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Former Client to VP of Strategy: My History with The Arland Group

by Caitlan Ruck

2 February, 2018

Although my career with The Arland Group (TAG) started just a few months ago, I have had a relationship with TAG for quite some time. From client, to industry, to the agency side, my relationship, and my career for that matter, have come full circle.

My Experience with TAG as a Client

I was introduced to TAG in 2011 while working in talent acquisition at SunAmerica Financial Group (a subsidiary of AIG). After an unforgettable first meeting with Deb (TAG’s then VP of media and strategy/now president and CEO), I knew this would not be the typical client/agency relationship. I partnered with Deb and the team to build out a social media recruitment strategy, completed a career site refresh and started work to help define the company’s employee value proposition. In true AIG fashion, a new CEO lead to a new direction for the company, which unfortunately made a lot of the work we had completed obsolete, but luckily for me, it didn’t impact my relationship with Deb.

Being a client of TAG was a truly great experience. From strategy meetings in Houston to vendor demos at headquarters in New York and weekly touch base calls, I thoroughly enjoyed interacting with the entire team. Through TAG, I had the opportunity to get to know and work with some of the industry’s leading vendors, masterminds and advocates, understand their product offerings and see first-hand how they were transforming the marketplace. My exposure to the world of recruitment marketing fueled my passion to better understand the recruiting industry as a whole, and when the right opportunity presented myself, I left AIG to do just that.

While I Was in Industry

During my time at AIG, I gained experience in HR, communications, change management and recruitment marketing/branding (along with a plethora of other slightly random skills), and while I spent a little shy of two years in talent acquisition, I hadn’t actually recruited a candidate. In September of 2013, I was approached by Google to join its technical sourcing team. While this was a complete career shift for me, I knew that it would be an incredible opportunity to round out my experience in recruiting. Google is and was a recruiting powerhouse, and provided an exceptional training ground for new sourcers and seasoned recruiters alike. My experience at Google opened the door for me to join Facebook’s technical sourcing team, which I did for the next three and a half years.

Working for the tech giants was an incredibly unique experience. While I still kept up with industry trends and best practices, they staffed internal engineering teams dedicated to building insanely robust recruiting tools. All employees were encouraged to dogfood (beta test) new resources and work with the engineering team to develop new features and report bugs to ensure that the tools were always helping the recruiting team to be as efficient and effective as possible.

During my four years of recruiting, I never lost touch with Deb. We would catch up at industry conferences, cram in quick visits whenever she was in town and keep in touch over social media. Whether she knew it or not, Deb had become one of my most influential mentors, and when I was ready to make another career move, she was one of the first to know.

VP of Strategy

Given that you are reading this blog post right now, it’s quite obvious how my conversation went with Deb. After a few hours on the phone, I talked myself into accepting a vice president of strategy role at TAG and agreed to relocate from Austin to St. Louis in the fall. While the moving process was quite a disaster (that’s a story for another day), my transition into my new role at TAG has been incredible. Since joining the team in late October, I have had the chance to visit a handful of our clients, work on new business development, reconnect with former vendors and introduce myself to the all of the new.

Being back on the “other side” of recruiting has been extremely refreshing. It didn’t take long to realize that technology and analytics have continued to influence and drive the recruitment marketing industry. I was super excited to see the shift to programmatic for jobs, the influence of AI and focus on technology to improve candidate experience. It was also nice to see familiar faces and key influencers still in the industry and driving these initiatives. I admittedly still have a lot left to learn, but I truly feel like I am in a position to leverage my past experiences and make a significant impact here at TAG and with our clients.

“I am in the right place, doing the right thing, at the right time.” — Louise Hay