Disruptors. They are the few and the fierce. In our series, Leading between the Lines, I have the opportunity, and the pleasure, of meeting with some of South Florida’s most dynamic female business leaders, ones who are disrupting their industry, approaching things in a new way, solving new problems, and effectively pushing the status quo into a new frontier. I want to learn about their journey, what it really takes, what they’re actually up against, and how it feels each step along the way. Meet Angela Rodriguez, Director of Staffing for Leeds Professional Resources.
Angela graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Broadcast Journalism from the University of Central Florida. She’s been in a sales-driven position ever since she graduated, starting out as a Sales Executive for the Miami Marlins and their new ballpark.
A chance encounter would change the trajectory of her career for good, transitioning her from sales into recruiting. With no industry experience, she embraced the unexpected opportunity and the learning curve. As it turns out, she quickly learned she was very good at recruiting.
Over the past decade, she’s built an impressive career in the professional services recruitment sector, and today serves as the Director of Staffing for Leeds Professional Resources, a boutique recruiting firm specializing in the areas of Finance and Accounting, Information Technology, Human Resources, Financial Services, Sales and Marketing within the South Florida job market.
Read my full interview with Angela to learn about the opportunities that can come from embracing something new, the importance of relationships and resilience, and the power of passion in achieving success.
Nicole: What motivated you to get into the recruiting industry? What led to the decision?
Angela: To be very honest, I stumbled into this industry. I knew I was good at sales and I enjoyed it, but I had no idea what recruiting was all about. I actually came into the office for an interview for another position. After only a short time talking to them they said, “No, you need to work with us, you would be very good at this.” My initial thought process was, “What do you mean work with you? Recruiting? I have no idea what you do exactly”.
Well, after many interviews and many hours, I was offered the job. At the time, I wanted something different. I like to be challenged and want to prove to myself that I can succeed in anything I put my mind to. This was something completely foreign to me, but I knew that in order to be successful in this type of role, it would require self-motivation, a personable disposition, and the ability to make people feel comfortable. And I knew that I was capable of all those things. Plus, the earning potential was certainly motivating as well.
I started the job with no recruiting knowledge, but with the openness to learn as I go; listening, observing, trying, failing and succeeding. I turned out to be very good at recruiting just by embracing the learning curve and making it my own.
Nicole: What has been your proudest achievement and why?
Angela: By far my proudest achievement is the growth we’ve achieved with Leeds Professional Resources, and being a meaningful part of that growth. It’s incredible to have seen how this company started and what it has grown into today. I am proud to have taken part in all phases of growth and witnessed what can be accomplished when you put in the hard work and take pride in what you do. We have surpassed all goals and expectations and for me, that has been my proudest achievement. Especially as someone who stumbled into the industry.
Nicole: What have been some of your failures and challenges along the way? What have you learned from them?
Angela: Failures and challenges are an everyday (and sometimes multiple times-a-day) occurrence in our industry. The day never ends the way you planned- some days may be so much worse than you anticipated, but some days can surprise you and be so much better than expected.
I have learned that I need to throw 100 balls in the air knowing that only about 10 will come down and stick. I have learned to manage my emotions and not get discouraged about all the things that didn’t work out. Instead, I focus on what I can do and continue to build my pipeline. I find new balls.
I think I have improved on how I deal with each situation and the people involved; knowing at the end of the day I tried my best for the client and the candidates, and that they know that too. The relationship and the experience is what matters. That is what encourages me at the end of the day, no matter what happens.
Nicole: What surprised you most on this journey?
Angela: How passionate I have become about what I do. I honestly never thought recruiting would be my long-term career, but it is, and I know everyone I interact with can see my passion. It might even be what sets me apart from others.
Nicole: What influences and inspires you?
Angela: Many things. My boss is amazing. I believe people don’t leave companies, they leave leadership. He has been a great leader for me over the years.
I am very inspired knowing that the work I do is helping someone gain a better career opportunity that could literally change their life. It’s incredible.
I’m also inspired by the earning potential in this industry- simply knowing that the more I do the more I can contribute and do for my family. It’s incredibly empowering.
Nicole: What scares you? What are you currently challenged with and how do you manage it?
Angela: The constant fluxes of the job market scare me every day. But I remind myself, all we can do is our best and focus on what we can control. I do my best to gain a deeper understanding of these changes, educate our clients and candidates about the state of market, and do my best to acclimate to it- meet today’s needs and expectations. Since the pandemic, we have been faced with so many factors that had never existed, but I feel we have done very well navigating through it, and that comforts me. It helps me overcome the fears of a radical job market.
