Harmer Sponsors Little Black Dress Night

On May 11, 2017 Harmer sponsored its 3rd annual LBDN, or Little Black Dress Night. The event, hosted by CNA Insurance and ChiTech’s Young Women’s Leadership Society (YWLS), is a networking event that raises funds to support ChiTech’s women in tech program. A featured panel of women influencers give attendees the opportunity to grow their network and learn from other women in the tech industry. The evening was a great success; with over 350 attendees and 20 table sponsorships, the sold out event was one for the books!

Event photos courtesy of:  Jesus J. Montero 2017


Harmer Consultants New Hire

Please help me welcome Luke Brown as the newest Sr. Business Development Manager to the Harmer family.  Luke joins us out of Brilliant after having a very successful 10-year career run with Apex in Chicago.  Luke has come full circle in the industry from Recruiting to Account Management to Leadership, thus creating several solid long term relationships that he will continue to leverage to help grow our Harmer Consultants business.  Luke attended the University of Denver, is originally from Rhode Island, grew up a huge Patriots fan and lives in Lake Bluff with his girlfriend Sara and his two children Cole and Madi.

We’re giving you a special chance to get to know one of our key 2017 hires –

Harmer: What’s the most interesting thing about you that we wouldn’t learn from your resume alone?

I was fortunate enough to play for the Mount Saint Charles Academy men’s hockey team between 1993-1996.  Mount hockey is not only a local/regional powerhouse out of Woonsocket, RI but is also considered one of the best high school hockey programs in the country. Our program won twenty-six consecutive state titles from 1978-2003 along with six national titles and saw twenty Mounties drafted into the NHL (I was not one of them-hence the staffing gig). The team has been coached by the famous Bill Belisle for the past 42 season, and he is still behind the bench at the age of 87, capturing his 1,000th victory in February 2017.  For your viewing pleasure, you can watch the documentary Ice Kings that was released in 2006.

While my high school days get farther and farther in the rearview mirror, I do find that the older I get, the more I appreciate how unique it was to be part of a legacy and to achieve at the highest level at such a young age and its certainly shaped who I am as an adult and a sales professional.

Harmer: Who do you aspire to be like in life?

I have looked up too many different people throughout my life, but without question I would say my mother.  Her hard work, her unconditional love, her passion, loyalty, and dedication are all traits that I try to uphold consistently in my life

Harmer: We hear you’re a big Rush fan, what would you name their next album?

Oh, man, the greatest prog rock band of all time.  This is tough so I sought help from my 10-year-old son.  The next Rush album coming out in October of 2018 will be titled:  FutUres

Harmer: What led you into tech and recruiting back in the day?

Back in 2006 I was working at a Chase bank, retail location, and my previous boss had come into the branch looking to transfer over all his accounts.  We got to talking and hit it off. I found out what he did for a living, and the next thing I knew I had an interview lined up with him and his team.  Before I knew it I found myself screening .NET and Java developers in a recruiting chair!

Harmer: Growing up, did you ever envision yourself working in the staffing industry? What was your dream job when you we’re little?

Upon graduating college, I moved to Boston.  I went to a staffing firm by the name of L&L Associates seeking assistance in finding employment and they ended up offering me a job on the spot.  The company specialized in placing administrative and executive assistants. I accepted the offer and began my staffing career.

When I was little I dreamed of being a professional hockey player playing for the Edmonton Oilers and lacing them up with the likes of Gretzky, Kurri, and Fuhr.

Harmer: How do you work in the IT Staffing Industry and not drink coffee?

Good question! I don’t touch the stuff! I find more satisfaction in complaining about being tired all the time.

Harmer: What’s one thing you would do to change the staffing industry?

I would eliminate the VMS/MSP Programs that are NO Manager contact programs.  In all my years of selling IT professionals to my clients I have found that building strong trusted relationships with direct hiring managers is the goal.  This is 100% a relationship business and without that you are just another vendor in the vendor pool.

Harmer: What’s the weirdest job you’ve ever had?

I was a trash man for a summer in Denver.  I worked for a company called Trashbusters.com.  I would go to people’s homes all over the Greater Denver area and remove unwanted items.  Strangest thing, an elderly woman had her garbage in a nice neat pile in her driveway, I’m thinking I can just back the truck up and this will be a quick and easy job. There was large sheet in the middle of some larger items, I went to grab the sheet and it was heavier than expected.  I lifted the sheet and it was her dead German Shepard.  I had to let the customer know that we do not remove pets that had passed away.

Harmer: How do you define success?

By contributing to something that is bigger than you. Making an impact on growth or maturity of a team or organization.

Harmer: If you could live on an island with 3 of your sports heroes, who would they be and why?

Wayne Gretzky—Because he is the Great One!  He was my idol for years and It would be a blast to just sit and talk with him about his life and career.  We could also play a bunch of golf together on this Island.

Tom Brady—Because I am a huge Pats fan and he does everything right.

Leo Messi—The Greatest footballer of all time-playing soccer on the island with him would be an unforgettable experience.  What a foursome on the golf course that would be!

Harmer New Hires

Exciting changes are afoot at Harmer: we’d like to take the time to welcome two new associates to the staff: Jake Gregus and Meredith Stevens.

Jake joins us after spending time at Onward Search and Robert Half. This Wildcat played football at Northwestern and after graduation started his career at Aldi. In his spare time, Jake is the lead guitarist and singer in a rock band. Jake will be joining Harmer Consultants, Account Executive team.

