“Passion creates hustle.”
It’s one of the helpful insights we learned from our Q&A with Farrar Langlois, Chemistry’s new VP of Human Resources. “No, it’s pronounced Farrah,” is another.
How did you make your way into HR?
I started out as a Finance major in college and loved it. Numbers are straightforward and purely rational. Numbers never get mad. I was assured a career of low drama. All of that changed when I chose an elective at random – it was Introduction to HR Management. The professor, who is now one of my dearest friends, had an infectious energy about him. He would literally run back and forth across the room, often on his tiptoes, describing constructs with passion and making topics larger than life. Learning about human behavior, the way it plays out in organizations, and some of the really interesting, complex legal frameworks that surround employment slowly drew me in to the world of HR and how critical it is to the success of an organization. Within a few months, I’d changed my major. I had found something that I was really good at. Something I understood innately and something that I found fun. From there, I became a full-fledged HR nerd and I remain one to this day!
Choosing new talent to join the team isn’t an easy task. What do you look for in top candidates where there are job openings?
A passion for the work is critical. Our business is about organic energy and creativity and you can’t find that without passion for the work you’re doing. Passion creates hustle. Next, we are looking for top level skill and a spirit of collaboration. Chemistry is the perfect place for talented, passionate professionals to thrive, and I’m out to find them!
What’s your favorite part about being in this role at Chemistry?
I love being able to dig down to ground level and customize HR practices that truly fit this unique company and it’s awesome team of Chemists. It’s very fulfilling to see an HR practice or system and know what you have the knowledge, ability, and authority to optimize it to drive business results and create a supportive and responsive framework to meet the needs of our team.
How do you stay active in the HR Community?
I read a LOT. I also have a strong network of HR professionals across the country and I am in constant contact with them. We are frequently bouncing things off each other and sharing new ideas and trends. Also, I’m certified as a Senior Professional in HR by the HR Certification Institute. To keep this designation, I have to complete over 20 hours of continuing education each year. The learning never stops.
Where are you from and how is it different from being in Pittsburgh?
I am from Louisiana, the land of roux, Mardi Gras, and LSU football (Geaux Tigers!). Pittsburgh is totally different from home, with the one exception that there is great food here. I couldn’t live somewhere that didn’t have great food. I’ve fallen in love with Pittsburgh. I love the hills, I love the snow, and I think the people here are open, friendly, and warm in a way that is very unique. I love the pride people here take in their city. I’m building my dream home here. Pittsburgh is stuck with me!
What advice would you give to college graduates trying to break into an agency career?
Know who you are and what area of the business you want to specialize in, and be able to articulate what makes you able to uniquely contribute in that area. Be creative about the presentation of your resume and make sure your skills and personality show through in the application process. Standing out from the crowd is what makes great advertisers great, and the same goes for applicants in the industry. Also, be confident but humble – be willing to take a junior role and learn in those first couple of years. Entry level experience builds a strong foundation for tremendous career growth going forward.