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Career Profiles:

Rachel Meier

1. What is a brief description of your job?
video My formal job title here at Genentech is a recruiter, so I work within the employment group, within human resources. And what I do is I look for people to fill positions that we have within the company. I recruit for one particular department, for manufacturing. So I'm finding these candidates in other companies usually and persuading them to come work here; interviewing them and making recommendations to hiring managers as to whether or not we should hire them.

2. Where did you grow up?
video I grew up in Canada actually, I grew up near Toronto, in a city called Hamilton, it's about 40 miles outside of Toronto. I'm second generation Canadian. My grandparents came from Italy on my father's side, and on my mother's side they came from Romania. I moved to California when I was 18 to go to college, and I ended up staying when I finished. So I now live in Burlingame, California.

3. What training and degrees do you hold? What were the specific areas of study?
video I hold a Bachelor of Arts degree in history from College of Notre Dame in Belmont, California, and a Master of Public Administration with an emphasis in human resource management, actually from Notre Dame as well.

5. What is the minimum training that is required for your job?
video The minimum training required for my particular position, it's kind of a difficult thing to put your finger on because there isn't specific training. It's more of a learned thing, more of an experience thing that you gain on the job. General knowledge of human resource laws, California state law in particular, or federal laws, that's always very important because when you're making hiring decisions you like to stay legal, so that's a big part of it. As far as the formal training to my position, it's not something you can really measure. It's a lot of good communication, selling skills, things like that.

6. How many years of study are typically needed to acquire the training for your job?
video In order to work in a human resources department I think someone can start fresh out of school, entry level. To do the job that I'm doing as a recruiter I think it's necessary to have a couple of years experience working within an HR department, getting familiar with the workings of it, what goes on, familiarizing yourself with different areas and that sort of thing. Formal training is not something that is necessarily needed to do this job. I think that general human resource familiarity, and familiarity with federal and state laws is pretty important.

7. What percentage of an average day is spent using your training?
video I would say my formal training in human resource management is utilized within my job probably about 30% of my day, or 20% of my day. The rest of the aspects of my job are on the job skills that I've learned over the last couple of years. It's learning to communicate well with people, it's selling skills, and problem solving.

8. What science education, if any, is useful in your field?
video For my particular job I think that within Genentech at least, it's probably a good idea to have a basic science knowledge. Because when you're recruiting people it's nice to know the terminology and at least be able to talk to them about their field. I think that it becomes essential to learn about the particular department that you're recruiting for and learn what skills they feel are necessary in order for someone to be successful in their position. So basic science knowledge in general, but then really becoming familiar with the particular area that you're recruiting for. It's definitely necessary.

9. What general work skills do you use on a daily basis?
video I would say that the skills that I use outside the specific technical skills for my position are good communication skills, problem solving skills, selling skills. My job is one that is pretty unpredictable on a day to day basis. Things come up on a regular basis that I don't expect and other recruiters would probably not expect either. It's a lot of fighting fires and dealing with issues as they come up.

10. Are you working in isolation or with a team of co-workers or subordinates?
video My job here at Genentech is definitely as part of a team. As a whole we have about 10 to 12 recruiters and we work together on a regular basis. And then we also work in smaller teams to service the departments that we're supporting. It's very much a support position, a customer service type position. We are constantly backing each other up when somebody's out of the office, or we always know what the other person is doing and what they have on their plate.

11. What are your working conditions? Dress codes? Environment (Indoor or Outdoor)?
video Working in the HR department here at Genentech, it's a little bit removed from what the typical environment is, I think. Being not in a lab, you know, it's much more of an office type environment in my department. The department that I support is a manufacturing environment so I get to go there sometimes which is fun. But it's very casual in my department. The dress is casual. Oftentimes when I interview people they're surprised that we wear jeans because they're always in suits, we can pick them out.

12. What is the biggest challenge you face in your field?
video The biggest challenge I face in human resources, particularly here at Genentech, is that the company is growing so quickly. We have literally hundreds of positions open at any given time. So that obviously makes my job very hectic. And it's always changing and it's very fast paced and you never know when they're going to come. So you know, sometimes I come in, in the morning and find that I have five new positions sitting on my desk and of course, they all need to be filled yesterday.

13. What is the most rewarding experience in your field?
video The most rewarding part of my job as a recruiter I think is when I recruit people that are just starting their careers. That's very fun for me because oftentimes it's their first job. And being able to call them up and say , "We'd like to offer you a position," and hearing the excitement in their voice. That really kind of makes it worthwhile because they're so thrilled because they want to work at Genentech, and you know, they're just starting off their career and it's really new to them. So that's very rewarding.

14. How did your interest in your field develop?
video My interest in human resources I think is something that I came to realize later in college, in my last year or two. I was always interested in business and really liked the human resources aspect of business and being able to look at HR from a business perspective. Where I think typically in the past it has not been looked on that way. It's been more like personnel or whatever. I think some perceptions of HR in the past have been not a necessary function within the company. But the way it's moving in the future is something that I think has much more of a business focus, but still combines the human aspect of it or the people aspect of it which I find interesting.

15. What did you want to be in high school?
video When I was in high school I don't think I really knew what I wanted to be. There were a million things I wanted to be. I wanted to be a psychologist. I wanted to be an accountant. Whatever. I don't think it was until I got into college that I really figured out what my interests were, and the last couple of years of college in particular. Business was probably the route that I wanted to take.

16. Was school easy or hard for you then, and did you like it?
video School for me has never really been difficult. I loved school. I think that when I was in high school it was more difficult for me. When I was in college, I guess with anything when you get more practice at it, it becomes earlier. But I definitely liked it.

17. Are you doing now what you expected to do when you finished school?
video I'm definitely doing what I expected to be doing when I finished school. When I decided to get my master's degree with an emphasis in human resources management I saw myself working in a company in an HR department and that's what I'm doing. So it's definitely the route that I wanted to take.

18. What advice do you have for students interested in your field?
video The advice I would give, I think, to students interested in human resources is get the experience working in a company if you can. If you know anyone at all that works in HR, call them up and ask them if maybe you can do volunteer work. Any sort of experience or exposure is definitely helpful because it's kind of difficult at first to break into the department. So even taking a support role and getting exposure to different things is well worth it.

19. Beginning with high school, what science courses do you recommend to prepare for your field?
video To prepare for working in a human resources department at Genentech, I would recommend yjust basic science knowledge. It can't hurt. I don't think it's 100% necessary to have, but it can definitely help you in understanding when talking to what I call clients, being the people outside the department.

20. How is the future projection for jobs in this career? Do you forsee an increase in demand in the future?
video I think the future projection for jobs within human resources and recruiting in particular is, at least here in the San Francisco area, very high. As long as the economy is good, I think, and as long as there's jobs, there's going to be a need for recruiters. So I don't really see it slowing down at this point, at least here at Genentech.

21. Do you use the Internet on a daily basis? If so, how?
video I use the Internet on a daily basis in a number of different ways. One of the main things that I do is search different sites where people post their resumes. And I also post positions that I have available so that people can view them and submit their resume. Another thing that I use the Internet for is there are a number of human resource sites, as well as technical sites, for example, the American Chemical Society, that I search to familiarize myself with both human resources issues and other issues that are going on within the industry.

22. With regard to your profession, which web sites do you recommend for students interested in your field?
video Web sites that I would recommend for students interested in my field, the Society for Human Resources Management has a page which is very helpful. They have different articles of emerging issues within human resources. It's a good idea to keep up to date on what's happening in the field as well. There's an HR 1 Newsletter, and it keeps you informed about what's changing.

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