Getting to Know You – Ertan Ikic, Recruiter

Ertan Ikic is a professional recruiter based out of Rancho Santa Margarita, California. Throughout his life, Ertan has never been a stranger to hard work.

After graduating from school, he joined the military, where he learned discipline and valuable life skills. Upon completing his service, he returned home  and entered the private sector. First, he sold cars. Then he expanded into the clothing business. Throughout this same time, he also helped his father run a construction company. It was with a tireless energy that he learned as much as he could about all these industries and the business world in general.

In 2006, newly married, Ertan moved to the United States with his wife. Seeking stability in a new country, he began working in a factory. Over the next decade, he would welcome his children and continue to support his young family. His wife worked in the insurance industry, and through her, he learned there existed a genuine need for insurance companies to find new, qualified employees. This is when Ertan’s innate ability to connect with people became apparent.

Ertan Ikic realized that he could find the people his wife’s company needed at a time they were expanding. Almost as a way to challenge himself, he offered to set up interviews with recruits. In just two months, he found more than enough qualified people to fill all the vacant positions. When she saw how easily this skill came to him, Ertan’s wife encouraged him to make this his new career.

Since then, Ertan Ikic has become a successful professional recruiter. He is constantly making new connections with potential employees. Whether through social media, or in person in a restaurant or at the store, he is always speaking with new people and looking for the qualities that make a good hiring candidate. Such interactions have become second nature to him. It is his passion in life.

In his free time, Ertan loves to take spontaneous trips with his family. They enjoy quality time while discovering new theme parks and vacation spots.

What do you currently do at your company?

My primary function is to connect potential employees with the right employer. Each morning I spend a couple of hours on employment resources like Indeed and Glassdoor. Throughout the day, I set up first and second interviews as needed. It’s also part of my job to confirm the hiring and get the contracts in place. Companies hire me because they know I’ll be able to find quality candidates for them to interview.   We take care of narrowing down the candidate pool so they are only meeting with the best of the best. Otherwise, they might spend an unnecessary amount of time and resources weeding out several people that don’t match the criteria for their vacancies.

What was the inspiration behind your business?

My wife has been in the insurance industry for many years. I have watched her go through a lot of recruiting companies trying to find quality employees. Companies will invest in a good recruiting firm if they know it’s worth it. After seeing how it worked, I was convinced I could do better for her and her company. She gave me a chance, and I was able to set up about 50 interviews very quickly. Each of them was an excellent candidate with great skills. She was genuinely impressed and actually recommended me to others. That’s how I got into the business. I happened to see a need and realized I could fill it. I’ve been doing it ever since. Setting my own schedule and working for myself has been such a joy, and I am constantly recruiting. I can be at a restaurant and if I think the waiter or waitress is doing an amazing job, I will get their information so I can reach out if something in the future comes up.

What defines your way of doing business?

My way of doing business is to go above and beyond expectations. For example, if a company says they need to fill 20 spots, I will set up 40 interviews. The reason I do this is because to be prepared for the unanticipated. Sometimes people don’t show up for their interviews. Maybe they’ve accepted something else. I want to have more people lined up so the company I am working with has plenty of options. They are looking for people that fit well into their culture and environment, so they need to talk with as many candidates as they can in order to find the right ones.

What keys to being productive can you share?

Always be active. Always keep your eyes open for new prospects. It doesn’t matter what else I’m doing, I’m constantly watching how people work and how they interact with others. I’ll talk with whoever I encounter through a given day to get an understanding of their interests and skill set. The kid that checks you out at the supermarket might be working there to put himself through school. What if I could set them up with a company in their field of study? That’s what I mean when I say I don’t take time off. Even when I am not actively at work, I’m always looking for new people to fill future needs.

Tell us one long-term goal in your career.

My long-term career goal is to match 600 candidates with employers. It gives me such a sense of accomplishment each time I’m able to place the right worker with the right company. Seeing them flourish is the best form of payment for me. More recently, I’ve been working hard to get as many remote workers lined up with my client companies as I can. The employment landscape has changed significantly over the last few years. More companies are recognizing the benefits of employees working from home, but you need to be sure they’ll be just as productive at home as they would be working from an office. I help to take the guesswork out of that for my clients. The bottom line is the more growth I have on my end of things, the more people I can help, be they job-seekers or employers.

How do you measure success?

Money is not the priority for me, people are. Success is measured by how many people I have helped to place in the perfect job. It is measured by how many companies I have worked with that know I can fill their positions effectively and quickly. Connecting these employers with these employees helps my business to grow, and that way everyone involved wins in the end. It’s immensely fulfilling to see how I have enriched someone’s life through such a basic connection. When I see the happiness and the appreciation that results, that’s when I feel most successful.

What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learned through the course of your career?

The most valuable lesson I have learned over the years is that you never know everything. It is important to listen to those around you, and take suggestions and advice, especially when you are learning new things. You want to grow at a good pace, but be ready to take a step back if you need to. The goal is to be successful long-term. If you make the mistake of thinking you know exactly what you’re doing, you run a greater risk of not making the best choices. Follow through on your promises and learn what you can from others who have already been there.

What advice would you give to others aspiring to succeed in your field?

Owning your own business, no matter the industry, is a risk. Be prepared for anything and never give up. It’s a learning process. If you surround yourself with good people and are willing to listen, you will do well. Push yourself outside of your comfort zone. Take time to assess and reassess how you do things to make sure you are being as efficient and productive as you can be.

What are some of your favorite things to do outside of work?

I really enjoy taking walks on the beach or sitting and listening to music for ten minutes. Anything that will let me wind down and relax, really. It’s a peaceful time for me. I try to squeeze in a walk at the end of each day. As I walk, I will usually listen to motivational podcasts or an audiobook. It gives me the time I need to calmly end the workday.

What is one piece of technology that helps you the most in your daily routine?

My computer and my phone are what I use the most. Between the two, I have everything I need with me at all times. I like to keep my contacts and my calendar close. That way, even when I’m traveling, I’m able to keep up with everything in real time.

What is one piece of advice that you have never forgotten?

My family grew up poor. My mother always pushed my brothers and me to do our best and work hard. I wanted to help my family as much as I could. That has stayed with me throughout my life. I learned from a young age to work hard and keep pushing.