Angie Keller of Randstad Engineering Shares How Beneficial Networking Can Be
Interview by Brooke Lazar
Vice president of recruitment at Randstad Engineering, Angie Keller often sees the impact she has made through placing candidates. She speaks about her rewarding career.
BL: What made you decide to get a bachelors in business/marketing, and later focus on engineering recruitment?
AK: When I started college, I wasn't sure what I wanted to study. Business seemed like a straightforward major, so I enrolled. Toward the end of college, I decided to pursue a career in sales. I didn't have specifics in mind, but I knew I wanted to interact with people. I stumbled upon the recruitment industry, and it stuck.
BL: Who have been your biggest professional role models?
AK: At every stage of my life, there's been someone different. Growing up, my mom set an example for my sisters and I. While I was in high school, she returned to school to get her doctorate. I realized how hard she worked for that degree and how invested she was in her career.
In each position I've had, there's been someone hardworking to look up to. We're lucky at Randstad because we have a fantastic group of female leaders, including our North American CEO, Linda Galipeau, and our chief marketing officer, Kristen Kelly.
BL: How did your career path lead you to work for Randstad?
AK: After college, I worked for a large staffing firm, and then two years as a recruiter. I moved on to a smaller firm that focused on engineering, IT, and other professional segments of staffing. I wanted to go back to working for a large organization, and that's how I came to work at Randstad.
BL: What does a normal day look like for you as vice president of recruiting at Randstad Engineering?
AK: Every day is different. One day I could be working with all the teams within Randstad Engineering throughout the U.S. Another day I could be working with vendors to ensure that we're marketing Randstad appropriately, and accurately writing job descriptions to attract the best candidates. I might also speak directly with clients about their requirements or with our offices about the type of candidates needed, challenges they're having, or industry trends. Speaking to candidates about what they're looking for in their next assignment is also important.
BL: Do you receive more resumes for engineering positions from men or women?
AK: We receive more from men but that changes often.
BL: What do you think causes the resume fluctuation?
AK: We have a database of candidates we've been in contact with over the years, so there could be a higher volume of candidates that are men. But we continue to see more women in engineering.
BL: How does Randstad strive to promote gender equality within the company?
AK: It's just who Randstad is. There are many organizations and partnerships that benefit men and women. I've never felt limited because I'm female; it's a non-issue. We find the best candidates, and we do that internally and externally.
BL: What type of skills are most important for engineering positions?
AK: We work with a variety of industries, and it's different per industry. One thing that is necessary overall is an engineering degree. If it's an entry-level candidate, we would look at whether they have a degree, what field it's in, and if they have related coursework or internship experience.
BL: How do you think we can encourage more young women to pursue careers in STEM?
AK: It's important to continue talking about it. There are many programs that start earlier to raise awareness than when I was in school. It wasn't until I started recruiting in engineering that I saw the impacts I made. If I placed a candidate that was designing some type of heavy equipment vehicle, and then I pulled up next to that vehicle, I'd get excited because I placed a person that did that. We need to teach young people about the amazing things that happen within STEM.
BL: Why do you think being part of a network, such as WITI, is important for women in tech?
AK: Anything that people do to get involved in a network is beneficial. You may not know it the first time you join, but to have that common connector is helpful. If I'm an engineer, and I'm having trouble designing something, it's easy to get the answer if I'm connected with like-minded professionals. Everyone's part of something, and you can lean on each other as a resource.
Brooke Lazar is the Multimedia Strategist, Digital Editor, and Staff Writer for WITI. She has a BA in Professional and Technical Writing from Youngstown State University. To immerse herself into the writing world, she spends her free time reading and conducting research on writing styles to edit individual manuscripts accordingly.