So, I bought a new suit for a life changing interview. It tailored, wide legged, and charcoal gray. It was fashionably dressed up with a feminine frilly, lavender shirt under the jacket. My mother’s 16” pearls looked perfect. Several copies of my resumes were placed in my black leather binder; as well as a pad where I had some pre-written questions for the interviewer(s). I kept my makeup pretty simple; however, I did wear my staple red lipstick. My nails were manicured and painted a sheer white. No perfume; I was taught at a training seminar you shouldn’t wear perfume to an interview. I was ready and excited for my interview at The Chubb Institute, in Parsippany, New Jersey. Although job applicants are often very tense, interviews have never made me nervous.
Before my interview, I researched everything I possibly could on The Chubb Institute and its competitor, which at that time was NYU. I already knew that Chubb Insurance had an excellent reputation and their off-shoot computer college did as well. The private college was very prestigious; Fortune 100-500 companies sought out their highly respected graduates for employment. Chubb’s computer programming curriculum allowed students/graduates to hit the ground running because of its direct training from on the field instructors. The role I would be interviewing for was a Technical Admissions Recruiter; I would be recruiting for computer programmers and network engineers. Keep in mind, it was still the mainframe days (Cobol, AS400 & Assembler)! PC’s were just being introduced into the market; as well as C, C++ languages. Laptops and the internet weren’t born yet. When I recruited at Chubb student’s they had to have a four-year degree and a 3.5+ GPA to be accepted into the program; and pass the two entrance exams.
The interview agenda was for me to meet with the hiring manager first; Her name was Alice Saverese. I had a successful phone interview with Alice, and my office interview with her also went very well. We seemed to click. Alice then wanted me to meet with Mary in HR and then the campus director Todd Brown. I felt confident about my interviews with all three. The job for a Technical Admissions Recruiter sounded challenging and fun to me. I left the interview and prayed that I would get the job! Alice called me 3 days later, she wanted me to visit with Todd Brown again and their technology director; his name escapes me after approximately 30 years. I had to take and pass the same two aptitude entrance exams that students took; I passed and then they offered me the job. YEAH!!!!
I was excited beyond words to have the opportunity to learn an entirely new field. Alice and the Director of Technical Curriculum became my technical mentors. The first month in my role, I job shadowed another recruiter and several instructors. Well, it really wasn’t a job, it turned out to be the beginning of a successful career! I felt blessed every day I walked into the lobby of The Chubb Institute. My office was really nice; I had a beautiful desk, book shelves, file cabinets and a comfortable leather chair. Artwork hung on the walls. The windows faced the parking lot which also allowed me to watch the weather. After leaving my last job (time share sales), I felt at ease and stable. I now had health insurance, a 401K, stocks and many other great benefits. Yes, I said “benefits”!
I absolutely loved learning about computer programming! Recruiting future programmers, system administrators, and DBA’s made the world more innovative. My timing was perfect! Learning about database development, LAN/WAN, data security, ERP, data warehousing, and telephony came a little bit later. I always had new technologies, languages, methodologies and processes to learn about…always!
It was so interesting profiling for successful students. I recruited music majors due to their knowledge and/or instinct with sequence and rhythm. Kids who were in robotic clubs in high school. Math and foreign language majors also made excellent programmers! And of course computer science majors or minors.
And so, I realized that I hadn’t only purchased a new suit, but I had entered a totally different field of work. Where as, my time share career involved my ability to use the following skills: sales abilities; real estate knowledge; persistence; listening; intercommunication; budgeting background, reading body language; contract writing; travel experience and staying positive at all times. Customers were brought to me; they were never pre-qualified. I pretty much had to sell to who I had it front of me or I didn’t eat!!! My work environment was located in a resort; it wasn’t a professional office; it was in a resort, a golf course, a spa and a ski lodge. It was a fun place to work! Because all of my coworkers were on commission only, we all worked very hard; it was stressful. The paychecks were very satisfying. My coworkers and I were all very close to each other. We weren’t competitive as in recruiting. I can say that in the time share industry, coworkers wanted to see others doing well. The industry was static; not much of a career ladder. Not much to learn once you had the swing of things. I did have to keep my real estate license current; I had to keep up with all Pennsylvania real estate laws and regulations. We did make sure to keep our sales skills up to par by attending seminars on a regular basis. Being an independent agent, we didn’t have benefits either. We did get cash bonuses (spiffs) all the time!!! Trip bonus trips as well.
