But before her recruiting revelation, Williams graduated high school, received her associate's degree in business management from Northern Essex Community College, and went to work full-time.
"After three years, I went back to school [during the] evenings at Northeastern University to get my bachelor's degree [and] majored in HR management," she says. "In my third year at Northeastern, I got the exciting news that I was to have twins. I put my education on hold, and found that work and family consumed all my spare time."
For five years, Williams immersed herself in "agency life." She then transferred to corporate recruiting with Neon (acquired by Sybase) and Lodestar (acquired by Oracle), consulted "for several years at high-tech companies," and then landed "a full-time role as a recruiter in technology...at VistaPrint."
Eager to join VistaPrint, Williams left the interview wanting the job. "I got more and more enthusiastic about being part of this 'disruptive business model.'" And in December 2006, she was hired.
With over 1,000 employees, 10 million customers, and 18 "localized" VistaPrint websites, VistaPrint makes "high-quality graphic design and customer printing convenient and affordable for everyone," says its website. The company is also "a leading online supplier of high-quality graphic design services and customized printed products to small businesses and consumers." Products include business cards, postcards, brochures, desk calendars, folders, address labels, rubber stamps, t-shirts, and more.
The company received one of Boston Business Journal's 2007 "Best Places to Work in Greater Boston" awards as well as "The Best of Massachusetts Business 2007 Globe 100" award.
And it's no wonder VistaPrint has won such awards — with the company's unique benefits, who wouldn't want to work there? For example, VistaPrint offers a one-month paid sabbatical for all those having worked five years ("our 'VistaBreak'"). Other perks include a generous maternity package for moms and dads, a fitness facility, mothering room, and free bagels and muffins on Fridays.
But aside from praising VistaPrint's perks, the employees praise the company for being a fact-based-decision organization. Williams says, "Our decisions aren't made based on political agenda."
As a technology recruiter, Williams is responsible for "sourcing, interviewing, and ultimately hiring technologists in the fields of quality assurance, IT operations, software development...and occasionally G&A."
When hiring for the company, Williams looks for candidates who are "experts within their discipline" and who have a high level of intelligence, perseverance, and drive.
"We have a thorough screening and interview process to ensure we've made the best hiring decision," continues Williams. "If you want a job here at VistaPrint, come prepared. We have a high bar and will not hire mediocre candidates."
In the past, like all companies, VistaPrint has struggled to find the best candidates. Most of the time, the top-quality potential employees are busy with their current work, not posting their resumes or looking at job-boards. Therefore, it is up to the recruiting team to be "relentlessly sourcing and networking."
"Some of the most common problems within my department are keeping the talent pool filled with exceptional people. Good candidates come and go, and it's up to recruiters to continually network with key people in the industry."
However, there are rewards. And Williams revels in them. "The most rewarding part of my job [is that] I bring candidates and companies together; it's a win-win! I have recruited over 52 employees to VistaPrint since I joined 15 months ago."
|Q. What do you like to do outside of work? Any odd hobbies/interests? Are you married? Do you have children? Can you explain a little about your personal life outside of your company?
A. I like to spend my time with my husband and four children. I enjoy photography and mostly take pictures of my kids and family. We are living through a complete home remodel, so I spend most of my free time at Home Depot!
Q. What CD is in your CD player right now?
A. A book on CD called Blink.
Q. What is the last magazine you read?
A. Kitchen and Baths from Better Homes and Garden.
Q. What is your favorite TV show?
A. I don't watch a lot of TV. I wish I had time! If my eight-year-old twins aren't watching The Suite Life of Zach and Cody, my two-year-old twins are watching Dora the Explorer. You may catch me watching bad reality TV!!
Q. Who is your role model?
A. Oprah Winfrey. She worked her way up from poverty and overcame a mountain of obstacles along the way. She proved that regardless of your race, gender, or economic situation, anything is possible.
And in those 15 months, Williams has also acquired several mentors, two of whom are Austin Cooke, the vice president of recruiting and Kevin Murray, the manager of technology recruiting.
Of Cooke, Williams says, "He's kind of like the Bill Belichick of recruiting He doesn't accept complacency or mediocrity and is all about the team."
"[And] Kevin leads by example. He not only manages a team but also recruits for some of the most senior technology positions for VistaPrint. I have gained a greater insight on candidate development by listening to him talk with prospective candidates on the phone. Even if we decide a candidate is not a fit for an opening, he has shown me the importance of giving the candidate the utmost respect and professionalism."
With thirteen years of recruiting experience, Williams has great acumen for recruiting and offers HR newbies this advice:
"Don't be afraid to try new things — it's from your mistakes you learn the most. If someone was looking to be a recruiter, I would suggest they learn as much about the field they are recruiting for and ask as [many] questions as possible."