We recently connected with Tiffany Becerra and have shared our conversation below.
Tiffany , thanks for taking the time to share your stories with us today What do you think Corporate America gets wrong in your industry? Any stories or anecdotes that illustrate why this matters?
In my entire career, I’ve spent less than two years recruiting in Corporate America. As the owner of a few recruiting businesses, less than 2% of the clients I’ve had the amazing opportunity to work with have been Corporate America companies. (For the sake of my fingers, I’ll refer sometimes to Corporate America as C.A.).
Why have I chosen to stay away from C.A.? I feel it comes down to this easy example: when you enter Corporate America it’s like entering the game in the 7th inning. Unless you’re in an Executive position, it’s too late IMO.
I saw this firsthand at the first C.A. company I worked for. I have nothing but great things to say about them as two of the VPs helped launch my career into Talent Acquisition/Recruiting, but, the problem I came to have was that through my weekly recruiting meetings with the President, VPs, board members or whoever, there was eventually one harsh reality I couldn’t continue to ignore: EVERYONE was replaceable – even me. And that unmotivated me to try and work harder but even worse, made me feel lost and eventually made me mad. And that wasn’t productive for anyone.
We were a $1 billion dollar company ran by a fierce female CEO who had worked her way up from the accounting department to being one of the most powerful CEOs I had never met in healthcare and two years into that position it just hit me really hard – I wanted to be just like her someday.
When I re-evaluated my small time career there, I became eager to shoot for the stars. I took action and through a friend, found my first dream job. It was with a $10MM (at the time) investment real estate firm ran by one of the brightest minds in real estate, (who to this day eight years later is still a great friend and mentor), helping him redesign his recruiting strategies and build a recruiting department from the ground up. It was exciting but also very challenging and that was everything I had hoped it would be.
2 years, 300+ real estate agents, and 14 national recruiters later, I co-founded Net Gold and Tiffany Becerra Executive Headhunting, and I’ve been IN LOVE with my job/career ever since.
So long story long, what do I think Corporate America gets wrong? Nothing if you don’t care that you’re just another number or you have no desire to climb the corporate ladder any time you succeed. It does, however, get everything wrong for someone like me who knows what they want and doesn’t like being “late to the game.”
Great, appreciate you sharing that with us. Before we ask you to share more of your insights, can you take a moment to introduce yourself and how you got to where you are today to our readers?
For folks who may not have read about you before, can you please tell our readers about yourself, how you got into your industry / business / discipline / craft etc,
No one wakes up and says “I want to be a recruiter when I grow up.” It’s just something majority of people fall into and that’s exactly what happened to me. I had just graduated college a couple of years prior with a degree in Fine Arts. I had been raised by a strong single mother who worked three jobs while I was growing up just to make ends meet so the thought of moving to New York or Los Angeles and being poor all over again trying to make it big in acting caused extreme anxiety. I decided to uproot my life and move to the beautiful city of Dallas, Texas in pursuit of the American dream – being my own boss someday.
I realized halfway through my career that building someone else’s dream is a lot less risky but the rewards sucked. I saw a fraction of what my income could be and after a life changing trip to Southeast Asia, I realized that the world really is your oyster, as the song goes. So 30 days after that trip, I went to lunch with my boss/good friend and told him I needed to spread my wings and fly into entrepreneurship or I’d never forgive myself. He graciously told me he’d be a hypocrite if he didn’t support my entrepreneurial ambitions and 90 days later, I had my first client and was off to the races.
One thing I know for certain sets me apart from my competitors is I don’t have a database I pull candidates from. For anyone who’s familiar with my story probably thinks I’m a broken record because they’ve heard me say that a million times, but it’s been a successful tactic. I used to hear the word “headhunter” a lot early on in my career but never knew what it meant until I started my own company. Making 100+ cold calls a day to doctors from a old outdated database was what I was taught to do but it always felt so unproductive.
I decided my business model would be different and instead of calling the same people over and over, I turned to LinkedIn where I utilized my large network and sought after people who were trained and employed by my client’s competitors and that’s where I learned how to become a more strategic and innovative recruiter/headhunter.
I’ve learned that in taking the time to reach out to someone on a personal level, on both the client and candidate side, ensures a lot less work for a lot more money for everyone involved.
How did you put together the initial capital you needed to start your business?
This is a story I never get to tell but the initial capital for co-founding my first company, Net Gold, was $300, which was the cost of filing for an LLC in Texas.
We spent the first two years being extremely lean, and I taught myself how to reach out to C-suite Executives via LinkedIn and ask for their business, how to successfully recruit passive candidates, how to market ourselves and position us to be different from our competitors, how to negotiate contracts, and above all, how to stand up for myself as a female CEO in a world dominated by 99.9% men.
Keep in mind I’ve never had a tangible product I could sell – just me and my word (no comma) so securing funding was never in my vocabulary. I never brought on any investors either because there was never a need. I was continuing to prove myself time and time again to more and more clients. I believe in building a solid foundation with my clients in the very beginning and always making sure I have a firm understanding of all of their wants and needs. It’s a strategy that has yet to fail.
Any insights you can share with us about how you built up your social media presence?
You just have to find your niche and what you’re passionate about. From there, start creating amazing and insightful content for your followers and you’ll see that over time, if you remember your ABCCs, Always Be Consistently Creating, you’ll start seeing your hard work pay off and social media will become easier and more fun. I think it’s safe to say that us as humans naturally gravitate to people, places, or things that are different than we are so my best advice for aspiring entrepreneurs who want to grow their social media following is GO FOR IT! And don’t forget to stand out and be bold. “Fortune favors the bold.” Or so I’ve been told.