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VistaPrint's Manager of Technology Recruiting: Kevin Murray

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The original plans of this HR Star included working sales for a major pharmaceutical company. However, once Kevin Murray realized he had no life sciences background, he switched gears and jumped on board the HR boat.

Murray graduated from La Salle University in Philadelphia, PA, with a bachelor's degree in marketing, began working in sales for a local, family owned HVAC company, and spent the next 18 months selling residential and commercial heating and air conditioning systems, as Murray says, to gain experience.

"Then, through some networking, I discovered Bluestone, a fast growing technology startup in NY that was looking for someone to do research for both recruiting and sales. I had a strong desire to work in some capacity in the technology industry and looked at this as a ground-level opportunity."

For the next six months, he did research at the company to uncover leads for the sales team and potential candidates for the recruiting team. And after proving himself, he was hired as a recruiter, a position he held for a year before transferring to Sapient.

"I spent the next five years at Sapient as a technology recruiter and manager in NY, Atlanta, and New Delhi, India. After Sapient I worked for D&B for two years, managed US recruiting for Chubb Insurance, and handled engineering and research recruiting at Google's NYC office."

How's that for a resume from someone without original HR dreams?

Finally, on January 2, 2007, Murray joined VistaPrint, where he was hired as its manager of technology recruiting. Managing a team of three (two recruiters and one coordinator), Murray and his team "are responsible for filling all technology roles across the company, regardless of level or location."

With over 1,000 employees, 10 million customers, and 18 "localized" VistaPrint websites, VistaPrint makes "high-quality graphic design and customer printing convenient and affordable for everyone," says its website. The company is also "a leading online supplier of high-quality graphic design services and customized printed products to small businesses and consumers." The company's products include business cards, postcards, brochures, desk calendars, folders, address labels, rubber stamps, t-shirts, and more.

"The most challenging aspect of my job is simply finding technologists that meet the hiring bar at VistaPrint. The hiring managers are very selective and only hire the best candidates from top schools (MIT, Stanford, CMU, Princeton, YALE, RPI, Waterloo, etc.) and top companies (Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Oracle, Accenture, etc.)"

However, with every challenge, rewards inevitably follow, and this rings true for Murray. Actually, finding those "hard-to-hire" employees ("we typically hire only one out of every 10 people we interview") is what makes the rough recruiting period worth it —especially when Murray hired the vice president of Generate Demand Technologies and the chief architect.

"The requirements, selection criteria, interview process, and expectations of the new hires were some of the most challenging I have faced in my career. I was able to get both roles filled with two candidates that everyone is excited about."

With such a rigorous hiring process, what then does VistaPrint look for in potential employees? According to Murray, each candidate needs to posses a core set of behaviors, competencies, dimensions, etc. Specifically, this includes "passion, intelligence, drive, self-motivation, creativity, innovation, ability to thrive in a dynamic and fluid environment, and a desire to build something bigger than yourself."

But when done correctly, competent hiring leads to an effective business and high company moral. Employees "really love working here," says Murray, and often praise the company for having smart, driven, and passionate people as well as unique, challenging, and rewarding problems to solve. Employees also appreciate the "recognition they receive for their hard work and accomplishments[,] the opportunity to build a highly disruptive company that is changing an industry[, and a] financial reward and long-term wealth building with equity ownership."

Q. What do you like to do outside of work? Any odd hobbies/interests? Are you married? Do you have children? Can you explain a little about your personal life outside of your company?
A. Outside of work I enjoy spending time with my wife and two little boys. I'm also kept very busy with an endless list of home improvement projects.

Q. What CD is in your CD player right now?
A. Arctic Monkeys - Favourite Worst Nightmare.

Q. What is the last magazine you read?
A. The Economist.

Q. What is your favorite TV show?
A. The Office.

Murray too praises not only the company, but also VistaPrint's vice president of global recruiting, Austin Cooke — "[he's] one of the most significant influences in my career," says Murray.

"Austin and I worked together at Sapient early in my career, and I learned a tremendous amount from him at a time when I was just developing my skills. Over time he became a mentor and direct manager, providing me growth opportunities and a chance to have a remarkable career. Once the opportunity at VistaPrint was presented to not only run technology recruiting, but also work for Austin again, I was thrilled. It made the decision easier to leave Google knowing that I would be working for someone that could really help me raise my game."

Fortunately, for HR enthusiasts, Murray doesn't keep his success a secret.

"There are no college courses that I know of that teach recruiting. However, I think there are some steps you can take to prepare yourself for a role as a recruiter. While in college it would be useful to study a broad range of topics to become diverse and well-rounded in your knowledge and perspective of the world. You never know what kind of roles you may be recruiting for, so having an understanding of various subjects will make you versatile. Also, being well-read and well-rounded will make it easier to relate to a broader candidate pool. I would also recommend taking the opportunity to work in sales positions whenever possible. This will help early on to develop confidence in dealing with people, strengthen communication skills, learn how to pitch a product or service, and make you comfortable asking for the sale."

On the net:VistaPrint


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