Charlie Saffro

Interview by
Published on
October 6, 2022

In this episode...

Describing herself as “curious, connected, and ambitious” Charlie Saffro is the founder and CEO of CS Recruiting which is an executive recruiting firm specializing in a variety of industries from supply chain management, logistics, transportation, freight forwarding, manufacturing, distribution, technology, and much more. In this fast-paced and insightful episode she pulls back the curtain a reveals what’s really happening in the job market today. It’s 30 minutes that will supercharge your perspective on who and how to hire during these challenging days.

Charlie Saffro

Recruiter by Trade | Connecter by Heart | Female Founder of CS Recruiting | TOP Supply Chain, Logistics and Recruitment Firm | Who can we connect you with today? | INC. "Best Workplace 2022" |


it's that golden rule you treat people right they will treat you you know with with mutual respect and in that first year i worked so hard i had a newborn i was you know i took advantage of every 2 a.m feeding and was you know reviewing resumes and looking at linkedin during those hours and all those contacts i made came back welcome to life of the mile delivered by brakeworks one of america's fastest growing podcasts actually produced by trucks indicted to tell stories compelling drivers i need to do something like industry experts all here right now this is life brother mile delivered by freightworks i'm your host butch malpe it is a delight today to have charlie safro the founder i love this by the way i just need to say it curious connected and ambitious i don't remember the last time that there was a troika of words that kind of nutshelled a person here let me tell you a little bit about her and then we're just going to dive right into the conversation cs recruiting which she founded is an executive recruiting firm that specializes in a variety of industries from supply chain management logistics transportation freight forwarding manufacturing distribution technology and much more they work hard to understand the requirements of each logistics role to place the best candidates from the transportation industry place your confidence in their passion and expertise and supply chain recruiting so you can focus on what matters most you and your business okay now i did your commercial so we're gonna we're gonna talk about you charlie thanks so much now you're coming to us from illinois correct yes yes and i'm happy to be here so thanks for having me on the show absolutely so let me start out by asking you this question what was your first job oh wow i was a waitress when i was 13. and when i think back it could not have been legal um but somehow i had a cousin who was a waitress at a restaurant and i found myself during the summer i was probably between like seventh and eighth grade and i've i come from two entrepreneurs so not only was work ethic really instilled in me but i've always kind of had that fire in my belly liked earning my own money producing so i started to help my cousin out and all of a sudden i had a full-time job and i did that for a couple years i i was in the restaurant industry a lot um through my schooling so i'd say up until i graduated college that was kind of always my my backup but easy way to to make some money and have some spending money what's so interesting too is that uh can you talk a little bit about just starting your company you bootstrapped the whole effort i mean all of the books and guidelines and self-help seminars and business acumen that would be brought to bear about how you launch a company you didn't do it that way at all did you oh no and i i don't like to say i started my company on accidents but it was a time in my life where the easiest way i can describe it was i hit that you know third of a life crisis i was i just had had my third son i was i think 30 years old and i had a career early in advertising and then i spent about five years as a recruiter in a transportation technology company my transportation company sold and so i stayed on with the new owners doing some freelance work around that time i had my third son and all of a sudden i was like what am i going to do now i i loved being a mom but i didn't want to be a full-time stay-at-home mom my company didn't have a full-time opportunity so i had that crisis for a moment where i was like you know i i gotta i gotta figure out what i wanna do and so this was early linkedin days i was on linkedin as a transportation and logistics recruiter and then i i got lucky i have to say that that one day someone reached out to me and said you know we own a free brokerage in chicago and i saw you know our industry can you help us find a sales rep and so i took that and gave it a 100 and then word spread and i had another client and another client and all of a sudden i looked back and i'm like wait i i have a business here so um i'm the kind of person that that's all or nothing if i'm going to fail i'm not going to do it so i gave gave it my all and then just a funny full circle story when i worked at the transportation company it was my husband's company to start he ended up bringing on other partners but when i formally started my recruiting business and i realized that i could no longer do it alone my husband was my first hire so we kind of went full circle and then he was by my side up until about two years ago helping me grow the recruiting business that is just phenomenal uh and and you know what you know what else i love about it is that it it feels like you're able to make decisions adapt adjust has speed along the way but important i mean it's not that you're not methodical but you strike me as somebody that is intuition-based you process information probably quickly and make decisions and when they're not quite right you adapt and adjust is that a fair assessment that's a very fair assessment and i i appreciate you saying that i haven't always been like that but just this idea of like taking a breath before you react so um i want to be able to respond deliberately i've also learned that other people's procrastination is not my problem and um nothing that i do is you know it's not i'm not doing brain surgery i'm not saving life so as much as i want to be available and responsive things can wait till the next day decisions are usually much clearer the next morning after a good night's sleep so yeah i try to just those simple things like at least let someone know i'm going to respond to you tomorrow but i have time to kind of you know marinate with it and really think through how i want to approach my response charlie let me ask you this because we want to take advantage of your industry expertise in this regard can you tell us a little bit about some of the major changes that have taken place in the psyche of the american workforce postcode lots of changes and as unfortunate as covid was and the pandemic that really threw all of our worlds upside down i think there is a very clear silver lining and it absolutely changed the way the workforce operates and the easiest way to describe it is it made the workforce more human and that is something that we've needed for a long time and i think the rationale there was we were all sent home regardless if you went back to your office a week later or a year later or never we had time to think and we were in panic mode and