As we continue going “Beyond the Recruiter” this week, we’re stopping at the desk of Riley Phillips. Riley runs the Orthotics and Prosthetics division at The Newell Group. He’s known around the office as a loyal South Carolina Gamecocks fan who “thinks” he’s the funniest, wittiest member on the team (there’s been some debate on that, though). Read on and watch his full interview to see if you agree!
What is the funniest thing that’s ever happened to you as a recruiter?
I’ve got a lot of stories but the one that really sticks out is probably the first one. So when I first started recruiting I was in college. I’d come home for the summers and help my Uncle, and that second year he really actually started letting me talk to my own clients.
The whole rule was that I had to copy him on our submittals, so I had submitted a candidate and I got a really good response from the hiring manager and I got really excited and hit “reply all” instead of just replying to my uncle. It said something like, “They just took the bait, I’m ready to set the hook, hahahahaha.” Fired that off to my uncle as well as our client and so I spent the next hour basically biting my nails just like “Oh my gosh, what’s going to happen?” Luckily she called me dying laughing and said she needed that, that day.
That one always sticks out to me because it was the first one. But I will say, here we are 15 years later and I’m real conscious about that “reply all” button.
What’s one thing you hear all the time as a recruiter that’s not true of the industry?
Probably the one thing I get all the time, more than anything, is that it’s a recruiters job to help candidates find the job. In reality, that’s not exactly how it works. It’s a recruiter’s job to help companies find the type of person and the candidates that they’re looking for that can be impactful to their business. And so, when I’m out looking for candidates, I’m trying to make a match. We’re almost like the match.com of the professional world. If the candidate is not a great fit for the client, it’s not going to work. If the client is not a great fit for the candidate it’s not going to work, so it’s not like we’re just out there trying to find people jobs. We’re trying to put companies in better situations by offering them solutions of hiring the right people.
How did you become a recruiter and why do you love what you do?
I kind of just stumbled on it. I was a finance major in college and I worked in restaurants and in the service industry. I’ve always been a people person, that’s just my personality. I’d come home for the summers and help my uncle. He had an engineering staffing firm and I remember I made my first placement when I was probably about 19 or 20 and it literally paid my tuition that year. And I thought, wow this could be something that I’m good at and it just kind of fell into my lap from there.
I love working with people. I love helping people. If I was in a business where I sat behind a desk and a calculator all day, and I didn’t get to talk to people, I’d just be bored. And I know that about myself, so I’ve stuck with it and it’s been very rewarding.
What’s your favorite memory from working at The Newell Group?
I’ve literally worked at The Newell Group for one third of my life, not just my professional life, but my whole life. Dannie and I have played in numerous charity golf tournaments, we’ve toured the Shriners Hospital here in Greenville and presented them with a $50,000 check from the MRINetwork Charitable Foundation. I’m definitely an office banter guy, so I love reaching my head over the cubicles and occasionally a couple of Nerf guns at each other and things like that just to keep it light. So I’ve got stories for days and days, it’s kind of hard to just single one out.
What’s one thing people don’t know about Riley Phillips that you can read off his resume?
My great-great-great aunt was a young actress named Judy Gum and she went under the stage name Judy Garland… that is I guess our little claim to fame.
What motivated you to grow your man-bun?
As soon as quarantine hit, I’ve been pretty serious about it. Both my parents, unfortunately, had some pretty serious health situations over the last year or two, and so I really went into a little bit of a bubble. So 30 days went by I didn’t have a haircut, 60 days went by I didn’t have a haircut, 90 days went by and then it started to look a little good, ya know? Now I’m thinking, if I just let this go another 30-60 days, might be one of the best looking recruiters in Greenville, that’s kind of my goal. I’m not quite there yet, but it’s getting there, it’s looking good.