In the Limelight: Mike Strain
In this edition of our “In the Limelight” series, meet Mike Strain—a Senior Recruiter with over 20 years of workforce solutions industry experience. Mike’s fascinating background as an outdoor adventure instructor, sincere fondness for making connections, strong communication skills, positive attitude, and love of learning helped him become a successful recruiter.
Self-proclaimed “nomadic roots”
I grew up in Washington and attended Washington State University. While there, I studied criminal justice with aspirations of going into law enforcement. I quickly realized this was not the career for me so I switched majors to environmental law, planning to work as a park ranger or for the National Forest Service. After graduation, I moved to Sun Valley, Idaho, applying for jobs within the Forest Service. Unfortunately, there were no open positions, so I worked seasonal jobs—a snowboard instructor in the winter and a raft guide in the summer. At 27 years old, I was ready for a steady and more reliable career. I had friends who had exited the “nomadic” lifestyle before me and entered the “headhunting” business. While unfamiliar with the talent acquisition industry, my outgoing personality and communication skills from years of providing instruction in high-intensity environments made me a born salesman.
Journey to Broadleaf
I started with Broadleaf in January 2018. A large RPO client account needed an in-market recruiter to support staffing needs at 48 locations around Michigan. My family had just moved from Idaho to Michigan, as my wife was getting her Ph.D. from Michigan State University. Therefore, joining Broadleaf made perfect sense. I also had experience working VMS/MSP accounts with my previous employer in Idaho, so I was already familiar with the demands of representing a company to candidates. In November of 2021, I moved to another large Broadleaf account, where I currently work as a Senior Recruiter.
Role of a Senior Recruiter
A large part of my role is to foster relationships with client managers at all levels and demonstrate to them why Broadleaf is the best partner to utilize to fill their open positions. My days consist of reviewing new applicants, conducting phone screens, updating managers on activity, scouring social media sites, and networking like crazy. I have helped clients fill roles such as Director of Sales, Regional Director of Engineering, and Director of Energy and Sustainability.
Since the pandemic, many professionals have been hesitant to leave their current employer—especially if their company kept them on throughout the lockdown. Because of this, most open positions have very few applicants, if any at all, making my role challenging. I must be very proactive when I do encounter a candidate who is open to talking about an opportunity. Making an immediate impression on them in a very short window of time is essential to filling a role. Even though these situations prove to be difficult, the leadership and support of the Broadleaf team are exceptional. While the company has grown over the years, the start-up, family-oriented feeling remains. No managers are unreachable, and I feel supported in my role.
Working in a dynamic industry
When I started in the recruiting industry more than 20 years ago, it seemed that everyone was learning how to use the internet. Monster existed, but we mainly relied on cold-calling and were lucky if a candidate had a resume, they could email us—often, resumes were faxed. I remember having stacks of paper on my desk—one side was job requisitions, and the other resumes. The technology and the tools we have at our disposal now are amazing and have completely changed the industry. Applicant tracking systems, jobs boards, TextRecruit, Calendly, and LinkedIn, have made our jobs much more manageable and are now all tools we take for granted.
I aim to continue developing my leadership skills to support Broadleaf’s long-term goals and mission. I have always found teaching to be a rewarding experience and work to use my years of experience to help train new recruiters. Everyone has a diverse background and unique recruiting style, so if a
less-experienced recruiter can absorb a few tips or tricks from our discussion to help them succeed, I feel my strengths are being utilized. Conversely, I also learn from younger recruiters who are much more adept with technology and current trends than I am—a true win-win situation!
Life outside of work
When I am not working, I take every opportunity to spend time outdoors. Leaving the Rocky Mountains behind was hard, and I needed to adjust and find new passions while living in Michigan. Lake activities and mountain biking are some of my favorite new-found joys. Likewise, my son is a fifth grader who loves sports—especially football and basketball—and I take every opportunity to coach his teams. Living on the edge of a Big10 college campus has made my family and I massive Michigan State Spartan fans. We love to attend whatever game is happening right down the road whenever we can. I am also a guitarist and love playing, especially around a campfire. My nickname in Idaho was the “man of a thousand songs,” and I was the lead guitarist and singer in a five-piece bluegrass band, including guitar, stand-up bass, banjo, fiddle, and mandolin. I try to get out to see live music whenever possible.
For more information about Mike, visit his LinkedIn page here.