Building An Authentic Career in Recruiting

In this short series, we hear from mid-career professionals, leaders, and founders on what it takes to build an authentic career, some of their challenges and proudest moments along the way, and their best piece of advice for navigating an intentional and authentic career. Get inspired below!

What's your name?

Kelli Hrivnak

What's your title or function?

Founder and Head Recruiter at Knak Digital

What led you to this career path?

I was working in outside sales for a wine distributor, and the day to day travel was wearing on me. I was looking for more stability, and I naively applied to a Recruiter position for a boutique staffing agency on Craigslist. "From the outside, "Recruiting" had an appeal of helping people find jobs. What I thought I knew about the career path was far from what it entails. They took a chance on me, and I took a chance on recruiting.

What would you say is your unique zone of genius?

As an introvert, I've become proficient at listening. This has developed into honing my active listening skills, which is critical for great recruiters. The term "round peg into a square hole" comes to mind, and I've seen recruiters try to match people into jobs that just aren't meant to be. You have to ask clarifying questions, probe more to understand what makes people tick--their passions and strengths--to really align them to companies and jobs that will allow them to thrive.

What's the best part and the hardest part of the work you do today?

The best part is when I am able to help a candidate secure a job they are thrilled to have. A job that can offer a better lifestyle, financial security, even job stability. The hardest part of the job is not being able to help all the job seekers I engage with. I only have a set amount of open searches for my clients, so my ability and inventory to place everyone just isn't feasible. I also don't make the call on hiring decisions, so rejecting great candidates can be difficult in addition to not being able to control the entire candidate experience. It's disheartening to hear the feedback of those negative experiences.

What's a challenge you've overcome in your career (that you're willing to share)?

Getting over rejection. Rejection from prospective employers to partner with to prospective job seekers that I can help. I may not be the right solution for every company, and timing or opportunity may not be right for people to make a job change. You can't take the rejection part personal or the anxiety will eat you alive.

When you look back on your career what are you most proud of?

Making the jump to self-employment. It was a risk that I pushed back on for years, and things in my personal life changed that made that decision for me.

What's the job or passion project you've considered but never gone after?

A certification program specifically supporting the autism community.

What is the best piece of career advice you'd like to share with others?

My boss used to always shout "Next" when referring to a situation that didn't work out. It taught me the important of resilience, but also to be action-based. Reflecting on prior mistakes or situations is important for change, but at some point--you have to keep moving forward.

What does an authentic life and career look like for you?

Buildling a life around my career has always been a priority, and one that I was able to fulfill through self-employment. Flexibility is my number one priority, so I can be available for my family needs. And not because they need a body to be there, but because I want to be there to make and remember those memories.

In you're ready to show up with intention and authenticity in your career, here are three ways that we can support you. 

1) Join our newsletter here. Get career insights and inspiration straight to your inbox every other Tuesday.

2) The Authenticity Lab. Ready to starting cultivating a life and career you love?

3) Work With A Coach. Want a partner to help you achieve your greatest aspirations?