Bess Cadwell has been a force to reckon with for years. Anyone in the construction recruiting world knows her name and all in the MRINetwork have heard her roar. Our beloved Bess has just celebrated her 20th year at Govig and Associates – 20 years of sass and kick-ass. From disco to f-bombs, Bess shares with us her insight on what it really takes to be an award winning recruiter; sometimes it’s as simple (or as complicated) as connecting the dots.
Q1 What field is your background or education in?
A I started off in the air-force in the military police. When I got out I worked in Big 8 accounting, start-ups and then 3 years working for Danielle Steel the romance author. I have a very diverse background in a lot of different types of business.
Q2 Biggest change you’ve seen at Govig?
A I would say the culture has significantly changed to be more employee centric.
Q3 Favorite thing to wear on casual Friday?
Q4 Favorite thing about Arizona?
A Mid-September when the summer breaks.
Q5 What are you most looking forward to about our move to a new office space?
A Better acoustics, ability to walk to the Fashion Square food court, and cutting edge technology.
Q6 What is one new thing you’ve learned this year?
A I learned to look down when I’m walking into my house so that I don’t trip and break my kneecap.
(She just tripped and broke her kneecap.)
Q7 Interesting or random fact about yourself?
A I used to jump out of airplanes and I once broke both of my ankles and had to be in two plaster casts for 6 weeks. I still won a disco contest with two rubber feet on the end of my casts in 1978.
Q8 What is your favorite drink?
Q9 Favorite thing to do on your day’s off?
A Watch tennis. I never play, I just watch.
Q10 Biggest inspiration?
A I have two. First inspiration would be my husband. He’s going to be 86 yrs. old and he works out 6 times a week and is healthier than most 30 year olds. My other inspiration would be Bobbi Moss, [her former manager], because she gave me the opportunity to be in this business with absolutely no experience and she waited 10 months for me while I relocated.
Q11 How would your clients describe you?
A Very direct, very few filters, and someone who knows how to perform.
Q12 Favorite book?
A My favorite book is Anna Karenina.
Q13 What’s the hardest thing to learn when becoming a recruiter?
A Connecting the dots. Understanding that we bring tremendous value to every call that we make and every person that we touch [is hard to learn]. A lot of recruiters feel that they’re interrupting as opposed to us bringing candidates opportunities to improve their lives. And I think a lot of people have a hard time with [learning] that [they are bringing value].
Q14 What is one of your pet peeves?
A Someone who doesn’t crash the party. I don’t like people who ask for permission – I like people who ask for forgiveness.
Q15 Where do you see yourself in five years?
A Five years older doing exactly what I’m doing now, but hopefully a little better. Recruiting is sort of like life in that you never have it down, no matter how good you are. You can always learn.
Q16 Favorite thing about working at Govig?
A The ability to positively impact people’s lives, which is a double edged sword because it gives you a lot of power and if you do it right it also gives you a lot of responsibility.
(We think Uncle Ben would agree.)
Q17 What are three words that describe your recruitment style?
A Direct. Transparent. Laced-with-a-lot-of-f-bombs (that counts, right?).
Q18 What do you always have to have at your desk?
A My glasses.
Q19 Favorite job placing story?
A There’s been too many. I’ll do [one of my] biggest learning lessons. My first year I had a very attractive young man who I had recruited for a Forensic Accountant position. Every time he came into the office his eyes were red and he asked if I could find him some eye drops because he had allergies, and I believed him. We placed him and it turned out he was struggling with addiction. He got fired and we ended up losing the business. So, if it walks like a duck, and talks like a duck, then it’s probably a duck.
Q20 What advice would you give yourself as a young recruiter?
A I would say, “If you look at every mistake that you make as a learning opportunity you will continue to get better.” Second thing is, sometimes you just have to give yourself a pass when you screw up.