Interview with Jennifer Jones Newbill
Senior Manager Global Candidate Attraction, Engagement and Experience at Dell
Jennifer Jones Newbill is a quintessence of a modern HR director who is not afraid to play by the marketing rules to achieve higher quality hires as well as, lower turnover and better engagement rates for Dell. She has over 20 years of Human Resource experience working as an Employment Branding/Social Media and Recruiting Specialist and Leadership Development Expert, and she has also managed various global and regional HR programs/projects for Fortune 50 companies. Today she shares valuable lessons about developing the right set of skills within the HR profession and social recruiting best practices based on her experience at Dell.
Jennifer, you’re a Senior Manager: Global Candidate Attraction, Engagement and Experience. Your title already shows that your job is not a standard set associated with the tasks within an HR department. Can you tell me more about where your title comes from and why a Senior HR manager role would not be enough to describe your expertise?
I wanted to describe myself and what our team does in a way that was easy to understand and describe. It was tough and yes my title is a bit long, but typically people I speak to understand quickly. Our team is all tasked with candidate attraction (messaging including digital and, print as well as technologies used) engagement (social media and employee advocacy in partnership with our marketing team) and analyzing and improving the overall candidate experience.
I wonder how you’ve gotten involved in the role that links HR and Marketing?
In 2010, Marie Moynihan, Global VP Talent and Chief Diversity officer was appointed to her role and for the first time we had a global leader who had a centralized team (along with regional/local recruiting teams). At that time, we began looking at our standards, processes and policies across all regions and locations and that included evaluating our employment brand, digital properties, recruitment marketing strategies, etc. My role has evolved quite a bit since then including growing a global team that has strong proficiency in social media, content expertise and keeping a thread of candidate experience in mind with everything they do!
Do you think Marketing and HR have much in common? What changed in the last 10-15 years in your industry?
Marketing and HR have very similar goals – in a nutshell – candidate and customer attraction and retention. And it is clear that candidates and customers are frequently one in the same. Current or potential future customers can have their sentiment about your company influenced if they are referred to a job or interview with the company – very powerful stuff… There is huge opportunity for Marketing and HR to partner and collaborate in a way that is mutually beneficial.
Let’s get into details with the referral hires program at Dell you were involved in. In one of the interviews, you said that referrals were one of the best sources of hire and that you managed to achieve 50-125% increase in global referral hires. Global Employee Referral rate was 38% globally, and over 50% in some locations (previously only 19% in 2010). If you were to compare these numbers with the past, do you still think, it’s the best source of hire nowadays?
I can beat the drum about the importance of referrals all day every day! Regardless of the evolution of our digital lifestyles, we still believe in and trust what our friends and connections tell us – about products, services and yes, jobs. Where I think the industry struggles a bit is rewarding those that refer really great quality hires for the company. That is a next step for us at Dell – agreeing on a clear Quality of Hire metric and filtering by source – in particular referrals. Who is referring the best people/fit with the company? How do we drive this activity with our employees further?
Dell is on every social media channel including Pinterest. Which channel do you find most useful for recruiting?
Facebook and Twitter continue to have very inexpensive promotional solutions and we absolutely see hires through those platforms. Other social platforms are still important but play more of an influencing/branding role than direct hires. We don’t see people, for example, going to a job directly from Pinterest. However, we just hired someone onto our global social media team who specifically mentioned our Pinterest page and our Careers channel specifically. The mention was all praise and how it created more positive sentiment of Dell in their mind. This is a win even if we didn’t hire the person ‘from’ Pinterest.
Please – DO NOT READ this article about the utmost passion and the eternal struggle of an individual UNLESS you want to fully understand the complexities of being a woman in technology and see why only few females will thrive in this environment.
Why would you like to read or hear about someone’s story, anyway?
Because it hasn’t been told yet.
And because every story is like no other.
So, who is she? This tech lady.
Daijie Huang is a first generation Chinese immigrant in the USA. She founded the Boston-based startup, InnoTechnologies, that is creating the first marketplace for location based personal travel guides. The project was built on a passion for technology and innovation, but also traveling, since Daijie is an enthusiastic traveler herself. She is quite the global female entrepreneur, as well as successful and resourceful women and leader – but there’s more to her than that.
Behind every success, there’s a hard work. We all know that. Except that behind Daijie’s story there’s this extra effort she had to put into making her dreams a reality.
