We spoke with Gareth Cullen, talent acquisition leader for Ireland for Dell EMC. Last year Dell hired about 1,100 people and so far this year 700+. He has been in Dell 10 years and has held various roles in that time, the role he currently holds is the one he has most enjoyed, empowering people to be successful and encouraging a culture whereby people can be their best.

140 new team members, all hired within the last 12 month period, gathered in Dell EMC’s Cork campus for Dell’s annual ‘All Ireland Graduate & Intern Day’. The event’s attendees have joined Dell from over twenty third level bodies and the diversity, energy and innovative mindsets are immediately evident. They are working in fields as varied as IT, Engineering, Supply Chain, Project Management, Sales, Technical Support, Finance and HR from across Dell’s 3 campuses in Cork, Limerick and Dublin.

On the day Senior Dell leaders such as Marie Moynihan Senior VP of Talent Acquisition, Chris Murphy VP of IT and Bob Savage VP and General Manager of Dell EMC Cork had open discussions with the Graduate group on the winning attributes required to be successful in Dell. Some of the reoccurring themes were around risk taking, collaborative team work & positive attitude. In talking to students some of the feedback was that these discussion equipped them with some of the necessary tools to develop both personally and professionally to warrant a successful career.

Gareth Cullen is the Talent Acquisition leader for Ireland, we asked him what this event was all about?

4 years ago we really were not a player in the graduate space, but I think both at a global level and a local level we have done a lot to change that, and rightfully so. This event is to give our most recent Graduates and Interns an opportunity to connect to their peers, their leadership we have in Dell Ireland and the culture of the organization.

How has Dell changed over the last four years?

Michael Dell had a vision for the companies people strategy, we needed more fresh innovative thinking, so one of the things he did was to give us a target that 25% of all our external hires had to be graduates, that target serves as a tool to get everyone thinking and moving in the right direction.

You mentioned there was a lot of change locally too?

Yes, the first thing we changed was the model, we wanted to put the student at the center of our approach, so we engaged on their terms. We have direct & close relationships with our education partners and annually we host a Dell on Tour event whereby we visit the various campus and speak to students directly. We make it fun, I think that is important, so we bring music and pizza maybe for example’. ‘But our approach is to give to the students, so we talk to them about how to think about their career, we offer guidance on how to build a resume or best interview techniques for example. The feedback from the students has been fantastic and they appreciate the approach we have taken. We hope that some will express interest in Dell and develop lasting relationships but the approach starts with giving back and helping to create a positive eco system.

How many people do Dell EMC have employed in Ireland now and what is it you think the graduates bring?

We have 5,500 employees across 27 different business units in Dell Ireland. What the graduates bring for me is the X factor. It’s an energetic and innovative fresh approach. They are also not afraid or as cautious as previous generations in my opinion, and this frees them up to really consider what the right approach to a situation is. They are also very tuned into the greater good. In interviews, I am asked less and less ‘what is the salary’ and more and more, what is Dell approach to diversity or to making the planet more green is for example… and Dell provides the perfect environment for graduates I feel as the culture is very much one of empowering people to make an impact and reach their next potential point, and the graduates are keen to embrace that.’

You have mentioned innovation quite a number of times, tell us more about the ‘Game Changers’ activity?

The aim of the “Game Changers” activity is to share a business challenge and foster innovation amongst the participants. We had cross functional teams of both Grads and Interns from across the 3 sites where we presented them with real life Dell business challenge. Each team had a fixed period of time to create a realistic business solution. More generally though Dell is a company that very much values the need to look to tomorrow and what tomorrow needs to look like. So innovative thinking becomes fundamental to the mindset of the company. Innovation and creativity is typically an attribute Graduates score high on, so you can appreciate how their thinking is so pivotal to the company.

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