Recruiting was a whole new cup of tea! I had to research new technologies on an on-going basis; network with candidates with certain technologies; interview and test those candidates; and figure out what companies used what technologies. Remembering candidate’s resumes was a key skill!!! Depending on who you worked for in the recruiting industry, the paycheck was always different; it could be salary plus bonus based on hire, commission per hire or salary. This industry was extremely competitive! It seemed like coworkers always wanted to take your job! Candidates weren’t always loyal to one recruiter. Companies aren’t always loyal to working with one recruiting firm or recruiter either. With that being said, I had to sell my skills, my services and networking abilities at all times. I recruited locally, nationwide and then internationally; this came with years of experience and knowledge. Keeping my human resource skills up- to- date was a constant; also keeping educated of all EEOC regulations per state. Creating diversity plans. Learning how to make workforce management plans for large fast, growing environments. Leading proposals for HR systems, benefits, and other benefit programs. I was pivotable in creating recruiting on-line applications from scratch for several international Fortune 500 companies. I was also in charge of all advertising for sourcing methods. My strength was branding, intranet, social media and internet creation, planning and up-keep.
Years later, my family and I moved to Kansas. I realized then that I had only scratched the surface of recruiting at Chubb. Recruiting wasn’t a static field of work, it was constantly changing. I moved forward into the Computer Consulting recruiting industry; this was a smooth segue for me. I felt I had a lot to offer, an array of technical knowledge and great networking skills. We only had rolodexes and dinosaur databases for leads; we didn’t have data warehouses, BI, LinkedIn, Moster.com, PeopleSoft, Indeed or Careerbuild.com…they weren’t born yet. I worked with executives from Fortune 100 & 500 corporations nationwide, as well as internationally to staff their engineering, technical and executive workforce needs. After conducting intense needs analysis, I would produce workforce plans (advertising, writing technical interview questions per technology, and interview process) interview and move forward with recruiting efforts.
Over the years, I never became bored in my job! There were always new technologies and methodologies to learn; new hiring managers or companies to work with. I worked for consulting firms and for private & public corporate organizations. I was known for being able to build large, highly skilled organizations in short periods of time. My focus was always on the engineering and Information Technology fields; including executive positions in both areas. I also recruited for top secret government projects on a contract basis; this was very exciting. Hiring nuclear engineers was a different skill set to recruit for. I spent many, many hours researching what different tools, software, methodologies engineers would focus on; example, electrical vs. hardware engineers. I was hired by a NY software technology corporation to move their headquarters from NY to Kansas; building the company to 300 associates in the first year in Kansas, which I did. I acted in a HR generalist role during my time at this company as well, it was a great experience! For over 6 years, I recruited and acted as a generalist for an International GPS company. I was challenged to build their IT organizations from approximately 20 to about 400-500 associates. I also hired engineers and executives for this company; focusing on creating airplane instrument technology and software, radar, satellite instruments, fitness products. One of my biggest accomplishments was being hired and promoted into a director/executive role by an Indian/International consultant firm; leading business development and recruiting. This was a huge achievement considering I was the first female executive role in this organization. Sadly, this job didn’t last long. I stumbled/uncovered on 2 crooked business practices of this company while traveling with my VP drunk boss; Oops. I may get into detail about this in a future post…it was quite interesting to say the least. They didn’t have a choice; they let me go. I was devastated.
Creating human resource information software and sourcing candidates were my two favorite things to do in my career; however, interviewing folks was always fun for me too. The things people say!!! What happens during interviews!!! I wish I had written some of the crazy things down over the years. Some things I remember: A man with long, long pointed finger nails, painted black; A gentleman who told me his greatest strength was soap making; I had people with constant flatulence during the interview; yawners; nose pickers; criers; people who completely shut down and can’t talk; applicants answering their cell phones during interviews; I actually had laughing attacks; lots of lying; gum chewers; and much more. It was always amazing to hear how candidates would answer open ended questions about problem solving and behavioral based questions. Sometimes just watching a hiring manager’s facial reactions was a hoot!!! Like I said, I loved my career!!!
My 25+ year career of recruiting was very satisfying. I worked for the best of the best companies with top notch, leading edge technologies. I was able to help people fulfill their career goals, mock interviews and brought diversity and top talent into organizations. I loved being involved in many organizations helping with HR events, processes and procedures. Being on the board to several technical colleges; helping with curriculum development, social media strategies and staffing. For the most part, I usually reached my goals and pleased my hiring managers, leadership and stock holders
So in 1990 I bought a new suit and walked into an interview with the Chubb Ints. and launched my career in recruiting. Twenty years later I realized that I had not only changed my clothes but also trained my mind and educated myself in a field that was extremely complex and always changing. I also changed many, many lives for the better! I would say my career choice in workforce management was the most satisfying out of my two paths.