|After an impressive career spanning more than three decades, Don Yaeger is retiring from at Century Group, the company he co-founded 25 years ago. He will still remain involved on the Board of Directors.
Don’s background in placement had quite a fortuitous start. As a psycho-diagnostician in 1970’s New York, it was his work developing personality profiles that led him toward career placement – long before the standard use of these tests to evaluate a candidate’s fit for a role.
Don was approached to help a corporate advisory firm with their hiring needs. He spent weeks developing personalized profiles, but ultimately the company went with the recommendation of a headhunter, and Don discovered a new professional arena for his psychometric background.
The skills he brought to the table in trying to fit candidates with roles has served him well over the last 30-plus years. “Part of a psycho-diagnostician’s job is figuring out exactly what test to give,” Don shared. “You have to interview a person and learn more about them to get deeper insight into the whys and wherefores. Then you write up a prognosis, stating what might benefit the person the most. Moving from psych to placement seemed like a very simple transition, since I could use much of the same process.”
“Don has an incredible ability to understand each candidate’s motivations for a job change,” Century Group’s CEO Ron Proul shared. “He took tremendous time and care with each candidate to ensure he could help them in the selection of the right opportunity.”
There was always one main key to his success. “My initial strategy: get a phone number, so I could call them at home,” Don said. Psychologically, he knew if he could talk to the potential candidate in their home environment where they would be more relaxed, they in turn would spend more time giving him the information he needed – their background and goals – so he could present the perfect match.
Getting additional background information became easier as recruiting became more technologically-savvy, but even in the early years, Don simply wanted the details so he could select what to present to the client. “We’re in the business of disseminating information. Our job is to make the best match between a client and candidate – and then to show each side why the other fits their wants and needs.” He shared this approach with the many Century Group recruiters he trained over the past 25 years.
Don knows his approach is different from others in the profession. “Everyone wants to do it their way, and this business allows a highly-motivated recruiter to use their own strength even though we all want to end up in the same place.” His strength in utilizing his psycho-diagnostic training to find the best possible match, coupled with the time he puts in to discuss and evaluate each individual’s scenario, is what sets him apart as one of the original relationship-builders in the recruiting industry.