Meet the TorchLight Team: Heather Pederson

by Gaby Gramont

Introducing a key member of the TorchLight team – Senior Director of Recruiting Operations & Engagement Heather Pederson! Heather is responsible for finding talented job candidates for our clients and making sure they have a great experience with us from beginning to end. She’s been with us since 2019 and is an amazing asset to TorchLight. Read her recommendations for candidates on the hunt for a job, her favorite restaurants and what she likes to do in the DC area!

Heather Pederson

Where are you from?

I’m from a little place in Michigan called Middleville. It’s a super small midwest town with only one stoplight.

What did you study and how did you get into the recruiting space?

I studied marketing and communications at Western Michigan University. My first job out of college was actually in marketing and communications at a nonprofit. After that, I worked at a consulting firm as Director of Marketing. I then got an opportunity to go overseas and lived in Madrid, Spain for almost three years.

I got my MBA abroad with a focus on international human resources. When we came back to the US after being in Europe, I really wanted to get into the HR space and found that recruiting was the perfect mix of marketing and HR. I could use all my marketing and HR skills I had learned and got a job at John Deere as a college recruiter.

A major part of your job is candidate experience. What do you do to make sure Torchlight’s job candidates have a positive experience with TorchLight?

Candidate experience is why I wake up every day. My goal is to provide top-notch service throughout the entire candidate lifecycle. What does that mean? It means that from the moment a candidate comes to us we strive to be responsive and communicative. During screening, we show up authentically and really listen to our candidates’ needs and learn about their core skills. And we provide clear expectations and resources to support candidates no matter where they are in their career journey.

Favorite recruiting story?

There are so many but I’ll choose the most entertaining. This one was from my time as a college recruiter at John Deere. I was at a career fair for FFA (Future Farmers of America) and I was the only recruiter manning our recruiter booth. We had a line that was 20 students deep. There was a girl that thrust her resume at me and said “I was destined to work at John Deere.” She then pulls up her pant leg and shows me the logo of John Deer tattooed on her leg. She actually had the old logo which was quite funny because John Deere had gone through a brand refresh. For other reasons, we didn’t proceed with her although the tattoo was quite something.

What’s your dream travel destination and why?

Anywhere in French Polynesia like Bora Bora, Tahiti. Basically any place with rooms over the water on stilts.

What’s your favorite thing to do in the DC area during your free time?

I have two favorite things:

  1. Restaurants – I’m such a foodie. I love to try different restaurants in Northern Virginia and DC. My top three faves in the area are Jaleo, Yechon Korean Restaurant and Señor Tequila.
  2. Taking dance classes. I’ve taken classes at three different studios in the DC area.

What is the best advice you can give to candidates who are searching for jobs during COVID?

Prioritize your priorities. I feel like a lot of candidates in a job market like this haven’t crystalized their own individual, professional and personal priorities. With so many jobs being available, until you’ve really focus your priorities, you can get stuck in what I call “analysis paralysis.” It can be very overwhelming when you have a lot of options so you need to figure out your top priorities. Is it salary? Flexibility? Management style? Culture? Something else?

Really pick out those top three to five things that you need in a role so that if something comes across your plate when you’re interviewing and it doesn’t meet your priorities, you can move on.

In the current job market, what do you think is the top thing that job candidates are looking for in an employer?

What I’ve seen over and over again is flexibility. People want to work in a different way that before – they want remote opportunities that meet their needs. If they are dealing with caring for an elderly parent or if they have children or whatever the family situation is, they are demanding that companies show up and meet them where they are.

What do you like most about your job at TorchLight?

I think the relationships and the people at TorchLight really make this job amazing. I love what I do. People that show up in a really authentic way – we all genuinely care about each other and want to support each other. So when you combine that culture with meaningful work and a results focus, it’s like this perfect match.

Meet the whole team here!

Posted in Our Team