By: Emily Wellborn
Ian Lindsey has a propensity for conversation. A natural at connecting with others and the son of PGS Worldwide Founder Sean Lindsey, he loves diving into the unknown to perform recruiting for Information Technology roles and helping as many people as he can along the way. The family man with the “stupid human party trick” of remembering every detail, loves sharing his recruiting success stories and wants the people he works with to feel safe with him.
How would you describe yourself?
The best way that would describe me is a person that loves and cherishes life. I care about people; I care about their feelings. I invest my time – emotionally and mentally – into everyone around me. I’d say more than anything I try to be genuine. That probably comes from my dad. My three daughters are my world, I’m a nerd at heart and in general, and I want to see others be happy. I genuinely care about your hopes and dreams, and will do what I can to make them come true.
How did you end up recruiting for the Aerospace industry at PGS Worldwide?
I’ve always been interested in it because it’s my family’s business. My father has been growing this from when I was in high school and I’ve always asked a lot of questions and made it very clear that I wanted to be a part of this. One day out of the blue, Dustin [Couts], who has helped a lot in my career, was the one that suggested I come work for PGS. I started as a sourcer and the rest is history.
I didn’t realize how long you’ve had an interest in joining the company.
Oh yeah. Pretty much after the first couple of years of business, I really wanted to be an eventual part of it. My dad started this my sophomore year of high school and that’s when I was old enough to know what was going on, but young enough to really want to learn. I’ve just had an interest as I watched it grow and seeing all that was being done. My big thing is, who doesn’t like making money trying to help people make more money and make their life a little easier? That’s what I like about it: helping people.
All of our recruiters want to help people at their core, but you’re focused on recruiting in IT. How did you get into that niche?
Back when I was a sourcer [responsible for “sourcing”, or locating potential candidates], I sourced for Kelly Couts, Jay Allen, and Dustin Couts. I would go work on all of their jobs and I noticed there were a lot of opportunities in IT. I told leadership that I wanted to grow our reach there and that’s where the initial love for it came from. I realized I could make more money for my family and take care of my family a little bit better when I focused there.
My first hire was a Full Stack Developer in 2019 and that was so exciting to me. I understood that role and I thought it was fascinating. When I got on the phone and actually started talking to these people, the conversations were extremely deep, educational, and fun. You get to hear a lot of stories about people’s backgrounds and paths to success. It’s much more engaging at the higher level as a recruiter for me and that’s worth it for me. You get to build a bond and they’re very happy to help teach you what they do.
What are your main goals going forward?
Really, the goal is to always help people. I mean, I always want to find people the best-fitting roles, but my ongoing goal is to just get even better at the technical side of IT recruiting so we can be more successful. When we expand this team, we can be there to help build an easy road to success for them. I guess the part I love about IT recruiting is going into the unknown. It’s kind of cheesy, but I love Star Trek and Star Wars; it’s the final frontier. It’s vastly growing, never fully defined. There’s so much new to it and so much revolving around it. That’s pretty cool. I always want to keep growing my knowledge to not only be a better trainer for new recruiters, but to be the best recruiter I can for the people I’m helping. I love calling people to tell them, “Congratulations, you got the job.” There are a couple of moments I can call back to that I really like about that.
Tell me all about those moments!
Well, I can think of two separate occasions. The first one was a couple that I’m now close friends with. He was a Manufacturing Technician who was kind of a hobbyist game developer who never really thought he could get into that career. We took a couple of shots, got an offer, he makes more than he used to, and is incredibly happy. He gets to spend more time with his family and his kids since he’s remote. Now he’s a sounding board for me and I call him up with questions when we have developer roles available.
One day, he asked me to keep an eye out for any Graphic Artist jobs. I told him we don’t get those very often, but it was for his fiance – now wife. I hung up and about 5 minutes later the perfect graphic design job came out. A couple weeks later she had an interview and an offer. I got to help completely change their household income.
There’s other memories, like this single dad who had just been laid off. I kept in mind until the perfect job came out and we got him hired. It’s stuff like that. It’s almost like magic happening, or a miracle. That’s some of what recruiting is: a little bit of luck and a lot of hard work. That’s what I’m not afraid of.
There’s another one, he’s a photographer and one of the sweetest guys I’d ever met. You’d get a cavity talking to him for too long. The hiring manager loved him, but they just didn’t have the budget for the equipment he needed and were looking for people that already owned these specialized Phantom cameras that cost about $500,000. The candidate was consoling me and I was trying to tell him the manager was going to open another position for him. The next day, the guy they hired failed his drug test and the manager was thrilled. She called and said, “Can we get him now?” Those are some special moments, because we did it together.
You remember so many names (redacted above for privacy) and tiny details. How much does that help you when you’re recruiting?
I definitely think it does help me. It’s my stupid human trick. I call it “total recall” because I can call back to details with eerie accuracy like job identification numbers, pay rates, stuff like that. Especially if it’s something like a good conversation that impacts me.
For example the first Embedded Software Engineer I got hired was in a Satellite Development division. In our first conversation, we talked about how things were going, her son, and just generally catching up. She loves puzzles and because she works on satellites now, she told me about the giant satellite they keep in the middle of her office that she gets to play with. Being able to remember different people benefits because I can connect better to the people we’re trying to work with. Sometimes I care about people so badly that I want to retain that information. I always try to put people at ease when they get off the phone. This recruiting firm has the same goals that you do, has you back, and a lot of times can open up a door in a stable industry like Aerospace since we have great relationships with our companies.
Would you say you’re a natural connector?
Oh yeah. I definitely try to make connections more than anything. I think that’s one of the most important things about what we do. If you’re in it for the money, your flame will die. But if you’re in it to invest your time into our people and play the long game, you’ll have a wonderful career.
Plus I really want to build connections today because those could help the connections I build in three years. You never know where people can go. Like this program manager I helped get started at a leading Aerospace company. More than likely, anyone I submit to her facility will be interviewed by her. You never know what connection you’ve built can play in your favor.
Before we wrap up, is there anything else you want to add?
I think the only disclaimer I can give is that I’m a long-winded talker, but I will always try to do my best for everyone.