“Houston, we have a solutionA nationwide job recruiter finds the island can offer the comforts of home.”

"When the tools of your trade are a telephone and a computer, where you're located doesn't make a lot of difference to your company.But it can make a lot of difference to you, as Paul McEwan learned when he moved from Houston to Bainbridge Island without leaving his job with Richard, Wayne & Roberts, a national job recruiting firm.There's really not much difference between 20 feet down the hall and 2,000 miles away, said McEwan. We're tied in by computer, and I communicate with Houston all day. "

  • Wednesday, June 6, 2001 5:00am
  • News

“When the tools of your trade are a telephone and a computer, where you’re located doesn’t make a lot of difference to your company.But it can make a lot of difference to you, as Paul McEwan learned when he moved from Houston to Bainbridge Island without leaving his job with Richard, Wayne & Roberts, a national job recruiting firm.There’s really not much difference between 20 feet down the hall and 2,000 miles away, said McEwan. We’re tied in by computer, and I communicate with Houston all day.McEwan left Texas two years ago because his wife wanted to move to Seattle. His choices were to join another firm or go out on his own, neither of which was attractive.Or there was the option of trying to keep his job.The recruiting business can be done from almost anywhere, he said. You can make the telephone calls from Houston, from Chicago or Bainbridge Island.Bainbridge, he admits, was accidental.We came to Seattle, looked around a lot and got frustrated, then we got on the ferry and came over here, he said. We thought this was great.The recruiting business is not an employment agency that finds jobs for people who need them, McEwan said. In fact, it’s almost the reverse.Most people we approach are employed and doing well, he said. We find people…who are not answering newspaper want ads, and who don’t have their resumes on the Internet.The best way to find qualified candidates, he said, is to ask the client. Most often, the client suggests a competitor, or at least identifies the competitors for the search firm. Once in a while, the client even names the person they want.Then he begins making calls.Almost everyone you talk to could be either a candidate or a source, he said.So if the client knows who is interested in hiring and where to find them, what does the search firm bring to the table?The first thing we do is to make sure what the client is looking for is reasonable — is there a good reason that somebody would want to work for them?The second thing is expertise.Companies know how to do whatever it is they do, but they don’t know how to interview or hire people, McEwan said.The biggest mistake most companies make is to misunderstand the competitive situation they are in, McEwan said.The candidate will give the company the impression they really want the job, he said. But of course they’ve said that to everybody. Then the company thinks it has the option of deciding whether or not it wants the person.The other problem is that hiring companies look at the job interview only as an opportunity to screen the candidates, and overlook the opportunity and need to sell themselves.Once the parties decide it may be a good match, the recruiter tries to arrange the deal, McEwan said.Both sides can open up to us as a third party, he said. We can ask questions neither side can ask, and do some negotiating.McEwan was born in New York, but his family moved to Houston when he was a child. After he graduated from Texas A&M University, he went to work for a public accounting firm.But I really wanted to be in sales, he said. Ultimately, he went to work for Richard, Wayne & Roberts, which he describes as one of the nation’s largest contingency-recruiting firms, meaning a firm paid by the hiring company, and only if they fill the job.The company has 85 recruiters broken up into 12 different subject-matter areas, McEwan said. His area is technical sales and marketing.McEwan said the remote-office location is gaining more acceptance in the business world generally.It would have been hard to do 10 years ago, because people didn’t take such a positive approach. Many firms are now promoting remote offices because it saves energy and can provide for a better quality of life.The Bainbridge office was the first of his firm’s remote locations, and it started a trend. Now, RW&R has offices in Aspen, Chicago, Washington D.C., California and Oregon.In addition to hiring people for others, McEwan is interested in hiring people to expand his own business. That is why the firm moved last December from a small space on Parfitt Way to a spacious office on Finch Place, which boasts several empty desks.Professional quality people have very limited options on this side of the water, he said. But there are plenty of them here, in Poulsbo and on the peninsula. We think this is a good location to grow the business.The lifestyle change has been all for the better, McEwan said. Instead of living in the nation’s fourth largest city, he and his wife live in Winslow, about a two-minute drive from the office.There’s no comparison. We’d never go back, he said. “

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