As the CEO & Founder of Atlanta-based Mission Recruit, Patricia Karam is the driving force introducing human design to corporate America.
With more than a decade of experience working with Fortune 500 companies nationwide, she launched Mission Recruit with the vision of delivering best-in-class services by combining the sophistication of a large recruiting company with the heart and personalization of a smaller staffing agency.
In 2021, Mission Recruit was named one of USPAACC-SE’s Top Ten Asian American Businesses in America. Patricia’s extensive background in the HR industry started with a corporate recruiting career with a global leader in the IT staffing industry before transitioning to national staffing, as well as positions in strategy and philanthropy.
Her strong entrepreneurial spirit is a result of her parents’ influence, immigrants from the Philippines, who taught her life’s most important lessons – and above all – the significance of giving back.
As such, a pillar of Mission Recruit’s philosophy is to provide active and positive support to women worldwide through its CSR initiatives, most notably survivors of domestic violence and sex trafficking.
What You’ll Learn In This Episode
- About Mission Recruit
- Life/work balance being a parent
- Hope to change the narrative when it comes to recruiting
Intro: [00:00:04] Broadcasting live from the Business RadioX Studios in Atlanta, Georgia, it’s time for GWBC Radio’s Open for Business. Now, here’s your host.
Lee Kantor: [00:00:18] Lee Kantor here. Another episode of GWBC Open for Business, and this is going to be a fun one. Today on the show, we have Patricia Karam and she is with Mission Recruit. Welcome, Patricia.
Patricia Karam: [00:00:30] Thank you so much. I’m so happy to be here.
Lee Kantor: [00:00:32] Well, I am excited to learn what you’re up to. Tell us a little bit about Mission Recruit. How are you serving folks?
Patricia Karam: [00:00:37] Yeah, of course. We have three primary pillars. Our first and foremost is Best in Class Recruiting Services for our midsized to Fortune 500 clients, and we specialize in I.T. and executive level positions. Secondly is our Mission to Give Back, so we give back to organizations, domestic violence and human trafficking. And third is to Keep the Human in H.R. Through Human Design, especially in these times where everyone is remote.
Lee Kantor: [00:01:07] Well, I love the fact that you kind of boldly and proudly go out there and say, mission is part of our name and mission is part of our DNA. Can you talk about what that was like when you founded the firm? What was kind of the thinking of being so upfront about having mission as part of the name and the culture?
Patricia Karam: [00:01:29] Yeah. No, thank you so much for asking that. And I think it goes along with, you know, I have a lot of experience working for huge companies as well as a small mom and pop shop. And I just realized it’s so huge for me where everybody has budget for hiring, like all companies do. It’s important for me to also give back. And then, a part of pivoting from 2020, I also had the mission to Keep the Human in H.R. too, so everything we do is with intention.
Lee Kantor: [00:02:01] So, you said when you were founding it, I’m going to have an element of the business is going to be giving back and it’s going to be something that we’re not going to just kind of do in the background. We’re going to be kind of transparent and authentic about that as well.
Patricia Karam: [00:02:17] Oh, absolutely. Yeah. So, for every single placement we make, we’ll donate $100 to a domestic violence organization and $100 to a human trafficking organization.
Lee Kantor: [00:02:28] Wow. That’s amazing. Now, in seeing a lot of headlines about this Great Resignation, a lot of folks that are kind of, I guess, sick of the grind and saying, “Okay. I’ve had enough. I’m going to kind of go my own way or I’m going to pull the rip cord and I’m not going to do anything,” are you finding that your clients are having that same challenge and you’re able to kind of help them solve that problem to make their place more desirable or a place that people want to work? And are you able to kind of counsel your other clients who are your people to match them up with the right fit?
Patricia Karam: [00:03:06] Yeah. I mean, absolutely. The Great Resignation, I’ve been hearing a lot about it for months. And I’m seeing, it’s a very real thing no matter what industry, no matter how much you’re making. I think the thing about COVID is that it’s highlighted people in what they truly desired, whether it’s working less or not working at all. But, yeah, I’m seeing it at my client site and we’re definitely there for them to help backfill anyone who does leave. But it’s a very real thing.
