One minute with Cara Brown, WDRS talent acquisition technical recruiter

Cara Brown of WDRS reads resumes of potential Fermilab hires. Photo: Rashmi Shivni

Cara Brown of WDRS reads resumes of potential Fermilab hires. Photo: Rashmi Shivni

How long have you been at Fermilab?
It has been three years since this past Saturday, Feb. 13.

What brought you to Fermilab?
Before Fermilab, I was unfortunately laid off from a university as a college recruiter. My mom saw a job posting at Fermilab and kept saying, “You have to apply!” I had no idea what Fermilab was, but I applied anyway. While I was laid off, I kept a part-time job. I told my coworkers at the part-time job about my interview with the lab, and they were ecstatic. Once I completed my interview, I could understand why everyone was so excited.

What do you do at Fermilab?
I help fill most of the positions at the lab. There are three recruiters. Chong Shik Park typically fills all the scientific postings. Chris Raymond and I are tasked with filling every other job, such as executive-level positions, engineering jobs, project manager jobs and IT positions.

What does your typical day look like?
Depending on the priority, our tasks change daily. At the end of the day, our goal is to hire new employees. I am the first contact with prospective candidates, and I shepherd them through the interview process. I screen hundreds of resumes, talk to hiring managers to understand the scope of the job and widely distribute job postings to organizations, universities and Web vendors to reach a diverse applicant pool. It takes a lot of interaction, and you have to be a people person to be in talent acquisition.

What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
I am a mother of a two-year-old. Most of my old hobbies have been put on the back burner. I love to travel, and I’m active in my Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority and teaching children’s church, but lately I spend a lot of time at Chuck E. Cheese’s. My newfound love is the gym, and I take Zumba classes at our lab gym. I also love to swim, and I recently enrolled my daughter in Mommy & Me swimming classes to share that love with her.

What’s some advice you would give to a new hire?
Be receptive to embracing change. One thing that prepared me for the lab environment when I first started was to take every single tour and meet people to learn all I could about the work they perform for the lab. It’s important to work really hard, but it’s also important to enjoy your work. I tell people to take advantage of the lab’s recreational and cultural resources. There’s something here to do for everyone.