IT & Digital Marketing Talent Solutions in Houston: Emily Pollak Barrett

Addison Group's IT & Digital Marketing Talent solutions Senior Business Development Manager Emily Pollak Barrett

Addison Group is a nationally recognized talent solutions firm focused on providing exceptional service to clients and candidates. Our passion is providing the right talent to advance your company’s performance and create a best-in-class experience for your workforce. In our latest employee spotlight, we’re excited to highlight Emily Pollak Barrett, Senior Business Development Manager for our IT & Digital Marketing talent solutions practice in Houston.

We spoke with Emily to learn her advice for candidates and clients and insights from her career journey.

1. What drew you to the staffing industry?

It was a happy accident. Growing up, I looked up to my parents as entrepreneurs, which led me to develop an interest in career paths that focused on client interactions. When I graduated from college, I was working in client relations for an interior design firm and knew I wanted to move into a more sales-focused role so I could be compensated for my work in a more lucrative way. While at the University of South Carolina, I was VP of Recruitment and Membership Satisfaction for my sorority and found the day-to-day involvement with the recruitment and member retention elements very rewarding. With that experience, I geared my job applications to recruitment firms and ended up working for Addison Group’s IT & Digital Marketing talent solutions team in Houston.

Ultimately, I liked the idea of being in a very independent sales-focused role supported by a corporate structure that allowed me the freedom and autonomy to run my desk like my own business – like the entrepreneurs I was raised by.

2. What sets Addison Group’s IT & Digital Marketing talent solutions apart from other organizations?

Our long-term commitment to our clients. We’re in it for the long haul and act as an extension of your team to help solve your hiring challenges. I look to understand the culture, team dynamics, ins and outs of why the role is open, and my client’s pain points. I want to understand this information so I can be a holistic partner and deliver high-quality results that don’t leave them needing to backfill anytime soon. Additionally, I don’t push resumes to hit a hiring goal. I take the time to help my clients hire quality candidates over me hitting my quotas.

3. What is one thing you want your clients and candidates to know about Addison’s culture?

We’re proactive when it comes to placing talent on your team. In our initial conversations, we work to understand your team’s environment before you have a need to hire. We want to know your current employees’ strengths and weaknesses and what you would do if your best employee left tomorrow. We do this so that when you have a vacancy, we have the right candidate ready to place on your team.

Addison is a people first organization, so not only do we put our internal employees first, but we also put our clients first, and we’re proactively ready for what they need. We’re always ready for tomorrow’s problem today.

4. What are you most proud of during your journey with Addison Group?

Over the years, I’ve been able to help my client’s family members and friends find positions with my other clients. For example, I had a client I worked with for a few years reach out as his sister was moving to Houston to help care for their mother while she underwent medical treatment. She had to leave her onsite job in New Jersey. Coincidentally, I had an open role that was perfect for her with one of my top clients the same week she was referred to me, and we got her an interview immediately. She’s been working for this client for a few months and is a standout on her team. I was elated when my longstanding client called and expressed his gratitude for helping his family during a time of need.

It’s already a win for someone to trust you to help them solve a challenge at their own job. However, it’s an honor for a client to trust you to help with a problem their loved one is facing. This is the type of win that reminds me how fulfilling this career really is.

5. What is the biggest career lesson you’ve learned so far?

Any job, especially a sales-based job, has the highest highs AND the lowest lows. Both are temporary. You can’t dwell on the missed deals or get let down by the cold calls and answering machines. Use those times to assess how you can improve your efforts and overcome the typical barriers with a new client. With that same sentiment, enjoy and celebrate every win – no matter how big or small. Getting a meeting set with a prospect you’ve been targeting for months is something to be excited about. Just like hitting an all-time high in gross profit for the year or making a placement with a brand-new account.

Your resilience is critical, and keeping your morale up is imperative in a sales-based role. Additionally, make sure you have a strong support system. This can be a peer you work with or a manager you trust that you can ride the highs and lows with. You shouldn’t go through any of it alone.

6. What advice would you give someone looking for their next opportunity?

When you’re looking for a new opportunity, partner with a recruiter. Don’t just blindly apply to postings and hope that someone from internal HR at that company gets back to you. Leverage the relationships people like me have built with clients. My team of recruiters gets to know their candidates thoroughly so we can proactively market them to clients looking for folks like them instead of just waiting around for the perfect role to open for them. We’re partnering on a strategic approach to find you a job that fits you best. Even when my family and friends ask for advice, I’ve made it very clear that the best way to find a role is by using someone whose job is to get you a job.

7. What advice would you give to companies who are unsure about hiring in this market?

The best investment you can make is upskilling your workforce. Take this opportunity to hire candidates that can overcome the pain points you’re facing with your current workforce. Filling the gaps will solidify your team and ensure you can deliver when your team inevitably has a higher workload. If you’re not ready to hire someone on your team full-time, you can hire a contractor to see if they fit in your environment. If they’re a fit, you can always convert them to a full-time position. As you inevitably will be busier in the future, you need to ensure you have the best talent in the market. If you don’t hire now, that great talent will be off the market when you are ready.  

Emily Pollak Barrett was born and raised in Houston, Texas by two local entrepreneurs. After graduating with honors from the University of South Carolina, she returned to Houston to start her career. With a year of experience in client relations for a few interior design firms, Emily joined Addison Group as a recruiter in 2018. She transitioned to the business development team in 6 months and was promoted to Senior Business Development Manager a year later. By leveraging her extensive network and prioritizing relationship-building, Emily effectively manages some of Houston’s largest accounts and most successful partnerships. Emily is a top producer in the organization, with substantial billings leading her to be the number one producer in all of core Addison Group.

Our IT & Digital Marketing Talent Solutions practice provides tailored support with contract, contract-to-hire, permanent placements, and executive workforce solutions. Emily can find you top talent for your organization.


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