Nicole: There are a lot of recruiting and staffing agencies. How is Leeds Professional Resources different from its competition?
Angela: We are unique in the way we approach staffing challenges and how we service clients experiencing them. We listen to what they really want, we pay attention. We don’t just send candidates to our clients because we feel that we have to; we send the ones that best align with both the skill sets required as well as the culture and environment. We strive for successful outcomes
And we do the same for our candidates. We try our best to match them with opportunities that connect with the factors that they tell us are most important to them. Those factors are different from person to person and we take the time to understand them. There are many staffing agencies out there, and they can choose any one of them, but candidates continue to come to us for a reason. We prioritize the long-term relationship. Relationship being the operative word. We build relationships with clients, with candidates, with people. We don’t execute transactions.
Nicole: What is the biggest mistake clients or candidates make when considering staffing services? What is a common misconception?
Angela: I always respect and view professionals as experts at what they do. As a successful recruiter, it is always difficult for me to explain to someone what I do for a living, but I am an expert in my profession. I don’t necessarily see “mistakes” but I do think some clients have a misunderstanding of the job market and sometimes, a misunderstanding of the value an expert like me can bring.
By talking to candidates all day long, we learn intricate details of salaries, the difficulties of finding contractors, and so many other job factors that they probably are not aware of, but we know this very well because this is what we do for a living, day-in-day-out. When clients don’t follow our guidance and input about these factors, the process or placement can be unsuccessful.
It’s a misconception that staffing agencies only care about making money from a client company without caring about the candidates they are sending or the final result of that placement. With me, as with my firm, it’s quite the contrary.
We will try our best until the very end to find the right fit. We can’t say we will always find you “the one”. We can’t always hit a home run, but we will always be able to say we did our best and that we delivered a good client experience.
Nicole: What advice can you give to clients or candidates who are currently considering staffing services right now?
Angela: I know there are companies out there that have had bad experiences using staffing agencies, but if you can find a really good one, one that takes the time to truly understand your needs and goals, one that takes a vested interest in successful placement outcomes, one that seeks to build a long term relationship with you, hold onto them. It can be one of the most valuable relationships for your organization.
At the same token, I know some candidates might have not had the best experience working with a staffing agency in the past, but again, we are not all the same. Seek out agencies that prioritize a relationship with you. We treat our candidates the way we would want to be treated during a career transition, with the utmost respect and professionalism, motivated to help you reach your goals throughout your career.
Nicole: What does the future of recruiting look like?
Angela: Busy, extremely busy. I don’t see our industry slowing down anytime soon. We have never been in more demand than we are right now. It’s great to be this busy but it also means we must add headcount to our team and it’s not so easy to find the right people. (We struggle with this challenge too!) However, we have excelled in the hardest of times and have continued to surpass all expectations, so I have no doubt we will continue to thrive.
Nicole: What are your goals currently? What is next on the horizon for you and your business/ for you personally and professionally?
Angela: Professionally, my goal is to raise the bar even higher than I did last year, than I have this year. Our horizon is limitless right now. I want to continue to make significant contributions to our company so we can continue to grow and expand, and be more successful each year.
Personally, I want to find new ways to better manage my time between work and family. I think it’s something that a lot of people can say they struggle with, but it’s definitely something I want to work on.
Nicole: What steps or advice would you give other professionals who want to be successful in the recruiting industry?
Angela: First and foremost, you need to have thick skin. You can’t get easily discouraged because you were expecting one outcome and ended up getting a completely different one. That is just the nature of our business. You have to build resilience.
In this industry, like many other sales related industries, you have to be hungry, fully self-motivated, and results oriented. I get an overpowering rush from the many rewards that come from my hard work, and that’s what propels me.
Above all else, whether this industry or another, you have to be passionate about what you do. You don’t necessarily need to love it everyday or expect it to be great every day, but you do have to love what you’re doing, because if you don’t, it will be apparent to everyone you speak with and work with. It’s very hard to achieve any success without passion.
Leeds Professional Resources is a boutique professional services recruiting firm that has strong knowledge of the South Florida job market. Our priority is client and candidate customer service. We want our clients to feel that they have received the best customer service experience from start to finish of the recruitment process.
Our team has extensive industry experience and have actually performed the responsibilities of many of the jobs for which they recruit. We have familiarity and expertise in the areas of Finance and Accounting, Information Technology, Human Resources, Financial Services, and Sales and Marketing.
Connect with Angela and our team!
LinkedIn: Angela Rodriguez | Leeds Professional Resources