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Team Handshake

R&D Recruiting

We had a chance to sit down with Hetal Shah, Director of R&D Recruiting to chat about her journey here at Handshake, and connect with a few members of her team. Here’s what they had to say.

One thing Hetal has learned throughout her career in recruiting– and a value she’s brought with her to lead Handshake’s R&D Recruiting team– is the concept that ‘who you surround yourself with matters.’

From cross-collaborative partners to team members and leadership, Hetal has helped hire and (by default) shape the ethos of our Technical talent and recruiting teams at Handshake since 2018. “When I first joined, there were twenty-four Engineers and only two recruiters,” Hetal says. “Today, we have seven team members dedicated to R&D recruiting, and our R&D organization has over +220 teammates.”

Hetal Shah
Director of R&D Recruiting

Hetal began her career in recruiting because she’s a people person. She figured there was no better way to apply her people skills to a rewarding career than to start recruiting, where she could talk with people every day and help change the trajectory of their lives.

We had the chance to catch up with Hetal about her experience leading Handshake's R&D recruiting team, and we reached out to connect with a few of her team members to hear what they had to say about life at Handshake.

What brought you to Handshake in the first place?

"Candidly, I agreed to take the first call because I wanted to learn more about how to leverage the product. I'd used Handshake previously as a recruiter, but I figured if I took this call and could see a demo, I'd be able to take what I learned from my call and share it back with my teammates to recruit early career talent better."

So, what motivated you to continue the conversation?

"My first call was with the VP of People followed by an exploratory chat with the VP of Engineering," says Hetal. "But as the conversations continued, and I got to speak with other leaders like Handshake's CEO, Garrett, and Jonathan Stull, COO, I started to really realize how impactful Handshake could be. I saw that there was a huge product-market fit with so much opportunity for growth and, of course, a mission I could get behind."

You've been here since 2018, and you're one of the most tenured members on our recruiting team. What keeps you here at Handshake?

"For me, I've stayed at Handshake because I'm handed new challenges every single day. I love solving problems and helping people. For example, when I started as a Technical Recruiting Manager in 2018, no one owned Eng. Recruiting. The first challenge I set out to solve was to help scale the team and offices. As time went on and the scope of my role grew, I began overseeing the Design & Product organizations. Fast forward almost four years later, and I'm now the Director of R&D Recruiting. What's great about working at Handshake is there's always a new project to tackle, and there's always an opportunity to learn and grow."

You mentioned earlier that who you surround yourself with matters. How do you apply this mentality and approach when hiring?

"First, whether I'm hiring for my team or coaching my recruiters to hire for our R&D org, it always boils down to one thing. We deal with humans in recruiting. Each person we interview and every new hire will bring a unique background and perspective to the company. It's so important to grow your teams with this top of mind. We all know diverse teams build better products, but it's more than that. Each person's individual story impacts how they show up every day and how they may approach their work. So, when I seek to grow our teams, I always fall back on the concept of 'who you surround yourself with matters' and look to connect with people personally. When you can connect with your people personally and understand their unique story, you can provide the best support as a manager in a professional setting."

If you were to describe the culture of your R&D recruiting team in three words, what would they be?

"Motivated, inspired and collaborative."


"We're motivated by our mission, each other, and our hiring partners. It goes back to the concept that who you surround yourself with matters. Having a network of supportive teammates and hiring partners keeps us motivated and gets us through the tough days because we always know we're all in it together.

I'm also really inspired by our hiring partners. Our teams have a great working relationship. The R&D recruiting team is collaborative, appreciated, and well respected. Our hiring partners see us as an advocate in building their teams. We work together to source, and we all recognize that the best way to scale our teams comes from working together. And although we are all remote, we do our best to stay connected."

What would you tell someone looking to join Team Handshake?

"I would tell someone to join Handshake because honestly, you can tell the difference between working just a job and working for a mission-driven company. It's the product, the impact, and the people. Handshake is a great combination of doing good by helping students gain access to opportunity and working with a fun group of people."

• • •

Hetal mentioned that she describes the culture of her R&D recruiting team as motivated, inspired, and collaborative. We thought we'd connect with her team to find out what they think. It's safe to say, Hetal was right on the mark.

Christine Burke
Manager, Eng. Recruiting

“After nearly 4 years at Handshake, I've never questioned being here and have never considered leaving. Handshake is a special place and the core of what makes it special is its people. People don't come to Handshake without first loving the mission and once you become a Handshaker, you're welcomed into this group of people who are passionate about what we're doing, supportive, kind, fun and goofy. Imagine actually having fun with your team everyday! There's really not a place like it.”

Kelly Li
Technical Recruiter

“I’m inspired by our small but mighty R&D Recruiting Team. I really love how different we all are, yet we bond and work so well together. I know they always have my back personally and professionally. Whenever I'm out of office traveling or sourcing for a hard to fill role, my team has me covered. I also love that we aren't just trying to fill our own open roles, we're constantly on the lookout for each other. Just because a candidate is not a fit for my role, it doesn't mean they are not a fit for another team. The common theme is that we always work together.”

Ramiro Molina
Technical Recruiter

"Despite being here for just over a year, I've had access to Handshake since 2017. As a student, I used Handshake to register for career fairs and schedule career planning meetings with my counselor. My first job at a recruiting agency came after attending a career fair via Handshake. At my second job, I used Handshake's Virtual Career Fair platform to hire interns. Finally, I got a message from Christine, asking to join the Handshake R&D recruiting team. I was meant to be at Handshake, and it's been the best career decision I've made!"

Samantha Leveston
Sr. Product Recruiter

"I started my career at a nonprofit to help create a more just society but quickly realized I couldn't financially get ahead! Although transitioning to the tech industry wasn't easy, I eventually landed a role in customer success. After a month on the job, the CEO asked, "Hey, want to try recruiting? You'd be good at it." The rest is history! I leveraged my experience to move into my amazing role at Handshake, where I get the best of both worlds. I have the security of a great salary, and I get to hire the team that builds our product to help millions of students."

If you’re interested in joining Hetal and her growing team of R&D recruiters, head over to our careers page.

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