by Dave Mendoza

Holly Quotables:

I think hiring executives at times don't give the staffing team enough credit for the work that we do. When a manager needs to meet their project deadlines, they would look at recruiters to get the job done with a magic wand, instead of educating us on what type of skill sets/person is needed to fit into their team. The reality is, it takes a recruiter time to earn credibility from any manager/employer.

At the end of the day, I still have to compete with fellow recruiters on meeting the numbers---yes, the numbers are still there!

• Holly Lee
• Front End Engineer Recruiter at Google
RecruitingBlogs Profile
• Favorite TV Shows: Grey's Anatomy & Food Network
• Fan of the following: Lakers!
• Admirer of : Shally Steckerl and JobMachine Cheatsheets
• Quote: "Never letting the competition define you. Instead, you have to define yourself based on a point of view you care deeply about. –Tom Chappel"
• Community Volunteering: SGI Buddhist community in Silicon Valley
• Phone: 510-754-2401
** Currently recruiting top Software Engineers in Test**

Q & A with Holly Lee

Holly Lee is a Corporate full cycle technical recruiter based in Mountain View, California. Her staffing areas of expertise are in applications (software engineers, developers, database administrator..etc.), network infrastructures (CCIE, network security, systems engineers, windows/linux/unix engineers), cold calling directly into companies for recruitment, in-dept internet search, and building excellent relationship with passive candidates. She has worked at prominent Silicon Valley companies such as TEKsystems, Nokia, Microsoft, and is currently a front end engineer recruiter at Google.

Holly inhales adventure, be it as a global traveler or diving from planes. Before joining Google in January of 2010, she took a month off to see her family in Vietnam. Traveling helps rejuvenate her energy from becoming one of the top producers in her industry. She is also involved in the women's basketball league, tennis, an expert hiker, and her next vacation destination is to tour Europe.

Six Degrees: Tell us of your home world.

Holly: I am lucky enough to still own a nice and quiet place in the Silicon Valley. Aside from being a workaholic, I LOVE food! I have tried all of Google's chefs specialties, as well as venturing out to new restaurants in this beautiful Bay Area, CA. I am a people person inside out of work---I like to host dinner parties just to have an excuse to eat. My family are in the East Coast, which I keep a close relationship with. My new family addition will soon be a cat (calico).

If I have spare time, I enjoy reading up on my Nichiren Buddhism practice, meditation, yoga, and hiking to keep my body and mind healthy. I am also doing volunteer work in helping technical and non-technical professionals with their resumes and to be a guidance for them to seek employment opportunities. One of my to-do things is to volunteer in a community kitchen to serve the homeless.

The staffing industry has a high caliber and it is a very competitive environment. I have keep a daily workout and eating routine in order to stay ahead of the game. We are still under a recession---no need to stress, just network or I would recommend SKY DIVE---this would really take your mind off your worries!

Six Degrees: How many years have you been in the staffing industry?

Holly: I started recruiting in an agency back in Portland, OR in 2002. I placed help desk support, CRM, office admins, R&D, and infrastructure positions. I have a combine of 7 years in agency staffing full cycle recruiting and business development, and 5 years of in-house (tehcnical and healthcare). Some of my clients in the technology verticals includes: Siemens, SAP, GM, Tyco Electronic, Juniper Networks, and Otis Spunkmeyer. My passion is to help hiring executive to execute their projects by hiring top engineers for the specific skill sets. I also enjoy putting a recruiting strategy in place and leading a team of sourcers/recruiter to meet hiring demands.

As much as I enjoyed working for agency staffing, I have learned that my passion is more towards building great relationships with all the hiring committees. Recruiting for an in-house environment has taught me to become even more detailed, efficient, and still have to be on top of my game. At the end of the day, I still have to compete with fellow recruiters on meeting the numbers---yes, the numbers are still there!

My ultimate career goal is to become a staffing executive for a software company, and to learn what it takes to be a good leader. At this point, I was fortunate to have a project at Google and the opportunity to know what it takes for a company to raise to very top, like Google. I am where I should be in my career at this time.

Six Degrees: What single event had the most impact on your sourcing/recruiting career?

Holly: Every company I've worked for has their own ways of recruiting, and I have learned the different styles throughout each employment. For example, in the agency world, I really like the aggressive cold calling in hitting the numbers, yet finding quality in the middle of the madness. We also attended career fairs and connect with local Universities for to market our open opportunities. The in-house sourcing/recruiting is also affective, as they also have their systematic ways to find the best candidates. What I like most about in-house is that we have more time to focus on the quality hiring vs focusing on hitting our numbers in the agency world. One of my favorite tools to source for engineers would be LinkedIn or LinkedInRecruiter for best results.

