17: The Best Way To Hire The Best Secretary With Recruiter Estee Cohen
28th June 2018 • Create Your Own Salary (previously Business Breakthrough) • Estie Starr
00:00:00 00:49:57

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Estee Cohen gives us the wisdom to hire the low level positions in your company – from the secretary to the truck driver, the delivery person and the medical assistants. These unsung heroes are critical to your business success and Estee gives us her best tips and tools to get the right people in, as well as discussing her struggle with managing and training staff , for which we came up with an innovative shortcut solution.

My Guest: Estee Cohen

Estee Cohen is the owner of California Job Shop, a recruiting firm that specializes in staffing small and medium sized businesses and non-profits in California.  After earning her Master’s in Educational Administration and teaching for 7 years, Estee had an opportunity to staff her husband’s new business with its first 5 employees.  After working for her husband for a few years to help launch his thriving wholesale business, she was hired as a contract recruiter for several firms and felt that she had found her calling in staffing.  Estee realized that no recruiting firm was catering to the tight budgets and alacrity which small businesses need to grow their workforce. She created an inexpensive, “win-win” model (in which both the employee and employer win) and opened her recruiting firm in 2015. It was an overnight hit and she had single-handedly closed over 500 positions by the end of 2016. Estee has a 4 kids and lives in Los Angeles. She is also a proponent of science education and is active in non-profits which support couples struggling with infertility.

Pivotal Moments

  • After teaching for 7 years, at an award ceremony for a colleague who was celebrating 30 years of teaching, Estee realized teaching was not her calling – she didn’t want that award.
  • Helped her husband launch his wholesale business, acting as COO and HR manager.

  • Wanted to start her own thing, and began looking for a career switch. Took some classes towards a medical career.

  • Needed a job, and applied for over 100 positions with no clear direction in mind, which laid the ground work for seeing things from the perspective of the recruited.

  • Landed a job hiring doctors, utilizing her medicine background.

  • Assisted head hunter who worked on C-suite positions for $60,000 per hire! Saw this was not the kind of recruiting she wanted to do, and found her niche in low entry level positions –  a space that was sorely lacking and one she fills really well.

  • In her job doing contract recruiting, she built up skills and repertoire until she realized that she could do it herself.

The Advice

How to hire your entry level position staff members (secretary, nursing assistant, medical assistant, administrator):

1. Think like them. What do they want that will make them stay long term?
2. If you want to pay less, look for someone who has transferable skills.  If you are willing to pay more, take someone with specific skills and experience for what you are looking for.
3. Start in your own network, leverage your social channels. Only if your network doesn’t produce potential candidates look outside in places like Craigslist, Monster, Indeed, LinkedIn…
4. When you are interviewing, hear how the candidates talk and how they process information. Listen more, talk less and ask open ended questions.
5. Get a company website. List that you have open positions and people will find you that way.

The Struggle

Like so many business owners, Estee has more work to do then there are hours in her day – or at least hours she wants to spend working. Most of Estee’s time is spent interviewing candidates, so she hired someone to help her with that. Her struggle now is that it is difficult to get a good sense of a candidate by reading her assistant’s conversation notes – and that feel for each candidate is vital to Estee’s success. How can she get the help she needs with the interviewing process, while still getting a real sense for every candidate?

The Breakthrough

Though Estee cannot listen to all call recordings, she could get a better understanding of each candidate by having each call transcribed. This is a much easier and quicker way to absorb information and would serve two purposes. Firstly, Estee would be able to quickly get a handle on each conversation and secondly, she could further train her interviewer by showing her where she could have asked more, different or better questions. A double win!


“The truth is in the silence.

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