• “NAS is always evolving”: An interview with Jennifer Henley, our new Chief Operating Officer

    Posted by NAS Recruitment Innovation on February 20th, 2024

    Jennifer Henley was recently appointed as NAS Recruitment Innovation’s Chief Operating Officer. She’s been a key member of the NAS team since 2001 and has held numerous titles over the years, including Account Executive, National Director of Client Services, and Senior Vice President of Operations. A 20+ year veteran in recruitment marketing, Jenn has PHR, SHRM-CP, and Lean Six Sigma with Green Belt credentials. She is an active member of SHRM and several HR associations. We thought we’d take this opportunity to get Jennifer’s thoughts about the state of recruitment marketing and her vision for NAS.

    NAS: Tell us about your experience with NAS and what brought you to this new role as our Chief Operating Officer.

    Jennifer: When I started my career at NAS 23 years ago, the idea that I would be appointed COO was not even a dream. Now it’s a reality. This is such a unique organization, and being a part of its rich history for a third of its life is really rewarding. We’ve had different owners, leaders, and visions over the years. What stays consistent for me is our commitment to the clients we serve and the quality of the team I get to work with.

    We’re a results-driven organization and we’re here when we are needed – that’s why customers work with us. They value us and to be a part of that is special. I believe we all are as good as the leaders and the team around us, and I know we have a great team. I look at this as having the privilege to do what’s right and what’s good to help our clients and everyone around us succeed.

    NAS: If we go back to your first job at NAS, what are some of the things you learned that are still vital and true today?

    Jennifer: I started at NAS on Valentine’s Day in 2001. We had rolodexes and company cars and a territory map that I unfolded in my front seat. You had to be gritty. You had to be humble. You had to work hard and have patience, and those attributes don’t change. As the agency grew and I grew with it, I realized I had an affinity for seeing results. For the last 10 years, I’ve been focused on client services – listening, and solving problems – as well as getting to know the full scope of the company.

    More recently, my focus on operations has led me to really want to see how I can be a servant leader to the organization. I’ve also come to appreciate and understand the vision for creative, sales, and other areas. I love learning how things work. I’m curious. I want to make improvements. And I want us to challenge ourselves – to find ways to do things better for ourselves and our clients.

    NAS: What do you think are some of the most impactful changes you’ve seen in recruitment marketing over the years?

    Jennifer: It’s technology, right? Everything moved from offline to online. When I started, it was phones and faxes. People would call and I would type their ads. The major evolution in technology changed expectations. It allowed huge gains in efficiency but also disrupted the industry in a way that required education, experimentation, and adjustment. We all had to be thoughtful about what we built and how we used it.

    The other big change is the focus on results. Years ago, you would run an ad in the paper and hope for a good response. Now, we demand proven results, along with the agility to modify, pivot, and continually improve on what we are doing. Every conversation is strategic and our measure of good is much more precise. That is so powerful.

    NAS: What do you see as some of the biggest challenges facing our clients in the industry today?

    Jennifer: We have a client Advisory Board that gives us insight and feedback on a quarterly basis while allowing a platform for our customers from different industries and sectors to talk about like challenges and what they need from us. Based on what I hear, there is a dual focus on the candidate experience and retention. Regarding the candidate experience, it’s about efficiency and implementing solutions and tools to make it as easy as possible for candidates.

    Clients are also talking about virtual events and video interviewing. Some of our clients are also interested in creating efficiency through automation and starting to explore AI and even mentioning VR. We have a chatbot solution available for career sites to start that journey. Ultimately, the biggest challenge is meeting hiring goals within a designated spend, and NAS is able to pull together strategies and solutions for clients that can truly help in many ways.

    NAS: What are some of your plans for NAS?

    Jennifer: My plans for the company all center on the customer. We need to focus on the great things we already provide while looking for innovation that is relevant. I look at what we offer and feel that we already have the magic to help our clients strategically, operationally, and financially. I need to make sure everybody here knows just how positive of an impact they make every day and keep us all focused on delivering for our clients.

    We’re a service company with outstanding expert consultants, media buyers, and analysts. We have a tech component with our SaaS solution ACTIVATE. And we have dedicated, in-house creative with mastermind storytellers. We are very customer-centered and data-driven. There is a real depth of team here – and that is our strength.

    I’m hoping to create better efficiencies and help our team bring forward strategies, training, and tools to deliver better, smarter, and faster ways to succeed. We’re also going to be open to new ideas – not shiny objects, but ideas that help the industry evolve. We’re always flexing and evolving. It’s about taking what we do well and continuing to expand on those strengths. We hope our clients will continue this exciting journey with us!

    NAS Recruitment Innovation

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