Meet Rachel Aguilera-Vanderheyden, MA, Senior Talent Solutions Expert

 

Rachel works with clients to help them solve hiring and development issues. For example, she helps to make leaders more effective.

Where did you grow up?

Mostly Minnesota, but my family spent a lot of time in Boston too.

Married? Children? Pets?

I’ve been married for more than four years. I recently realized we got married on Star Wars Day— “May the 4th Be With You.” LOL. We have no children or pets.

What led you into this field?

I learned about this field during the last semester of my senior year in college. I had studied math, but realized I liked people too much to focus my career on it. When I learned about I/O psychology, I knew this was for me. I liked that I could combine data and people.

What or who has influenced your career the most? 

My professors during my graduate work. They showed me how I could apply my knowledge outside the academic world. I also taught freshman psychology while getting my masters, and I made sure these students knew about I/O before the end of their college career.

What do you enjoy most about your job? What do you find most challenging?

I enjoy the people I work with—internally and externally. Getting to know clients’ jobs, as well as their organizations, is enjoyable and challenging at the same time.

What do you think it takes to be successful in your role?

Two big things—the ability to build relationships and trust, and the ability to apply data to the real world and to communicate and translate that information to others.

What’s a recent job challenge you’ve faced and how did you deal with it?

I had a client who was really interested in creating a streamlined candidate experience. I worked with them to tailor all portions of their selection process, assessment, interview and onboarding to reflect a consistent theme. It was really fun to partner on the entire employee lifecycle!

What has been one of your most significant job accomplishments?

I had the opportunity to travel to Ecuador with a colleague. We led a conference workshop for a distributor, and I was able to use my Spanish speaking skills coupled with my psychology background. It was a great experience, and there were many moving parts.

What are some of the industry-specific challenges you see for the future?

On average, people change jobs every three years. Developing ways to keep top talent is key.

What’s the best piece of work-related advice you’ve ever received?

There are many great examples of leaders. Learn from them, but do so embracing your own unique style.

What’s your most valuable professional tool?

The Microsoft Outlook calendar. It helps me to stay organized and I’m always learning new tips and tricks.

Passions? Hobbies? Interests outside of work?

I recently took up photography. I’m learning about the different settings on a more sophisticated camera I just bought. I no longer just point and click.

What’s something no one knows about you?

I speak Spanish fluently and I volunteered for one year after college teaching English in Chile.

What’s your favorite TV show?

I just started watching “Bones.” I like the investigative nature of the show coupled with humor.

What’s the last book you read?

The Alchemist.

What’s your favorite lunch?

I’m a big taco fan—mostly fish and chicken.

You work hard, but personal time is important too. What’s been your best vacation spot ever? Why? Do you have a dream destination?

I studied abroad one year and was able to steal a few days in Patagonia. I’d love to go back when I have more time. It had an other-worldy landscape. My husband also wants to visit Hawaii. I was there as a kid, but would like to go back there with him.