Welcome back to our #AerieREAL Shop Talk career advice series — in case you missed our kickoff post, check out Syma Raza’s PR journey! To celebrate alongside Black History Month, we are continuing the next Shop Talk with one of AEO’s own Black associates, Jade Garcia, whose journey led her to become one of the company’s HR recruiters.
Read on below to find out how she got started and learned to prioritize and find mentors along the way, propelling Jade to become the passionate recruiter she is today!
When did you first know you wanted to pursue this career and what attracted you to it? Did your career aspirations change at all over the years?
During my junior and senior years of college, I did two internships at Enterprise Rent-A-Car. The first internship was supporting the HR department at their corporate headquarters. I had very entry-level tasks, but it was great exposure, and I learned a lot about the different aspects of HR.
The second internship was working as a “Management Trainee Intern” at my local car rental branch. As a Management Trainee Intern, you’re required to sell protection packages and upsell car upgrades to bring in more revenue for your branch. Each associate in the branch directly impacts the business, which emphasized how important it is to hire quality talent in order to drive your business.
It was interesting to see the correlation between the HR department and how it affects the business and more specifically the interview/recruiting process, which ultimately motivated me to learn more about recruitment. I wouldn’t say that my career aspirations have changed but I would like to develop my recruitment skills enough to train others on how to recruit/source strong talent and retain it.
How did you get started in your field and really break in?
In the second semester of my senior year of college, I was hired by Williams Sonoma to be a Staffing Coordinator. It was supposed to be an entry-level position that entailed reviewing resumes, sending qualified candidates to hiring managers, and coordinating interviews but this position turned out to be much more than that. After sourcing a few great candidates, my supervisor realized my potential and began to give me additional responsibilities that made me a recruiter instead of being a “resume reviewer.”
What do you feel like was the turning point for your career?
The turning point for my career definitely took place when I began working at American Eagle. Working here, I have a job that I genuinely love and enjoy — a major reason why I feel this way is because of all the wonderful people I’ve met. I’ve been lucky to find amazing mentors that have helped me navigate corporate America as a young diverse associate, which has been crucial not only in my professional but my personal development as well.
How did you learn the skills it takes to be successful in your job?
One thing that I think a lot of people don’t realize is that recruitment is a sales job. Instead of selling a product or service, you’re selling a career. Prior to Covid-19, most people with impressive resumes and a strong track record were able to pick and choose what jobs they wanted and what companies they wanted to work for. As a recruiter, you’re doing everything in your power to woo a candidate you like and prove to them that your company is the right company to work for.
I believe that I’ve always been a strong salesperson, but Angie Parker and Sandy Midlam have really taught me how to enhance my craft; and how to be patient and persevere job openings are taking longer to fill than you expected them to.
How would you describe the day to day of your job?
A typical day as a recruiter entails:
· Reviewing resumes that have been submitted to the company’s Applicant Tracking System (ATS)
· Sourcing and reaching out to talent on LinkedIn when you are unable to find candidates using the ATS
· Scheduling interviews and following up on your candidates’ status throughout the entire hiring process
· Leading hiring events and attending networking events to build your talent bench
(It’s a lot more fun than it sounds, lol!)
What have been the biggest challenges for you as you’ve navigated your career?
One of the biggest challenges I’ve had has been learning to be patient. I’m a very fast-paced go-getter and like results right away, so I had to learn that it is possible to slow down and be successful in your career at the same time.
How do you stay knowledgeable and on top of the latest news & trends in your fields?
LinkedIn, for sure! It’s so easy to get lost while browsing all of the articles that you can find on it. I also really enjoy the TalentCulture #WorkTrends podcast.
Who are you inspired by in your field?
In all honesty, I’m inspired by my whole team. I’ve learned so much from everyone and aspire to be as successful and talented as they have been throughout their careers.
What advice do you have for others who want to pursue this career?
Learn how to prioritize and how to be efficient with your time. There are times when you have at least 10 openings at the same time — it’s important to learn how to prioritize the openings that are urgent while still making sure that you’re not neglecting the other openings that you have.
What’s your favorite trend right now (fashion or social)?
I’m really big on the Aerie matching sweatsuit sets and all things tie-dye!
Two snaps for someone taking their interests and seamlessly turning it into a successful career. We’re inspired by Jade’s experience and dedication to her craft! What was your favorite part of her story and what jobs do you want to learn about next in our #AerieREAL Shop Talk series? Let us know in the comments.
Interested in jobs at AEO?
Check out/apply for one of our recent internship or training program positions:
Corporate Internship Program
· Merchandising Internship – Pittsburgh, PA
· Merchandising Internship – New York, NY
· Inventory Planning Internship – Pittsburgh, PA
Full-Time Training Program
· Merchandising Full-Time Training Program – Pittsburgh, PA
· Merchandising Full-Time Training Program – New York, NY
· Inventory Planning Full-Time Training Program – Pittsburgh, PA