Spotlight – Jennifer DiFolco, College Recruiter
College Recruiter, Maxim Healthcare Services
Jennifer attended Drexel University for 3 years and University of Maryland, College Park for 2 years. She has been in her current role for 6 months and with Maxim Healthcare for a little over 2 years.
What was your career path to get your current role? Three years into college, I decided I wanted to be a language teacher. So I transferred from Drexel to the University of Maryland, College Park to pursue a language degree. After graduation, I immediately started teaching high school level Spanish and Italian and was a teacher for six years, three of which were spent at my high school alma mater. During my last year teaching, I knew that I wanted to be back in the corporate world, where I had interned extensively through Drexel’s cooperative education program. A friend told me that Maxim was hiring, and I landed a position in Maxim’s HR department that same year.
What was your first job? My first corporate job was with the Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, where I interned and helped to create and manage the Young Professionals Network. The YPN is a professional development program that provides young professionals in the area with an opportunity to network and make valuable connections with peers from many different industries and organizations. I helped young professionals to improve their networking skills and grow their contact base in order to grow professionally. As a student in Philadelphia at the time, I really got a chance to learn a bunch about professional networking in a city with such a rich culture. My first summer job in high school was at an Italian bakery in Little Italy, Baltimore, called Vaccaro’s. I helped customers with to-go orders, and definitely had my fair share of Italian biscotti and gelato!
Why did you choose this career? I chose a career in Human Resources because I enjoy interacting with people. I began my career with Maxim as an HR Specialist in our Employee Relations department, but I knew I wanted to interact with people on a different level. When our VP of HR and Manager of Talent Resources decided to create a more formalized college recruiting program, I knew this was the perfect opportunity. My work today as a College Recruiter is all about forming relationships with students as well as partnerships with career centers in universities across the northeast. I make a direct impact on students’ career decisions as well as on Maxim’s mission to be an employer, provider, and partner of choice.
What is the skill that is most important in your current role? I think the skill that’s most important in my current role is the ability to understand what exactly it is that will help students and career centers to be successful and how I can help them to achieve that success. College recruiting isn’t about how many hires you can get from schools. The key to being a successful campus recruiter is being able to partner with career centers and add value to the services that they provide to their students. Maxim understands how important it is to get involved in volunteer opportunities with colleges, like resume clinics, mock interviews, and class presentations. These activities are key to the success of career services centers, and we believe that through these types of partnerships, students will learn more about Maxim and develop a newly inspired interest in who we are and what we have to offer.
How did you develop this skill and how do you fine-tune it regularly? The only way we can truly understand how to add value to college career centers is by consistently communicating with them in order to better understand their needs. In addition to trying to assist them in the areas they need it most, we also challenge ourselves to think outside of the box and come up with partnership opportunities that we believe may address some of the challenges they face. Through regular communication and idea-sharing, we are able to develop really strong relationships with our college partners. Each college career center is different and has its own particular needs, so we really have to make an effort to learn about those needs before we can even begin to think of bringing value to their services and successfully recruiting on campus.
What is your biggest career accomplishment? I would say that my biggest career accomplishment was my decision to take a risk and leave the teaching profession. Although it was one of the most difficult decisions I had to make, I am happy that I had the courage to leave my comfort zone and explore new opportunities. Now, as a college recruiter, I’m constantly challenged by the world of recruiting, and I love that. Plus, I still get to work with students, which worked out really nicely!
What is your advice to students looking for their first job? My advice to students looking for their first job is to think about what is most important to them in a job, but to also keep an open mind when it comes to the type of job they’re looking for. Make a list of the things that matter most to you. Company culture, reputation, compensation and benefits, room for growth, diversity, company mission, access to management, or personal impact are just a few examples of what students should consider. However, don’t limit yourself to certain types of jobs. The more flexibility you have, the more opportunities you’ll be able to apply for. Even if the job wasn’t your first choice, it may turn out to exceed your expectations. I’ve worked with many candidates who never really considered getting into the healthcare recruiting field, and because they were open to the idea, they found themselves working in a position that was exceedingly rewarding and gratifying.
What is your advice to young professionals in the field who aspire to your current role? For young professionals who aspire to work in the field of recruiting, specifically college recruiting, my advice is to make sure you invest time in developing relationships with university career centers and placement offices. Although it takes time, and the results are not always immediate, it’s extremely important to develop a mutually beneficial relationship from the beginning.
What was the best career advice you have ever received? The best career advice I ever received was to always try to be flexible in the workplace. If someone needs help on a project or planning the next big meeting, extend an arm. People appreciate the willingness to help out and pull through for others. Don’t limit yourself to what’s in your job description, because that can seriously hurt you in the workplace. Being willing and able to help says a lot about your character and capacity to handle additional responsibilities, and it’s an asset that many employers look for in an employee.
What would you like colleagues to know about your organization? What should everyone know about Maxim Healthcare Services? We’re a company that seeks diverse individuals who share the same passion for and dedication to patient care as our original founders. We look for individuals who can think outside of the box and bring unique talents to enhance Maxim’s growth as well as their own. We have a promote-from-within philosophy and provide a challenging environment that encourages individual accountability, personal growth, and the opportunity to be a key player in the driving vision of the company. The Healthcare Recruiter career path is a perfect example of our company’s commitment to reward hard work, dedication, and integrity. Check out our website at http://www.joinmaxim.com to learn more about being a part of the Maxim family!
Jenn visited her career center when she was in college.