EMC, the Massachusetts-based enterprise storage provider, is expanding into being a full-service cloud infrastructure provider. To put its solutions in place, it needs thousands of consultants to work with clients around the world.
“We’re looking for people with high aptitude, tremendous attitude, and a incredible sense of urgency,” says Tom Murray, EMC’s vice president of global talent acquisition. At any given time, Murray oversees more than 1,000 active job postings.
“Almost all our jobs are linked to our products, so they’re pretty much all technology jobs,” he says. “All of our consulting jobs are considered technology jobs, and the same goes for our infrastructure management jobs. We need great people for all of our core businesses.”
How to Make Your Approach
Because it’s expanded through more than 70 acquisitions in eight years, and because many of the acquired companies were startups, EMC is trying to leverage the more dynamic cultures it’s inherited and make itself more nimble and innovative. The people it wants “need to be able to move fast and run,” says Murray. Thus, a key to getting the company’s attention is to prove you can do what you say you can. In other words, when Murray asks if you can work fast, you can’t just say yes. You’ll have to use your previous achievements to prove that you can.
The company offers some help with this. On its website, it reveals the attributes it looks for and the types of questions it uses to uncover them. Not only that, but you can pre-interview yourself before you approach EMC’s recruiters. Some of the areas it covers:
- Problem-solving: Explain how you’ve anticipated problems before they’ve actually occurred.
- Teaming: Recount a situation where you had difficulties working with someone on a project. What did you do to improve the relationship?
- Results-driven: Describe a difficult or complex project where you provided realistic time frames for task completion and regularly updated management on your progress.
- Accountability: Provide an example of when you had two projects competing for your time. How did you prioritize? Were you able to keep your commitments to both projects?
- Initiative: Recall a time when you sought ways to create and improve the way in which work got done.
- Driving change: Give an example of a situation where you recognized the need for change. How did you adapt your style to obtain results?
How to Read an EMC Job Posting
Beyond what Murray calls “classic” storage skills, EMC has a strong need for data scientists. Murray notes that their skills are important not only to his company, but to most anyone in the Fortune 500. Viable candidates for these positions are “really smart” and can understand “the whole data play.” By that, he means experts who can take the data that large companies collect and figure out how to mine it, understand it and use it for a business advantage. Unfortunately, though, few people can meet two of the core requirements for such jobs: A minimum five years of experience developing and/or deploying predictive analytics, and domain knowledge of at least three vertical industries.
Because they’re so rare and hard to find through traditional headhunting, no one has the exact skill set Murray needs. He looks to universities to seek out mathematics professors or graduates with math degrees.
Also on Murray’s wish list are experts in security and virtualization, two categories he calls “huge.” A typical senior storage engineer at EMC needs to know VMWare ESX, Vmotion, or VMWare Workstation. An IT business security manager must demonstrate experience in identifying, assessing and resolving security risks across large business units, understand IT security compliance, privacy and risk remediation programs, and demonstrate strong project-management skills.
Most listings include both the “principal responsibilities” and the “skills” required for the job. In both cases, use what’s in the posting as checklists for your interview prep. Are you ready to provide real-world examples of your abilities for everything on those lists? You have to be.
Finding Jobs Within the Company
EMC recruits actively for positions at all levels. During 2013, its representatives will attend more than 700 events including college recruiting days, diversity events and pure hiring fairs. Murray calls the company’s recruiters “true headhunters,” aggressively cold-calling competing companies to find the best talent. Interestingly, his group comprises the second-biggest sales force in the company.
Advice for Seasoned Professionals
Networking is also an effective path into into the company, especially for tech professionals who’ve been working for many years. Many of the people EMC’s looking for probably already have contacts at the company, Murray believes. He suggests reaching out to them to get background on the company and the job opening — or available positions in general — and use what you learn to apply.
“If you have the key core skills that match the job description, we don’t care about your age,” Murray says. Thirty-year veterans, he notes, bring different perspectives on the marketplace that can be hugely valuable to its business.
Advice for Recent Grads
Murray hopes to hire 1,000 graduates a year globally for spots in all of EMC’s departments and divisions. If you’re interested in being one of them, you should heed a single piece of Murray’s advice in particular: “Impress me.”
Murray laments the fact that he talks to many young applicants who haven’t bothered to do any research on the companies or representatives who are attending a job fair, for example. When so much information is so easily available today, dropping that ball makes no sense to him.
“Be well prepared on the company and its products, and you’ll make a strong first impression that will get you to the next step,” he says. In fact, your research should have answered your questions about company culture before you get to the interview.