Andree Mendoza has just five weeks under his belt as a Candidate Relations Specialist at Carex, but his interest in Carex stretches back to right after he graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. At the time, he was working as an Assistant Director for an afterschool program at Madison School & Community Recreation (MSCR) — a job he had held all through college.
“I connected with a woman, Jennifer Winding, who knew I had graduated with a business degree, and I was looking for that first job where I could use it,” Andree says. “She told me she used to work with people who joined a company called Carex — and that ‘they totally fit your style. They’re all about open communication, working hard, and having fun.’”
All of those were requirements Andree had for his next step — and he had done his own due diligence and researched Carex. He got in touch with Theresa Balsiger. “I had a conversation with Theresa before I had any experience, but she was so great. She told me to stay in touch and that they’d do the same on their end — and I knew they really meant it.”
Nearly two years later, he’s part of our team — and we’re over the moon to have him.
Andree was born in Peru, and spent the early years of his life there before moving to the United States when he was three so that his grandmother could have access to better healthcare. He, his mother, and his sister settled in Madison, where his aunt was already living. “My mom moved us over here for better opportunities, and I can’t thank her enough, because I love Madison,” he says, smiling. “I’m a Madison guy through and through.” He graduated from Madison West High School, and his love for his city meant there was only one college for him: UW-Madison.
His job at MSCR taught him many things: endless patience, respect and appreciation for the teachers that had pushed him to do his best and cared about him, and a love for the students he got to know. He had initially considered a future in education, but pretty soon he had whittled what he wanted to study down to physics and business. He chose the latter. “I didn’t really see myself going into the business world, but once I committed, I really started enjoying myself.” After graduating from the UW School of Business with a degree in Marketing and Management and Human Resources, he was making plans to move to Chicago with a few friends to see what was out there for him in a bigger city.
Cue: the COVID-19 pandemic. “My last semester of college was when everything shut down,” he says. “It didn’t seem fiscally responsible to move to a new city without for-sure employment, so I decided to stay in Madison.” He continued to work at MSCR, but was anxious to use his degree. “I knew I needed to move out into the business world, but I was struggling to see where I fit in,” he says. He loved marketing, but wasn’t sure if it was entirely right for him. “I started talking to those around me, trying to get an idea of what I really wanted to do. I surveyed everyone I know,” he laughs.
What he did know is that he loved to talk to people — and wanted to have a job where he did as much of it as possible. “Jennifer, the friend who initially told me about Carex, was nice enough to take me through her day-to-day — working with candidates to find the right fit for them, partnering with teams to find the talent they needed. It seemed like a great fit. A three-month contract at UW Health would solidify the fit, but the particular role was too hands-off for him.
Andree’s next role, at Celerity Staffing, was more hands-on. Focused on industrial positions, he admits it was a little difficult to be a recruiter in this field during The Great Resignation, but he learned plenty of valuable lessons. When they hired me, my colleague was just going on maternity leave, so I took over all of her clients,” he says. “It was stressful, but I looked at it as a pressure test.” He also leaned into his MSCR training, learning to understand and empathize with where his candidates were and where they were coming from. “In recruiting, especially for the roles I was working with, things are not black and white,” he says. “You need to be patient and give people chances.”
Then Carex called again.“They had a position opening up that was a fit for what I wanted to do and my experience level, and Theresa called to see how I was doing and wanted to make sure I had seen the open role so I could apply.” His interview process with Theresa and the team — accommodating him by speaking with him on lunch breaks and after work — gave him an idea of how the Carex team operated with candidates. “If they were willing to go above and beyond for me, I knew they were doing the same for the other candidates they were working with,” he says.
At Carex, Andree supports the team’s American Family Insurance contracts, giving him insight into both the partner and candidate sides of the business. He spends his days doing exactly what he wants to do: sourcing, screening, and talking with candidates, where he digs deep to understand what they’re looking for, what motivates them, what kind of culture they thrive in, and how Carex might be able to support them.
“One of the best parts about Carex — and this directly translates to the culture they’ve built — is that we’re not interested in just ‘filling roles.’” Andree says. “We want to make sure candidates are interested in the company, we want to make sure they’re going to have opportunities to grow. We’re not trying to convince anyone to move jobs — we’re just laying out what we have, what we know, and whether they’d be a good fit.” Being transparent as possible, he says, is the game of the game. He says while compensation always comes up in his conversations with candidates, they’re really looking more these days — a company with a solid culture where they can grow and contribute long-term.
One of the reasons Andree feels Carex can be so transparent and honest is because of its partner businesses. “We work with some amazing companies on the partner side,” he says. “It feels so good to be able to showcase the aspects of a company that make it a great place to work, and really believe in that.”
It’s what Andree likes about Carex, too. “I consider myself lucky to be here,” he says. “Carex knows that people are more than their careers — and I love that they adhere to really solid business practices and still make work fun. No one’s lesser than others, everyone’s ideas matter. And thinking like that, I think, is the best way to get results for both our candidates and partners.”
Andree is part of an awesome team of people who care, work hard, and have fun. Meet our team and learn more about Carex by heading here.