Jay Wren: The World’s Noblest Headhunter

Jay Wren: The World’s Noblest Headhunter

On the first day that I worked as a corporate recruiter, I sat down at a desk that had a telephone, a stack of 5 X 8 file cards, a legal pad, and a copy of the Directory of Advertisers.

I had no clients.  I had no applicants.  I had a very short list of contacts from my brief career in sales at Procter & Gamble and Polaroid Corporation.

Another recruiter in the office had claimed Polaroid as a client before I arrived at the firm.  Therefore, he had staked out the best potential client I might have.

Over the next 30 years I would recruit for Coca-Cola, Pepsi-Cola, Nestle, Clorox, Del Monte, ConAgra, Mobil Consumer Products, Quaker, Tambrands, Unilever, Reckitt-Benckiser, Maybelline, and many other equal and lesser-sized companies.

Even before the arrival of online networks, I had developed a file-card database of 12,000 contacts.  Today, with LinkedIn, I have the same 200 million contacts as everyone else.

I transferred my files to computers in the late 1990’s.  I tracked 40,000 contacts in my local database.

I first published this website April 15, 2005.  I began to publishing a newsletter later that year.  My newsletter helped my business immensely.  Often people would save a copy of these newsletter as a record of my contact information.

Some recruiters hate the term headhunter.

I find the term amusing.  I find it even more amusing to know that some recruiters take offense at the term.  But in the recruiting world, I was a headhunter.  I actively contacted new candidates before they began to look for a job.
I adopted the title of “The World’s Noblest Headhunter.”  The title worked as an icebreaker.   It also helped me to develop a brand.

The Exciting and Painful Beginnings of a Wonderful Career

Starting a new business is exciting and yet often painful and full of uncertainty.  My start as a recruiter was typically painful.  I had beginner’s bad luck before I had beginner’s good luck.  Three after I started to work, another recruiter copied contact information from my files and placed one of the candidates.  The first candidate I placed accepted the job.  Then the candidate quit the first day on the job and returned to his previous company.

It was probably six months before I had a steady stream of business.  This was a scary period.  However, it was a period that led to over three decades of a highly rewarding career.