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KM Q&A Featuring: Erin Dean, Talent Executive


We rolled a chair over to Erin’s desk at KellyMitchell’s headquarters in St. Louis to ask our superstar recruiter a few questions! You say big heart; we say, Erin Dean! Celebrating 20 years in IT Staffing, Erin has next-level industry insight. We’re sharing just a bit of the wealth of knowledge and expertise Erin brings to KellyMitchell and the staffing industry for those who aren’t fortunate enough to experience her contagious, positive presence every day!

Can you identify major shifts in the technical recruiting process over the past 20 years?

Erin shares that “One of the major, more obvious shifts recently has been the expansion of virtual work capabilities. This may seem like old news by now, but in the grand scheme of the last 2 decades, it’s been a major shift in the staffing industry. It is incredible for many of our candidates to have the ability to work remotely, anywhere in the world and still be able to advance successfully in their careers.”

The virtual work environment has opened so many more doors for opportunities. When job seekers are able to consider remote positions, it becomes a whole new ball game for connecting the right talent to the right team!

Erin also shared that it has been interesting to observe the shifts in tech skills and trending technologies. For instance, even in coding languages, C# is sparingly used compared to 20 years ago, and Java and Python preferences have grown in popularity! So not only has the work environment shifted, but of course the tools and the languages within the tech realm have all evolved, allowing for lots of learning opportunities for all parties involved!

What has been your favorite industry change since you started?

“Automation!” In 2003 when Erin started her career in recruitment, technology was not a prevalent, driving force. She noted she was more familiar with picking up the phone and calling people through cold calls. Candidate data was obtained and stored very differently. “We used to fax resumes,” Erin notes. Faxing was a more effective measure to connect with individuals, as job boards like Indeed or Monster were then newly founded and still gaining popularity within the industry.

As more automated technology continued to make its way into the industry, the day-to-day office environments looked quite a bit different as well. In IT Staffing, the ability to use automated technologies allows us to match more people with the right jobs, faster. We also can access candidates through a number of vehicles — our website and social media, to name just a couple. Erin shared that with the giant shift from in-person to virtual, she has loved getting to meet people from everywhere. Given the “people person” Erin is, she does occasionally miss the level of face-to-face interaction — one of her favorite aspects about “the early days.”

What do you find most rewarding about being in the IT Staffing Industry?

“Making connections is the most rewarding aspect of working in the IT staffing industry!” says Erin. The people she meets and the relationships she forms fuel her daily drive. After so many years in the industry, IT staffing has become a part of Erin’s identity, and she loves that in a way, she has the opportunity to serve as a counselor for many. She builds relationships with people, listens to their needs, and then connects them with an opportunity that ultimately fits. “For me, it’s therapeutic. I can see the positive difference connecting people with new opportunities provides.” Erin shares. She works tirelessly to transform her candidates' lives, and they [although often unknowingly] do the same for her.

With 20 years in the industry and the passion Erin holds for building connections, it comes as no surprise that many of her relationships have evolved into friendships over the years. Erin mentioned a story about a candidate referral that has become a close family friend and stays in contact regularly, sometimes simply to share a good laugh! The initial placement of this candidate developed into a valuable friendship and opened several opportunities for Erin to build more connections in the candidate’s region. Creating reciprocal relationships is where Erin has found tremendous reward in this industry.

If you could share any advice with new recruiters, starting out in the Staffing industry, what would you share with them?

Erin’s words of wisdom she shared are two-fold: “break out of your comfort zone” and “take it one day at a time.” It can be easy to get complacent and rely on technology, but based on her experience, she believes the best interaction still comes through physically picking up the phone — connecting with individuals on a human level. It creates a personal touch. Having a conversation with someone differentiates you from a faceless email message.

Erin has been through many of the hiring highs and the lows of more challenging times. Whether it’s feeling on top of the world with a new hiring opportunity, or amidst a dreadful hiring freeze, Erin commented, “It’s my job as a recruiter to help candidates navigate the chaos.”

She shared a recent comment from a candidate that fully resonated with her: “You do important work, Erin.” Erin reminds herself of this comment often — It’s a humbling career to be able to guide job seekers through challenging times, and to be a mentor, a sounding board, a listener, or a cheerleader, depending on what they need most. “As a technical recruiter, that is my job! I love being a cheerleader for talent.”

Because you’re celebrating an astonishing 20 years at KM this month, we have to ask: What is your favorite thing about KellyMitchell specifically?

You may have guessed it — Erin’s response: friendship! The relationships she has formed inside and outside of the HQ walls are her favorite thing about working at KellyMitchell. The KellyMitchell team and many of her placements truly feel like family. Erin comments “I feel blessed heading into work each day. KM allows me to be a change agent for good, and I can literally see the impact made by connecting with people and filling one role at a time.”

Her golden heart remains steadfast and focused on the human connections she makes — daily building trust with her talent and in the community.

What do you look forward to every day?

When we asked Erin this last question, her answer spoke so true to her character. Erin shared that she enjoys getting dressed and putting her heels on every day – prepping herself for a great day! “I look forward to seeing what the day will bring and making an impact on people’s lives in a positive way.” She makes connections wherever she goes, whether it’s chatting with the barista at Starbucks or talking with the employees at the local grocery store. She looks forward to making people smile, and she most definitely does!

Thank you, Erin, for all of your dedication and hard work for the past 20 years at KellyMitchell and for leading by example! We can’t wait to see what the future holds for you at KM and in this industry. There are sure to be many more celebratory “high kicks” along the way!

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