We interviewed Sara Vizcaino, the Human Resources Manager  from PacificSource about recruiting at OSU. Here is what she had to say:

1. Tell us about your company and why you recruit OSU students.

PacificSource Health Plans is a health plan that provides medical, dental, vision, and pharmacy insurance coverage to groups and individuals. But, we’re not a typical health plan – we’re an independent, not-for-profit health plan with a 78-year history. Our mission is to help people get the healthcare they need. What sets us apart from our competitors is that we focus on providing exceptional service to our members. We also invest in the communities we serve by partnering with local providers to deliver high quality, accessible healthcare, and through charitable giving and personal involvement with non-profit organizations. PacificSource has offices in Oregon, Idaho, Washington, and Montana with close to 600 employees.

PacificSource enjoys our relationship with Oregon State University and we are always impressed with the caliber of students at OSU. Last summer we hired 7 summer interns and 4 of them were from OSU. We were on campus in October for the Career Fairs and the EECS-MIME Senior Dinner. At those events we had the opportunity to talk with a number of students – both about careers after college as well as summer internships. It is always exciting to speak with students about their preparations to get work experience through an internship or about taking that first step in a career after graduation.

2. What is your favorite part of your job?

I am a member of the Human Resources team and feel lucky to get to do the work that I love to do for a company like PacificSource!  I have been here since moving to OR nearly 6 years ago and, in that time, I have been able to learn and grow in my role. There is a lot about my job that I really enjoy, but my favorite part is working with candidates as they apply for jobs with PacificSource, interview, and get hired. In fact, last week a former summer intern was hired and started working as a full-time member of our Actuarial team!  It was great to work with her again and help her transition into her employment as she kicks off her actuarial career!

I also really appreciate getting to do my work AND getting the opportunity to be involved in our community. I’m involved in raising money for Relay for Life and United Way as well as with our Community Garden. Our Community Garden has about 40 employees that plant, grow, and harvest vegetables and we donate about 100 lbs of veggies per week during the growing season to a local food pantry. It is pretty amazing to work for a health insurance company that wants to make a difference in our communities and being able to get involved personally. Over the past 2 years, our Garden has donated approximately 2 tons of produce to families in need! That is something I feel really proud of.

3. How do you find people you want to hire and what makes them stand out from others?

All organizations have a culture – sort of like how we each have our own personality. The culture at PacificSource is built on strong customer service and building positive relationships. We strive to improve the communities we serve and encourage a healthy work-life balance. When we look for candidates, finding individuals that fit our culture is a very important part of the recruiting process. Certainly finding candidates that have the technical experience or abilities is necessary, but it isn’t everything.

We look for candidates through a variety of sources including college career fairs, online job postings, social media avenues, networking events, and even virtual career fairs. PacificSource is growing and will have approximately 40 new positions to fill in 2012!  That means we’ll be busy looking for the right candidates that can do the job and fit in and really excel within the PacificSource culture.

4. What do you recommend students do in college so that they are ready when it comes time to find a job?

It’s hard to find the balance between everything in college – but I don’t need to tell you that!  You have to focus on school and do well in your classes, but that isn’t everything. Part of figuring out what career or industry is right for you is about trying things out. So, part-time work experience or summer internships can really help you learn more about what you enjoy (and don’t enjoy!) doing. Also, going to different campus events or joining different groups can give you information about a career or industry that you had never heard of before, but that might be a great fit for you. So, try things on for size to see what fits you best. Also, research companies that you have interest in. If possible, connect with them through social media to learn more, watch job openings, and set up profiles on their online career centers.

Thanks to Sara for her great insight and for taking the time to do a post for the Career Beavers Blog!

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