Happy Companies, Happy Candidates: A Conversation with Michael Burwell

by the Relode Team
6 August 2015


Every month we highlight top Relode agents in our "Agent Spotlight," which gives clients an opportunity to see top performing agents and to know them better. We like to let our agents shine, so here's Michael Burwell!

Here's a little insight into why we selected him as a top agent this month.

Relode: Tell us about yourself and why you joined the team at Relode.

Michael Burwell

Michael Burwell

Michael Burwell: I have an entrepreneurial mind, so I constantly come up with new ideas. I love startup companies, I love sharing ideas, and I love it even more when I see some of those ideas developed into the company’s direction and the success that follows.

My wife and four kids keep me grounded. When not working, I am enjoying the beautiful Northern California outdoors. I volunteer with a Little League, swim, fish, ski, and enjoy taking my Jeep up into the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

I joined Relode because Matt and his team have created a really cool disruptive technology. I love technology, I love staffing, I love how they intersect. I think that the current traditional agency staffing model is outdated and somewhat irrelevant. The Internet has squashed a lot of the need for traditional agency recruiters. But a strong need still exists to connect great talent to great employers. This is where Relode comes in.

As a Relode Agent I am able to help a lot more companies with their staffing needs, making the same kind of personal income, but saving the companies around 90 percent what they would spend using traditional recruiting agencies. The companies save a lot of money, candidates get straight candor from me about the companies instead of a hard sell, and I get guaranteed personal income. There are no losers with the Relode model for recruiting. Why wouldn’t I join?

Another way that I like to think about Relode is that they are the “Uber” of staffing. What Uber did to the taxi service market, Relode is going to do to the recruiting industry.

R: How do you establish a positive rapport with your clients?

MB: The first thing I do when I receive an order (even before accepting it) is research the client. I ask myself if I would be proud to represent them and decide if I can be successful finding great candidates with the necessary traits within their geographical area.

After finishing my research, I will accept the order and schedule a phone call with the company contact. I think that the phone call is crucial to my success and the company’s satisfaction with my performance. I find out what the company culture is like, what obstacles they have faced so far in recruiting for the role, and what kind of soft skills they look for in a candidate. This is a great chance to really listen to their needs. People are most comfortable with those who actually listen to them.

After this call I am a lot more confident in my phone screens of potential candidates and have an easier time striking up interest from the potential candidates.

R: What's your secret to finding the right candidates?

MB: If I answer this question then it won’t be a secret. But seriously, there is no secret. Over the years I have refined my methods. The one thing that is critical, though, is to actually talk to people. I approach people through LinkedIn, through resume databases online, and through the black-corded box on my desk. (I think my grandparents used to call it a telephone.) Many recruiters are too shy, too scared, or too something to actually pick up the phone and call people. I frequently ask for referrals from potential candidates that aren’t a good fit at the time. If proper rapport is built, they are happy to help me out.

R: What sets you apart as a recruiter?

MB: I am a bit of a chameleon. What I mean is that I actually grew up as a surfer on the California coast, so I learned “surfer” talk (a foreign language to most), which now helps me relate to people from there. But I also took my education seriously, went to a top regional university, and have worked in a variety of companies. I am able to quickly adapt to my surroundings. In one call, I could be speaking “California Casual” with a candidate whom would rather be out surfing and wants to tell me about it; five minutes later, I may be on the phone speaking with an Operations VP candidate from Washington D.C. True story, this is how some of my days go.

Another thing—I only take reqs for jobs that I understand. Thankfully I was trained at a business school and have spent years working at tech companies, banks, and even in construction and retail. So I can handle a lot of variety in my req load. Again, if I don’t get IT, how can I find someone to do IT?

R: If you could make up a title for yourself, what would it be?

MB: “Staffing Consultant.” It really encompasses everything that I do: analyze needs, make suggestions on hiring plans, help clients prioritize hiring needs, write job descriptions, find candidates, recruit candidates, and hire candidates.

R: What have customers said about their experience working with you? 

Michael has proven that he is flexible and able to make adjustments to meet our specific needs. I would recommend Michael to anyone looking for candidates that might be hard to find. 

~ Recent Client