we were anxious and we really you know everyone i think across the world just reprioritized during that time and you realized if i'm going to commit 40 50 60 hours a week to my work i want to feel purpose i want to feel connection and then the great resignation happened which opened up all these new opportunities so it was very much you know ideal timing that all these individuals who had reflected and had the time to really think and process they could explore new opportunities and it was more just about figuring out you know what's out there and what's right for me but ever since we've come out of it if we're even out of it now i think that employers given the great resignation they have had to fight harder to recruit people and also to retain people and so it's been an indirect push for the employers to really you know listen to the job seekers and the employees and if you if you want me on your team and you want to keep me on your team you need to know what's important to me and what we're seeing now is money is not the driver anymore it's a factor and everyone works for money and everyone wants to make more money but people when they are looking for new opportunities now they're prioritizing culture engagement appreciation respect purpose connection um which is just really i think it's just such a great thing and i do believe this is the future of work i think this this is where we're we're here to stay what's so interesting is as you're describing this you know i had a company in colorado springs that i sold it was called touch point solutions and it was a consulting firm and the the predication of it was that you you look for touch points with people you know the two summers that i spent on a dairy farm became something that i could use as a touch point to identify with people that were in the agricultural industry or you know starting my first businesses or being a college professor or whatever and as i was reading about you it it felt like there was some connection with that principle there that that doing an inventory of your life experiences looking for relationship bridges with people seems to thread its way through what your company is about is that a fair assessment it's a very fair assessment and i think if that was something that was more top of mind for people it would just enhance employee engagement and you know manager supervisor peer relationships what i what i realized is that we go around and as humans we judge people we make assumptions it's our nature so when you are standing in line at starbucks you may look at the cashier and form or the barista you form an impression whether you know it or not and your impression is usually that person is similar to me because of this or they're different than me because of this and we're all guilty for looking at people by their title and that happens you know in our personal lives in an example like that that person is just a barista but it happens in our work organizations too this person is just an account coordinator and when you start to peel back the layers we have so much in common and i really you just need one touch point to open up a dialogue with someone to start and maintain a relationship so you know sometimes we talk about the weather sometimes you talk about your kids sometimes it's just oh we're both at starbucks because we both like coffee let's you know collaborate over our love for coffee and it's so simple when you just learn one little thing about someone that's all you need to at least recognize them for who they are as a person and and really build that relationship with you know some authenticity i have to confess something okay so i'm going to confess this when i heard that you're the mother of three sons is that true yes yeah i immediately said there have to be principles there that are valuable principles for running a business absolutely you know yeah what would some of them be well i'll tell i'll be very honest with this answer um as it relates to one aspect of running a business and being a leader you have to accept that not everyone is going to be happy at the same time and i i use the analogy of being a mom because i have three boys three is an uneven number it's always two against one and no matter what family decision we make or what rule we put in place someone's always rubbed the wrong way someone's always unhappy and i think that's the hardest thing in leadership is one you have to do your best and you have to give as much as you can but you also have to not take it personally and manage your expectations that you're dealing with different people different backgrounds different emotions and everyone is unique so i think that's probably one lesson i've taken with me is i'm i'm gonna do what i can but i cannot solve everyone's everything i also think that listening um is something probably the opposite i probably have learned it in business and brought it into my relationship with my kids and really added value to how i connect with them i haven't always been the best listener and i've worked very hard at it in a business setting and then naturally it kind of you know trickles into my home life and and my relationship you know as a mom with my children that's that's very uh that's very open-hearted and you know at the risk of it sounding gratuitous or patronizing and it's neither the very best i've hired probably hundreds of people through the years the very best employees that i've ever had have been single moms it's so true and now you know and people will say why and i would say you know what in most cases they were in a position where they had to work they had to multitask they had to be extremely hyper responsible about everything in life and so my very best assistants account coordinators creative directors were disproportionately single moms why is that speaking as a mom i think there's there's a lot of reasons i mean when you are in mom mode you are go go go there's always someone who needs something someone who needs to be driven somewhere um some appointment that needs to be made so i'm the type of person that when i'm busy i actually thrive the minute i find myself bored you know that's when i stop going through my list because i have too much time on my hands and i don't even let myself get bored um i also think that you when you think about employing people and when you start to think about how you're going to compensate that person you have to understand the behavior you're trying to drive so every commission plan in place in any industry is there to drive business to drive motivation to drive someone to go above and beyond and eat what they kill and when you think about a mom it's a very obvious like what motivates you what's your purpose and it's to not only support their children but you got to feed your children you got to put a roof over their head like these are life and death reasons that they need to work to care for their children i'm not saying that people that don't have children don't feel that purpose but it's it's undeniable if you're any parent mom or dad but something about yeah moms know how to hustle they know how to please everyone they know how to fake it so they make it so i'm not surprised to hear you say that this is charlie safro she founded cs recruiting she's a marketplace expert listen if you're not subscribing to the youtube channel make sure you do that