Daijie grew up in China, currently lives in the USA, and she visited countless countries all over the world, mostly with her daughter. Daijie’s career has spanned from engineering to product management and now to entrepreneurship. As we speak, she is now bringing her app to Kickstarter to bring travel experts from every corner of the world to share their stories. Today I want you to read about Daijie’s path to becoming a successful entrepreneur, her technical interests and how she fully embraces the notion of women in tech.
There’s a lot of press around women in tech and obstacles they face, but the story of Daijie Huang, the immigrant from China, is a must read. It’s the homage I pay to her after observing the sweat and tears she poured into countless updates of her app. She’s someone I can identify with since I am a Polish immigrant now living in Canada, working in technology. Also, I worked for three years in China in the mobile games industry, so most of the time while interviewing her I felt like we have the similar life stories.
Daijie, let’s talk about your background a little bit. What was growing up like?
I grew up in Xian, China. I have two elder brothers. Back in my young childhood, China was still closed to the outside world. The old city wall was our playground and gave us infinite joy after the boring school day. Catching bugs, climbing the brick wall, playing hide and seek, etc, you name it; the ancient city wall gave us all of our fun. I rarely thought about other places, but even if I did, I would assume that kids everywhere else were doing the same things as us. To me, the world was home and home was the whole world until one day, a few western backpackers showed up on our streets. Yes, I was one of the silly kids following them, finger pointing at them and wondering where the heck they came from. I started to realize that the world was something big, different and fascinating.
Then, flocks of foreigners came to Xian; they wandered around the ancient wall, the bell tower, the big goose pagoda, and of course, the Terracotta Warriors. Then, I started to learn English at school, and learn more about the world as China began to open the door to the Western World. Later, when I got into college, my mother, a CTO at a local company, started to work with western companies about potential partnerships. China was changing. After her business trips to the UK and the USA, she told me: ”The outside world is fascinating. Our generation has missed our chance, but, you still have one. Go further to see the world!” Honestly, it was a challenging goal during that time. Unlike Beijing and Shanghai, Xian was pretty laid-back and under developed. Although my parents were making an above average income in Xian, it was still too little to support my studies in the USA. The good thing is that I have been a very determined person since I was young, good or bad. Although it was a big stretch to compete for a good university in the USA, I got into Renssellaer Polytechnic Institute with financial help, after months of catching up on my English. Can you believe I memorized 800 new words in a day? I won’t be able to do that again honestly.
My mom taught me that a woman can do even better work than a man in technology and encouraged me to go outside to fulfill my dream – then my father taught me the entrepreneurial side of things. My father was a brilliant engineer in his field. He took a newly invented tech to a nice service business later.
Growing up under the influence of a high positioned mom and an ambitious dad, I set up my life goal before I even realized it: an adventure. To make life fun and meaningful, no matter where the road led me, traveling, or on the life journey. So, I went from a silly girl chasing after alien-like foreigners to an entrepreneur who believes that the sky is the limit.
What was your career path from engineer to entrepreneur? Did you have role models & mentors along the way?
It was more of a genetic accident. Using my husband’s words: it’s my restless genes. Repetitive work just bores me to death. So, instead of climbing the corporate ladder like most smart people do, I quit my engineering job from a high tech but slow growing company to start on my own journey. It wasn’t easy and I learned a lot in the process. I also have a very supportive husband, which hugely helped me stay float through the hectic life change.
We invite you to the creative workshop to Krakowski Park Technologiczny, 29 of March.
What you will learn?
1. Connect HR and Digital Marketing techniques to benefit your organization and yourself.
2. Explore new ways of engaging more and more demanding customers & knowledge workers.
3. Use cutting edge practices and newest trends in the rapidly converging talent and digital worlds.
4. Use platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook to support and enhance your business goals.
My name is Heather and I am a 30-year-old American female fighting hard to build a career life abroad. It is quite the challenge amidst the bureaucracy, living situations, job availability, financially, and let’s not forget doing this alone as a single female. But I never wanted that to stop me from pursuing my dreams. I fell in love exploring different cultures and languages when I first stepped onto Spanish soil when I studied abroad for six months at the age of 20 in Valencia, Spain. I really didn’t know what to expect or how I would feel, but my whole world opened up after that experience. I came back to Oklahoma (where I am from) to finish my University degree in International Business and Marketing with a plan to move overseas right after I graduated. Before Spain, my ‘goals’ in life revolved around the typical desires: meet the man of my dreams in college, get married shortly after graduation, build a home, adopt two or three children (no desire to have any of my own – maybe my first clue), travel some, and who knows after that. Well, that clearly changed after NOT meeting someone special three years into college (I was doomed I thought, my plan was not going accordingly) and then Europe happened that changed the course of my life forever.