After last month’s young professional spotlight article, we were blown away with the number of submissions for September’s Young Professional spotlight. There was stiff competition but one story stood out head and shoulders from the rest. We were blown away by the story of Josh Mensinger and his journey which exemplifies the potential for young professionals in Charlotte. We interviewed Josh and key players at his company to get a “behind the scenes” glimpse of how, in just two years, this young man has become one of the most successful young professionals in Charlotte.
Two years ago a blank-faced young man wearing an oversized suit borrowed from his friend’s father, sat across from a hiring manager. He was nervously fumbling through a hand-me-down briefcase to find a copy of an ink deprived resume. The fresh graduate, lacking any substantial professional experience, stood fervently optimistic and completely unaware of how drastically this encounter would change his life.
After earning his pre-health degree from Virginia Tech, Josh Mensinger found himself working with a non-profit organization. While working as a peer advisor and mentor, Josh participated in a cross-country cycling trip to raise awareness for people with disabilities, riding the wild energy of graduation. While trekking across the country, Josh met a fellow graduate from Charlotte, North Carolina. Over the course of the trip, Josh mentioned that he was encumbered by a lack of direction in his professional life which plagues so many recent graduates today. Serendipitously, his new friend mentioned that he was working for a fast-growing company in Charlotte and that they were always looking for talented young professionals. After 3 months, Josh’s philanthropy trip ended in Washington DC, but his thoughts kept returning to Charlotte, the risk, and the potential.
Weeks after the trip, Josh found himself treading water in “adult life” and the energy that had propelled him post-graduation was slowly subsiding, replaced with a feeling of anxiety about what his professional future may hold. Josh knew he had the aspiration to do something great, however, he felt limited by the opportunities available in his humble hometown of Luray, Virginia. Like most people fresh out of school, Josh lacked the guidance and the understanding of what his career path should be. After weeks of pondering, Josh reached out to his friend who quickly set up a call with a hiring manager. After a brief introductory phone call, 48 hours and 370 miles away, Josh was sleeping on his friend’s couch, eagerly anticipating his interview the following day.
Nervous, wide-eyed, and slightly intimidated 22-year-old Josh Mensinger sat in a bright orange chair in the imposing corporate lobby of Search Solution Group, waiting.
Thoughts of doubt kept circulating in his mind; “I don’t have a business degree, never worked in a corporate setting, would they even trust someone fresh out of college? Could I even do this?” Josh heard the receptionist proclaim, “You can come back now.” His mind made up, Josh resolved to be himself, remain relaxed, and showed confidence in his abilities. Two days after the interview, Josh answered a call while on that same friend’s couch.
“I was so excited to hear I was being offered the job. They took a chance on me even though I had zero industry experience. Based entirely on personality, my motivations, and a character assessment; they decided to give me a chance and brought me onboard.”
In two years, he would be managing a team, vacationing in Europe and the Mediterranean, and having a dramatic impact on an entire industry.
But the road to success is often rocky and winding, and it wasn’t always an easy path for Josh. He learned early on that his new position wasn’t confined within the typical “9 to 5” schedule that he had imagined. Josh was exposed to the intensity and passion that naturally results when people make decisions regarding their livelihoods and career trajectories. Josh was receiving phone calls and emails late into the evenings and on weekends. At first, his conversations could stray off topic and his industry knowledge was limited. After all, Josh had never worked in a corporate environment, how could he relate to executives with 20 years of experience at leading global companies? He endured, and he learned. He worked tirelessly for months to match the ability of those around him and developed his own style of understanding and evaluating unseen potential in new candidates. Josh took initiative and proactively sought out training from the more tenured members of the team. His unassuming demeanor made him the ideal student, contributing largely to his quick development. His training, coupled with his conductive personality, soon catapulted Josh through the ranks as a top producer at the company.
Josh took the leap from incredible recruiter to industry-defining leader through his enthusiastic work ethic and extreme self-determination. As his reputation grew, Josh transitioned from making hundreds of cold calls per day to having quality conversations with some of the most talented professionals in the business. He successfully placed executives and upper-level management all across the country on behalf of the most recognizable organizations around the world. In three months he progressed from associate-recruiter to recruiter, and six months later, to recruiting leader. Josh now led a team, as a byproduct, this enabled him to spearhead projects with high profile clients and the highest priority jobs. As he advanced, the company saw Josh’s potential and provided additional training which helped craft him into a sharp, tactful, and charismatic leader.
As a Recruitment Lead, Josh was able to begin passing on the knowledge he had gained to a team of his own, a team which is now one of the most successful recruitment groups in the company.
“Speaking with business leaders at fortune 500 companies and learning the in-depth requirements of the roles those companies hold is a crash course in business that isn’t taught in any school. I am extremely fortunate to have had the opportunity to learn this much in a relatively short amount of time.” – JM
Validated in his approach and his detailed knowledge of the industry, Josh took on a more significant presence in the office. Without any official title change, Josh found himself being pulled into meetings, copied on important email threads, and influencing hiring decisions. He had earned the trust of the office and his opinions had become highly valued by leadership. Josh was now an integral leader at the company that had seemed so impassable just a year before. Who would have known a simple cycling trip could have led Josh down this road to Charlotte, leadership, and success.
Josh’s success at work soon began carrying over to his personal life. The friend’s couch which had doubled as a bed for 6 months was replaced with a respectable furnished apartment in NoDa. Josh was able to travel, take his father on fishing trips, purchase a living room suite for his mother, and help his brother out with college expenses. Even the old, faithful 2003 Toyota Corolla which had brought Josh to Charlotte was traded in for a Lexus. Through it all, Josh remains one of the most humble and down to earth people you will ever meet, which is why his story is so encouraging for other young professionals.
“Josh Mensinger is the ideal story here at Search Solution Group,” says Dave Holtzman, Partner. “There is no degree when it comes to recruitment offered by any major university; everybody who starts in this industry starts in the same place. (Josh) Mensinger showed the grit and tenacity we value so highly at this recruitment firm. Hard work and determination are the tools that matter in this industry. If a person has those traits we can teach them how to be successful, but we can’t teach them how to have great character. Undoubtedly, Josh does.”