In today's people behind the brand, the series where you get to know the Orbis team, we sat down with Aaron Edwards, Senior Consultant.
We chatted all about the highs and lows of recruitment, Aarons Engineering vs Product video series, ChatGPT and Orbis’ culture.
Let’s jump in.
Tell us about your journey to Recruitment?
I started in sales during college, which was a great experience for me. The most rewarding part was the friends that I was able to recruit into business and work with.
After graduating, I learned about tech recruitment, and actually cold-called the biggest tech recruiting firm in Nashville, and convinced my soon-to-be boss to hire me and that is coming on 10 years ago.
What's the best part of the job?
I would say two things. One, I love helping others.
It’s incredibly rewarding helping people find exciting career moves and helping clients build out the teams that help them grow and build new capabilities.
It’s an amazing feeling when you hear back from someone after they’ve started a new role saying “Hey, I love my job. Thank you so much”.
But then also, every day I'm learning. There are a lot of jobs where that's the case, but you know, in tech recruitment, you’re constantly learning and constantly talking to people who are working on new and exciting things.
What's the biggest challenge?
I mean, the same thing. You're constantly learning every day.
It's constantly changing but we work with people and as much as on paper someone can be the perfect fit and check all the boxes, at the end of the day, people can change their minds over something outside of your control.
I think that's the most frustrating part of the job and just something you have to get used to.
What is something that you wish you'd known at the start of your career?
I think what you have to learn to be successful is not to take things to heart or personally or get emotionally involved with the results.
I used to get so upset if the candidate wouldn't accept or refuse something. That's the biggest thing - as you mature in the business, you'll be able to separate your emotions from the results and not get too excited or too emotionally involved or emotionally attached until it's over the line.
You’ve been in recruitment for some years, what’s been your highest high and lowest low? Have you ever wanted to quit and if so, why did you stick with it?
An old boss told me that every recruiter has a hard day when you walk out of the building and decide if you’re going back in. I've certainly had those moments over the years but like I said before, it is incredibly rewarding.
I do love recruiting and my highest high, which is really hard to beat, is when you get a follow-up from a candidate that you've placed, especially if it's months or even a year after you've placed them, saying, “Hey, thank you so much, I love what I'm doing.” That’s an incredible, incredible feeling. It's kind of hard to describe.
My lowest lows have been when some great candidates that I've found haven't worked out for whatever reason. I've had roles where a candidate had accepted the offer, and then they said, “Oh wait, we want you to sit in Nashville instead of San Francisco” or something crazy like that.
And that's what's been the most frustrating when it's just not something you or the candidate can control and it's just something avoidable.
Recruiting takes perseverance and overcoming challenges and disappointments: The majority of people you reach out to don’t work with you and not every candidate gets the job, but hearing from candidates that you’ve placed in roles and how much they love their job is an incredible feeling.
You lead the conversation in Engineering vs Product which is a video series where you explore the Product landscape and cross-team challenges with Product and Engineering experts from across the industry. What was your inspiration for creating this series? And what should we expect for the next episode?
I'm fascinated with how tech teams work together to create unique products. You have to collaborate with people who see the challenge from a different perspective and often compromise to get the best result.
So they call it the software development lifecycle with a product development lifecycle and you have this very collaborative environment with engineers, design and product, which are three distinct skill sets, personalities and approaches to solving software challenges or building something.
So I started my career recruiting engineers who took on product management roles, and they took on design roles and what I learned was I got better at recruiting each position. I also recruited either cross-functional partners because you learn these different perspectives and a more holistic view of how they're building these apps that we use every day.
I love that cross-functional process and so many recruiters just stay in one narrow lane. I think for product development, especially the triangle of product, design and engineering, understanding those three different perspectives does help. Understanding where candidates need to fit in, what their strengths are, what they're doing every day, being able to sell roles appropriately or being able to work with them on what they're going to be doing.
As far as what we're gonna see from the next episode, we're gonna get a little bit more design focused. Talking more about design roles in that process, but then also, how some newer things like AI and chat GPT are being leveraged.
Not just the “AI is taking over” or spammy, spammy posts that everyone's doing, but I've heard some cool stories lately of how people are actually using chat GPT and some of these new tools and seeing some positive results. And so, exploring that a little bit more too.
What attracted you to Orbis and would you say there’s something unique about Orbis’ culture?
There definitely is.
So, I was in-house with a private equity-backed tech company for almost six years and wasn't planning on going back to the agency. I was looking to make a change and once I started talking to people at Orbis, I learned about the culture and you know, the bar here is so high and it's unlike any other agency that I've ever, ever seen.
From a client perspective, we work with and talk to clients and receive really exciting roles, and exciting challenges. We work with top-tier candidates on the market too so, that was a really exciting challenge for me - not just partnering with one team but being able to partner with many clients doing really interesting things at a strategic level and bringing in top talent.
I think Orbis does that, or says that differently than any other agency that I've seen. Yeah, that was what attracted me.
In another life, what do you think you'd be doing?
I'm probably playing music full-time.
I went to college thinking I was going to be a professional musician, I played the drums and I was on a jazz scholarship but in my third year, the best musician I had ever seen was in my town.
He was living out of a terrible van with his other bandmates making no money. And that was my like,” Oh, wow. I can't do this. I'm not as passionate about music full-time as those who do or make it.”