Humans of Lob is a project dedicated to getting to know our Lobsters on an individual level. We sat down with our Technical Recruiter, Rikki Wutzke.
Tell me about yourself and your background.
Growing up, I had a very interesting combination of city life and extremely rural life. I was born and raised in a very suburban part of Minnesota, but my extremely large extended family primarily lived about three hours away. I grew up fishing and racing ATVs with my brothers and dozens of cousins. As much as I love my family, I equally don't enjoy the snow. I moved to Los Angeles when I was 19. I actually moved in with my aunt, who also resided part-time in Minnesota, so we'd always been very close. I spent a lot of my youth going back and forth from Minnesota to Los Angeles to see her. I lived with her for five or six years when I first moved to LA. Now I’ve been in Los Angeles for nearly 13 years!
What's your favorite thing to do when you go back to Minnesota to visit?
I love to be outside and near water. The easy access to natural rivers and lakes is a gift. Whenever I go home, I’m constantly trying to talk someone into taking a boat or canoe out. Many years ago, my family decided that we should have an annual family canoe trip. There are about 40 or 50 of us, and even out-of-state relatives fly to Minnesota for it. We pick a weekend in August and then we all do this four or five-hour float. That’s something that I try to make it home for every year.
Is there something about yourself that you think someone new would be surprised to learn?
I'm a really good speller. Like eighth-grade championship Spelling Bee award-winning speller. For whatever reason, it's something that's always been important to me to be good at it. Also, I play an unhealthy amount of Angry Birds.
What do you do here at Lob?
I am a recruiter. I came on as our Senior Technical Sourcer, which was a short-lived adventure before I got into full-cycle recruiting. I came on with a strict technical focus, but now I work with all of our business units on their recruiting needs. No day looks the same, except that every morning I have coffee!
What's your favorite part about being a recruiter?
I love the opportunity to hear people's stories, and I get to meet people during what is a huge moment in their lives. Looking for a new job is really all-encompassing when you're committed to it. My favorite part of it is that I get to be there to help. I look at it as a very service-lead role. Even though it could be transactional, you're dealing with people and their livelihoods. There are so many other pieces that go into it, like their families, what they need for health insurance, and their travel plans and dreams. All of these things get discussed throughout a recruiting process, not just what your career goals are. Whether or not it turns into a job, I'm always grateful for the connections that I get to make. I get to talk to people I never would if I was doing pretty much anything else.
What is an unexpected movie that makes you cry?
I don't know if this would be a surprise, but every time I watch "Inside Out" I lose it. Bing Bong. Take her to the moon for me. I just can't. It's a movie about a little girl from Minnesota and then she moved to California. She leaves her friends and is starting a new life and even now talking about it is making me tear up.
Tell me something you're passionate about.
I am passionate about reading. It's in almost an obsessive way. I have to read everything, whether it's the back of a shampoo bottle, all the way to like, the street signs when I'm going somewhere I know how to get to. I read everything. I’m a voracious reader of novels, and I'm passionate about people learning to read. To the point where during COVID, I reached out to my kindergarten teacher, and I asked if he remembered me. I said it's Rikki Wutzke, class of '94. He responded within an hour and he said, "I remember you, you cried the first day of kindergarten because I didn't teach you how to read."
Where do you think that passion comes from?
It runs in the family. Both my parents were avid readers, and they read to us. Maybe some of it originally stemmed from a competitive spirit that my older brother knew how to read when I didn't, but I’ve always loved the written word.
What is a scent that makes you feel nostalgic?
Gardenias. Gardenias make me think of my aunt's house where I lived when I first moved to LA. She had a neighbor she used to steal flowers from, so her house always smelled of gardenias. It's very nostalgic. Actually, a lot of my scent memories are around her. I had stayed with her at her house, in Minnesota one time, and we stayed up late one night watching scary movies. She had this brown sugar-scented hand wash. Every time I come across that scent now I always think of us staying up late watching movies, and washing popcorn grease off our hands with it. She passed away last year. Those scents are especially dear to me.
What's something that has surprised you about your chosen career path?
When I was a little girl, I didn't dream of being a recruiter, I can say that. But I've been surprised at how it combines so many of the things that I feel are my strengths. Building relationships, taking in details, and building rapport so that people can trust you. If I really sit and think about it, all the things that I enjoy about recruiting are all things that I was doing kind of piecemeal in other jobs, and they were the highlight of those other jobs. Recruiting is a wonderful combination of those things. That's been surprising to me.
If you wrote a memoir, what would it be titled?
"House of Half-Filled Journals."
If money was no object, what would you buy? Or what would you do with your money?
I think about this a lot. The only thing that’s really valuable is time. Right? Money would be great in a myriad of situations. You could do whatever you want and you could buy whatever you wanted. But if you could purchase time, that's what I would do. I would like eight days in a week.
Thanks to Rikki for sharing more about herself and what she's responsible for at Lob. Curious about what it's like to work at Lob? Learn more about our values, teams, and open positions by visiting our careers page.