scott denney

Scott Denney

Senior Executive Recruiter,
Nelson & Associates

A Day In The Life of a Senior Executive Recruiter at Nelson & Associates


As Senior Executive Recruiter of Accounting and Finance at Nelson and Associates, Scott’s main responsibilities include recruiting, client services and business development.


  • Recruit Accounting, Finance, Sales, Operations, Marketing and Human Resources professionals for direct hire and temporary staffing needs from Startups to fortune 500 companies in all industries
  • Conduct candidate interviews daily to recruit and locate top talent in the Bay Area
  • Handle candidate reference checks as well as degree and license verification
  • Utilize LinkedIn Recruiter, CareerBuilder, Monster, and Facebook to recruit new candidates
  • Perform phone screens and onsite interviews with candidates; while providing resume writing tips and formatting help.
  • Negotiate salaries, discuss counteroffers, start letters, written and verbal offers.
  • Provide feedback from clients on interviews
  • Send out interview prep material and interview schedules to candidates
  • Successfully placed candidates in entry-level positions to director level position for both direct hire and temporary

Client Services and Business Development

  • Daily marketing calls for open direct hire and temporary positions posted on job boards.
  • Coordinate all candidate/client interviews from phone interviews to final round interviews
  • Send out calendar invites and meeting request for both client and candidates
  • Meet with C-level Executives to discuss direct hire needs and upcoming projects for temporary staffing
  • create contract terms such as; placement fees, billing terms, guarantee timelines, and conversation rates
  • Preform weekly QC calls with candidates and clients to ensure client satisfaction
  • Submit candidates directly to hiring managers and ATS ‘s used by clients, i.e. Jobvite, Bounty Jobs, Taleo
  • Negotiate salaries, bonus packages directly with hiring managers
  • Write job descriptions and post open orders on LinkedIn, Indeed, Monster, and Facebook.
  • Set up client billing and new account profiles within Bullhorn
  • Follow up on customer payments and collections



6:30 AM

Scott helped his son get ready for school and was on the road by 7:30 AM. First stop, school drop-off. Second stop, coffee!

7:30 AM

Scott’s drive to work takes about 45 minutes.

During his commute, he called his co-worker Steven, the same friend that helped him transition into his current position at Nelson Associates. Steven works in a different office than Scott, but two-three times a week, they like to talk on their morning commutes so that they can collaborate on different candidates and help each other succeed.

If he’s not catching up with Steven, Scott spends his drive listening to sports talk radio so that he can stay up to date on all of his favorite sports teams.

8:30 AM

While Scott has a small office to himself, the rest of his team is set up in a cubicle environment. His desk is always covered in stacks of resumes, interview notes, and several notebooks that help to keep him on track. The building has a kitchen stocked with coffee to keep them awake and there are always all kinds of snacks floating around the office. 

His office is composed of about 25 to 30 people all working in different divisions, but his immediate team consists of a Business Development Manager, a Division Director, a Recruiting Sourcer, and himself. In addition, Scott and his personal team have a great rapport—they frequently go to lunch together and whenever they need a break, they even compete for the best trick shots on their office basketball hoop!

His office environment is overall very friendly, and employees regularly do team potlucks and food truck Fridays. Sometimes Scott even brings his dog, Bear, to the office!

8:30 AM

Scott attended a quick team meeting to discuss the day’s objectives and tasks. This is when he mapped out the most important tasks and created a game plan for the day ahead.

Shortly after, Scott needed to travel to another office 30 minutes away to prepare for meetings with clients and candidates. While this is not a normal weekly or monthly task, the nature of today’s business required him to be in another office. Nelson and Associates have 16 offices across California and service clients all over the country.

9:10 AM

Once Scott arrived at the other office, his phone rang before he could even start up his laptop. On the line was a client that he had sent an email to the day before. The email was a part of his Most-Placeable Candidate campaign, a strategy that allows Scott to keep a targeted client list in the loop when hot candidates are available on the market.

These candidates are always within the top three, four candidates amongst hundreds of others. They always have a great education, proper certifications, shown longevity in a company and have major accomplishments within their career. The MPC is going to be a great candidate who brings a lot of value to their next company. 

This particular MPC email campaign highlighted an individual for an AP Manager position, and Scott’s client was interested in bringing in the candidate to interview. On the call, they discussed the position, its requirements, compensation, and the contract terms for an agreement. After the call, Scott put together the contract for the client and sent it to his legal department for approval and review.