Meredith joins Harmer Consultants, Recruiting team after spending 4 years at Geneva Technical Services. Meredith is originally from Connecticut and went to college at Miami University. She is the proud owner of a Cavapoo named Junior and a husband named Jimmy.

We’re excited to welcome these two new employees and look forward to working with them!

Harmer Hosts Pre-Event Night for Veterans

In conjunction with ConnectVets, Society of Talent Acquisition and Recruitment (STAR) Chicago, Exelon, and ADP; Harmer hosted a networking event for Veterans and Military Spouses before the Hiring Our Heroes Career Fair. Veterans and Military Spouses had the opportunity to meet some Military Recruiters and members of STAR Chicago a day early to prep for the large Hiring Our Heroes Career Fair which was held the following day at the United Center.

The event offered Veterans the chance to get a last second resume review as well conduct 1-on-1 mock interview training sessions prior to the career fair. The event was well attended and offered candidates and companies alike to network and talk further about how we can better serve our Veteran population.


Matt Jones – Harmer Consultants

How to Plan Your Exit Strategy from Public Accounting

You came, you saw, you conquered public accounting. Now what is next in your career? It has all been a clear decision path up until this point: obtain accounting degree – check, 150 credit hours – check, full-time offer – check.  But now that you have decided the Partner track is not for you, the decision tree has many branches to navigate.  What are the next steps in planning your exit?


Research Career Paths  

Determine the next right career move is comprised of both professional and personal goals. What position do you want in 5 years, 10 years, 20 years? Taking some time to think about your long-term career goals will help you determine the right next move. Reflect on your strengths and the areas of your job that you really enjoy and excel in. Are you great at accounting, but want to impact a company from the inside rather than being the pesky auditor? Or did you realize that you enjoy thinking about future performance and want to make a switch into Finance? Are you still not sure, but want to learn a business through an internal audit development program that rotates into the business upon completion?  What industries excite you the most? Does work travel appeal to you or impede upon your personal life too much? What distance are you willing to commute? Are you interested in higher/continued education? What benefits are most important to you?


Identify Opportunities

Finding a job can be a full-time job in itself.  There are several steps you can take to understand the current job market. First, get in touch with your professional network and make sure they are aware you are open to new opportunities. Hopefully you connected to several contacts while researching career paths.

Simultaneously, start working with a qualified recruiter that has successfully placed candidates in your field. Be selective when determining the recruiter you want to partner with on your search. Keep in mind, they will be identifying opportunities for you and representing you to clients.  Do your due diligence and review their background. Did they begin their career in your field? Are they highly recommended by a co-worker or contact in your network?


Obtaining Interviews

Have you found several positions online, but never receive a response from the ‘black hole’ even though your credentials check every box? Unfortunately, no response is common for online job postings given the high volume of interest. How do you get your resume in front of the decision makers?

The two best ways to obtain an interview is the same for identifying the opportunity – utilize your network and work with a qualified/successful recruiter. Before applying to job, see if you know someone that works for the company. Also ask your recruiter if they have a relationship with that company. Why are these options the best avenues? You have the highest probability of obtaining an interview when someone already accredited by the company is recommending you.


Landing an Offer

Once an interview is lined up, make sure you are fully prepared for the interview process. Research the company in and industry fully. Go the extra step to learn recent news that affected the industry and company specifically.  Know the backgrounds of the interviewers prior to the meeting – look for commonalities to build rapport quickly. Review your resume fully, and be able to speak to every detail. Generate thoughtful questions regarding the role, team, company, etc.

“You never get a second chance to make a first impression.”  An interview is critical in determining technical qualifications as it in identifying cultural fit. Arrive 15 minutes early to the interview. Dress to impress, a suit is always best practice for an interview. Lean in and engage in the conversation. Make eye contact and smile. Welcome and close the conversation with a firm handshake. Always thank the interviewer for their time.

Ready to take the next step in your career? Whether this is an exciting or nerve racking thought for you, take hope! There is a methodical, logical path to pursing the right career path. Remember to do your research, identify opportunities, land the interview through the right resources, and finally – impress, impress, impress in the interview. Now is a great time to take charge of your career, and we are here to help!


Lauren Feldman – Harmer Accounting & Finance

Mobile Spa Evening

We all need to treat ourselves sometimes. With this in mind, Harmer’s own Kelly Littlejohn and Matt Jones gathered up a few of our clients for a night of beauty, pampering, and fun. Our goal was to thank them for their business in a relaxed, spa like atmosphere. To get the event rolling, we contacted Blink Mobile Spa, a company that delivers premium beauty services on site.


On Thursday, January 5th, Harmer invited our client to partake in a variety of complimentary beauty services, including blowouts, manicures, massages, and makeup applications. Appetizers and refreshments rounded out the evening of pampering. It was a great night filled with food, fun, and  — because at Harmer, we know that sometimes the best investment you can make is the one you make in yourself.

Harmer’s 30th Anniversary

As we reach an important milestone in our Firm’ growth, we would like to give thanks to our many loyal clients who have supported our growth over the past 30 years.

We take great pride with the reputation that we have built here in the Chicagoland marketplace and our team of successful and dedicated recruiters.

We look forward to having many more years of future growth serving Chicago’s top employers.

Thank You!

The Harmer Team (Harmer Accounting & Finance, Harmer Technology, Harmer Consultants, and Harmer Financial Solutions)