Cielo CEO Sue Marks on how recruiting fits into the future of work

CEO Sue Marks founded Cielo, a Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) partner, in 2005 with the goal to help company’s attract and hire better talent, and make the process seamless for the candidate along the way. Marks is widely recognized as one of the key founders of the RPO industry, according to the company’s website.

Ladders spoke with Marks to hear her advice for entrepreneurs, how recruiting has changed since founding Cielo, and how the company fits into the future of work.

“There’s intense competition for talent and it’s a candidate’s market. We’re seeing many candidates get multiple competitive offers and counteroffers and because they have options, many end up ‘ghosting’ recruiters – which is the practice of not showing up for a phone or personal interview, not responding to a job offer and sometimes not showing up for their start date … and then they disappear forever.

The most impactful trend is ensuring three things for our clients: 1) That their ‘brand’ as an employer is compelling and clear, 2) that their career website, which should deliver the same type of experience as an e-commerce site, is easy to use, mobile-enabled and fast, and 3) that they engage early and often with desirable and desired candidates – through phone, email, text, chat, WhatsApp, etc. These days, we need to be able to communicate anyway, anytime and anywhere to be competitive.”

How have recruiting services changed since you founded Cielo in 2005?

“The biggest change has been sophistication in technology and value-added strategic offerings – such as building employer brand – all along the talent value chain. Our clients increasingly want to work with one trusted partner for a wide range of services. When this happens, real business impact occurs.”

How do you think the future of work will play into what you do and what Cielo does?

“We’ll have to think of what is needed in terms of skills, tenure and location for each opportunity and be open to all the different ‘workstyles’ and ‘ways of working’ and different types of workers (regular, full or part time, contract, gig, temporary, etc.). Flexibility will be key in attracting, engaging and retaining the best talent. Organizations will increasingly be flexible networks of relationships rather than less flexible hierarchies. Talent and work are much more fluid today, which is a real positive, however, it puts a greater burden on managers to provide and preserve the sense of team.”

What’s the best piece of advice someone has given you?

“Never take ‘no’ from someone who can’t tell you ‘yes.'”

Are mentoring younger professionals important to you? Did you ever have a mentor?

“I’ll always take the time to support young entrepreneurs. So many people have helped me throughout my career and the only thing they’ve ever asked of me in return is that I do the same. My most important mentors helped me elevate my executive communication skills, inspired me to apply their most important leadership lessons to become an entrepreneurial CEO and set me up with the foundational skills I needed to grow a business.”

What advice do you have for an entrepreneur looking to launch their own business?

“1. Think bigger.
2. What you don’t do is as important as what you do.
3. Have a plan. And then have a Plan B, C, and D.”

Is your morning routine an important part of your day?

“Yes. I’m up to taking care of emails, administrative or creative work by about 5 a.m. CT every day. I find it’s the best time for me to be productive.”

How would you describe the Cielo company culture? What makes it special?

Because of our customers’ markets and our market are changing so quickly, we must always make smart decisions with incomplete information. We are constantly pushing the envelope on innovation at Cielo and for our clients. We know that what’s good enough for today will not be tomorrow. We move fast and empower our teams and our people by giving them the tools and resources they need to delight our clients. We’re passionately focused on making a difference for our customers, each other and the communities in which we work, and we believe that how we do what we do is as important as what we do.”

What advice would you give to a professional interviewing at Cielo?

“Be yourself and select us as carefully as we’ll select you. We have a smart, bold, fast-paced culture that we know is not for everyone – if you’re driven and want to work with the best in the industry, you’re exploring the right opportunity!”