They sent it back, and Scott forwarded the documents to the client to review and sign. This is how Scott initiates the interview process with the candidate while ensuring that everyone is on the same page. Next, Scott called his candidate to make sure that she was still job hunting and locked down some interview times for the client to speak with her.

10:00 AM

Scott usually has between six-ten open positions at one time and around two to three full-fledged interviews scheduled every day. On this day, he scheduled a call with an Accounting Manager who was interested in one of his open positions.

Calls like these generally last about 35 minutes, during which Scott asks questions to get to know the candidates and learn more about what skill sets they may have. He asks about their work history, size of their company, their title, any superiors, and reasons for leaving.

Scott also likes to ask how they went about attaining their current job, day to day tasks and major accomplishments. He’ll dig into the candidatessalary expectations and any pending interviews they have. It’s his goal to know everything that is going on with them so that he can paint a clear cut picture to any potential clients.

11:00 AM

Time for a client intake call. A client that Scott had just placed two candidates with on a direct-hire basis referred him to another hiring manager who needed a Revenue Accountant. During this call, Scott asked the hiring manager about the position, the team, job requirements and where they were in the process of finding candidates. 

At the same time, Scott also ensures that he educates the client about the market availability of similar candidates and the competitive salary for similar employees. Occasionally, there is no existing job description. If that is the case, Scott will write a job description for the client. He takes pride in giving educated input as to what the client needs, rather than solely what they want. He considers this type of work both fun and challenging.

After his phone call with the client, Scott tailored the job description before sending it out to his team for recruitment help. Scott always posts the job internally in addition to LinkedIn, CareerBuilder and Indeed.

Afterward, he messages his candidate pool of over 3000 professionals to see if anyone is interested or if they know of someone else who may be. In the end, the majority of Scott’s roles are filled from his sourcing, as opposed to referral candidates or replies to his job posting.

12:00 PM

Time for lunch! On this day, Scott grabbed lunch with his coworker Chad. Afterward, he quickly ran into a supermarket to purchase some treats for a client coming to interview candidates at the office later in the day.

1:00 PM

As soon as Scott got back to the office, he prepared the conference room for his client by setting out treats, waters and resumes of incoming candidates. On this day, they were holding interviews with their client in their own office. On this day, they used the four-candidate interview structure which allows the client to interview four candidates back to back, thereby, streamlining the hiring process. 

The previous week, Scott was contacted by a client who needed a Payroll Accountant. Consequently, over the last four days, Scott and his team had been rallying up the best four Payroll Accountants they could find. After reviewing over 200 resumes, they sent out the job description to the four best potential candidates. Finally, before the day of the interview, Scott and his team would help the candidates fix their resumes and provide interview prep material to ensure that the candidates can ace their interviews. 

To prep his candidates, Scott sends out a two-page document that advises how to succeed in the interview—it’s tailored to the specific company. The intro paragraph gives a brief description of the company, what to expect, and what the candidate should refresh on for that specific interview.

If the interview is over the phone, he recommends that the candidate interviews in front of a mirror, while ensuring that they have a smile on their face the entire time they are talking. If the interview is in person, Scott goes through his interview checklist: 

  • Leather portfolio?
  • Ironed clothes?
  • Facial hair/hair groomed? 

When it comes to presenting yourself, Scott recommends ditching the traditional black and white ensemble, “add some color and spice it up!” Since Silicon Valley is the hub of tech startups, his candidates must dress the part.

He reminds them to ask for a business card to write a proper thank you letter following the interview, in addition to providing them with a good list of questions to ask during an interview. His favorite question the candidates should ask in the interview is, “now that you’ve gotten a chance to get to know me, what concerns do you have about me performing the job in the way you’d like it done?” The answer to this question allows the hiring manager to point out what they think about your weakest quality, which gives you a chance to defend yourself and correct the record.

Finally, Scott wraps up his guide with the LinkedIn profile of their respective interviewer and a couple of places to check out company reviews. The answers you’ll discover in this search

1:45 PM

The client arrived and Scott shared a rundown of precisely how the day would be structured in preparation to meet the first candidate.

2:00 PM

The first candidate arrived right on schedule and Scott introduced them to the client before allowing them 30 minutes to chat. During the interview, Scott sat back at his desk, where he followed up on emails and was able to schedule two more candidate interviews.

2:30 PM

The second candidate showed up and Scott ensured that she was prepared for the interview. Once the first candidate was finished interviewing, Scott put him in another room before Scott walked the new candidate into the interview room.

