Interview with Donna Rutledge, Seasoned Technical Recruiter
We were fortunate to catch up with experience technical recruiter Donna Rutledge after she participated on a panel discussion at the ACT-W conference in early April. Her advice about how to stand out as a job candidate comes from her extensive background of over 20 years in the business; having been a Lead Recruiter for Google, a Senior Recruiter at TIBCO Software, a Senior Technical Talent Partner at Adobe and now the Senior Technical Recruiter for Docusign, to name a few. She is a dedicated recruiter that looks for connections that ensure the optimal candidates are successfully placed so that the business thrives. We were grateful that she agreed to provide additional professional insight in a follow up interview with ChickTech.
ChickTech: What is your job title?
Donna: Senior Technical Recruiter
CT: Can you describe your job briefly?
CT: Have you always wanted to work in your field? What path did you take to get here?
Donna: Like most recruiters, I fell into recruiting. I was at a party and a woman I met and got to know was an Account Manager for a recruiting firm. She said that I would be great at recruiting and that her company had an opening. I interviewed and got the job the next week.
CT: What do you enjoy the most about your job?
Donna: I love that I get to partner with the business to understand its needs and fulfill those needs by connecting with candidates and finding that right match.
CT: What do you find to be the most difficult thing about hiring for technical positions?
Donna: The vast majority of hiring managers want to find candidates that check all or most of the boxes, oftentimes overlooking a diamond in the rough.
CT: What is the most important thing you look for during an interview? Or top three?
- Does this person have clear, organized communication skills? Are they listening to the question, asking clarifying questions and presenting information in a logical fashion?
- Is this person just looking for a job or have they put some thought behind their process and can articulate why this role, why this company, etc.?
- Does the candidate possess the minimum requirements to do what we need them to do?
CT: What advice or tips would you give a high school or college girl to succeed in her studies or her career? (Support, mentors, community, etc.)
- Have at least 2 mentors that help with different aspects like technical skills and communication/presentation skills.
- Network and enlist your mentor(s) to help you get name brand internship opportunities.
- Always be involved in developing something. Use the open source community to learn, do and grow.
CT: According to you what are the qualities/strengths to be successful as a woman in a technology-based career?
- Communication skills: listening, presenting, influencing
- Constant learning: technical AND business
- Self-awareness and feedback: solicit it, give it and learn from it
CT: Do you have a woman in tech you admire? Who? Why?
Donna: Sheryl Sandberg – She is someone I partnered with for a time at Google. She is passionate, dedicated and balanced and shares her knowledge and experience with others to help them be successful.
CT: Do you have a diversity program in place at your company?
Donna: We have a diversity program manager who is responsible for seeking out opportunities (conferences, learnings, etc.) to recruit and develop diversity at our company. This is a new role created this year which was filled by one of our recruiters.
CT: ChickTech aims at increasing the number of girls interested in STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) by giving them the opportunity to explore different fields of technology. Anything you want to add for our community?
Donna: If you’re looking to work in software, know that there are many facets to developing software. You need to understand how the whole of how it works and try all areas to see what resonates with you, what excites you. Is that front-end development, platform, back-end in IT or product development? You need to understand how the whole thing works so you can better solve problems, iterate and innovate. That adds more value and gives you more opportunities to grow.