Interview with Linda Ruszala, Senior Technology Talent Acquisition Manager at Lighthouse Technology Services
Women in Technology WNY is here to feature the stories of women in our local community and the various technology roles they fill, traditional and non-traditional. TechBuffalo is here to highlight these women to encourage others to not only explore technology opportunities but to take advantage of them.
In 5 sentences or less, what influenced you to work in software?
In one simple word, family. My father excelled in IT Staffing for many, many years and had recruited some of my siblings, as well. I was always a very mathematical and logic-oriented person, and I loved a good brain teaser. When I was exploring college curriculums, my parents, knowing my interests, encouraged me to pursue an IT or Math related degree, and that’s exactly what I did. Henceforth, I spent the first 20 years of my career as a COBOL Developer.
And now you’re recruiting. I assume family brought you here.
You assumed correctly. My father often asked me to come and work as a recruiter/account manager with his company, however, I was very happy where I was, working remotely and varied shifts, while my kids were young. He thought I would excel working with people, and my thoughts were the exact opposite. Hence, I remained a developer for quite some time.
Fast forward to 2015. My 4 kids were now in school, and I was a full-time programmer, however, the company I worked at had been acquired leaving some uncertainty in the air. Although I was still employed, it was then that I decided if ever I would step into the staffing business, this was the time to try it.
Sadly, by this time my father had passed. However, his partner, whom I had worked for many years ago as a computer programmer and now owner of Lighthouse, was looking for an IT Technical Recruiter. We had lunch, and I accepted his offer and never looked back.
Today, 8 years later, I am still at Lighthouse as a Sr. Technology Talent Acquisition Manager, and I Love it! I found that my father was right; I am much more of a people person than I ever thought. I wholeheartedly believe that my technical background has been a major contributor to my success. I love the busyness, I love the diversity of folks I get to talk with, and I love the feeling of helping people, both clients and candidates alike.
You touched on a little bit of the aspects of your job that you didn’t know you would like. What do you enjoy most about it?
Lighthouse Technology Services has been a wonderful change. There is never enough time in a day, yet the day goes by so fast. I love the non-stop work and the feeling of making continual achievements, and I love being an integral part of our team. Lighthouse is constantly growing and changing, and while sometimes the trendiness is a bit outside of my comfort zone, this is a great value-add for me. Staying current, relevant and visible, and building relationships has been a key to our success. I also believe that my technical and business background lends way towards my contribution in many other avenues outside of recruiting and account management. I have become a strong asset in a client-facing arena which is a new facet for me; one that I’ve grown to love. My personality, though a heads-down developer in the past, has flourished and I am elated to be able to connect with so many people in different capacities all over the globe. What a blessing!
What has been your proudest moment in your career or personally?
I would say I am most proud of the work-life balance that I’ve maintained over the years. I am married with four children (now grown), and a dog, all of whom I adore. I have always been very involved in my kids’ schools and activities throughout the years. I have been involved with our community, taught religion, helped care for my parents, and worked full-time for the better part of my career. I often refer to myself as a “Jack of all trades, master of none”, and I am delighted as such. I would like to think I have succeeded in providing a warm and happy home and contributing toward the successes within our workplace.
I truly enjoy managing the many different facets of my life and I take pride in my strengths and abilities for leading what I would consider a fairly demanding, yet very rewarding, lifestyle.
You have a really unique perspective with experiences as a tech professional and tech recruiter. What advice would you give to job seekers exploring technical career opportunities?
I would say go with your heart. There are many opportunities within the Technology Industry, so take the time to explore all of the possibilities that might be ideal for you. Spend some time determining what you would truly enjoy and what things are important to you. Pursue any applicable training, certifications, and education where possible (some of these come surprisingly easier than they used to). Align yourself with the right companies, hiring managers, and recruiters. Be diligent and follow up on every opportunity. Be open to prospects that may be outside of your comfort zone as often these turn out to be tremendous opportunities. Most of all, be patient. Securing a new role can seem tedious or delayed and even become frustrating. Many variables come into play, so remember it is not likely a reflection on you. Stay the course, the reward will be great.
What is something you wish you would have known or something you wish someone would have told you before you got into the industry?
Specific to my role, often my reputation is based on the actions of others. If a candidate does not work out for any reason, it is often a reflection on me and that was hard for me to accept. I wish someone had informed me as such long ago. While I am certain those circumstances would still arise, I am inclined to think that I would have been better prepared for these challenges. I would say to myself, don’t take it personally, we can’t control people’s actions. Continue to move forward with appropriate resolves. Strive to assure customer satisfaction and always be honest and sincere. Perhaps that is another key to my success; maintaining honesty, sincerity, and always being transparent. The key is to not dwell on failures but rather to continue moving forward with appropriate alternate resolutions. Things are going to go wrong. Accept that and prepare for it in the best way possible. Have rebound plans in place to make any adverse situations once again ideal. The best thing you can do is to keep moving forward!