My team acts as a supplier and partner to the marketing staffing community here at Microsoft. So I get to work with some of the industry's best recruiters. I'm excited to share an interview I did recently with Sari Crevin (her first name rhymes with Larry), a Staffing Consultant for the Zune Team. Since corporate recruiters often operate "behind the scenes", I was pleasantly surprised when Sari agreed to be interviewed for my blog. Plus, we like the sassy bio photo.
HH: Sari, tell us a little bit about your current role and your history with Microsoft.
SC: Absolutely. Currently I am a Staffing Consultant specifically for the Zune group at Microsoft for their Marketing, Design and Business Development groups. I joined Microsoft a year ago after relocating from Northern California. I have been in recruiting for over 10 years and have worked internally within large and small corporations as well as externally owning my own recruiting firm.
HH: How is recruiting for talent at Microsoft different than in your previous experience? Was there anything that surprised you once you got here?
SC: I think Microsoft is different in so many ways. One of the biggest differences is that we all sit with our product groups, so I am downstairs from Zune Marketing and Design and down the hall from Business Development. This really creates an amazing energy and passion throughout the group. You can literally feel it when you walk in the door. I think I imagined it to be much more corporate than it is, but with our DJ Fridays, flip flops to work and music playing all the time, it is anything but. Also in my previous experience recruiting was not as much of a strategic partner as we are here. We are really relied on to be consultants for the group and the leaders look to us to help create plans and strategies around recruiting. I really enjoy that aspect of my job and it really makes me feel like a valued partner that is making an impact.
HH: Tell us a little bit about the types of roles that you recruit for.
SC: In Zune it is really across the board. In the Marketing Group it is very lifestyle marketing focused. For example some of the roles on my plate now are a Head Copywriter, a Country Music Genre Producer and a Marketing Research Manager. In Design I recruit a lot of Industrial Designers, Interaction Designers and User Interface Designers. In Business Development it is across the board from Business Analyst positions to straightforward Partnership Building positions. The common thread throughout is the entertainment, consumer electronics and music background experience.
HH: What do you think it takes for someone to be successful on the Zune team?
SC: Passion, drive and the ability to live in ambiguity. We are a very fast moving group that is growing at warp speed. For the right person that is an amazing opportunity. If you are the type of person that doesn't need everything planned out and is okay with change, this is a good place for you. The people I have seen really succeed and move forward quickly are those that don't wait for an opportunity to come to them, but rather see the need and step up to the plate and ask to take it on. People here are driven, smart and really excited about what we are doing. The team here now is a part of making history and that is a very cool thing.
HH: How would you describe the work culture on the team?
SC: Lots of energy, drive and passion. There is definitely a lot of work to be done and everyone is dedicated to that. But at the same time no one is watching when you come and go. We are all professionals and work for one of the best technology companies in the world. We have the capability to work from anywhere at any time and we all take advantage of that.
HH: What advice would you give to someone interested in or just starting out in the digital music industry?
SC: That is a great question, which I am not sure I can really answer. One thing I have learned about this industry is that a lot of it is who you know. Get involved online and across the country with high exposure and underground publications and groups and get to know the influential folks if you can. Soak it all up and don't be afraid to be aggressive.
HH: OK, sell us on a career with the Zune team. What is it about this group that makes them so special? Why should someone consider a position on this team versus another "player" in the space (pun intended)?
SC: This is a very easy one for me. The best way to look at Zune is to take X-Box as an example. Here we were entering a space where the outside public literally laughed at us: "how could Microsoft be in the gaming industry?" But with very strong leaders they created a solid 6 year plan and got the buy in from the executives to be profitable down the road. But they spent the financial resources and time to build and hire a strong team, to do it the right way, with the right technology and know that we would succeed, which we have. We took that same plan and are applying it to Zune. J Allard, along with other key leaders, came over from X-Box and put into action that same 6 year plan. How many other companies do you know can sit back and afford to not be profitable for several years? Zune started with 5 key executives in January of 2006 and now we are over 300 strong. But we are still in our infancy stage and the people that come on board now, are not only making history, but also have the opportunity to move up much more quickly and really have an influence on how we build this product.
HH: Now that we know a little about your work, tell us what you like to do in your time away from the office.
SC: Well I usually tell people I have 3 kids, my son that just turned 3, my husband and my dog. They all keep me very very busy. But beyond that I am a natural entrepreneur, I come from a family where they all work for themselves so it is in my blood. With my son as inspiration, I created a child's feeding accessory called SippiGrip, which is hitting the market this summer and am working on a few other invention ideas. I also love to exercise, it is my stress release; I do Hot Yoga and whenever there is sunshine I love to get outdoors and go for walks! My current manager said I should be wearing a cape, I am always doing something!
HH: I can't help but ask what is on your Zune
SC: I am always a fan of Dave Matthews, Coldplay and U2. I also like some older artists like Crowded House and Lynyrd Skynyrd. Lately I have been listening to Death Cab for Cutie, the new Christina Aquilera, a little country thrown in for good measure and lots of singles that I either hear on the radio or learn about through working here. A few little gems that I love are "Hide and Seek" by Imogen Heap and the cover of "Maybe I'm Amazed" by Jem. Beyond that I indulge in the guilty pleasure of songs that I will never actually admit in public that I listen to.
Thanks for taking the time to share with us, Sari!
To take a look at some of the positions that Sari is working on, click on the links below:
Country Music Genre Producer
Senior Research Manager
FrontEdge Interation Designer
FrontEdge User Interface Designer
Hardware Bus Dev Manager