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FoodGrads Podcast Ep 50: What does a recruiter do and the future of FoodGrads with Nicole Gallace, Talent Solutions Manager at FoodGrads/ De Lacy Executive Recruitment

On episode 50 of the FoodGrads podcast we interviewed Nicole Gallace, Talent Solutions Manager focused in the food and beverage processing industry. Nicole sold FoodGrads in 2021 to the talent solutions group who own Careersinfood.com, AgCareers.com and De Lacy North America.  She continues to grow FoodGrads—supporting students and grads, as well as increasing relationships with colleges and universities—and has gone back to her roots partnering with organizations as a third party recruiter, to support their hiring needs.

On this week’s episode Nicole and Veronica caught up with each other and spoke about what has been going with FoodGrads since we last recorded. We talked about FoodGrads connection with the Careers In Food family and other partners of FoodGrads. Veronica finally got to ask Nicole what exactly a recruiter does, how she ended up there and tips on how to deal with recruiters. Nicole gave some first hand insights on what recruiters look for.

Finally the episode is rounded out by talking about what’s next with FoodGrads and let me just say that there is going to be a lot of exciting stuff coming your way starting in September. So for the students and new graduates out keep your eyes peeled because FoodGrads is working hard to help create resources to help you in your careers.

Show Notes

[00:03:27] Can you tell us more about FoodGrads and yourself?

  • Nicole is the founder of FoodGrads and they started back in 2016. Prior to that Nicole worked in the industry for almost 10 years and noticed a gap that there weren’t enough people going into the food and beverage industry. A lot of people reached out to her but Nicole didn’t know where to direct them. Nicole felt a lot of people didn’t end up going into the industry but somehow ended up there and stayed. The industry is amazing and predominantly recession proof as seen with the COVID pandemic.
  • FoodGrads initially started as blog then progressed ot a place where employers could post their job. Nicole sold FoodGrads to Careers in Food and the Talent Solutions group and a lot has happened and evolved since then. This was a good combination because that we need as an industry need each other. There are so many amazing groups doing things together.

[00:07:06] Can you better explain how FoodGrads is related to Careers in Food?

  • Careers in Food is the number one job board in North America. With FoodGrads joining the family now will provide the job board as it is difficult to compete with LinkedIn and Zip Recruiters on such a small scale. With that piece now with Careers in Food, FoodGrads doesn’t need can focus on attracting people into the industry, having conversations with students and grads/job seeker. Ultimately, sharing information, providing support for the industry and attracting young people.
  • Today the blog has more than 500 posts over the years from young people just starting out sharing their thoughts, sharing why they want to join the industry and sharing some of the challenges. As well, encouraging people to share the truth what’s going on the food industry.
  • Currently FoodGrads is evolving and because of the additional resources they can support students even more now. The team is larger and they have more resources and have crystallized what they can deliver to educational partners, to colleges and universities across North America. FoodGrads can execute on many things that they have wanted to do for a while.

[00:13:03] Veronica and Nicole start talking about participating in FoodGrads

  • FoodGrads gives you the opportunity to help out in your spare time. Veronica personally started blogging because it was a good opportunity to condense her thoughts. As FoodGrads continues to grow there is going to be more opportunities to to help students and create a community.
  • Nicole’s talk about how there were a lot of students who would reach out even though they had never written before. Blog post allow you to share your thoughts without having to be a writer. Video is the king right now but the written word is never going away because sometimes people don’t want to participate in videos. FoodGrads has a lot of ways to be involved which isn’t necessarily video – blogs, podcasts.
  • Veronica will help out with the blog posts if someone submits something. However, most of the time she doesn’t want to alter it too much because it is their stories and that is always the best one anyways. If it comes off as the same voice and person than that really isn’t interesting.
  • Nicole points out Sashana from Centennial and she was writing so many blog posts. She had a lot to say and all her blog posts were getting wonderful momentum. By having proof that you have written online it can really help you stand out in an interview. You can talk about some of the work you have done and extracurricular stuff. So even though you are interested in an entry-level position as a hiring manager or recruiter if you see someone who has written a lot of blog then this signals that this person has some drive and ambition. They are going to stick around. Hiring managers want people who are going to stay.

[00:19:22] How did you become a recruiter and what do you do as a recruiter?

