"Utility Infielder" Celebrates Two Decades at RecruitMilitary
Mike Francomb began his career at RecruitMilitary almost by accident. The West Point graduate and Army veteran was preparing to move his family to Utah for another job when he agreed to detour through Cincinnati, Ohio, RecruitMilitary's headquarters, to speak with Drew Myers, the company's founder and CEO. “A one-hour interview turned into hours of talking instead. I told Drew that I was interested in coming aboard, but I needed an offer that night. I’d never been to Cincinnati before. Drew asked where I was staying, and we figured out there was a Staples store nearby. He faxed an offer to me there." That began a two-decade journey working in nearly every aspect of the company.
Although he began in sales, he had no selling experience. "I was really green. In the Army I’d been an artillery officer and had never done any recruiting. But I like to learn, and within my first few weeks I was sent to sales training. That was a big help. It helped point me toward what would become my method for selling.”
Francomb soon took on other roles as well, earning the nickname "utility infielder." He eventually led the recruiting department, customer service, candidate services, and marketing before taking on his current role as senior vice-president of technology. "I think I've worked everywhere except the accounting department," he joked.
The company faced its share of challenges over the years, and surviving the 2008 recession was a big one. “We weren’t sure what was going to happen. As a company, our mission was just to stay the course, and if we survived, we'd have a ton of confidence. It became like a challenge to overcome and so we just put our heads down and stuck with the plan. I’d also been with the company through the dot-com crisis in the early 2000’s. and we'd weathered that storm. But we trusted Drew and told ourselves, 'We’ll do this, it’ll just be hard.'
Best Placement and the Value of Hiring Veterans
"Cintas was a big client of ours," he said. "I placed a Marine (E-4) into a role as a service sales representative. They’re the guys driving the truck and serving customers. He just went to town in that role and moved up the ladder. Years later, he tracked me down and called me to say thanks. I said, 'For what?' He told me I'd set him on a path in life that he didn’t know existed, and that he'd just moved into a GM role. He told me, 'I’m a hillbilly from Appalachia. I didn’t know that people could live this way.'
That opportunity changed the course of that family’s life. That placement and others like it had a solid impact on the companies as well, so both sides benefitted.”
Francomb attributes that value to why companies should hire veterans. If you have people that are mission-oriented, you can teach them specifics. But it’s much harder to teach people to be mission-oriented if it’s not already within them.”
What has two decades at RecruitMilitary taught him?
- "Find something to do that brings value to who you are as a person as well as to society. For me, that's been big. Then if you have bad times, you get through them because you believe in the mission."
- Stay in touch, and persistence pays off. “I had one client that I’d been talking to for three years about enlisted placements," Francomb related. "He was using another provider, but I developed a relationship with him, and put him on a tickler system in my calendar to reach out to him every so often. After three years, he finally gave us a shot. Through the years it turned into a six-figure account for us. That helped me understand that persistence pays off.”
- “We used to think that a $30,000 - $40,000 deal was a monster sale back in the early days. But if you’re confident in what you’re presenting, you could probably think even bigger. It’s been proven over and over at this company. It’s like breaking the four-minute mile barrier. No one thought it could be done, and suddenly it is,” he said.
Francomb anticipates a bright future. “I’m hoping to help Bradley-Morris and RecruitMilitary become even more of a cutting-edge leader. When I started here there were only four employees, and now it’s the industry leader. It’s been a fun journey to look back on."
By Katie Becker