Melissa Torrisi, Townsend & Associates’ RecruitingMelissa Headshot Manager, explains how and why she got into the recruiting business and what tips she can provide to job seekers through our Recruiter’s Corner Q&A.

Q: What does Townsend & Associates mean to you?

A: Townsend & Associates means so much to me. Being that I really started my career here at Townsend & Associates over six years ago, I have seen and been a part of a young company that has changed the lives of professionals across the country. When I think of Townsend & Associates, I think of quality, respect, communication and effort we enforce for our candidates and clients.

Q: Why did you want to become a recruiter?

A: I wanted to become a recruiter because I had witnessed, as a young professional, just completed college and was trying to start a career during a down time in our economy. I was faced with a layoff myself and the feeling was not good.

I thought WOW there are millions of people out there going through the same thing as me with far more responsibilities and experience than me. I thought to myself, “I want to be able to give others that little bit of hope and the feeling that someone had their backs during their job search, even if I cannot place them.” – I still try to treat candidates in that manner, even today.

I also feel that I’m very talkative. It’s important to be able to communicate and connect with candidates and clients based on my knowledge with jobs Townsend & Associates has available and about the staffing industry as a whole.

Q: What lessons have you learned while being a recruiter?

A: I have learned many lessons over the years but the biggest lesson I would have to say is trusting the process and being patient.

Q: What top three skills are the most important for a recruiter to have in order to be successful?

A: 1. To build, get your name out there and tell people what you do.

2. Follow up, to remain in contact with candidates and your network

3. Don’t give up and don’t be afraid to challenge yourself.

Q: What position(s) do you consider to be the most popular to fill and why?

A: I think technical positions are the most popular to fill because there is always going to be an upgrade, conversation, integration or new version that will arise.

Q: What advice would you give a potential recruiter?

A: I would say to always try to reinvent and educate yourself, stand out from your competition by being authentic and unique, this could be from giving a quick resume tip to sending interview questions a candidate might expect on an interview. People will remember those small details about the recruiters they work with.

Q: What do you look for in a candidate? What makes them stand out? Is it their skills, personality and/or resume?

A: I look for a whole package in a candidate – where they came from and where they are trying to go. Every type of position is different, but the main things I look for is a neat resume, a friendly and flexible personality and a strong work ethic. I also look for someone I can trust to present themselves in the best way possible to the client.

Every day I look for someone who is flexible. Staffing is changing and a contingent workforce is rising. Be open to a 6 month or 1 year contract, you never know what it can lead to while still keeping your skills sharp. If anything, you’re meeting and networking with new people and gaining a valuable experience.

Q: What networking tips would you give a potential candidate who is job seeking and why?

A: LinkedIn! It’s a wonderful networking tool and a great way to showcase yourself in a professional way. You can join networking groups, talk to others in your field and connect with past and future peers.

Also, never stop applying for jobs until you have an offer on the table. You never know if something can happen.

Q: How can a candidate make his or herself stand out from the crowd/competition?

A: Knowledge is key. Someone who is conversant on events, company info and what is going on around them that is significant, has substance to talk about when with a potential employer.

Q: What advice would you give a potential candidate that is job seeking?

A: Stay organized! It is very easy to get caught up in the middle of multiple recruiters, companies and people calling you for all different jobs so you need to learn to keep track of it all! Have a dedicated spreadsheet or notebook just for your job search so you can reference it regularly.


If you would like to connect with Melissa on LinkedIn, feel free to view her profile here or email her at You can also see what positions Townsend & Associates has available by visiting our Talent Network and applying for jobs in your area today!