All-In at Acara: Jason Okun
After studying business in college, Jason Okun believed he had found his place in the supply chain industry. While utilizing a staffing agency’s services in search of a supply chain analyst position, Jason landed himself a role as a recruiter instead.
In the latest edition of our “All-In at Acara” series, learn how Jason leverages his professional experience in the talent acquisition industry—in combination with his knack for being forward-thinking and his ability to lead successfully—to manage Acara’s retail recruiting western region.
Life before Acara
I grew up in Scottsdale, Arizona, and currently still reside there. I studied supply chain management at Arizona State University’s W.P. Carey School of Business. Following graduation, I worked in supply chain management—specifically in the medical field. I eventually left to work as a broker for Edward Jones, but ultimately decided I wanted to be back in the supply chain world. I reached out to a staffing agency for assistance in finding a supply chain analyst role but found myself working as a recruiter instead.
From supply chain to staffing
I spent seven years at staffing agencies before joining Acara in January 2022. These experiences gave me much of the industry knowledge and preparation I needed to enter my role at Acara. When my former colleague, who joined Acara shortly before me, told me about an open position, I knew I would find success here.
The retail recruiting manager experience
As the Western Region Retail Recruiting Manager, my primary responsibility is to ensure that each of our clients is supported by Acara’s recruiters. I might be talking with clients or intersecting with associates on any given day, all while simultaneously managing the western region recruitment team. Because of the multiple hats I wear, effectively managing time and priorities can be challenging. Communication is key in this industry. Everyone on our team understands this and works well together —from account executives, to recruiters, to the onboarding process team.
Few jobs offer an element of “unexpected” each day, and what excites me most about my job is that I never experience the same day twice. Coming into work thinking my day will go exactly as planned is never the right mindset. I enjoy visiting new clients and learning about different corporations and industries. Talent acquisition and recruiting have so many intricacies that can only be taught by experience. I am constantly learning how to approach new obstacles and develop solutions to overcome challenges.
The Acara culture
Compared to the previous organizations I have worked for, I feel like everyone at Acara is approachable, supportive, and there to help me succeed. We are successful because each team member in this “business machine” understands the role they play. It’s amazing to come to work knowing that everyone has the same mission as you. Our team is never satisfied, and the energy among us when we hear that we got an interview or placement is contagious. No one settles for mediocrity, and I think we all feed on that.
My team can always put their nose to the ground and get to work. At the same time, we know and love to speak with each other personally. Human interaction, in my opinion, is unbeatable. I think it’s a lot better for the overall company culture to simply be able to pop into an office or have a quick conversation with a colleague.
The future of recruitment
When I began my career in the staffing industry, applicants who received offers almost always accepted and were ready to start working within days. Additionally, parts of the hiring process, like resumes and interviews, were always handled in person. In more recent times, candidates have multiple offers, and the competition is so immense and fast-paced that candidates “ghosting” or accepting another offer is at all-time highs. Likewise, application submission, interviews, and onboarding are now completed virtually. Acara has kept pace with these shifts by maintaining a good rapport with candidates and clients, ensuring that everyone has the best offer and solution possible. Our recruiters do a great job of gathering knowledge so that we can go back to the client, if need be, to ensure the candidate accepts their offer and shows up to work. Lastly, as recent trends point towards much more flexibility and autonomy, Acara offers remote work and flexible work options to support personal and professional success management.
When I am not working…
I often joke that I never truly have a day off. I am a father to a one-year-old boy who keeps my wife and me very busy. If it weren’t for my wife and the dry-erase board calendar on our fridge, I don’t know if I could keep up! When I do have a minute to myself, I enjoy working out and watching movies with my wife or spending time with friends. When I think about the people and experiences in my life, I consider myself lucky because I really do believe that the life I live is a vacation in and of itself. Even though it seems that I have a “go go go” lifestyle, I wouldn’t have it any other way. And a relaxing trip to the Bahamas is on my bucket list!
To learn more about Jason, connect with him on LinkedIn.