When Chris Bessko decided to hang up his apron from his years in the restaurant business, an unexpected fork in the road led him to the recruiting industry. As a Senior Engineering Recruitment Manager at Acara’s Denver office, Chris believes in making honest connections with every client and employee. In the latest edition of our “Seeing Fit” series, Chris talks about building trust and succeeding in the ever-changing recruiting industry.
From restaurants to recruitment
After graduating from Fort Lewis College in southwestern Colorado 1993, I worked in the restaurant business for seven years. As you can imagine, immersing yourself in this industry can be extremely hectic. I worked long shifts and was on my feet for countless hours. At the turn of the century, I met my wife in Lake Tahoe. We moved back to Colorado and started thinking about having kids. Because of our mutual desire to raise a family, I knew my days in the restaurant industry were numbered. I started poking around and looking for different jobs. Eventually, I connected with a friend who found me a position in recruiting. And here I am today.
The connection between industries
Employees in both the restaurant business and the recruitment industry must be customer-focused and strive to provide high-quality service. During my restaurant days, I had to quickly morph my personality to fit each customer. In recruitment, I’m predominantly talking on the phone, and I always have to remember that there’s a real person on the other end of the line. Because of my experience in the restaurant industry I’ve developed the people skills necessary to succeed in recruiting. My goal is to be professional and respectful to every candidate that I encounter. For me, the ability to develop personal relationships with people has attributed to much of my success.
What makes him successful in recruitment
As a 10-year veteran of the industry, I’m seasoned in all aspects of recruiting. I’ve handled everything from direct-hire and contract recruiting to management mentorship. I always try to provide strong, meaningful advice and act as a conduit for my clients’ and recruits’ success. I’ve formed mutually beneficial relationships with my customers and strive to build a sense of trust and respect with them. For me, the most important part of recruiting takes place in my consultations with customers, which only occurs if both parties remain honest and transparent. I do my best to strategize and set realistic expectations for myself in hoping to achieve my customers’ goals and objectives.
On managing and raising kids
I have two boys, 10 and 13 years old. They both have their own unique talents that I’m always encouraging them to develop. One is athletic and enjoys skateboarding, while the other is a budding artist. Each day, I ask my artistic son to draw me a piece of art, even if it’s something small. For my other son, we’re regularly going outside and staying active. Similar to managing a staff, I try to play to my kids’ strengths.
The changing landscape of recruitment
Our industry has seen a drastic shift due to COVID-19’s crippling impact on the workforce. Our country went from historically low unemployment numbers to record-high ones in a matter of weeks. The pandemic has impacted how recruiters approach each position. In the early 2000s, you would put a job posting ad out and go to lunch. When you got back, you would already have 20 applicants who were interested in the job. Now, with the prevalence of social media and the internet, people have access to much more information than ever before. As a recruiter, you need to spread your net wider and be more convincing than ever before. Our landscape and market are always fluctuating and, in our industry, you have to always be aware of even the most subtle changes. Doing your best to stay ahead of the curve is one way to ensure prosperity in the recruiting world.
The Acara difference
At Acara, we believe in being genuine with our candidates and cultivating a relationship with them on a deeper level. We’re always transparent and honest with candidates and clients alike, and we strive to create a sense of trust with both parties. In delivering staffing and recruiting solutions for over six decades, our passion is with the people. We’re not in this industry just to oversee transactions—we’re in it to build relationships and put our personal touch on talent acquisition services.
His advice to new recruiters
Don’t wait around for someone to tell you what to do. In this industry, you won’t go far if you put your hands behind your head, kick back, and relax. You have to be aggressive, set your own personal goals, and make prudent decisions based on your training. There’s too much competition to wait around. Being able to fill senior-level positions and earn the respect of your senior managers equals success in the recruiting business.
How he still makes time for family adventures
Every morning, I cook breakfast for my wife and children. At the end of the day, spending time with my family is my top priority. But I’ve learned that if you want quality time at home you have to plan your day accordingly. My family loves to go skiing and snowboarding in Breckenridge, so I’m always trying to carve out some serious time for hitting the slopes and taking advantage of our beautiful winter weather.