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Dom Farnan Is Changing the Future of Recruiting. Here’s How.

Dom Farnan's headshot

Meet Dom Farnan, the Founder of DotConnect, a boutique, female-founded recruitment consulting company renowned for its personalized talent acquisition services.

Dom’s recruitment career started during her first job out of highschool. After working for herself for nearly 20 years as a recruiter, Dom built a team and company off of her success and experience. Utilizing her own personal healing and growth as inspiration, she built DotConnect to be an intentional recruiting firm that cares deeply about every individual involved in the hiring process. Dom’s commitment to evolving both herself and her company is evident in her ability to pivot.

We asked Dom about the founding story behind DotConnect, the lessons she’s learned along the way, and what’s next for her and her company.

Tell us the story behind your company’s founding. How and why did you start working on DotConnect?

I began recruiting at the age of 17 after graduating high school early and wanting a “real job.” I had no idea that my first “real job” would become my long-term career path and eventually what I built my first business around. I was a solopreneur for nearly 20 years before I built a team and company. It was the end of 2018 when I reached burnout and felt there just weren't enough hours in the day to keep up with the workload. So I decided to go all-in on my approach to recruiting, hiring, and training a team, while managing to retain my clients by bringing in my team of recruiters to help support the client hiring needs. Humans are complex and no two clients or candidates are the same. I have interesting conversations every day and hear people’s stories, their triumphs and their challenges. That keeps things interesting!

What are some of the most meaningful impacts your work has had so far? 

The most meaningful moments of my career were when I was building my first company DotConnect. Watching our team expand from a few people to over 100 and seeing the culture we created was truly the most meaningful. The industry has shifted significantly, so our team has contracted quite a bit. However, I often still hear from people who worked for us back in 2020 to 2023 about how they remember their time with us. Seeing what the team accomplished with Dot and beyond is something I’m very proud of.

Leadership starts and ends with you. If you’re looking to point the finger when something isn’t going the right way, begin by pointing the finger at yourself and taking ownership of your role.

Dom Farnan smiling

What makes the work you do at DotConnect different from other similar companies in the industry?

Quite simply, we care. We act with intention when others are unintentional or sloppy. There is an art and science to being an impactful talent advisor. More often than not, people have had horrible experiences with recruiters. I learned that early on. I’ve always cared about our clients, the candidates we met, and about people in general. So applying a level of care, consideration, and intention makes us different. 

Have you ever felt like you’re “different”? If yes, in what ways has this contributed to your journey as an entrepreneur?

I always felt different, especially as a kid. I didn’t have a lot of friends. I struggled with perfectionism and the desire to feel loved and accepted. Early on in my entrepreneurial journey, perfectionism manifested itself through toxic behavior patterns that I’ve worked really hard to understand and heal. I’m a work in progress! 

Being a bit of a nerd and finding solace in learning and being in my own world contributed to my journey as an entrepreneur because I wasn’t waiting for permission from anyone. When I was ready to jump head-first into building my company, I had a strong sense of belief in myself that carried me through even the darkest days. Even now, I am emerging from a multi-year “dark night of the soul.” The resilience I’ve cultivated over the years carries me through.

Dom with singing bowls

What were the most difficult and most impactful lessons you’ve learned starting and running DotConnect?

Leadership starts and ends with you. Learning how to lead yourself first, by learning to love what you see when you look in the mirror, is the first step to effectively leading others. I often say if you’re looking to point the finger when something isn’t going the right way, begin by pointing the finger at yourself and taking ownership of your role.

Leadership can feel lonely, but you don’t have to go at it alone. Invest in mentors, coaches, and communities where you can share your challenges and lessons with others. 

Your founding team may not be the team that can scale with you, and that’s okay. There is a way to consciously part ways with early team members and keep the relationships in tact. 

Stay humble and curious. The best teachers are also students on their journey.

Have you felt like giving up? What made you persist?

2023 was my hardest year in life and business, which is saying a lot since I lost my house to a hurricane in 2021. I felt very destabilized in 2023. Our main clients suddenly stopped hiring and cut contracts, which impacted our company tremendously. I began experimenting with different services, pricing, and offerings, which worked until it didn’t. 

By May of 2023, I felt like giving up, and, honestly, like hiding under a rock. I had to make some really hard decisions and reduce my team to nearly nothing to ride out the storm. After a few emotional roller coasters and taking some time for reflection, integration, and deep healing work, I was ready to re-engage with life and business. I persisted because I believe in what my company and I are doing. Even in the hardest economic times, we have an opportunity to make an impact.

I persisted because I have a 10-year-old son who looks up to me. I’ve made many pivots over the last few years, learning to live in the gray area, owning the unknown, and leading in faith over fear. My word for 2024 is trust: trust the unknown; trust myself; trust God; and trust life. 

How have you grown as a leader since starting DotConnect? What experiences have contributed to this growth?

I feel like a lotus flower that has blossomed in the last few years. The lotus flower, emerging from murky waters to bloom elegantly, symbolizes my journey to conscious leadership. This blossoming is my ability to rise above challenges and complexities with resilience and clarity. Like the lotus, I remain unaffected by external negativity, maintaining integrity and a clear vision. The growth of the lotus toward light mirrors my pursuit of enlightenment, wisdom, and continuous learning. The lotus's purity and rebirth reflect the essential qualities of conscious leadership: self-awareness, generosity of spirit, and a positive impact on the community.

Creating space to heal myself and staying committed to my inner work contributed to this growth. I worked with many people, communities, and modalities to support my expansion and evolution of consciousness. 

How would you describe the journey you’ve had in a few sentences? Would you do it all over again?

My journey has been a windy road back to my own heart. When I first started working, I was so young and felt like I had to try so hard to prove myself and my worth. When I hit my mid-30s, that all changed. I began unbecoming who I thought I was by taking off the mask to be who I truly am and have always been. I absolutely would do it all over again—painful lessons and all. 

Dom's headshot

What’s next for you and DotConnect?

Continuing to expand my consciousness through grad school. I’ll be bringing conscious company culture development to the world through working with entrepreneurs, CEOs, executives, emerging leaders, and heads of people. I’ll also continue to hire with intention and help companies find talent that aligns with their values. I plan to write more books. I’ll be sharing my lived experience, wisdom, and what I’ve learned on stages, through social media, and in community.

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