You pass them in the halls, see their faces on Zoom calls, and exchange emails. You know their job title and department and might even know their extension by heart. But do you truly know who you’re working with? Get to know our Senior Vice President of Professional Services, Adam Harwood!
Who are you?
I was born and raised in Los Angeles. I was a huge baseball fan growing up and played all throughout my childhood and into high school. I wanted to play in college, but 5’7 guys aren’t getting looked at too often to play for college teams. I knew I was good enough and I wanted to play D1 ball, so I decided to go to college at Pace University in Westchester, NY. It was a tough decision, but my dad is from the area, so I took a chance and made it work. I’m currently married and live on the Upper West Side in NYC with my wife and our miniature dachshund named Olive. You know what I just noticed? I’m 36 years old and I’ve spent half my life on both coasts of the country. 18 years in LA and now 18 years in NYC. Not bad.
Would you rather be bald or have a mullet for the rest of your life?
I’d be pretty happy with a mullet. I do like the idea of the “business in the front and party in the back” mentality. It would probably be a little uncomfortable at first, but that’s all right. I think I could pull it off.
Who were your role models and idols growing up?
I had great parents growing up. They were wonderful and great role models for me. They instilled a solid work ethic and really helped me hone my competitive nature growing up since I was so into baseball.
My high school baseball coach was also a really great role model for me. He made me realize talent is only part of the equation. Hard work, persistence, and consistently improving yourself in any way possible was what he preached to me. He always had great advice and taught me lessons, both on and off the field, that I still abide by today.
My college coach had a huge impact on me. I was an immature 18-year-old living on my own for the first time. Especially moving form LA to NYC. I was definitely a fish out of water. It was a big transition for me and he caught me at a weird, but good time in my life. He did everything he could to make me push myself out of any sort of comfort zone I had, and it was all for the best. The four years I played under him were tough (you know, with trying to manage a social, athletic, and school life), but he played a big role in keeping me grounded and focused throughout the entire time. My parents and those two coaches I had at big inflection points in my life. Made me who I am today.
Musical Chairs and Hot Potato were just added as events to the next Olympics, and you get to be the star of one of the teams. Which are you choosing and why?
I’m 5’7 and I’m quick. I can definitely whip around those chairs pretty fast. I hate losing and I’m a scrappy guy, so I’m going to make sure my butt is in everyone single one of those chairs until the very end. I also don’t think musical chairs is a game about size, but low center of gravity and being quick on your feet. I’m confident I can bring home gold for the country in musical chairs.
What led you to the company?
I was actually at a different recruiting firm for three years before joining this company. My old company was going through a volatile period, and I wanted to make sure I had options just in case things went south. I messaged someone at the company via LinkedIn and told them how my roommate was recently placed at a job by them and how they had a great experience. I even had dinner a couple of times with our founder Ed Fleischman, but at the time, I felt I still wasn’t ready to leave my old job. So, I stayed at my company for another year and continued the grind. Our company reached out to me the following June and we began the courting process again. So, I quit my job in October 2013 and traveled around for a couple of months. And then in of January 2014, I started here and haven’t looked back since.
The Adam Harwood life story is finally being made into a movie. Who is playing you and why?
I’d have to say I’d want it to be a big action star. Maybe someone like Liam Neeson or The Rock. It has to be someone who is the exact opposite of me to make my life look a little bit more exciting. Imagine Liam Neeson having to try to rescue someone while wrestling through stacks of resumes. Either one would put a nice spin on the resume-shuffling lifestyle that is my daily routine here. Let’s go with Liam Neeson!
You work in a very fast-paced sect of staffing where you’re placing a lot of high-earning professionals and are extremely successful at it. What is your process and how do you think it could work across other specialty areas?
I credit my edge and my accomplishments to interpersonal relations and interactions. I’ve had so many beers with candidates and clients. It’s all about being diligent and being interested in the people you’re talking to. Just being normal, honest, and authentic. That’s what I try to do every single time I meet someone, whether it’s internally or externally. A lot of people come to sales and have a wrong idea about it. And not to mention, recruiting has such a negative stigma to it because there’s honestly a lot of below average recruiters.
I don’t know if it’s a process that can be replicated, so to simplify it, just be likeable. LinkedIn, other job boards and networking sites are common across the industry, but it’s your message and how you come across it that will set you apart. And you must replicate that in all facets of the process, especially when you’re interacting with clients and candidates in person. We hire a lot of people because of their personalities. I specifically do that. If I hire you here, it’s because you have a great personality and I want you to showcase that. You’ve won me over, now go win them over. It’s the edge you’ll need to succeed.
If you could go back in time and re-live any age of your life for a month, what age would it be?
I’m going to go with my junior year of college, specifically the first month of the baseball season. I didn’t get on the field much during my first two years of college. But by the time junior year came around, I was playing the best baseball of my life and just living it up in college. Not a worry in the world. Just good times.
If you didn’t have a successful career in the staffing industry, what other occupation could you see yourself thriving in?
I really wanted to be an astronaut. I went to space camp when I was 12, but I had asthma growing up. People who have asthma don’t get to go up into space, so I was the Head of Mission Control. I know I don’t have a Ph.D. or anything like that to qualify for those roles, but since we’re playing the Eddie Rivera question game, I’m going with astronaut.
Rank these types of parm from worst to best: Chicken, Shrimp, Veal, Eggplant, Meatball.
Shrimp parm? That’s a hard pass. Eggplant would definitely have to be the second worst. Meatball is smackdab in the middle. Then, I’d go with veal parm and, of course, chicken parm as the best. I mean, who doesn’t like chicken parm?
What does the year 2022 have planned for you and your team?
2021 was a record setting year for us and we’re already ahead of that this year. I’m really happy with what we’re doing here. There’s a lot happening in the industry and the world, and yet we continue thriving. We have such a strong team of hard workers and great communicators. I think we’ve accomplished something that is often overlooked: teamwork. Our group who likes each other, likes working with each other, and helping each other — even when they don’t have anything at stake.
I’m so lucky to work with such great people. The plan is to continue to grow and keep this steady track of success. Nothing makes me happier than to see people being happy and finding more success than they had before. So, if we continue on pace with the way we’re going thus far in 2022, I’ll be more than pleased.
The zombie apocalypse is upon us. Explain your strategy. What are you doing? Where are you going? And who are you bringing?
I’m probably the first person at JFK trying to get to the West Coast immediately. We’ve actually spent a lot of time in the mountains of Utah and I feel like I can navigate that area well, so I think that would be where we would go. Obviously, my wife has to come with, and we can never leave our dog behind. I’d love to bring everyone with me, but this type of situation is every man, woman, and wiener dog for themselves. So, if this place goes belly up and you need me, you can find me in the Utah mountains.