like share engage it's how we keep having conversations like this one charlie let me ask you this what are you seeing in these market these days as it relates to people that are coming across your desk and and your team you know we hear a lot of assumptions made about for example millennials don't want to work or people don't want to work i mean give us sort of your state of the union if you will of the u.s marketplace as it relates to the sector that you're an industry expert in absolutely what's interesting about your question is about five or six years ago i spoke at a conference about hiring and retaining millennials and there was a little sarcasm in my presentation because millennials you know they want to wear ripped jeans to work they want to work at hours they don't want to even go to an office and they want to be cared for and all of a sudden fast forward to where we are today and the millennials were right all along if you really think about those you know those different um tactics so right now like i mentioned before people want connection they want to feel appreciated they want to feel respected they want to be challenged they want to be heard and that all comes back to company culture and leadership so i would say the majority of the people that we are talking to who are passively looking they're employed but they know they are ready to look for something new it's not about the money it's about all the intangibles that make them feel connected to their work um so the more a company can do to focus on who they have how they retain those people that is that is what goes into recruiting before you can go out and recruit new people you have to retain your people and understand how your culture operates and you know improve it as best you can and then it makes recruiting a lot easier because you know it speaks for itself and you've got a lot of you know a lot of advocates that are out there staying with your company wanting to bring in new team members were you social growing up i mean i'll give a quick example i was somebody when i was younger that took one of my mother's used recipe boxes with four by six cards and i wrote down the names of people wrote down things like their life events and like because i wanted to get to know them i think i was in the sixth grade when i did i love it well were you were you social growing up were you somebody that interacted with people and had a network i mean when did you see that as one of the gifts that you have which is clear you do sir i i surprisingly i actually consider myself an introvert in the true definition that i get energy from being alone from clearing my mind from having an opportunity to get creative but i know how to turn it on and i enjoy turning it on i enjoy networking and talking shop i think my skill is not so much being social it's it's being a connector and that is something that has been such a common theme in my life maybe before college but even getting into college i was always that friend to like okay you're going to this school i know two friends there i want to hook you up you're going to love each other and then as i got into motherhood i even to this day i am like the nanny matchmaker and it's just a courtesy i have a nanny she has friends they have friends and when people need help they come to me and it's just my pleasure to make those connections so you know full circle that is the business i'm in and the recruiting model is we're just bringing people together at the right time and that's what it's all about is that connection so there's something about it that it drives me i i love to see you know the success of two parties coming together i'm not always like a love matchmaker although i will tell you uh next month we have two of our employees are getting married and they met in our office and have been together for the last six years working at our firm there's nothing that makes me happier than that like wow i was part of that and they're gonna spend the rest of their lives together because they both you know by chance ended up at the same company and and found love there so i love those those side stories if we're not careful the way we promote this episode you're going to get a lot of business that you hadn't cared exactly i can't guarantee a love match but i can guarantee a job if you've got supply chain or a logistics background you know what's so interesting is that it seems charlie that people that do what you do so well are ones that don't have a zero sum mentality it's not a transaction you're it seems that you're interested in relationships not a transaction it's not a widget that you're putting in a hole someplace right absolutely and i i learned that the hard way i mean i'll be very honest my first full year in business as an entrepreneur i made four thousand dollars and the reason for that was one i mean i was giving away my services because i needed to more prove it to myself than the public that i had a legit service that people needed and would pay for because at the end of the day it's hard to justify making introductions and being paid for that but clearly you know it wasn't it wasn't my idea there's a whole industry around it um so i think that what i learned very quickly is that it all comes back and it's that golden rule you treat people right they will treat you you know with with mutual respect and in that first year i worked so hard i had a newborn i was you know i took advantage of every 2 a.m feeding and was you know reviewing resumes and looking at linkedin during those hours and all those contacts i made came back and they came back as either candidates that i could help them get a job or companies that were hiring and i just realized that it takes time so especially in recruiting if i meet someone tomorrow i may be able to get that person a job next week but it also may take me three years for the right opportunity and that's where i really learned just the power of you know if you give you will get but it's really important to lead with giving and to have patience and that's what networking is about you can't expect instant gratification it's it's a very slow build and probably one of the more frustrating things when you start as a recruiter is you work so hard with little return and then one day it just clicks and all of a sudden you have a network and you have people coming to you and that's that's when you you know you're like okay i i made it i'm really valuable at this point that i i planted all those seeds and now those flowers are blooming charlie let me ask you this what are some quick coaching tips you would give for people that are looking in other words what can candidates do that are basic things but good reminders about presentation and just digitally or otherwise making yourself as accessible and as attractive as possible networking is the key to advancing your career and when i say that a lot of career success is a result of who you know i mean it in who you know based on relationships that you have built it's not because you were born into this family or you have a silver spoon it's when you take the time to get to know people to you know give before you expect something in return that that is what i think brings it all together so i i think that's always been my motto is just you know put good stuff out there and it comes back to you you just have to be patient

