Mike Houston – Recruitment Origin Story

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We’re excited to share our next installment in the “Recruitment Origin Stories”. If you haven’t read the previous two, you can catch up here.  

This week we interviewed Mike Houston, a key member of our building materials team at DMC Recruitment. Mike brings a wealth of experience from his background in pharmaceutical and medical equipment sales, transitioning seamlessly into recruitment. His journey, marked by resilience and a knack for building strong relationships, makes him a standout recruiter. Known for his sense of humor and positive energy, Mike frequently brings laughter to our office, making him a cherished and highly valued member of our team. Enjoy this insightful conversation with Mike as he shares his experiences and expertise. Feel free to follow Mike on Linkedin to see what new exciting roles he is working on. 

Tell us about your background before recruitment.

I started in sales at DuPont, then moved to pharmaceutical sales with Searle Pharmaceuticals. I transitioned into management within pharmaceutical sales and later worked in medical equipment sales, managing the Western Canadian area for Cardinal Health. 

How did you get into recruitment?

After being laid off when Cardinal Health downsized, I approached a recruitment firm I was familiar with. A recruiter there suggested I try recruitment, and I joined David Aplin Group in 2008. Despite the economic downturn, I succeeded and stayed until around 2013. I helped start an executive search division but eventually left due to lack of support. 

Tell us about your recruitment career? 

I built a brand at David Aplin and later joined Teema Group, where I worked for six years. In 2020, after a tough year personally and professionally, I joined DMC Recruitment. 

What type of recruitment do you specialize in now? 

I specialize in building products and construction, particularly heavy civil construction roles. I also handle engineering and commercial construction positions. 

What do you enjoy about recruitment? 

Coming from a corporate environment, I appreciate the freedom and entrepreneurial nature of recruitment. Unlike the politically charged corporate world, recruitment allows for autonomy and the ability to dictate your income based on performance. Without corporate organizational structures and policies, anyone can be paid what they are deserved for what level they are delivering at. An 100% commission pay structure was intimidating at first, but I’ve learnt to appreciate how it rewards high-level performance. 

What makes you a good recruiter? 

Persistence is key. My background in interviewing candidates and establishing rapport with both clients and candidates helps. I focus on high activity levels, transparency, and maintaining a positive outlook, which are essential in this business. Success comes from building strong relationships with clients and candidates. Delivering high-quality candidates and maintaining a good reputation helps sustain and grow my business. The industry is flooded with poor recruitment practices, so providing excellent service sets me apart. 

What’s your favorite memory in recruitment? 

I enjoy learning about different businesses outside of the healthcare spectrum. From years of working in the pharmaceutical industry, everyone thinks that our business is the end all be all, but once I got outside of the industry and into recruitment, I learnt that the rest of the business world is quite fascinating. Recruitment allows you to get an inside look at various industries, which is a rare perspective. Companies share a lot with you, giving insights that you wouldn’t get in other industries. 

Describe recruitment in three words. 

 Volatile, challenging, entrepreneurial. 

If a recruiter were an animal, what would it be? 

 Easy. A junkyard dog. 

In this interview, we learned about Mike’s impressive journey from sales in the pharmaceutical and medical equipment industries to becoming a successful recruiter. Mike highlights his resilience and ability to thrive even during challenging economic times. His expertise in building products and construction recruitment, combined with his personable approach, makes him an invaluable member of the DMC Recruitment team.

If Mike’s story inspires you and you’re interested in a career in recruitment, we encourage you to reach out to Stephen Borer, Partner at DMC Recruitment – [email protected]

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