5 Easy Questions Every Candidate Fails To Answer | Head Hunter Dandan Zhu | Job Talks With HR

Today's guest on episode 5 of Job Talks With HR is Dandan from USA and she is a head hunter. And she has been in this industry for a very long. And she is a founder of DG recruit a podcast for head hunters.

Questions covered in the podcast:

1. What does a recruiter look in a candidate?

2. Is communication important for a candidate?

3. Can a candidate work in alone or only in teams?

4. What are the best platforms to connect with a recruiter?

5. How can you as a candidate use this episode to get a job immediately?

What is Job Talks With HR?

Job Talks With HR is a podcast where we invite recruiters, head-hunters from all every country to get their advice on how to get a job, how to prepare for interviews, best resume tips, which job portal to use, how to negotiate salary and much more. Every podcast tells you to prepare in a certain way for the interview, here, the recruiters tells you how to prepare, talk, build resume and get your dream job. Our aim is to provide you with enough insights that, you can Crack any interviews.

how to get a raise in your salary of 100k per year on job talks with hr
Dandan Zhu | Episode 5 On Job Talks With HR

Allin1hub: What is your journey Dandan?

Dandan: I had a very typical sort of immigrant child upbringing when my parents moved to the us when I was five and I was always told my whole life that I should become a doctor, a lawyer, a scientist. An accountant, the basic jobs that I think a lot of Asian parents and immigrant parents that come from, foreign countries that come to the us or whatever country they're immigrating to, they want the best for their children.

They want the child to do what they want. But after college I really understood myself to a point where I knew that I would actually not be qualified or capable or even interested in pursuing a traditional career route, which kind of led me to. Think about what do successful? What do the rich people do?

How did they get rich? And a lot of wealthy people write books and their motivational speakers and they share, how did they get there? And a lot of these people they're in sales roles. They're selling something. And because they can sell something and sell a lot of it, they then get a foundation, a financial foundation, and an accelerated earning capability.

That's much faster than the traditional route, which also might require a long money and time investment up front. For instance, law, for instance, becoming a doctor, you. Three to eight years of schooling, an additional apprenticeship before you can even really be a business leader, which I think if you live in the us, it's such a capitalist entrepreneurial, world.

And I argue, this is the case for every single country. Now is capitalism is the model, right? So if you can create something and if you can sell something, you will be rich. Much faster. So instead of going to grad school, I disagreed with my parents very aggressively and they were very upset and I said, I'm gonna go and do some random sales job.

And so I landed into recruitment, which is agency recruitment specifically. And it is a type of recruiter, but it isn't what the general public. Knows more about which is like HR. We're not really HR people. We are sales people, selling talent to organizations and organizations pay us a very expensive recruitment fee to get this highly specialized talent head hunting them to move from one company.

To our clients, right? So as simple as this sounds, it's actually really hard to do and it pays extremely well. So by the time I was 25 years old, I was earning over $215,000 a year, which is a lot of money for a person who was relatively young. And that set me up because my first year I made $87,000. My second year I made $130,000.

Meanwhile, the whole time I'm house hacking. I'm also like not paying full rent because I have tenants, I get these leases and I rent every single room. And I got that because I bought the lease from my old roommate. Right. So all these little things I was doing was helping me decrease my daily expense/

So we go to bars and I would literally just drink water. I would literally be like, I'm not paying 15 thou dollars for a cocktail. I'm going to drink water. So we would be at a club all night and I would just be drinking water. Cause I was like, I refuse. To pay, right? Like I'm saving every single cent that I wanted to save.

And I still went on travel. I still travelled, but I didn't live in like five star hotels. So I'm accumulating wealth and I invested it into real estate when I was 25, 26 was when I started investing into real estate and owning proper.

And then that led me to set me up to achieve financial independence relatively early, because the cost of the homes, really rose very quickly. I made some very good bets and then I went independent when I was 28. I quit the workforce. And I just traveled was a full-time landlord buying and selling homes managing tenants, doing evictions.

And unfortunately I was investing in a lot of areas that were not very stable and I was a new landlord, so learning a lot of mistakes. And then I started my own recruiting company. Two years after that, when I was 30 years old and now I have my recruitment business, I have my real estates property. Most of these properties are Airbnbs.