you know what's so interesting is uh in in in my 20s i was a college professor and i i've told people they ought to refund the tuition because nobody i didn't i i knew book knowledge but had no experience but what is so interesting is that the networks formed even there decades ago come back and you know the 104 countries every inhabited continent that worked took me to i was always disciplined to try to build relationships there that were sustained so that people knew we care about you and um you know i really identified too charlie with with this whole notion of things are not always as they seem people can be out there in front but they're really more reserved and myers-briggs talks about that talk a little bit about some of the tools that you use just in that arena to help really ascertain not what seems to be obvious but what really is driving people yeah we use a lot of i would say like formal tools and then a lot of informal tools so from a formal tool standpoint we use assessment tests but in a different way than most employers we actually have our new hires take assessment tests like a myers-brigg after we hire them so we don't factor it into our decision-making we truly try to evaluate them as a person their character yes their skills you know may be important for a specific role but we test them after they come in we've got we do myers-briggs um we do one called the four tendencies which i absolutely love that puts you in one of four buckets and one called 16 personalities which is an offshoot of the myers-briggs but once we have all these results we really look at it we don't over analyze it but it is really amazing to see these themes and it helps us understand you know what that future looks like for someone if we bring someone in as a recruiter but all of their personalities match up to our account managers perhaps that's the path for them and now we have that in the back of our mind so that's what we do from more of a formal standpoint and we discuss it with them and we make sure we're very transparent like you know that your manager you know is this tendency so you need to think about that when you're engaged with them and vice versa some of the more informal things we do are when we have really new hires but any hires we want to know a lot about them and we've got different avenues yes there's new hire forms we've got an employee platform and portal that we use but we ask questions like you know what is your what's what's on your bucket list because maybe one day we can fulfill that for someone we just had our vice president she was my first real employee that i hired and she just hit 10 years and she took a month off and went to europe on a sabbatical and we could help support that because we knew that was something she was working towards we asked what do you like to drink what are your favorite snacks and when somebody has a bad day if we can send them a box of cookies for twenty dollars it's so insignificant to our bigger budget but it goes so far so we really try to get to know our employees you know on an appropriate personal level but we we do a good job we also do a lot of one-on-ones and our one-on-one meetings our leadership and employer employee and they're all personal there's no business tell me what's going on with you whatever you're comfortable sharing i just want to be able to support you so it's again it's peeling those layers back and just learning how can we satisfy and serve this person and then how can we connect with them that is so that is so good now listen this is your opportunity if there's someone that's listening on audio podcast platforms everywhere or the youtube channel that wants to get in touch with you how do they start that conversation appreciate that we are very big on linkedin um we put a lot of content out there and obviously as recruiters we network all day and and that is our our main resource so cs recruiting is our page on linkedin feel free to reach out to me directly if you are in the logistics supply chain or transportation industry and even considering a new job the time is always right to talk to us like i said before we can help you now or in the future and if you're a hiring manager and need to add talent to your team please reach out and not only can we consult you and manage expectations but obviously help you find the right person for the job as well

