Go to Industry Insider

Getting Into Dell
A manager at Dell Computer advises a frustrated job applicant

Other Topics:
Programming Basics
Airline Pilot
Computer Animation
Consulting Jobs Primer
Environmental Health
Getting Into Dell
Graphic Design
Legal Career
New Media
Software Development
TV Production
Back to Industry Insider

Well, I got your book, I've been reading this board and the articles, I have been trying to do the research, but ya know, there is this one little nagging problem. According to the people I talk to (friends at Dell Computer) and according to the research that I have been able to come up with, there is no way to talk to anybody unless you go through HR. Of course, when you submit your resume they put you in the data base with your key search words and send you a nice little card saying they did so. You just have to hope that they entered it right. It's very touching.

The only thing I haven't done is to fill their office with resumes so that their paper shredder fails and they talk to me just so that their office doesn't fill up. The friends have tried to help but the hiring managers apparently do not have the authority or means to speak to who they want, just who they are sent. Then again, maybe I'm just a bad hire with 15 years experience, and having owned my own business and all. I mean maybe I just don't measure up.

Their procedure goes like this. The hiring manager submits a form to request permission to hire somebody for whatever position. The form goes to HR. The HR department shuffles through their database and gives the hiring manager a choice of a few people that they think meet the requirements. Those are the only people that the manager has a choice of. HR has such a stranglehold on hiring at the company that I have yet to be able to talk to anybody other than the friends that I have there. They have not been able to get me through to a hiring manager that can do anything without the HR department taking total control. This stonewall has steel behind it.

I will be interested to hear what you have to say about this. There has to be something I am missing. (Duh.)

Insider Advice from
An Anonymous Manager
Dell Computer Corporation

There are two sides to this story and the truth lies in the middle.

In the sales arena most managers recruit their own candidates themselves with the assistance of Dell's recruiting office (these recruiters are not HR folks). When I have preliminary discussions with a sales candidate and I decide I want to hire that person, it's true that I turn them over to HR for the typical screening process. But that's after I've decided the candidate is of interest. Once HR completes their function I move to a more formal interview process. I've never had HR stand in my way of hiring someone I felt would be an asset to Dell.

However, in areas outside of sales I can believe things get a tad more tedious for candidates, as all other positions are based in Austin, TX and relocation issues come into play. To put it simply, we have an enormous pool of technical folks right here in our backyard. There are several major universities within 1-2 hours of Austin, as well as many other large manufacturing facilities including IBM, Apple, Motorola & Samsung. As you can guess, with the number of technically savvy folks at our disposal we try to keep relocation costs to a minimum when possible. However, even if you're you are not from Texas you can land a career with Dell.

Case in point... I was recently contacted via the Net by a gentleman who had done some solid research on Dell. He identified me as a possible contact through this research. He indicated Dell has always been a company he found quite interesting and would welcome the opportunity to check out career opportunities within one of our product engineering areas. I looked at his resume, talked with him personally, then forwarded it to some folks I knew within our Dimension product group. Yes, he too found our HR folks a bit difficult to get past. However, he persevered and got creative... went outside the box! Isn't that part of what you recommend to people?

When he couldn't find someone in engineering to talk to directly, he focused on finding another contact -- me. But he did a lot of research to find me, and that's as it should be. If it were that easy to get to a manager in every company, managers would spend all their time talking to unsolicited job hunters. What this person did revealed his motivation, his persistence and his intelligence. Ultimately, he went through sales to get linked directly into product engineering. Most important, he was able to convince me, in a brief conversation, that he had something valuable to contribute. Not everyone can accomplish that in a phone call. Today this fellow is a senior engineer for Dell within our Dimension product group.

I can tell you that any good manager at Dell who hears about a potentially good job candidate will refer that candidate to the appropriate manager. Part of our jobs as managers here is to look out for the interests of our company, not just for our own departments. I'm proud of my company, and when I can help two good people get together at Dell, I'm more than glad to do it.

Having said that, something about this person's story doesn't add up. When someone has good inside contacts in a company, that usually ensures at least an introduction to the appropriate manager -- not just at Dell, but in any company. I have a feeling this gentleman's "friends" at Dell probably are hesitant to bring his name forward for some reason. (This isn't a judgment, because I don't know anything about him -- but it's my guess.) Throughout the company we always preach "tell your qualified friends, neighbors and family members Dell would love to talk with them". In a recent month we hired 2,000+ people. Skilled folks are always in demand at Dell. I'm not saying this guy's not legit, but I have a feeling there's more to this than what appears on the surface.

NOTE: The advice provided above is an opinion, not a professional service. Ask The Headhunter and the author of the advice are not responsible for its accuracy, use or mis-use.


The contents of this site are Copyright (c) 1995-2015 North Bridge Group LLC.
All rights reserved. This material is for personal use only. Republication and redissemination, including posting to news groups, is expressly prohibited without prior written consent. Ask The Headhunter, Fearless Job Hunting, the ATH logo and other ATH titles are trademarks or registered trademarks of North Bridge Group LLC and Nick A. Corcodilos.

User agreement, legal information and disclaimer.

Visit the Ask The Headhunter Blog and sign up for your free subscription to the weekly Ask The Headhunter Newsletter.

We welcome comments and
suggestions. Please email to
Ask The Headhunter.



Learn to say NO when employers demand your salary history!

Job Hunting

Overcome the
daunting obstacles
that stop other
job hunters dead
in their tracks!

Nick's newest!

Parting Company
How to leave your job

Don't miss these

Answer Kits!

How to Work
With Headhunters

..and how to
make headhunters
work for you!

How Can I
Change Careers?
It's not just for
career changers!
It's for any job
applicant who
wants to
stand out!

Keep Your Salary
Under Wraps

How to say NO
when employers
demand your
salary history,
to make them
say YES to
higher job offers!