Spotlight – Bob Raybits, Northrup Grumman
Lead Recruiter, Northrup Grumman
What was your career path to get your current role? Engineering Lab Aide; Human Resources Representative; HRIS Project Lead; Lead Compensation Professional; Labor Relations Specialist; Site HR Manager, R&D Center; Employment Manager, Electronic Systems; University Relations Manager, Electronic Systems; Lead Recruiter, Corporate
What was your first job? I had a 9 year career in various Horticultural positions prior to my Human Resources career. My first postion out of undergrad was as a Horticultural Therapist at a government run mental institution in Maryland.
Why did you choose this career? My first career was chosen purely out of a childhood interest in growing plants, particulary in greenhouses. My Human Resources career was more a function of following the winding road and not being afraid to dabble in things I knew little of.
What is the skill that is most important in your current role? Ability to communicate, both verbally and in writing. Speaking in public to groups is somehting that I had to work on, but it has paid great dividends. Writing is extremely important. The written word, being mostly electronic these days, last forever, so it’s important to get it right.
How did you develop this skill and how do you fine-tune it regularly? I decided long ago that if an opportunity came up to present information, that I would not be the one who slid down in their seat waiting for others to volunteer. I always wanted to go first in any class room presentation. I later developed my own workshops to present to students on campus. I have also presented at NACE and ASEE. Finally, I accepted an adjunct position as an instructor with the Univ. of Maryland to teach a 1 credit course, which I did for a period of 5yrs. As for writing, I have always enjoyed writing poems which to me, is a form of expression that keeps my mind active.
Did you have a mentor? I can honestly say I have never had a mentor, but I wish I did. Late in my career, I did feel that one of our Corporate executives who spent a great deal of his life working with universities did indeed provide me with a level of confidence that I never had, as he provided much positive feedback on my work, and it meant a lot to me.
What is your biggest career accomplishment? This is a tough one, and I have often thought of it. However, one special moment always comes to mind, so I think that must have been it. One year, the Clark School of Engineering at the Univ. of Maryland created an award for “Recruiter of the Year”, and I received the inaugural award. It was totally unexpected, and for me, it was my most memorable moment. To be recognized by such an established organization was simply over the top!
What is your advice to students looking for their first job? Pay attention to your communication skills…written and oral. You can be brilliant, but will struggle with landing a position if you can’t communicate. On the other side of that coin, you may not be so brilliant, but your communicaiton skills will indeed help you to land the job that you so desire.
What is your advice to young professionals in the field who aspire to your current role? Don’t stay in one comfortable position. If an opportunity is provided to you..and you have interest, go for it. Also, don’t be afraid to relocate for the right job. It wasn’t until I went after a position which required my family to move to another state that opportunities began to appear for me.
What was the best career advice you have ever received? Look in the mirror!! A Sr. Co-worker once told me I walked with a hunch, and it showed a lack of confidence. I had no idea. For the past 30 years, I check myself out every time I pass a reflection in a window or mirrow. Best advice by far that I have ever received, even though it hurt.
What would you like colleagues to know about your organization? We have great jobs, that offer not only a career, but an opportunity to grow and take risks. Opportunity is everywhere, but it won’t necessarily just fall in your lap. You have to pay attention, and if you see something that interests you, then go for it. Northrop Grumman develops raw talent into industry experts, but you have to do your part as well.