Now that's where I'm heavily investing. My money is in hosting Airbnbs. And so far so good in one hand feeds the other recruitment and real estate. That's pretty much my life now.

Allin1hub: Can you just tell me that, how did you transition from real estate to head recruiting part?

Dandan: In my first five years in my career, when I was 23 years old to 28 years old, I was a head hunter working at a large recruitment agency. So they were paying me my salary. I was giving them my profits. So they were taking their cut.

So I would make them, half a million. I would only get 200. I would bill 740,000. For instance, the company would get to profit off of me, half a million dollars, pure revenue. That's recruiting is very low expenses. You don't have to like really do anything. You just call people. It's a sales job, right?

So it's not like I have to buy a factory and build products and sell products. Recruitment is just, we are cashing in these massive fees. Per placement. So the company is making half a million off of me. I'm taking $215,000, which is very good. And then when I got older, my last year as a recruiter, I took home about $200,000.

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I didn't work very hard at that point. I was doing really big deals. So I was maximizing on the commission. So that year I made the company about like 550 or 600,000 total. And I got about a third of that. So the company got to keep like 400,000 off of me. I got to keep 200,000. So because my job is me.

I'm doing everything. I'm calling the clients, I'm getting them interested. I'm selling them, my services, me, and then I'm filling the jobs myself. I'm going to get the candidates. So it's me doing everything. The firm is doing really nothing.

I have to do all the work. I have to go and tell people I have to call people. I have to send them email mailers that I'm creating the company does nothing to help me do deals. Right. I'm the one going to sell and, and doing it very manually. So what happened was when I was finishing up, I was buying another condo and I thought to myself, I was sitting on like half a million worth of real estate at that point.

One of my condos jumped up and another one I knew I was making like a hundred grand. At such a low rate and I was getting rental income. I was like, I'm 28 years old. I have no health issues. I have zero cost of living because I'm house hacking. I literally paid nothing in rent or close to nothing like a hundred dollars.

I have no real cost other than my car, car insurance and like my properties, my tenants are paying for it. If I don't start my own company now, when am I gonna do it? Right. I have no kids. I have no dependence. My parents don't need me to pay for them. So I, if I do not become an entrepreneur, this would be a bad decision.

So I left a $200,000 paying job with no plan, zero plan. Like I was like, I'm quitting just for the, just for the theory of it. I should not work here because I'm doing all the work. It's not like I'm getting something from the company. Like if I'm gonna do all the work and I can generate this company, up to $700,000 a year, I can do that for myself.

I can do half of that and make 300,000, right. I can do half the work and make more than what I was doing as an employee. And that's the benefit of being in a sales role, only in a sales role. Could that really. Right. Like, because you don't need colleagues like running a recruiting business. I don't need a it guy.

I don't need an accountant. I it's very simple. I can just outsource it and I could create my own website. It's not like, Hey, I'm gonna create Salesforce and I have to have like 50 engineers, it's a different business model. It's very entrepreneurial. It's very low cost.

You would be genuinely stupid not to start your own agency, right. Or you just do not have the money or the confidence or the capability, or you're making so much money in someone else's model that it doesn't make sense to reinvent the wheel. That was not the case for me. I wasn't making enough money at my old firm to dissuade me from setting up my own business.

Also I have real estate, with half a million dollars. Like at that age, I was like, I could do anything. I could be an actress. I could go up to become a YouTube star. I could do anything because I don't have to work anymore. Right. Like I'm literally financially free.

So at that age, it's like, what do I do? And at the time it's like real estate is a blessing and a curse. Because you have tenants and you rely on your tenants to pay the rent. And so when I quit my job, I sold a house that I bought a condo that I bought and I made $300,000. I thought, okay, let me buy three homes. So at that point I had four properties. I took one bought three, so I have three more properties and I had an extra condo, separate condo that I bought before I quit.

So I have four properties. And at this time I'm like becoming a landlord and you realize very quickly as a landlord, that four properties earning an average of like three to $400, each is not enough. To cover the overhead of property ownership, because if something happens, you have to pay a contractor.

Either margins are way too low, three, $400 off of each property. It sounds good. But the reality is is if your tenant doesn't pay, then we have an eviction on our hands. So that's what happened to me. I had a couple evictions that kind of started backing up into each other. So in my dream I said: I'm fully retired.

