Charles Aris senior associate Andrew Reynolds and associate Brayden Currin sat down with marketing associate Sydney Olszewski and marketing intern Cameron Warren to discuss the executive search firm’s recruiting internship program and how it can lead to full-time roles.
What attracted you to the Charles Aris recruiting internship program?
Andrew: I was originally attracted to Charles Aris because of its marketing internship. I was a marketing major in college and wanted to further that interest by getting some hands-on experience. While part of the marketing team, I gained exposure to the recruiting side of the business – including our associate recruiters and practice leaders. I was attracted to their daily interactions with people and how they managed the entire three-month process, all the way from initial conversations with candidates to the day one of them accepts our client’s new opportunity. Seeing this firsthand intrigued me to learn more about the recruiting internship program and that’s how I got started.
Brayden: My story is a little different. During my junior year of college, I finished my major and minor requirements. For my last semester of senior year, I planned to find an internship where I could gain professional experience and earn class credit at the same time. I had a personal connection with Jonathan Goffredi, who is also an associate recruiter here. He was a mentor for me throughout the two years of college that we spent together. We were both on the Guilford College soccer team and we were, and still are, good friends. I continued that relationship with him after he graduated and knew that he was working for a firm called Charles Aris. One day, I asked him how things were going at Charles Aris and if they had an internship program. Jonathan said he was enjoying everything and told me all about the recruiting internship. He told me that it was designed to be a pipeline for full-time hires and that I should consider the position. From there, I talked to Brent Anthony, our Learning & Development Leader. I really enjoyed our conversation and was interested in everything he told me. I never thought I was going to be a recruiter or take on a recruiting role, but after hearing what Brent had to say, I thought that the role would suit my personality. So I went through the interview process and ended up getting the opportunity.
What about your internship experience made you want to pursue the associate recruiter role full time?
Andrew: For me, the biggest thing that stuck out was the mentorship and the buy-in. Even as an intern, I noticed that a lot of people spent time helping me develop both professionally and personally. I always wanted to be part of an organization that didn’t just see me for what my role was today, but also for what I could potentially evolve into, and Charles Aris is that organization. There are so many examples, throughout the levels of our firm, of people who started as an associate and have moved up within the organization. Having the option to achieve something like that, paired with the mentorship and buy-in, was something that I wanted for my first job after college. It's also financially rewarding. The associate recruiter role really allows for unlimited earnings potential, and the firms is transparent about that from day one. We also pay our interns, which was a plus for me as I went through college. The final piece was just getting embedded into the culture. The culture at Charles Aris is great. It’s collaborative, it’s team-driven; it feels collegial and I wanted to be a part of it full time.
Brayden: Right away, I knew that Charles Aris was making an investment in me. I wasn’t just an intern walking around the office doing miscellaneous tasks like getting coffee. Right out of the gate, I noticed that everyone in the office went out of their way to meet me and make sure that I felt comfortable in this new environment. Derek Gracey, one of our associate practice leaders, spent lot of time really teaching me the role, the process and all things Charles Aris. Building off that was the role itself. I’m a people person; I’ve always been able to talk with and build relationships with individuals. So in learning about the role and what being a recruiter entailed, especially at Charles Aris, I thought that it would suit my personality and the skills I learned at Guilford College. I truthfully had no idea what to do with my economics degree, but I thought that this was at least a good place to start to learn and to develop and gain professional experience. Lastly, the opportunity: I quickly realized how financially rewarding the position is, and if you are willing to dedicate yourself to working hard and doing a good job, the upside potential is really encouraging. It’s an opportunity that opens doors as well. There is a clear path of growth here and that’s important to me.
How did the recruiting internship program prepare you to join our executive search team full time?
Andrew: By the time I joined the team as a recruiter, I had interned for a year and a half and completed three internships across our three largest recruiting practices: Strategy & Corporate Development, Engineering & Operations and Finance & Accounting. I learned a lot in all of those – especially during my last one with practice leader TJ Deal, with whom I got the chance to run searches solo, source candidates, complete pink sheets, and even place a few individuals. By the time that I started full time, I was by no means an executive recruiting guru, but I had a good understanding of what I was getting myself into and could hit the ground running.
Brayden: My experience differs a bit here because I only had one recruiting internship, unlike Andrew, who had three following his marketing internship. I only had one semester to make this decision, so I spent a lot of time with Derek, followed the process, talked with people every day, and learned the ins and outs of the role. Halfway through, I had a lot of pieces of the puzzle which I felt comfortable with. The only question for me was: How am I going to do when I get on the phone? When the day came, I jumped on the phone with someone I hadn’t spoken with before and eventually got to the point where I started feeling more and more comfortable. I was adding value to Derek’s desk by putting people on his calendar for him to speak with about the role that we were working on at the time. At that point, I knew I could do this job and that the full-time position was the appropriate next step for me. You get so much exposure in just one semester: You get exposure to the entire process, to our CRM system, and – above all – you get the opportunity to jump on the phone. The phone is the meaty part of this role. You have to be comfortable talking with people, and the internship allows you to really dive in and give it a try.
What is the benefit of going through the internship program on a path to the full-time role versus coming into it straight off campus?
Andrew: Anyone whom Charles Aris hires as an associate probably wasn’t a recruiter prior to working here. So as former interns here, we’re typically the only ones with recruiting experience at Charles Aris. As an intern going into the full-time role, you have a better idea whether it’s something you want to do full time and if it’s even something you’re going to be good at. You get to start building a network within Charles Aris as well. You’ve already built relationships with the people you work with every day and that really helps when you come in on day one. You’re not going to be the best recruiter in the building right after an internship, but you will know how to do the job a lot better than someone who is just starting.
Brayden: I would echo everything that Andrew said. You get to see what the job looks like before you commit to a full-time position, and that’s important. As a college student, you spend a lot of time in the classroom. There are some students who do internships every semester and every summer, and they have some professional experience already, but for me this was the first time that I was going to be able to get this type of experience. Throughout my college career, a shirt-and-tie office setting was somewhere I could see myself, but was I sure about it? I had no idea. It’s an opportunity to get out of the classroom and to learn whether waking up, putting on a shirt and tie, and coming into an office is something you can and want to do. The internship experience offered the broader insight that allowed me to decide if this environment was going to fit me and my personality. There are a lot of characteristics which are unique to Charles Aris; everyone knows everyone and the culture here is great.
What advice would you give a student who is interested in our recruiting internship program?
Andrew: First, it never hurts to learn about an opportunity. Jump on the phone and get some color from our internal recruiting team. Then just jump in headfirst. Charles Aris is a firm that wants you to come in and try as hard as you can and learn from your mistakes.
Brayden: My advice for people considering the Charles Aris recruiting internship is to, at bare minimum, consider the opportunity and jump on the phone with our internal recruiters to learn more about it – then make that decision if provided the opportunity. If you like to form relationships with people, I highly recommend this position. No matter who you are and what you want to accomplish, this is a great opportunity to get out of the classroom, get out into the “real” world and learn in a professional environment. For interns just starting: Make the most out of the experience. When you’re in the office, truly take it all in. Be active and attentive. Be eager to learn and challenge yourself early on. That’s how you’ll learn in this job and that’s how you’ll build a great brand for yourself by showing interest in the company and in the role. Take it all in, make the most out of it, put your best foot forward, show interest, and be excited to be here.