Krisztina Veres recalls that when she first moved from Hungary to Canada in 2011, her husband, Joe, had a tough time finding a job. “He was a bigshot telecom executive, but he couldn’t find a job for a long time because no one had explained to him how to interview the Canadian way,” Veres explains. The couple had moved for her job with a financial services company.
In Eastern Europe, says Veres, job candidates are expected to be verbose, answering every question with as much detail and context as possible. A short, concise answer such as “yes, I’m well-qualified for the job” is a red flag that a candidate did not fully prepare. That didn’t go over well in Canada, where interviewers appreciate short answers and ask follow up questions as needed. “That was one of the reasons I really wanted to start my own company,” says Veres. “I wanted to help the underdogs – immigrants, underrepresented groups, people of color, women who are returning to work from maternity leave, those who are later in their careers.” She launched her recruiting firm, Veres Career Consulting, in 2017.
Veres started her career as a journalist in Hungary and then moved into financial services and risk management advising at a Fortune 500 company. She was gifted at sales and was tapped for an executive sales position in the insurance division of her company. A top producer, she earned a transfer to Toronto, where she won a national “prospecting for growth” competition in 2012. “I didn’t have any local experience and I didn’t even speak English very well,” she recalls. “But I was hungry and I wanted to prove myself.”
Around the time she turned 40, Veres found herself at a crossroads. She had moved into the recruitment industry but was “miserable” in a job where she felt micromanaged. “There was a moment when I said ‘what should I do with my life?’” recalls Veres. “And my husband said, ‘Well, you should resign and start your own firm.’” She balked at first, then warmed to the idea. “I went into the office on a Friday, handed in my resignation and on Monday I registered my firm,” she says. Her accountant told her she should register as a sole proprietorship but Veres insisted on incorporating. “You’ll have to generate $100,000 in revenue and that’s not possible in your first year,” her accountant told her. “Just watch me,” Veres responded.
"The people [in Newsweek Expert Forum] are unbelievably warm-hearted and down to earth but at the same time, their accomplishments are mind-blowing. Those conversations always make my day.”
When she first started the firm, Veres served a variety of industries and struggled a bit to find her secret sauce . Then a mentor suggested that she narrow her focus and differentiate herself by establishing a niche practice in an industry she had worked in. She homed in on the insurance sector and saw a significant revenue bump almost immediately. “I had 250% growth in about six months,” Veres says. She works with insurance brokerages, insurance adjustment firms and has just recently added wealth management advisors and other financial service firms to her mix.
While companies hire Veres to find candidates, she also works with candidates to help them polish their resumes and coaches them to be more confident about their capabilities. An on-staff behavioral specialist who is also a trained life coach participates in in-take calls with clients and helps determine which candidate would be a good fit. Veres calls her “our secret weapon.”
Veres started her company by herself, but it now looks a lot like a family business. Frustrated that she could not find recruiters with insurance experience, she hired her sister, Rita, who had also worked in the industry; she turned out to be an ace recruiter. Veres’ father, Leslie, had retired but was looking for one last gig. He had also worked in insurance as well as in finance, so Veres hired him as her director of finance. And just last year, her husband, Joe Magos, came aboard as senior vice president of operations. “I didn’t want to hire him but I was really struggling with growth and I needed to focus on the business,” Veres says. “Administration and operations are not my thing.” It turned out, she says, “to be the best decision I’ve ever made.”
Of Newsweek Expert Forum, Veres says “the experience is phenomenal. I’m very proud that I can say I’m part of this group. The people are unbelievably warm-hearted and down to earth but at the same time, their accomplishments are mind-blowing. Those conversations always make my day.”
Her consistent contributions to Expert Forums give her “incredible credibility” with clients and prospects alike. And the connections she’s made have proved to be invaluable. For instance, at an online event for members, she met a cybersecurity expert who gave her insight on the rising cost of cybersecurity insurance premiums. “We are recruiting a lot in cybersecurity and [that conversation] gave me a new perspective,” Veres says. “So this is something I was then able to discuss with a very senior level cyber insurance candidate. It gave me more credibility and confidence.”