Six Degrees: Do you have a mentor to whom you attribute your overall outlook on recruitment, capabilities, and/or model your career after?

Holly: I am currently seeking a mentor---any takers? Most of my jobs has been "pick up and roll with it".

Six Degrees: Tell us about your most recent gig as a front end recruiter at Google, Holly.

Holly: I am based out of our Mountain View office, but am supporting hiring managers in the Western Region, as well as our New York office. My focus is recruiting for all levels of software engineer in test. Meaning, I am looking for software engineer that is an expert in coding C, C++, Java being the main requirements, and those engineers should have experience in development software test tools: automation

Six Degrees: What talent niche groups do you target and are these particular talent areas specialized under your review?

Holly: My current niche would be top engineers/scientist. Again, LinkedIn is very user-friendly when it comes to locating any groups in the recruiting arena. I make myself marketable in all the SE groups and keep a closer eye on experience engineers.

Six Degrees: What types of training in sourcing/ recruitment are available to you and have you taken advantage of?

Holly: In the past I have taken a few of Shally Steckerl and Dave Mendoza’s sourcing tips/training. I have also attended AIRS training classes.

Six Degrees: What recruitment software tools do you use in your day to day recruitment activities & do they translate effectively within all of the different countries where you recruit?

Holly: Google and LinkedIn search engines for Boolean searches. I also utilize internal ATS and sourcing systems.

Six Degrees: How did your expectations of being a recruiter compare to the actual, first time you got on the phone or in the cubicle? In your opinion, how do people's assumptions about our vocation differ from reality?

Holly: My first impression of being a recruiter was frightening! I was nervous to get on the phone, as it was in a call center type environment back in the agency world. Especially recruiting for technology, which was not as easy as healthcare since my background was a chemistry tech prior to my staffing career. The reality is---if you have done a full cycle recruiting job in an agency setting, you can do any sales or recruiting job!

Six Degrees: Have you been involved in broader industry events as of yet?

Holly: No, but my favorite event would be the Web 2.0 in San Francisco.

Six Degrees: What are the most common themes of strategic and/or tactical mishaps involving past or present HR/Staffing org?

Holly: I think hiring executives at times don't give the staffing team enough credit for the work that we do. When a manager needs to meet their project deadlines, they would look at recruiters to get the job done with a magic wand, instead of educating us on what type of skill sets/person is needed to fit into their team. The reality is, it takes a recruiter time to earn credibility from any manager/employer.


“Holly worked with me on the Microsoft account as a consultant and I can tell you that she is very professional, has a great attitude and a solid grasp on technical recruiting. My team only works virtual and I know it is tough to get folks that you can trust to work from home, but I can tell you that Holly is an incredibly hard worker and very well connected for networking.”
Ryan Phillips, former Sr. Research Recruiter (working on Windows positions), Microsoft

“Holly's work and personality is a pure example of efficient energy. Holly and I are working together to bring top level expertise to Microsoft and Holly's energy, enthusiasm and ideas are boundless. She is always willing to step up and take on tasks as well as to be there as a mentor for those around her. Holly also has her eye on delivery. Because she is goal oriented all her efforts are pointed in the direction of the end result whether that be cheering up a co-worker or closing a top level recruit. It has been a pleasure working with Holly and I highly recommend you get to know her.”
Christine (Crane) Barrow, former Vice President, TalentBridge International

“I have worked with Holly Lee for the few months at the Nokia Research Center in Palo Alto, CA. Holly is very to get along with everyone. I was amazed at how quickly she was able learn all of the Nokia processes. Holly helped with all of our intern recruiting and she always kept me in the loop of everything that was going on. She is very knowledgeable and is always willing to go the extra mile. I would definitely recommend Holly!”
Sonia Kim, University Relations Specialist, Nokia

About Dave Mendoza

Dave Mendoza is an award winning blogger, global speaker and sourcing consultant. He served as an Adjunct Faculty member at, and is a corporate partner to

Few in the recruiting business take “networking” more seriously or pursue it more passionately. Dave has been spotlighting the stories of staffing thought leaders and practitioners in the trenches for several years to highlight achievement and innovation. Read more at

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