We want you to get to know the members of Team Synergis who help put people to work. So this month, we sat down with Marisa Wahnschaff. She works from Atlanta as a Technical Recruiter on many different IT roles, especially information security and cloud security engineer jobs. Let’s hear what Marisa had to say.
Marisa, first please tell our readers a little about yourself and your professional background.
Most of my life, I played soccer and was fortunate enough to fulfill my dream of playing in college at Campbell University (Go Fighting Camels). When I graduated, I remember thinking, what am I going to do now? I had trained for so long and put in so many practice and game hours with soccer, that I didn’t really have much downtime to really think about what I would do after I graduated. I knew that I loved working with people, being part of a team and loved the competitive aspect that soccer brought out in me.
I had ideas on what I wanted to do, but when you’re new in the job market, it can be a very overwhelming experience applying for jobs left and right. I decided early on that I would try and make the best out of each opportunity that was put in front of me in hopes that maybe I would luck out and find my career path.
I began my career working in retail sales, then branched into Employee Benefit Healthcare, where I spent the next 4 years, before landing with an IT Staffing firm in 2011. When I began working in IT Staffing, I immediately felt like I had found my “soccer field” again and began to enjoy the work that I was doing. I spent the next 4 years learning as much about IT as I possibly could and soon became one of the top recruiters in our office.
As fate would have it, my dad approached me about joining a specialized Stop Loss Underwriting business that he and a few of his colleagues had started in early 2014. While I absolutely loved IT Staffing, having the opportunity to work alongside my dad and learn from someone that I had looked up to my entire life, was simply an opportunity I couldn’t pass up. It afforded me the opportunity to learn from his extensive sales knowledge and professional experience, and it also gave me the opportunity to spend more time with my dad.
Towards the end of 2020, I began thinking about my career and where I saw myself in 5-10 years. Even though I had been out of the IT Staffing industry for the better part of almost 6 years, I knew that I missed being in that type of fast-paced environment. And at the end of the day, my different careers have afforded me the ability to really figure out where I wanted to be and what I wanted to do.
Once I figured out that the IT Staffing industry was where I wanted to be, it came down to finding a great organization that would provide me that opportunity again. As fate would have it, I came across a LinkedIn posting from one of our long-time Synergis Team Members that they were hiring. I knew that it was a long shot to find a job through a simple LinkedIn posting, but I am happy that I took that chance by reaching out. Fortunately for me, I found a home with Synergis and I’m truly humbled and honored to be a part of this great organization.
What attracted you to work in the staffing industry?
As I mentioned before, playing soccer most of my life, I really enjoyed that competitive nature that sports brought out in me. I found that the staffing industry helped me to continue to compete but compete in a way to help my candidates and clients meet their goals mutually. To me, there is no greater reward than when you offer a candidate a job and they simply say, “thank you for helping me out” and “you don’t know how much this new opportunity means to me and my family.” To be able to help someone with their future and help the client find their next great hire is something that I thoroughly enjoy and one of my favorite aspects about our industry.
What are your favorite aspects of working with candidates?
I’ve always loved meeting new people, so being in a career where I get to talk to people every day, hear from them how they became successful, the ups and downs they’ve experienced and why they got into a particular field is something that I appreciate immensely. Everyone has a story to tell and being able to listen to those stories and help a candidate write their next career chapter is something very special.
Do you have a particular candidate story that’s memorable that you’d like to share?
I remember calling a candidate who was newer into their IT career for a potential opportunity with a Fortune 500 client. From our initial conversation, two things really stuck out to me about this candidate, 1) their drive to succeed and 2) they mentioned that hard work was the key to success, and they knew that if they worked hard enough, they could achieve anything. In a way, this person reminded me of myself when I first began my professional career, so I knew I had to try and help however I could. He went through the interview process and we kept hoping and hoping that he would get a formal offer. When we finally got the news that my candidate had received the offer, I couldn’t wait to tell him the good news. He was so excited, and he mentioned that this new opportunity was really going to help him and his family and that he wanted to thank us for believing in him. That is something that I don’t think I’ll ever forget.
What is the one piece of advice that you consistently give candidates?
It sounds cliché, but never give up! I am a true believer that there is the right job for everyone out there, and if you just keep going through the process and taking each interview as a learning and coaching opportunity, you will find your home!
On a lighter note, as a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Funny enough, we have an old VHS tape of me when I was about 7-8 years old saying I wanted to be an Indianapolis 500 Race Car Driver. I have never had the chance to fulfill that childhood dream, but to this day, I still love race cars and, of course, American Muscle cars.
Need help finding an IT job? Reach out to Marisa on LinkedIn.