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On the Job: 10 Years in Recruiting

Summit Search Group

Matt Erhard

Managing Partner

Matt Erhard

Managing Partner

“I’ve always had an interest in a variety of different careers. Growing up I wanted to be everything from a garbage collector to a chef to a doctor!” Matt Erhard shares, reflecting on his chosen journey in recruiting. “As you engage with more and more clients, you learn a lot about the dynamics of other industries. Working in recruitment has given me the chance to develop in-depth industry knowledge of countless different types of jobs, which I find fascinating!”

As we look ahead to a year of possibilities, Matt takes a moment to look back. He sat down with us to unpack the intrigue, excitement, and unexpected lessons he’s gleaned over 10 years of working in recruitment at Summit Search Group – and offers his outlook on what’s ahead.

Recruiting: The Perfect Fit

Did Matt choose recruiting, or did recruiting choose him?

“Prior to working professionally in recruitment, I was already helping friends and colleagues with resumes – and even career strategies,” Matt begins. “It ended up being a natural fit for me.”

He also shares how much his experience on the other side of the table influenced his experience.

“I was actually connected with several recruiters before getting into the business. As a candidate, I was placed 3 times in my career, so I had the opportunity to experience the process of building a relationship with a recruiter who had my best interest in mind. In fact, Summit Search Group placed me in my first job out of University!”

Inspiring with Expertise

After 10 years, Matt’s had the chance to see the industry evolve and change with today’s workplace demands. He’s also embraced the opportunity to leverage this unique experience to directly inspire his clients.

“With years in the industry, you truly become a trusted advisor,” he explains. “Your clients look to you for expertise and insight. When you are just getting started, you don’t always have the kind of confidence or knowledge it takes to make strong recommendations.”

How has he built that trust? Matt points to mutual respect and making space to truly listen, whether it’s a client’s open role or a candidate’s career goals.

“Building industry experience gives you a unique ability to push your client to consider a candidate they may not have otherwise reviewed,” he adds. “From a client perspective, it’s always about truly understanding their business and culture. For candidates, it’s about listening to what they are looking for from their next opportunity. With every role, you have to remember that you are hiring a person, with a personality, with goals, and a life. You have to find a balance in their needs and each opportunity. When you commit to people and find out more about their needs, wants, and wishes, it’s often the difference between a successful placement and a lost opportunity.”

Trusting Your Instincts

The number one lesson Matt shares from his recruiting tenure is simple: trust yourself.

“We’re in the business of people,” he says. “You have to expect the unexpected, and be flexible. You may need to pivot on changing requirements for a position, or a candidate who suddenly changes their mind. You have to trust yourself in these situations, and respond with confidence to keep the ball moving forward.”

He also emphasizes that people are complex – and they may not always behave in the ways you’d think they should.

“In the end, you can spend all the time in the world with a candidate who says all the right things. They may even come with a track record of success. But you have to trust your gut instinct,” Matt points out. “If it is telling you something’s not quite right, believe it. More often than not, you are proven correct! Don’t take that job on, and don’t send that candidate forward, if something is telling you it’s a bad idea.”

Recruiting and What’s Ahead

Matt’s seen a lot of change since he started in recruitment, and 2023 is packed with the possibility of more. Technology is in the spotlight – but he warns us that shiny new software won’t be a fix-all for the future of hiring.

“Our industry is changing, fast. There are new tools, technology and Artifical Intelligence (AI) that make promises to find the right fit and the right person for your company,” Matt notes. “It’s powerful, but it’s not the whole story.”

He reminds us again that, at the end of the day, recruitment is the business of people – not programs.

“Candidate engagement and getting to know someone doesn’t happen through technology. Some of these tools are great: they help automate some of the more repetitive parts of our process, and can help us identify technical skills,” he elaborates. “But that’s not enough. At Summit Search Group, we’re especially lucky: our offices reach across the country, and across industries. Our team has unique, personal knowledge of different regions and careers. We have distinct relationships with our clients, and take care to communicate those nuances for every position. All of those details add up!”

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On the Job: 10 Years in Recruiting

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