Lee Kantor: [00:03:37] And then, I’m hearing and I’m seeing a way to combat it is make a place of work desirable enough that people want to be part of it. They want to join the mission. They want to kind of join you in whatever that goal is that you have set for your company. And that goes to, like you were talking about your own firm, when you have a culture of mission, that attracts a certain type of person that probably isn’t part of the Great Resignation.
Patricia Karam: [00:04:08] Yeah. You’re absolutely right about that. Yeah, for sure. And I also wanted to add to that. You know, I think people are not only about salaries, too. I’m seeing with candidates, it’s not just about salaries, to your point, it’s also about the company culture and any other benefits, like remote work in, I think, a lot of people now. It’s on either spectrum. People either want to be in the office and want that human interaction so badly or they’re so happy that they can be remote. So, it’s about exactly that balance.
Lee Kantor: [00:04:44] Now, you mentioned as one of your pillars the concept of the human design. Can you talk a little bit about that?
Patricia Karam: [00:04:51] Yeah. It’s essentially a personality assessment with no questions. So, I know throughout my career I’ve taken multiple personality assessments. And based on, you know, your company culture or who your manager may be, maybe the answers wouldn’t always be as authentic as you would like for them to be or consciously would like them to be. And, also, over time, your answers may change. And so, what I love about human design is that it kind of shows you who you are personally and professionally.
Patricia Karam: [00:05:29] So, it takes the eastern and western science principle and practices, and kind of combines them together to come up with your unique human design. And so, we do this in two ways. I have a human design expert on team who actually works in the corporate environment, and she’s implemented human design at the company level and has seen major success. So, we’re offering it in two ways through individual PDF and as well as team workshops. So, they’re fine print types. And I think it would be a great exercise, especially for remote team members to come together and kind of understand each other more. So, like I said, there’s five different types.
Patricia Karam: [00:06:12] And the biggest takeaway that I say to have for people is to see how you know you’re on the right track and how you’re off track. So, for me, personally, I’m a projector and I’m on track when I see success and I’m off track when I’m bitter. And so, that goes for me personally and professionally and that’s why I truly believe in human design.
Lee Kantor: [00:06:34] So then, when you get that kind of knowledge, how does that help kind of the leaders in the organization by identifying kind of on track and off track for each of their people? And then, there are people knowing that, how does that help them kind of be more effective?
Patricia Karam: [00:06:49] Oh, yeah. It’s tremendously. Because, as a leader, you’ll see if somebody is, like, in a meeting and they’re not responding, maybe they need to be called on. So, that’s also a part of projector, they’re waiting for the invitation. So, some people by nature aren’t going to be out there and speaking up. Sometimes they just need to feel comfortable, so they need to be called on. So, that’s something as a leader to know if somebody is a projector, or a manifestor, or a generator, or manifesting generator, or a reflector. Each one has different signs how you know to motivate or step in and help someone. And, also, it helps other team members understand each other better.
Lee Kantor: [00:07:34] Right. It sounds like it really helps people who, maybe, don’t have that kind of empathy gene or that’s not their superpower. It kind of gives them almost a cheat sheet to how to kind of get the most out of their people.
Patricia Karam: [00:07:49] Yeah. Exactly. And I actually need to get you a human design PDF for yourself, too, so you could just see how your human design is.
Lee Kantor: [00:07:58] Is this an intervention? That sounds like an intervention.
Patricia Karam: [00:08:03] It could possibly be one.
Lee Kantor: [00:08:05] Well, thank you for that. I look forward to going through the exercise. Talk about your firm a little bit, you mentioned the pandemic, and I’m sure that that’s affected everybody, but talk about how you kind of were able to manage your way through that.
Patricia Karam: [00:08:20] Yeah. Oh, man. The pandemic was not easy, especially in the thick of the shutdown. And that’s one thing I saw, you know, leaving my comfy job to starting a new business. And then, the second year in business is the pandemic. Luckily, we were able to still be profitable that year, but it was tough the first half of the year, for sure. But as companies were realizing they could still run remotely, that’s where I was lucky enough where my clients were still hiring.
Lee Kantor: [00:08:53] And that’s one of those things where some companies needed help kind of managing through how to move from in real life, in-person, to remote workforce. And then, now, here we go, the pendulum swinging back again of how to move people, some of which are going back into the office again or some hybrid.
Patricia Karam: [00:09:12] Yeah. Absolutely.
