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On the Job: A Year in Recruiting

Summit Search Group

Cory Henkewich

Senior Recruitment Coordinator

Cory Henkewich

Senior Recruitment Coordinator

“I knew I wanted to support people, and make their lives at work feel great,” Cory Henkewich shares, looking back on his not-so-long-ago days as a student. “I also knew that I wanted to be passionate about what I was going to do with my career. HR felt right to me, and when I found the Summit Search Group team and learned more about recruiting, it all felt even more focused.

This is the best job in the world.”

For the vast community of students confronting their very last first semester, just a few short months remain between them and “what’s next?” For Cory, “what’s next?” was recruiting – and after just over a year, it’s been a whirlwind journey he’d recommend again and again.

We sat down with him to explore what it was like to make the first moves of his professional life, and chat through the lessons he’s continued to learn – even during this first fall season without the “back to school” buzz.

Racking Up Wins, On and Off Field

As temperatures dip and days get shorter, fall sports offer a burst of excitement before the coldest season takes center stage. For Cory, sports drive him daily – and it’s the passion that carried him straight into the heart of modern hiring.

“I love everything about teams. I love coaching, building teams, empowering teams. I majored in Human Resources in college, because it was a good connection for me and my passion for sports and teamwork. The tight-knit culture, positive environment, and drive to succeed translates straight from the athletic world to the way I approach my work,” he shares.

“When I’m coaching, from an athletic perspective, I’m here to put my athletes in a position to succeed and be happy. I want them to feel good, and to embrace a positive experience that lifts them up. Human Resources is built on the same idea, and recruiting even more so: we’re here to foster career aspirations, and help people achieve their goals. We pair people with great opportunities, and help them find positions where they can reach their aspirations. It’s any coach’s dream job.”

Growing into the Future

Of course, Cory’s recruiting work doesn’t just end with any single win.

“The coolest part of the process is to see people grow: we have this amazing opportunity to be a part of making serious, significant life decisions. It’s so exciting. We get to see huge transformations, and feel the impact of massive wins,” he says.

“There’s nothing more inspiring than to experience, first hand, how happy people are when they lock in that step they’ve been seeking in their careers. We see our candidates achieve huge things, see them land big jobs, see them rejuvenate their lives and careers: and we get to share all that joy.

Everyone is always searching for their next level of happiness. We’re here to help them make that happen, every time.”

Embracing the New Candidate Journey

Cory found himself in the midst of a brand new recruitment world as he, himself, took on the role of a new candidate when he joined Summit Search Group.

From a hiring process that happened entirely online to a digital day one with his new teammates, Cory experienced post-pandemic hiring firsthand.

“I tell my candidates that I got the new candidate experience, too: I was hired without ever meeting anyone in person. I can relate to their worries, and I understand what it’s like. It’s a new moment in hiring. It’s very different, and that’s okay: we’re all learning a lot, together. We’re living in a different world, but we’re still connecting, and still building relationships.”

Riding the Learning Curve

Cory credits Summit’s amazing mentors, leaders, and team-driven culture with getting him through the first steps of his journey.

“There are so many opportunities to learn, and they never stop. Most people are lucky to find one great mentor, and here, I have three. It’s amazing. My mentors are all incredibly different, and they’re all awesome. They’re so collaborative, and that spirit has helped me to learn so quickly. Hearing different voices on recruiting – or any topic – will always inform you: it’s solid guidance for building your own insight and finding the best way forward. Everyone here is unique, and it’s helped me learn more about myself, and my personal working style. I’m getting to understand what works for me.”

Cory’s quick to remind students that, no matter how well their final semesters go, there’s still a lot to learn.

“I never realized how steep of a learning curve I’d face: translating the work from textbook to real life is so different. The tools are different, and they’re changing fast. You’re learning the ins and outs of the industry, picking up best practices, figuring out the tools, and seeing how every part of professional recruitment works: and it’s all happening at once!”

Taking Chances, Empowering People

After just over a year of being immersed in recruiting, Cory shares the biggest lesson he’s learned on the job: take a chance on people.

“In Human Resources, in general, we can find ourselves focusing too much on screening people out of the process. We can get hung up on checking boxes, and forget about the person behind the paperwork. The best lesson I’ve learned is to commit to making a consistent attempt to screen people INTO the process. Look at their strengths: focus on where people shine, and where they’re outstanding, not on the list of client qualifications. You can’t just label people.”

He points out that this holistic, open-minded perspective informs his whole search process – and all for the better.

“Once I realized how much potential you could uncover by thinking outside of the box, even a little, it shifted my focus. I started to look for “fringe” candidates: I started to reach out to people for a project that I thought would be a good fit. Transferable skills, professional background, learning potential: today, my searches are about possibilities. They’re about finding a good fit, not making a match based on a list. People are so much more than a resume.

It’s so important to work to include people: everyone has skills, and sometimes it’s just about giving them the right opportunity to use them. Give great candidates an opportunity to sell themselves. Make a consistent effort.

Always keep your eyes open.”

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On the Job: A Year in Recruiting

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