  • Nicole fell into recruiting as a it is a career that finds you. Originally, Nicole had a sociology background, HR but becoming a recruiter is something that she fell into even in the food industry. It was a struggle at first and Nicole felt she was a Jack of all trades but master of none.
  • Nicole decided to continue recruiting in the food industry because of the people. She really enjoyed who she was working with so whether it was the CEO or the president of the company, the owner, the VP she found the people were down to Earth. However, over time you learn and people get to know your name. You become somewhat of a expert on the subject matter.
  • Recruitment has changed since she started where when she started LinkedIn was really new but people used it cautiously. However, now it is a great tool because everyone is on there. Until things change you have to rely on it to a certain degree. When students are in school they are being told to create a LinkedIn profile and now it is just part of our culture.
  • Get nervous when people say to find a recruiter because they will find you a job. That’s not what a recruiter does.
  • Students are now being encouraged while they are in school to create a LinkedIn profile. So now it is a part of the culture the professional social media.
  • Nicole gives the reminder that recruiters work for their clients, companies. If a company is looking to fill a position they will perform it two ways. First is posting it to job boards which covers active candidates who are looking for positions. However, Nicole will do direct recruiting which is essentially going into the industry looking at what a client wants does and finding people in the industry who would fit the criteria which involves looking at education, work experience and other factors. Then she will go out and get them in an interview in front of the client preferably two or three clients.
  • However, strangely in the time of COVID Nicole has been encouraging clients to work quickly because a lot of entry level positions are focusing on new graduates because there is a lot of emphasis on internal training because they want to take on people who have not experience and train them.

[00:26:44] Veronica questions recruiters and how you can trust them when they may be someone you have never talked to before

  • If you get calls from recruiters early on you need to listen to what they are saying because you can build a relationship and be connected for your career.
  • Recruiters are not able to guarantee getting you a job and you should be weary if that is something that they say.  And if they’re taking money off you to do that, Nicole would be very dubious. Yes, they can support and help you but not guarantee getting you a job.
  • Recruiters will specialize in a particular area such as engineering or an industry. De Lacy focus on agriculture, food and beverage. Nicole works with things across the board involving quality assurance, sales and marketing. They experts in the industry.

[00:30:18] How do you recruit people who aren’t active on social media

  • When Nicole started recruiting they would literally phone companies and say “Can I speak to your production manager?” In this industry you don’t just send resumes to everyone to help someone. Everyone knows everyone. You have to manage things delicately and people need to trust you.
  • In this industry the power of word of month is powerful and many people will help you find out. Recruiting is a people business and relationship building is huge. As a recruiter you can’t push people into a certain direction because they have a mind of their own. As a recruiter you have to consider what type of management style the people will benefit from. If you push someone into the wrong position then they won’t last long. You can’t please everyone all the time though and for Nicole it is important she places people in a way that allows her to sleep at night. Recruiting has a lot of variables to deal with.

[00:36:47] Veronica and Nicole how important it is to be kind in the workplace

  • Nicole reminds us not burn bridges especially in the industry you don’t plan to leave. There is always a possibility you will work again with someone that you have before. Although the workplace isn’t always rainbow and sunshine never burn bridges.
  • It is a good sign if you leave a company with ample notice and tell your new employer because it will signal that you have conscience and want to leave on good terms. The new company should be excited that this is the case. You never know what the future holds and you might want to go back to a former company.
  • In an exit interview don’t rip everyone to shreds but provide honest feedback. If you are venting make sure it isn’t with someone that you work with. Also, don’t spread it on social media

[00:41:49] What piece of advice would you give to students who are looking to go into the food and beverage?

  • Join the FoodGrads community as you don’t have anything to lose. Networking and reaching out to people in the industry is so important when you are first starting out.
  • Find mentors because they could potentially stay with you throughout your entire career. You don’t have to have things all figured out either. Nicole works with people 10 or 15 years into their careers that don’t have it all figured out. It is okay just to have a small amount figured out because everything changes so fast .
  • Life is meant to be fun but it also isn’t going to be perfect. The majority of the time you’re meant to feel motivated and feel like you want to find you purpose and feel motivated. There are tons of opportunity to find that in the food and beverage industry.

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