When Sam Caputo describes her career as a Talent Acquisition Partner for Trane and Ingersoll Rand, she doesn’t spell it out with corporate human resource jargon like “benchmarking” or “attrition.” For Caputo, what she does for a living is more personal.
“People ask me what I do, and I’m not a recruiter,” said Caputo, who’s based in Richmond, Va. “I am changing people’s lives, and that is something that gets me up in the morning.”
And if anyone knows just how life-changing a career with Trane and Ingersoll Rand can be, it’s Caputo.
The age-old question
Initially, Caputo didn’t take the question very seriously.
She’d been in her inside sales role with Trane for just a few months, and things were going well; she loved her new coworkers and was quickly developing relationships with her customers. So, when Richmond branch manager Leigh Vanneman asked her what she wanted to be when she grew up, Caputo thought he was joking.
Vanneman’s point was to see if she would be happy following a sales career path, said Caputo, and he went on to describe what that upward track would look like. A move outside would be next, followed by a Sales Leader position, Territory and District Management, and so on.
“I told him I knew I didn’t want that,” recalled Caputo.
Her response, in many cases, would’ve been met with a cardboard box and an escort outside the building. But what Vanneman said next let Caputo know that Trane and Ingersoll Rand were offering her a career, not just a job.
“OK, I’m going to set you up with (human resources) and see what you do want to do here at Trane,” said Vanneman, “and we’ll see if we can’t help.“
“For me, it was really great because not only did they see potential in me and they were willing to invest in me as an employee,” said Caputo, “but when I told them this wasn’t a good career fit for me, they didn’t cast me aside or treat me any differently.”
More than a job
Caputo said she wanted to get into public relations and advertising following her graduation from the University of Tampa in 2011, but the ongoing recession limited her options. She worked in outside sales for a beer distributor before joining a staffing firm as a recruiter. She then picked up online marketing duties as a project manager for the company’s offshoot startup. While she said she’d hit her ceiling within the company’s structure, she enjoyed the work she was doing.
So, when speaking to Trane’s HR department to determine her new career, joining the company’s human resources department made sense. It was a way, said Caputo, to blend her marketing experience and passion for P.R. while still working for a company she loved. To get her there, the company agreed to pay for her master’s degree in Human Resource Management. She graduated last year and began her role as a Talent Acquisition Partner in January 2019.
“I was presented with a company that took a genuine interest in me as a person and what I needed,” said Caputo. “I don’t think many companies out there do that; if they bring you in for one role, they’re going to invest a lot of money in you in that role just to train you – why are they going to be willing to invest more money in you for a completely different, lateral move?”
In a few months, she’ll be celebrating a few anniversaries; in January she’ll have been with the HR department for one year, while February will mark five years since joining Trane and Ingersoll Rand as an inside salesperson.
And while technically she’s still selling Trane, she’s now peddling much more than the company’s products.
“I am giving people new opportunities to come work for an organization that I love with an absolute passion,” said Caputo. “That’s my drive.”
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