Ask the Recruiter, with Erika Cherrier

Updated: Sep 17, 2019

Erika Cherrier’s path to recruiting at Microsoft reflects the experience of many of our Swing Shift cohorts. She talks about her shifting career journey; and as a recruiter, what

she looks for as she engages prospective candidates for engineering roles at Microsoft.


You started in journalism sales, detoured through retail management, and pivoted into a corporate role, first as an executive assistant, and now as a full-fledged recruiter. It’s a winding path. What compelled you to take these different roles?

A couple of different reasons. I took a 10 year hiatus to start my family, and when it was time to return to work, I took retail management roles which provided flexibility, which I needed to oversee my family, with the added bonus of keeping my hand in the work game. Also, journalism has changed radically since I started out. While I was on the sales side, it was apparent that the entire industry was collapsing, and it would be hard to return in a financially meaningful way. When we relocated to Washington State, I started out managing retail locations to continue my flexible schedule, and then leveraging a local reference and work experience, landing a role at Microsoft as an executive assistant.

Many women like you who have had managerial responsibilities in the past hesitate to take an EA or administrator role as a way to break back in to corporate. Did you struggle with this?

Definitely yes! Having run my own business and being responsible for daily operations and HR oversight, I felt I was potentially moving backwards but I was using this opportunity as a stepping stone to launch to the next step in my career. I knew I wanted to secure a corporate role at a larger company, and having the administration and operations skills from my previous roles would be the skills and experiences they would be seeking and would allow me to get in the door. I was hired as an EA in HR and my path had begun.