Recruiting Specialists’ Laughlin elected to Rhode Island Heritage Hall of Fame board

There are  fundamental characteristics that most  [firms] have  in common.
There are fundamental characteristics that most [firms] have in common.

Cindy Laughlin, president of Recruiting Specialists, was recently elected to the Rhode Island Heritage Hall of Fame Board of Directors. Laughlin began her career as an executive recruiter for a search firm that specialized in retail. After acquiring ownership of the firm in 1993, Laughlin built Recruiting Specialists into the talent-acquisition firm that it is today. Recruiting Specialists focuses on many facets of the retail industry, including big box and luxury retail. Outside of the office, Laughlin is also very active in the community. She was previously the president (and now the chairwoman) of Justice Assistance. She is also the education chairwoman for the Massachusetts Association of Personnel Services, as well as a trustee of the Providence Performing Arts Center and she continues to support several of Rhode Island’s nonprofit organizations.

PBN: How do you work with prospective job candidates to help them decide what positions are an ideal fit?
LAUGHLIN: There are basically two types of candidates. Those either unemployed or unhappy and actively seeking a change. Or as recruiters, the majority of candidates we deal with are happily employed and are sought out to match our clients’ needs. Those individuals are usually not looking, but may be open to new opportunities. So, we look for their “hot button.” What are they not satisfied with? Quality of life? Compensation? Often, those are the candidates that when offered a position, tell us how happy they are making a change considering they were not looking to begin with.

PBN: What are some of the top traits that retail businesses look for in an executive hire?
LAUGHLIN: Companies often have specific traits they look for, but there are fundamental characteristics that most have in common. First it’s aptitude. Some positions require more experience than others, but companies look for individuals with a proven track record. Second, it’s attitude. No one wants to be around a negative individual. Companies look for people who consider problems as challenges. Third, is intensity. Be driven to succeed and be the best you can be. Last, it’s integrity. Have the ability to do what you say you will do and treat others as you’d like to be treated.

PBN: Out of the many organizations you support, is there one in particular that you feel particularly passionate about?
LAUGHLIN: That’s a tough question and my answer may change depending on which board meeting I’ve just left or event I’ve attended. I’ve always been passionate about the arts so the Providence Performing Arts Center holds a special place in my heart. But, I’d encourage people to look at the recipients of the Neil Houston Memorial Awards at Justice Assistance or the Rhode Island Heritage Hall of Fame and you’ll be amazed at the accomplished individuals that we are surrounded by in our small state. From Adoption RI to AIDS care, I’m passionate about organizations that make a difference in people’s lives. •

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