I don't have to do. But in reality, if you invest in real estate, you actually need a high source of personal income to pay for the mistakes that you're inevitably gonna face as a landlord, there's gonna be issues. So very quickly after two years, and in this time, by the way, I started my own career coaching business Dandan.

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Do I even enjoy coaching people? I do enjoy coaching people, but as a headhunter, I'm used to upto $50,000 per client. Per candidate, every candidate that I help, I'm making upto 50,000 to a hundred thousand dollars off of one candidate. That's how much money I'm making. So when you compare that to individual coaching and it's like $300 an hour, it's not very exciting, because I was doing, 50 to 100k off of one individual.

So it's not exciting to me. I enjoy sharing my knowledge. I enjoyed coaching people. It's just not something that I really think is a good utilization of my talent. Right? Like my talent could be much bigger. So I was learning all of this through trial and error.

And then it occured to me, let me set up a website. Let me start doing coaching. And then so eventually I got to a point where I said, I don't really like the coaching. The real estate is becoming a problem because I'm now negative. I'm in the red. I'm actually living off of debt. Now I'm revolving debt. To stay afloat, taking new money, to pay off old money and accumulating interest, which isn't a big deal interest.

It isn't a problem. It's just that I need a solution. I need a solution to get very cash flow positive again, and at a very high rate. What is the skill that I'm very good at recruitment? So that is why I naturally organically started my recruiting business. It was born out of a need to make. I make a lot of it.

And that's the only reason why I should start a recruiting company. You should not be in recruiting if you're just there to have fun, like recruiting is a serious business to make money. You have to do a lot of work. So for me, I'm willing to work hard. I'm willing to invest in my business. And I'm very excited and motivated to be cash positive, to like make money for my clients, make money for me, make money, help my candidates.

That was a very natural kind of reentry into recruitment and owning my own recruitment business. And this time it's my company not working for somebody else.

So you are a company that means you have most of the liability as well as accountability into it. And most of the part that you just said, it sounds like very much an entrepreneurial journey where every founder comes in, gets into real estate, gets into a point where he or she is trying to get something out of them.

Allin1hub: What are the different domains that you have recruited till now?

Dandan: I started off doing pharmaceutical recruitment, pharmaceutical centric recruitment, and I was a niche recruiter, a niche head hunter in the space of specifically regulatory writing. So I did that for my first three years of my recruitment.

And I dominated that market created a little monopoly in it from coast to coast. I'm servicing clients anywhere because I knew the market very well. I knew every single player. I knew every single hiring manager. I knew pretty much all the candidates to a point where in that third year, if I met somebody new, I'd say, I don't know you.

That's a surprise. I know everybody. So who are you? Monopolize the whole market. So I got a little bit bored. My company also wanted me to build new markets. So I experimented with quality assurance a little bit. I did a little bit of safety recruitment, again, all servicing the life sciences, mainly pharmaceuticals, as well as like clinical research organizations, which are essentially like outsourced businesses are still service the pharmaceutical companies.

I was mainly servicing. These type of customers. And then my last year in recruiting, when I wanted to quit, my company wanted me to come back and they wooed me back by offering me executive search. So executive search, they would give me a chance to lead the effort fully on my own terms.

They'll just let me do whatever I want. And executive search you're earning off of the highest paid person, which is C level or VP level. And these people, they're making on the lowest end 250. And even that isn't very good. We're looking at upto $400,000 being their salary. So each deal you get 25% to 35% since I was just starting out the executive search business on my own.

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I'll offer 25% on 300 to 400k salaries. So my average deal size was anywhere from like really the 90 to a hundred range. And I only did that for about a year and a half before I had enough of that. I was like, I proved to myself, I can do it. And I. Really need to do this anymore. Because the more money I make for my company, the more they take.

And I kind of didn't wanna make money for anyone else anymore. So I kind of just said goodbye to pharmaceutical recruitment. I enjoyed my time recruiting for pharmaceutical and life sciences businesses, but when it came time to set up my own recruiting business, I wanted to focus on a market that I personally am very passionate about.

And ironically that's recruiting for recruitment. And recruiting for top head hunters. Now I recruit for me back in the day. That's my customer. Now I recruit for top head hunters now, and I only service them and I help them in the time where I didn't have any guidance. I now serve as that mentor for them in that moment in time where they need.