Lee Kantor: [00:09:15] Now, were you able to kind of create some programing or some virtual offerings that maybe you didn’t have pre-pandemic that maybe now you have that can kind of live on beyond the pandemic?
Patricia Karam: [00:09:27] Yeah. And that’s exactly where I pivoted and started focusing on human design also, because that’s B2C and B2B. So, primarily before, I was only B2B, and so this has been a segue into B2C through human design.
Lee Kantor: [00:09:43] And that’s stuff that people can do virtually. They don’t have to kind of go to a workshop in-person and somewhere. They can be doing this virtually.
Patricia Karam: [00:09:52] If somebody wants to purchase their own human design PDF, they could just purchase it from our website. And it takes about a two to three week turnaround time to receive your personalized PDF.
Lee Kantor: [00:10:04] And then, what about kind of workshops, are you doing those kind of things virtually as well?
Patricia Karam: [00:10:08] Yes. We’re doing those virtual, and our next availability is kind of spring 2022. But, yes, we are doing those virtually. And I think it’s so great, especially now, because everyone’s remote. And so, it’s not only a team activity to bring everyone together, but it’s also understanding each other better. So, I think it’s very beneficial for companies.
Lee Kantor: [00:10:30] Now, we talked about how mission is part of kind of the name of your firm, but recruit is as well. Can you talk about, for a potential employee that maybe went through the great resignation and once they get back in the workforce, how do you kind of recommend that they set themselves apart so they become recruit-able?
Patricia Karam: [00:10:54] No, that’s a great question. And I think there’s a lot of different factors. First and foremost, they have to know exactly what they want. So, I always recommend candidates to know the top three things that are must have, and it could be anything and everything from, “I want this to be my title. I want to make this much. I want to be in this location. Or I want to be remote.” So, definitely defining their top three non-negotiables.
Patricia Karam: [00:11:20] And then, secondly, make sure your resume reflect what your target is. Because you have people who have well over five to ten years experience with one page of a resume, that’s definitely not enough information for companies to see. So, a lot of recruiting is becoming AI, and that’s very difficult if you don’t have enough room to put in tools or keywords in your resume. So, it’s very important to be able to articulate your exact experience and goals in your resume.
Lee Kantor: [00:11:56] Now, when your folks are looking for candidates, is there anything that that potential candidate could be doing, maybe on LinkedIn, that’ll help them get found?
Patricia Karam: [00:12:09] Yeah. Oh, that’s a great question. Because that is my favorite tool to recruit people. I would say, definitely add more of your experience in your LinkedIn profile. The more the merrier. This is where the more the merrier is in LinkedIn because it’s definitely keyword searches.
Lee Kantor: [00:12:27] Now, how does a candidate know what are the appropriate keywords? Like, what are the drivers or there are certain keywords to have or certain keywords not to use? Like, is something kind of a red flag if you use too much of this one word where that’s going to send a certain signal? Because, like you said, it is AI. There’s a lot of automation when it comes to this, and you might be doing things inadvertently that are sabotaging you being found.
Patricia Karam: [00:12:52] Yeah. That’s a really good point. And I think it’s mostly not about red flags, but more about articulating experience so somebody could have experience with a specific tool that a company needs someone to have. And they don’t list it. They just list their job title only. So, that would definitely knock them out from the job search. So, the more details and consistency is the best.
Lee Kantor: [00:13:19] So, when you say a tool, that might be a certain software or kind of you went through a certain program that kind of is looking for that, “I need people that have Python” or “I know people that have certain things.” And then, if it’s not in there, they’re not going to make the cut.
Patricia Karam: [00:13:37] They’re not even going to pop up. Yeah. Exactly.
Lee Kantor: [00:13:40] So, in that case, that’s probably a more the merrier, too. So, don’t think that they know that you do excel. Put it in there.
Patricia Karam: [00:13:48] Exactly. Exactly. Don’t put spreadsheets, put Excel or Google Sheets.
Lee Kantor: [00:13:55] So, it’s important to be kind of that granular because, like you said, this is AI. They have a checklist. They’re just going, “Okay. We need somebody that does ten out of ten here. And if they don’t, it’s not going to get you to the next level of even be vetted.”
Patricia Karam: [00:14:10] Absolutely. And I’m so glad you’re making all these points, because the more we can put this information out there, the easier it will be to find people.
