Senior Specialist, Talent Acquisition, P&OFollow this author
By Kim Perez
Adults love to ask kids what they want to be when they grow up. Rarely is “recruiter” an answer. “Most kids don’t imagine that they’ll be a recruiter one day – including me,” said Marisa Cañizares. “But I’ve been recruiting for seven years now, and it turns out it’s something I really enjoy.”
Today, Cañizares specializes in recruiting veterinarians – an in-demand specialty – for Banfield. But that’s not an expertise she ever envisioned for herself when she was younger.
Cañizares studied international communications and business at the University of Oregon. When her job after college was relocated across the country, she took the opportunity to try different things to see what her next role should be. She ended up in Human Resources (HR) at a small marketing firm, doing a bit of everything, and discovered a career that suited her.
“It was a really wonderful opportunity for me,” she said. “HR is an interesting field. In this job I was able to learn a lot about so many different parts of the business and ended up finding out HR is something I really enjoyed.”
When it was time to move on from the small firm, she knew she wanted to stay in HR but also wanted a new challenge. One aspect she hadn’t tried yet: recruiting. A recruiter is the person who finds candidates and screens them on behalf of a hiring manager when there’s a job opening.
Cañizares joined the largest privately owned staffing agency, where she recruited for multiple organizations, many different types of clients and jobs, in a fast-paced environment.
She’s always been an active volunteer, as well – feeling strongly that organizations can make a difference in their communities. In fact, at the agency she won an award for her volunteer work with the Oregon Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. She lost a brother to Cystic Fibrosis when she was young, and she continues to be committed to raising awareness and money for the cause.
“It felt good to be acknowledged for something that wasn’t what I was paid to do, but for something I feel passionate about,” she said.
After nearly six years at the agency, she again wanted to expand her skills by trying something new. She joined Banfield as a recruiter, and today she specializes in recruiting veterinarians in particular.
“It’s polar opposite from the agency,” she said. “It’s a totally different world to get to know. The growth and learning throughout my first year with Banfield has been huge for me.”
At the agency she recruited for a wide range of positions, from high-level engineering to administrative assistants and everything in between. At Banfield she recruits veterinarians for five markets. She enjoys being able to specialize in one type of role, though it can be a challenge because there are a limited number of doctors and demand for them is high industry-wide.
“We have to think outside the box in how we locate eligible doctors,” said Cañizares. “There’s a great group of recruiters here and a ton of knowledge to be shared. When there’s a challenge, I’ll brainstorm with my colleagues and ask a lot of questions. We try to make our approach personal and unique to each individual.”
The challenge is part of the fun.
“The most exciting thing for me is being able to play a role in helping someone take the next step in their career,” she said. “I get to help people find a job and a career they love and find rewarding.”
Cañizares enjoys working with people just starting their careers: “It’s exciting to help people get their first position after college,” she said. “They’re often not sure how everything works, they’re a bit overwhelmed. I love being able to support them and hearing the excitement in their voices when they accept their first job offer.”
It’s also the same when working with experienced doctors who are looking for a new challenge or for the next step in their career, she said. “I can relate to a transitional point in your career. I like being someone they can come to with questions or when they need support as they make big life decisions.”
She joined Banfield’s Latinx diversity resource group called Unidosbecause it’s a group that works to strengthen Banfield’s connection with the Latino community – a community she feels closely connected to. Her in-laws and extended family are from Ecuador. Their household is bilingual and her kids go to Spanish-speaking school.
“It just made sense that I would be part of a group that would tie those two aspects of my life together.”
Cañizares encourages people to consider a career as a recruiter. Having a background in HR is helpful but not necessary. She recommends starting at a staffing agency like she did, because it’s “a great place to get your feet wet, learn the ropes, and learn where you might like to take your career path.”
Coming from someone who has strategically directed career paths for herself and for many others, that’s advice worth taking.