In the marketing spotlight this week, we have Lorena Blonsky, owner of LMB Associates, a firm specializing in recruitment of information technology professionals.
She has owned the business for the last 20 years and recruits mostly in Chicago and the Midwest. Lorena started off our interview by telling me, “I love being a small business owner because of the flexibility it allows in my schedule and because I love what I do. I’m able to control the quality of the work that gets done. I am committed to quality work; I have a commitment to my clients, and they really appreciate and value that.”
(Some recruitment definitions for my readers: Clients are the companies LMB Associates represents, while Candidates are those seeking jobs with LMB Associates’ clients.)
Since LMB Associates is in its twenty-first year, I wanted to know what factors Lorena credits for her success. She was able to give a very forceful answer:
“Determination to succeed is critical and most important. There never was a question that I would succeed. Sometimes other people just give up. When I first started, someone told me that I would make a lot of money and make it very quickly. In actuality, it took me eight months to make my first dime, and it wasn’t so easy. To people on the outside, they only see the end success. But there is a lot of work that goes into creating something and making it successful.”
Lorena emphasizes that hard work and determination are crucial for any aspiring entrepreneurs:
“It’s a very important thing to know and understand before you start your own business that it is going to be challenging. I’m glad I went through this experience, although I wasn’t glad at the beginning, while I was going through the pains of starting up. The truth is the start-up time gives you an accurate, honest assessment of what you’re in for, and I think that’s very important.”
Lorena’s hard work continues, as the economic downturn has become the biggest challenge for LMB Associates. Lorena says, “It’s been a shrinking job market, and my business is very dependent on economic circumstances.” She adds that the economy has had other, indirect, influences on her business: “There’s been a lot of volatility in the market, such as clients downsizing, consolidating offices or moving technology responsibilities offshore. Understanding these market changes present challenges but can also present opportunity.”
There is another looming challenge for the recruitment industry: the Internet. Lorena isn’t worried about the challenge from Monster or HotJobs in the long run, because recruitment web sites aren’t necessarily saving companies time or money. Recruitment web sites offer a high volume of resumes, but they provide no quality control. She says, “Companies need more capable, human resources to put toward screening candidates when they choose that option. I offer more than bodies to fill a room or paper in the form of dozens of resumes. I work with each client organization to find the best match for their needs.”
Many companies find that using recruitment web sites can tarnish their reputations among job seekers, if they do not follow up with candidates. Lorena explains,
“Candidates often don’t get responses from the companies to whom they send their resumes. Companies should send a letter of thanks to a candidate who has sent his or her resume. It makes the companies look bad when they don’t respond. The way a person or organization treats people is very, very important. If you treat people poorly, they won’t want to work with you and that reputation will get into the marketplace. And if you treat people with respect, they never forget it.”
Treating people respectfully is key to LMB Associates’ business. Lorena’s marketing strategy is to treat people as individuals, learn about their needs and develop relationships with them. She says,
“Often recruiters are just looking for the next buck. I differentiate myself by treating people as people. I give people the respect they deserve. Candidates might not know how to write a résumé, so I give them my time, sample resumes, suggestions and support. Candidates can become demoralized while searching for a job. I pump people up to feel good about themselves, because they need to know that, even though the market may be tough, they bring value to the marketplace. It’s a big deal to give people a boost so that they can get out there and do what they have to do: find a new job.”
She uses a similar strategy for her client organizations:
“I listen to what my clients say they need, then I ask questions, based on the qualifications they seek, their insight and feedback. My clients have personnel issues that need to be addressed, certainly that they need to hire someone but also often beyond the job description. What my clients need from me is to maintain confidentiality, to understand their needs and to assess what types of candidates will fit into their organizations.”
From listening to Lorena, it is evident that she loves what she does: working with her clients and candidates. Before concluding the interview Lorena added,
“I like working in technology because it’s always changing and mind-expanding, and I like working with technology people, who are on the cutting edge of that change. I like having clients in a variety of industries; it makes work more interesting. I love working with candidates, who are all different kinds of people from all cultures, socioeconomic backgrounds, religions, and environments.”
To learn more about LMB Associates, view current job openings or contact Lorena, visit LMB Associates.
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