Lee Kantor: [00:14:20] But I think they, obviously, aren’t doing it to kind of sabotage themselves. They just don’t know what they don’t know. And when things are being vetted with automation, they’re not looking at your resume and going, “Oh, this seems like a nice person. Let’s bring them in.” They’re just kind of if it’s not ten out of ten or nine out of ten, it’s not even getting into the pile to even be looked at.
Patricia Karam: [00:14:44] You’re 100 percent right about that.
Lee Kantor: [00:14:48] So, now, do you have any advice for the women out there, the GWBC audience? There are a lot of women that, obviously, they already have a business or they’re at the point where they had to go through a pivot or some kind. But any advice for women when they’re launching their own company that you would wish you had done differently or something that was a big takeaway that helped kind of get your business to a new level?
Patricia Karam: [00:15:17] Yeah. And I can’t say enough good things about GWBC because they are the reason why I was able to get into my Fortune 500 clients. Because with the certification, you have diverse spend. And that’s one thing I recommend to any woman is to, first, get your women-owned certification, that should be the first thing besides formulating your company. That’s the most important thing to me.
Patricia Karam: [00:15:49] As well as if you are working a job and you want to start a side hustle, just start it. Go ahead and work it on the side as you’re working and whenever you are comfortable enough financially, then dive into it 110 percent.
Lee Kantor: [00:16:06] Now, your firm was recently named one of the Top Ten Asian-American Businesses in America, how did that come about? And does that help you kind of penetrate those enterprise level companies when they’re talking about diverse spend to go with somebody that’s kind of been vetted and named to one of these top awards?
Patricia Karam: [00:16:32] Yeah. Man, what an honor. That was one thing I just was not expecting at all. But I’m so full of gratitude to even be mentioned in the same category as these other amazing companies. But it definitely has helped put a mark on our name. And, obviously, clarify again that we are diverse then, so it’s just an amazing experience, and I’m so thankful for it.
Lee Kantor: [00:17:04] That’s great. I don’t know if you did that on purpose in terms of a strategy to apply to be considered.
Patricia Karam: [00:17:11] I didn’t. I didn’t apply. Someone nominated me.
Lee Kantor: [00:17:15] Wow. That’s even better. So, did you even know about the award that one of your clients or somebody you knew nominated you? It’s amazing.
Patricia Karam: [00:17:23] It was someone I knew, a friend at a client site who put my name in the basket. And I had no idea she did. And I have received an email saying I won the award and I was so thrilled.
Lee Kantor: [00:17:38] Wow. That’s a goose bump moment there.
Patricia Karam: [00:17:40] Totally. It’s like winning the Oscars in the business world.
Lee Kantor: [00:17:46] So, now, as we look ahead as this year is coming to a close, what are you most looking forward to next year?
Patricia Karam: [00:17:53] Oh, opportunity. And now is the most interesting time ever in corporate America, I feel like, because nothing is stable, nothing is the same. Everything is changing right before our eyes. So, I’m interested to see the abundance of 2022 for everyone.
Lee Kantor: [00:18:15] So, you’re optimistic about the future for Mission Recruit and your yourself?
Patricia Karam: [00:18:21] Yes, I am. It only gets better and better.
Lee Kantor: [00:18:25] Now, what is kind of the best fit client for you at this stage of your growth?
Patricia Karam: [00:18:30] So, our clients are primarily midsized to Fortune 500 companies, and we service all industries.
Lee Kantor: [00:18:38] And then, is it all across the country or is it primarily in the southeast?
Patricia Karam: [00:18:43] It’s across the country and also globally, so we have global clients too.
Lee Kantor: [00:18:48] Well, congratulations on all the success. It’s an amazing story.
Patricia Karam: [00:18:52] Thank you, Lee. I so appreciate that.
Lee Kantor: [00:18:54] Now, if somebody wants to learn more about the firm, get on your calendar, or have a conversation with you or somebody on the team, what’s the website?
Patricia Karam: [00:19:02] Yeah. It’s missionrecruit.com, and we’re on all the socials. And I’d love to hear from anyone and everyone.
Lee Kantor: [00:19:09] Wow. Thank you again for sharing your story. You’re doing such important work and we appreciate you.
Patricia Karam: [00:19:14] Thank you, Lee. I appreciate you.
Lee Kantor: [00:19:16] All right. This is Lee Kantor. We’ll see you all next time on GWBC Open for Business.
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