How Katie Howard Cross Empowers Women in Recruitment to Excel, Ep #15

There are very few women in recruitment management positions in the global power sector—for years, Katie Howard Cross was one of them. You see more gender disparity as you climb up the ladder and both Katie and I agree that needs to change. In this episode of The Resilient Recruiter, Katie and I chat about how she found success. We’ll delve into her strategies, her positive mindset, and talk about her new business endeavor—Eva Connections. Katie has a strong entrepreneurial spirit that shines through whatever she takes on. Her goal is to empower women working in recruitment—in any industry, truly—to help them reach success. 

Outline of This Episode

  • [2:55] The message Katie is sharing with her community
  • [5:28] Career advancement, family, and tough decisions
  • [10:15] Katie’s lightbulb moment that changed everything
  • [14:26] The freedom and flexibility of running your own business
  • [17:04] How Katie billed €600,000 while managing a large team
  • [24:09] Katie shares how to sell a retainer model to clients
  • [31:35] What Katie has learned building her business
  • [34:08] We take a deep-dive into Katie’s business—Eva Connections

Women in recruitment are forced to make tough decisions

Katie shares she was focused on career advancement well into her 30’s—it wasn’t until then she decided to have kids. She worked long hours in a global sector that included constant world-wide travel. When she had her daughter, she knew her work practices needed to shift. She began leaving work at 5:30 every day which—for some recruiters—is the middle of the day. After having her 2nd child, she knew she needed to leave Amoria Bond, and they parted ways amicably. But she was left feeling as if she was having an identity crisis, and found herself asking “Who am I? What’s my identity? Where do I fit in the world?”. 

Why Katie launched her own business

Before Katie had kids, she had worked with an executive coach to narrow down her values, which were found in career advancement/progression and seeking out adventure. After kids, her values drastically switched to finding autonomy, freedom, and flexibility. She still wanted a career and knew she could couple it with being a Mom.

So Katie started her own business. She launched into career-coaching for women and focused on recruitment training—because she excelled at it. She met her current business partner 8 months into the process and found that they complemented each other’s abilities. They put their heads together and Eva Connections was born.

Suddenly, Katie had the freedom to choose her own hours and structure her day how she pleased. She had the flexibility to make appointments when it suited her. She points out that the traditional 9-5 is becoming outdated and old-fashioned and found herself questioning, “What works for me and makes me happy? As long as that’s working I know my business will flourish”. 

How Katie billed €600,000 while managing a large team

Katie has been in the recruiting industry for 19 years and reached a point where she completed 10 deals a month while managing a team. It took years of learning from the experts, working with candidates to understand the industry and soak in all the knowledge she could. She didn’t reinvent the wheel but followed a process she knew worked. 10 years later, she became the expert.

She attributes some of her success to choosing a niche and diligence with market-mapping. She wasn’t afraid to get on the phone and speak to candidates and clients. She qualified her leads and minimized the event of a candidate not accepting a position. She firmly believes—as do I—in the retainer model. Above all, she believes in the value of her service.

Katie goes into detail about what she did that works and continues to work—listen to this section carefully to benefit from her vast knowledge. 

Retainer versus contingency: selling it to clients

The average conversion of job order to placement across the industry is a mere 19%. So the recruiters who work on a contingency basis are working for free 80% of the time. This isn’t a way to make a living and provide for a family. You should be paid upfront for the work you do. Your time is precious—don’t waste it

Katie believes that recruiters don’t challenge their clients enough and that you need to fight for yourself. You’re a specialist working in a particular niche and an expert in your industry. You must have confidence in yourself and your abilities and be willing to push back when necessary. 

Katie states you must focus on “finding those clients that appreciate the value in the service that you offer, the skills and the expertise you can bring, and the quality and the caliber of candidates that may then add significant value to [their] business”.

In the remainder of the episode, Katie also talks in-depth about her business, Eva Connections, and the community they’ve built for women. She continues to find ways to invest in women in recruitment

Katie Howard Cross Bio and Contact Info

Katie is the co-founder of Eva Connections and has more than 18 years of experience in executive recruitment, training and development, and career coaching. She’s worked extensively in the energy and heavy engineering sectors and she’s passionate about developing a company culture that supports women to rise to the top of their profession. 

She has worked and operated within international business environments and built multi-million revenue-generating provisions from scratch. She’s got a very entrepreneurial mindset and is always seeking out and has a talent for spotting creative opportunities from nothing where none previously existed. Katie’s helped her teams to win several awards along the way, including Best Executive Search Firm at the RBA Awards for four consecutive years.

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