After the second candidate was settled, Scott went to meet with the first candidate for interview feedback. At this stage, Scott wraps up the conversation by informing each candidate that he will keep them in the loop with feedback from the client regarding the next steps.

3:00 PM

The third and fourth candidates arrived at their respective interview times and Scott repeated the interview-and-feedback process. While Scott believes that this process of interviewing candidates is extremely effective, many times, the greatest difficulty is simply keeping the hiring managers on schedule. 

3:45 PM

With the client interviews taken care of, Scott had time to respond to candidate applications and LinkedIn messages. While Scott always has around 10-15 candidate interviews a week, he also has many short pre-screen candidate calls.

Pre-screen calls are meant for him to see if the candidate is a match before allotting them a full interview slot. During these calls, Scott likes to bring a lot of energy and passion in an attempt to build a relationship with the candidate. One of his favorite questions is asking if the candidate has an upcoming vacation planned.

4:15 PM

At this point, all the candidate interviews were complete. Scott met with the client to discuss all the candidates, get their feedback, and develop a game plan for the next steps before he walked the client out.

5:00 PM

Then, Scott had a call with his Manager to discuss the day, any new orders, or candidates. 

5:30 PM

Finally, it was time to go home. However, for Scott, the job is never done. He usually gets calls on his way home from either candidates or clients. On this day, he made it home around 6:45 PM, at which point he was still responding to client and candidate emails.

11:30 PM

During his evenings, Scott picks his son up from daycare and gets him started on homework before he prepares dinner. He responds to emails and occasionally takes calls from candidates and clients to discuss feedback from interviews, pending offers, or new orders. Then, Scott gets his son ready for bed and ensures that his lights are out by 8:30 PM. From this point, it is Scott’s time to unwind and relax. But, if necessary, he will still respond to any important emails. 

“When you’re doing something you love, it doesn’t feel like work. It just feels like social media.”

Which job do you want to experience next?


Scott’s first customer-facing role as a fitness trainer taught him how to build a client base and successfully sell a service. He always liked the idea of earning a commission through a sales role, but at age 23, he realized that he wanted something more stable. He wanted to try something new.

After bartending for a bit, one of Scott’s coworkers informed him of an opportunity at a technical college as the Director of Students. Scott interviewed and got the job—his role was largely careercounseling centered, which meant he had to keep tags on students’ progress throughout the year. He helped students get on the right track and provided them with tips on how to succeed in an interview setting and how to conduct themselves as professionals

While he felt a great deal of satisfaction in helping young people advance in their careers, a friend recommended that he take it a step further and get into professional recruiting. Randstad Professionals was the first company to give him a chance. But after two and a half years of commuting an hour and a half each way to work, Scott made the decision to look for work a little closer to home. 

That’s when he reached out to an old colleague who moved on to working at Nelson and Associates. Luckily, there was a position open—Scott met with the hiring manager and landed the job of Executive Recruiter. About four, five months into the role, Scott inquired about, and therefore, attained the “Senior” addition to his title.

What is your favorite part about your job or working for your company? 

“My favorite part is, in a sense, that you’re kind of your own business. You’re your own boss. A lot of companies preach that, but don’t necessarily let you live that out,” Scott stated. “Nelson is great with work-life balance. There is so much flexibility. You’re in charge of what you make and what you take home.” Scott loves the fact that the compensation is never capped and believes that “you’re going to get out of it what you put in.”

What is your biggest piece of advice for aspiring recruiters? 

“Don’t give up. It’s a tough market, but give yourself a solid year,” Scott advised. Whenever he speaks to someone new in the industry, Scott’s favorite analogy is that of a rookie sports player.

There’s one question rookies are always asked in the first or second week of their second season: what is the biggest difference between this season and last season? The answer is almost always the same:

  • The game has slowed down a lot.
  • They’re able to see things before they have to do them.
  • They’re able to make better decisions.
  • They know what to expect now, etc.


“There’s going to be waves in the recruiting world. And there’s going to be some point when that wave crashes, but don’t give up. It just takes one client to rejuvenate you.” 

The longer you do it, Scott believes, the more your network will expand, and it gets a little bit easier. “The game slows down. You know how to qualify and disqualify a candidate quicker. A lot of moving pieces come together. Ride the waves when they’re there and prepare for them when they’re not.” Scott also advised that individuals follow the “five after five” practice—make five more calls after 5:00 PM

“Little steps today will prepare you for a better tomorrow.”

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