Spotlight on HR: Derek Zeller


Spotlight on HR series:
A Conversation With Derek Zeller, Senior Sourcing Lead at Lockheed Martin

We’re putting together a series of articles with innovative and interesting human resource professionals. This is an opportunity to learn from other HR managers and exchange best practices, advice, and general experience. If you’d like to participate in this series and gain exposure to relevant networks, we’d love to hear from you! Send an email to tal@recruiterslineup.com.


DerekTell us about your work experience in HR.

I got my start, like most people, in and agency in PHX, AZ.  I worked in an agency for a number of years and then was recruited to work for SAIC in San Diego. I have been in the business for 20+ years and now help companies build up teams within recruiting and sourcing.


What are the unique talents you bring to the field?

Well, I am a people person and I realize that people while looking for a job, are not just a number to me. I appreciate their time and try to add value to our working together. I am always closing with my candidates. Also, I like hunting for candidates that are not out there applying for my roles. Communication is key.


Share your biggest success story in HR so far.

Wow, there are many. However, the one that I think was the most amazing was getting a group of managers that were very hostile to recruiting turned around within 3 months – the candidates I was finding and the level of service changed their minds.


What is the best advice you’ve received during your career path, and from whom?

This is going to be somewhat sappy but Jim Valvono, on the eve of his death during an awards show, gave a wonderful speech about not ever giving up. Honestly, this week is Jimmy V week on ESPN and when they replay that speech I choke up every time. So, no matter the fight I may be in I never give up and I find a way.


What’s your favorite HR tech tool?

Engage Talent and Seekout, hands down. They complement each other very well. Engage Talent does an amazing job of predictive analytics while Seekout is excellent with finding contact information to ensure the emails are correct.


As an HR professional, how do you handle recruiting to achieve the best results?

Just remember that this is a people business. You have to be calm and courteous to all the parties involved. We as an industry do not have a great reputation but we can change that. Gauge your time and use both your calendar, phone, and email in order to maximize your efforts. Know what it is you are looking for and communicate with your managers and candidates.


What do you hope to achieve in 2020?

Honestly, I just want to maintain the momentum I have built and try and maintain a positive attitude.

To get in touch with Derek visit his Linkedin page.


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