Think back to a few months ago when you read through James Bakers’ post about the tough decisions of making that first hire for the Keynote team. Let me introduce myself, I’m that first hire – Meghan and its time for an update!
Time certainly flies when you’re having fun; I very likely should have provided this update and introduction much sooner! It was very clear in my first conversations with Keynote Group that they were putting a lot of pressure on themselves to get this hire right. They were meticulous. Following their own stringent processes of screening and evaluation. Not only did this show me, as a potential hire, that they were serious, but it gave me some insight as to what I could expect down the line.
There were talks of the business, where they came from, where they were going and the journey they were on. We talked about passions, about why we all do what we do, about the long term goal and about the methods that Keynote had been built on. There were questions that got me excited and some that turned me into a nervous high schooler attending my first interview again. You would think that after ten years in recruiting and staffing I would be an interviewing wiz by now!?
Take a moment and consider that incredible feeling you get when you step foot into that perfect new house – you know deep-down it is right, for you. That excited, warm feeling you get when you see someone you haven’t seen in years, but yet within seconds, it feels like you both haven’t skipped a beat. This was what Keynote was for me, it felt like home from day one. It was something I had this innate need to do. I felt compelled be a part of the bigger picture, the journey, the Keynote family.
Leaving The Comfort of a Large Staffing Firm
As exciting as our first conversations were, as perfect as our match was, it wasn’t an easy decision. While keynote was racking their brains over making sure I was the right pick, reality was slapping me in the face. Risk. Finances. Life. With ten years in staffing and recruitment, I had set myself up with a decent guaranteed base salary and performance based rewards. It was safe and fairly consistent. I had a family to think about, daycare for my three-year-old, food to put on the table and coincidentally a brand new home to make sure I could pay for!
I had worked hard for everything I had achieved in my ten years in this industry and I was considering putting all of that, and the security that came along with it, on the line. Evaluating if the risk of walking into a family-owned start up was it worth it? I had hit that point in my career where I wanted the next step. I wanted potential, value, to be apart of something more and most importantly I wanted to do what I loved to do, for the right reasons. In the next two weeks I spent endless hours repeating the “risk for reward” mantra to myself. As an owner of a small business, I already believed that you risk more by not taking the leap of faith, but in addition to that, I knew my reasons we’re right, and I knew that Keynote was dedicated to doing this the best way possible. We both had the right intention and a heck of a lot of goals that we wanted to achieve together.
The day I signed the dotted line, James Baker, CEO of Keynote, had sent me a message…”Welcome to the last job you’ll ever have!” The genuine excitement was contagious. I instantly became one of the crazy Keynote people; taking selfies with KG hats and sweaters on, using hashtags that none of my friends understood (like #rocktheKG). I won’t deny that the day I received all of my swag was like Christmas morning. I even bought orange Post-it’s to match our Orange and Black color scheme.
The Right Fit
So why did it work? What made it right for both Keynote Group, and myself? Keynote’s expectations were high. They wanted to change the way recruitment firms worked. It’s easy to appreciate that asking someone to have the same love and passion for your own business is a tough thing to do. Is it fair to ask that of someone? The truth is, one thing that has remained the same since my very first conversation with the team was that I never wanted just the success. In a very cliché conversation with two of the partners one day I admitted that I didn’t just want the ups. The entrepreneur in me wanted every aspect of this business journey. I wanted the really crappy days so that I could also appreciate the really good ones. I wanted to be stuck in the trenches with these people, and I was willing to risk a lot to be there.
The level of respect and admiration I had for the people I was joining was beyond that of anything I had experienced in the corporate world. I could see their passion, their hard work, the fire in their eyes and the determination in their hearts. I knew, from previous experiences, that if there was anyone in this industry who I wanted to work for and with, that it was James. I also knew that when Donna told me that the transition from a very corporate setting to an innovative and family run business was going to be tough, it was because she had been there herself and because she was genuinely willing to do everything she could to see me through it. I wanted to succeed for myself, of course, but my will to succeed for them was just as strong. There was no way I was willing to let them down.
I bought in, I have drunk the Kool-Aid! The concepts, the values, the methods of the business – I was hooked, I love the model. I wanted to scream it from rooftops. In addition to my love for their approach, they made it their mission to make me, and my family, part of their family. Without consciously thinking it through, I started using words like “our”, “us” and “we” instead of Keynote, and they.
There have been moments of clarity along the way, moments of small celebration, simple moments of affirmation that this was the best decision of my career. Some days are absolute chaos; 12 to 14 hour workdays, back to back interviewing, sourcing and screening until my brain can’t put the words on my screen together any more. But with all this said, I have never had as much fun working as I do now. I have never been more proud to be a part of a company than I am to be with Keynote Group. I am apart of a team that has more passion than I could ever put into words and all the right reasons for doing what we do for our clients.
Someone recently asked me why I hadn’t made the decision to start my own recruiting boutique, rather than working for Keynote Group. My answer surprised even me, when I was quick to say “When you would rather work for a company you love, and for people you respect, more than you’d rather work for yourself, you know you’ve made the right decision!”
Here is to all that is still ahead in our journey together; we can’t wait to share it with you.