We love a good origin story, and this week’s feature is a perfect example of what can happen when two rivals recognize complimentary talents and channel their energies for success! After working for years in competing recruiting roles, Jolie Downs joined partner Lindsay Olson to start Paradigm Staffing in 2003, a recruitment firm specializing in PR, communications, digital and marketing opportunities.
While the world of entrepreneurship seems fast and ephemeral, Jolie and Lindsay have been working together for a long time. Through the Great Recession of the late 2000’s, they were able to steer their company to a profit, a personal source of pride for Jolie.
She attributes much of their success to a mutual belief in forming long-lasting relationships with their clients. This includes both the people they place –who often return when it’s time for their next move—as well as the businesses they work with to find applicants. Many of those original clients continue to come to them for new hires.
“You build these relationships and they last. You see them move from Account Executives to Vice Presidents in charge of their own teams. Their kids start to pop up. It’s almost an invisible community, with all these lines of connections.”
They also made decisions early on based off their shared experiences. Jolie points to both ageism and a lack of support for families as discriminatory practices she wanted to address in her placements. As working mothers, both came to recognize the inflexibility of many offices with regards to parenting.
“I looked at the life I had, and I knew that it was a blessing. Being able to work from home, spend time with my kids, and to be very successful with a career that satisfied me. I want to provide those opportunities to other women too!”
As a result, Paradigm is staffed with employees spread across the world, many of whom work remotely. Visit their website and you will see pictures of them spending time with their families, straddling that work-life balance that can be so difficult. In support of full transparency, they are honest with respect to expectations and realities.
“We want people to have their eyes wide open with whatever decision they’re making. We’ll be up front if it isn’t a ‘work-life balance’ kind of job, but striking that balance is a big thing we’re interested in. We want to see programs put in place that will keep people happy and rewarded wherever they go.”
And if you’re wondering what support a recruiting firm can truly offer, Jolie will point to her own early experiences in job-hunting, when she struggled to progress beyond her initial interviews.
“Honestly, it’s not the most qualified person who gets the job, it’s the one who interviews the best. I worked with a recruiter who prepped me fully, but I went in and I absolutely blew it. But I knew how I blew it. And after that I interviewed seven more times and I got seven offers back.”
Paradigm will work to bring you similar success, beginning with an initial discussion aimed at learning what you truly value in a career. What you would change in your current job. Where your mind wanders to as you consider your future. Questions such as these are ways to get at hidden answers that help Jolie chose suitable placements.
Your answers will be part of a larger profile Paradigm submits on your behalf to companies with interesting opportunities. They will coach you through each interview, acting as both teacher and confidant. A formal debriefing after each interview mirrors that early experience that helped Jolie learn. And once you land the job, you can expect a follow-up to be sure you’ve settled into a career which leaves you happy and fulfilled.
Thank you to our discoverHER Blogger: Amanda Heidt
If you are hunting for a rewarding career or if you represent a company looking to recruit new talent, give Paradigm a shout! You can follow Jolie online through LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram. In addition to her partnership with Lindsay, she also curates a job board and co-owns TapSnap with her brothers.