To make a career decision, but they don't know who to go to. Cause our industry's so niche. I mean, they don't, their parents don't really know it. Their friends don't really know it. So we are a specialist recruitment business that only helps other head hunters on the agency side recruiters on the agency side which is a very niche line of work.

And that's what I do now. So all in all, I've covered like, three to four markets, and this is my final market. I probably won't be setting up any new markets anytime. In a very different niche because right now this niche is not being captured by most of the people. And I believe that this niche is not being looked back by most of the recruiters or head hunters.

Allin1hub: What happens is when a candidate comes, he goes into a portal or any other reference by this point that he directly gets a job. So this is basically for C level executives or any higher level executives who are trying to get a job or trying to switch into a different room. Is that what this, this niches are?

Dandan: I recruit for recruitment businesses, just like the one I used to work. Recruitment company. Recruitment company is my customer is my client. They're paying my fees. I go, and I find top billers who work at recruitment agencies. They're top billers. So they could be two years in. They could be one year in they're top performer.

Like they sell a lot. They make a lot of money for their organization. Again, like the vision is I'm recruiting for myself, right? Like I used to work at a large recruiting company. That's my customer. I go and find the Don dons at these recruiting firms. And I take them and I move them to my clients, which are smaller recruiting businesses that are not bureaucratic, that are not these college grind shops.

So it's a very niche market where a lot of recruiters try to do what I do and they do do what I do, but they don't understand because they are not me. They have not worked at a large recruiting business themselves. They have never really experienced. That life fully. They don't understand it fully. So I understand it fully because I operate a recruiting business.

I used to work at a recruiting business. Like I am a genuine. Like full on head hunter. I've been there. I've seen it all. I know exactly what they're going through in their careers. So when they come to me, I know exactly the pain points and the issues and the career, the correct career guidance to give them.

Whereas a lot of people, they try to do what I do and they have this service. And they tend to just service HR people at the end of the day, which is a different market. Like we're not HR people, right. So they don't really understand my competitors don't really understand what real top pillars experience, because they themselves have never been global top pillars at a big company.

So they don't really know what that life is like. And our industry is so niche that it really takes one to know one. And to give them the proper career guidance, because it's not like other career. Right at other careers, it's like climb up the food chain. Our job is very entrepreneurial. So there is really no food chain.

There is no like corporate ladder. There really isn't the same career guidance that you would get in a typical job. So I think that's, that's kind of where I differentiate myself and it's a very unique business recruiting for recruitment businesses specifically. And now obviously my can. Some will do what I used to do.

They service the pharmaceutical industry, or some of them service the technology sector, or some of them service, energy sector. Some of them do banking. So in the recruitment sector, they cover all these different markets, because every recruiter is niche. So like I only did pharma, that's it like I didn't do, I don't also call up technology firms.

No, like that's not my customer. So every recruiter, most of them, the good ones at least. They are niche. They're focused, they're hyper focused and their goal is to dominate a specific career vertical. So like I explained to you, my first three years, I was only doing regulatory writers.

I was not placing clinical trial managers. I was not working with CRAs: clinical research associates. I was only dealing with regulatory writers. So they're junior regulatory writer to the department head director of medical writing. That's how recruitment works is that you, you kind of pick a lane and you specialize in it, and then you become the head hunter of that space leading to a monopoly where you own all of the customer.

This is when you make the most money as a top dealer, because you are the go to funnel like everyone has to work through you because you now own the entire candidate network. So the vision is if you are a company and you're trying to hire, you will not see a single regulatory writer until you call me. And then I will give you the candidates available because that's the power of a head hunter could lock down candidate network.

To loyalty through service, through, relationships, the candidates and the head hunters kind of work together in a symbiotic relationship. Wow. That is a new process that I am going through because your process is niche down that much, that I am hearing it. And I'm experiencing it for the first time I've heard about I've read about them, especially for this podcast.

Listen to the entire podcast to find out the answers to the questions:

1. What does a recruiter look in a candidate?

2. Is communication important for a candidate?

3. Can a candidate work in alone or only in teams?

4. What are the best platforms to connect with a recruiter?

5. How can you as a candidate use this episode to get a job immediately?

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