Recruitment guru Torin Ellis spills all on his passion for D&I
Published: 29 Nov 2016 By Grace Kimberley
Energy Jobline interviews with Torin Ellis, diversity strategist and recruitment phenomenon, as well as winning contender of popular American show “Top Recruiter: Reign of the Bosses” on why and how diversity has become the headliner of his career.
EJL: Thanks so much for taking the time to speak with us Torin. Could you start by telling us a little more about your background?
TE: I got into recruiting in 1994. I actually spent about 12 months in a sales role with MCI Communications. When I began working at MCI I told the young lady in recruitment that I would be promoted in 12 months. She said to me that no one had ever been promoted that fast. I was actually promoted in 11 months.
I took over a sales team and over the course of the years, developed, inspired, moulded, motivated and shaped that sales team to become one of the top performing sales teams in the country.
So, after 5 years of working for MCI, I started a recruitment firm with a good friend in 1998, who was also a top performing sales leader at MCI. I’ve been doing it now for nearly 20 years.
I have spent the last 4-5 years with a declaration of diversity, although I have always indirectly supported the diversity initiative. It’s been an interesting and incredible experience.
EJL: So how has diversity played a critical role in your career?
TE: In 1989, I started working for one of the Railroads here in the US. It was the last blue collar job that I had. I actually experienced an on-the-job accident, where a lid blew up in my face and it broke my nose, caused severe dental damage, and lower back injuries. It almost killed me, as a matter of fact. This happened in San Antonio, Texas.
In that workplace, most of the staff were Hispanic and the leadership were Caucasian. The leadership would mistreat all of us as employees. For example, they might say “You can only have 20 minutes for lunch,” when we knew that 30 minutes was the norm.
In those instances, I would speak up and my supervisor would say, “We don’t need you to be a Martin Luther King.” That just emboldened me, the fact they were trying to use that in a derogatory way. I knew I was doing the right thing and it introduced me to corporate America, how challenging it could be to grow inside of somebody’s organisation as a low skilled worker.
Diversity has not always been a positive thing for me. Thankfully, for the last 18 years it has, for the most part, been positive because I own my own company.
EJL: Do you feel that employers are far more diverse now in comparison to that point in history?
TE: I wouldn’t say ‘far more’. I think there are more inclusive networks now. There is still a lot of work to do. It also depends on what industry you’re referring to.
I do agree that workforces are more diverse today, but there is still so much gain to be had. The representation has increased, but the feeling of inclusion is something that people are still searching for.
Energy Jobline will be publishing two more articles on our talk with diversity leader Torin Ellis, so stay tuned for the next release!
Want to read more from Torin Ellis? Get your copy of Ellis’ latest book: “RIP the Resume: Job Search & Interview Power Prep” on Amazon today by clicking here.