Meet CSP’s First Hire – Patrick Fitzgerald
Some would say the first hire for a startup is often the hardest–there is a fair presumption of risk on both sides. Looking back more than six years ago, we’re so glad we took the “risk” of hiring Patrick, our first full-time hire at CSP. And we’re honored he took the leap with us and continues to elevate our company as he takes on the new role of Senior Search Consultant.
Recently we sat down with Patrick to reflect on his time with us and what his vision is for the future of CSP.
What drew you to a position here at CSP?
I had recently graduated from Towson University with a degree in Communications and completed my collegiate baseball career. With no set job in mind, I was a “free agent” so to speak.
One day in the fall of 2014, John Geraghty reached out to me for a sales position he was recruiting for a friend of his. After learning about the sales role, I realized I was not interested in moving forward with it. However what stuck with me was the connection I had with John–we shared similar interests, and he seemed to really love his new role, working to grow CSP alongside Rick and Johnny.
Soon after, I approached John and asked if they would be open to hiring me, despite me not having any recruitment experience. They invited me in for a shadow day and I got to see what a typical day was like. The passion, the hustle, dedication, and camaraderie drew me in. I was offered the role of a Junior Search Consultant and the rest is history.
What was the process like — training under three founders of a professional search “startup” firm?
The strategy was to enable me to learn by doing and absorbing everything I could from Rick, John, and Johnny. I would bring a pen and paper with me everywhere, listen to how they talked with candidates and clients, and learn how they built and nourished relationships. Eventually, I was able to start calling candidates myself to help update our contact lists and begin to make connections.
This built up my confidence tremendously. I improved my communication skills and got more comfortable on the phone sparking conversations and relating to people I had not met before. I was making about 10 new connections a day. The process came with rejection too but that’s a valuable lesson in and of itself in this business.
When you describe what it’s like to work at CSP to your friends or family, what do you say?
Chesapeake Search Partners is a professional search firm located in Towson. I was their first full-time employee, and have been there about six years. The work environment is fun and feels like family–the owners truly care about their team. We have a work-hard, play-hard mentality–the owners treat us often to happy hours, lunches, and events. Today, my bosses are some of my closest friends and mentors. I couldn’t be happier.
What does the future have in store for you?
As a team, we are growing, which is exciting to say after a challenging 2020 due to the pandemic. We are hiring Junior Search Consultants who I will get to oversee. I’m really excited about the opportunity to mentor and manage a new hire.
I will continue to support Rick and John with the growth of the Accounting & Finance practice. I’ve found the more I am involved with the industry, and key companies and talent within it, the better I am at my job. It’s motivating for sure, and I appreciate the ability to focus here in a smaller firm. Similar to my days playing baseball, the more you train and practice, the better you are.
And beyond CSP, I’m excited to get married next year to my fiance.
What advice would you give someone thinking of starting a career in professional search?
No matter what, if you put in the time and effort, you will be successful.
Prepare yourself mentally for losses. They will happen, but you need to come back the next day ready to move on and win.
Look for a firm that cares about your career and growth. Part of this is reflected in compensation. Ideally, a firm will not make you lean solely on commission. To grow, you will make mistakes and you need to feel comfortable making them and learning from them.
Lastly, look around. Absorb what is working for your team around you. Everyone has their own method that works well for them. Take pieces of what works and make it your own. At CSP we’re a bit of a melting pot of expertise, but we all ladder back to our core values and relationships.