about the game, being able to one-up the opponent, and less about serving constituents and making the country a better place.

I bartended my way through college and when I graduated was working for Planet Hollywood at the Mall of America. I started shortly after the Grand Opening so I had missed the “really cool people”. I did meet many sports stars as I worked the event; I have forgotten the name, when Kirby Puckett had his pool tournament. Worked the retirement event for Kent Hrbek.

“Movie Stars” did come there frequently to promo their movies while in town so while slinging drinks I would get a glimpse and the occasional handshake. Frankly, I think the whole movie industry is nothing more than a PR scam.

The Olympics were going to be in Atlanta and Planet Hollywood was opening a restaurant there. My boss was transferring to Atlanta and asked if I wanted to transfer there. I thought about and said yes. Within a few weeks of his arrival there I heard things were not going well with the opening and he was not sure that it was worth it for me to make the move knowing the hospitality industry was not a long term play for me.

I called a very good friend of mine, a fraternity brother, and asked if his company was hiring. It was Enterprise Rent A Car. For as unglamorous as it was to rent cars during that winter I loved the people. The company was growing and there were many opportunities to help grow sales.

I did that for about a year but found that working for a big company was hard, for me, as there was a rule for everything and a predetermined way to grow a business.

For the next two years I did a couple of odd sales jobs while trying to figure out what I wanted to with my life.

In October of 1997 I answered an ad for a search firm looking to train people with no experience to become a “Headhunter”. I figured I knew a lot of people, really liked people in general, and they were talking about 6 figure potential income. Hell, I could learn whatever they wanted to teach me for that kind of cash. So the beginning of November 1997 I started to work as a Headhunter.

Tomorrow in Part 2 I will talk about the “training” I received and how working at this particular firm changed me as a person.


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