that is so good uh charlie safro the founder of cs recruiting now this is my uh you know the mark of a good conversation is they go quickly and we're almost done which is hard to believe uh but but but it's my opportunity to uh emulate qvc or home shopping channel and and we just want to say thank you for taking time to be on today so i'm going to quickly show you three things that you get to pick from and then you uh you're gonna give us your address and we'll send it to you so option number one we know that people in trucking logistics supply side are big in the hats so option one is this freightworks one cap it's got the freightworks one logo we're in freightworks one studio here option number two is a genuine yeti mug and there's a whole yeti culture as you know it's got the life by the mile logo here it's got the freightworks one logo on the back and then it matched this year which was over stimulation it was my first time to uh to go this was a big hit it's the leather patch life of the mile it's got the patriotic theme in the back so it's one of those two hats or the yeti mugs so what is your choice and we'll make sure we get it so kind i'm gonna be selfish i think i'm gonna take the yeti mug because as much as i love a good hat it will be stolen quickly by one of my children or my husband that mug will be mine very good and so anything hot or cold it's it's good and it lasts forever we'll make sure we get your address and william will get that sent to you i want to give you one more quick opportunity just to uh conclude here so uh as we're ending before i formally end what what would you say to people that are listening or watching i think there's two messages if you are an employer i hope that you consider what we've talked about and take the steps you can to create more of a human environment in your company it's only going to pay off and indirectly drive revenue when people feel cared for they will work harder your customers will feel it your service will be affected if you're a job seeker don't settle i mean now is a great time to put yourself out there as much as people are talking about a recession i am not seeing it in our industry the layoffs are at a record low in our industry so know that if you're not fully satisfied there is a position and a company out there that you deserve and they probably deserve you and don't be afraid to at least explore

this is life by the mile delivered by freightworks this has been charlie safro you know she is curious connected and ambitious and if you want to learn more about the great work that they do at cs recruiting executive recruiting reach out to them make sure that you like the channel subscribe share engage and remember that taken together we're all one big family and uh i just appreciate it so much the kinder gentler and more humane approach that you've reflected today charlie it's really been solid i knew from reading a little bit about you and your company you were going to be a great guest and you have been so thank you for having me on it was a pleasure thanks for watching this episode you know life by the mile delivered by freightworks is one of the newest largest and fastest growing podcasts actually produced by a trucking company now we want you to like and share this episode if you'd like to see more episodes click here and make sure that you subscribe to the channel by clicking here we'll see you there


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