Austin-SPIN - Archives - Nov12

November 15, 2012 
                        Panel Discussion: "Hiring and Retaining the Best Knowledge Workers"


Ø  Mark Finger               -- Vice President, Worldwide Human Resources, National Instruments

Ø  Dan Medlin                -- Recruiting Supervisor, Samsung Austin Semiconductor

Ø  Darrel Raynor            -- Managing Director, Data Analysis & Results, Inc.

Ø  Matt Roberts             -- Senior Director Software Engineering, CA Technologies

Ø  Steven Teleki             -- Managing Director of Engineering, Crimson Division, The Advisory Board Company



Hiring and retaining the best knowledge workers is critical to the success of every high-tech company. Fred Brooks (The Mythical Man Month) said “A baseball manager recognizes a nonphysical talent, hustle, as an essential gift of great players and great teams. It is the characteristic of running faster than necessary, moving sooner than necessary, trying harder than necessary. It is essential for great programming teams, too.  Some companies are famous for their focus on employees. Other companies treat their employees like interchangeable fixed assets with a short half-life. Some company’s employees constantly produce groundbreaking new products and services. Other company’s employees help them plod to eventual bankruptcy. Our panel tonight will discuss hiring, retaining and developing the best knowledge workers looking at questions such as:

Ø  What is different about hiring knowledge workers?

Ø  Must hiring and retention practices be different for large companies versus small companies? How about hiring local versus hiring for a team member in another country?

Ø  Why are “build-a-resume” forms used by many companies versus just uploading the applicant’s resume? Are companies missing really good workers by being too picky?

Ø  Phone screens, behavioral interviews, sequential interviews, phantom interviews (i.e. interviewing to fill the pipeline for a future position but not telling the interviewees), panel interviews, pre-interview psychological assessments, situational problem solving – Which interviewing techniques are passé, still effective or cutting edge?

Ø  Must vitality curves (i.e. bell-curve based evaluations aka ‘Rank & Yank’) be used in large companies? Are there more effective techniques?

Ø  Is “Work-Life Balance” a euphemism for excessive free overtime, but done on a flexible schedule?

Ø  How do great companies respect their knowledge workers?

Ø  How do great companies help their knowledge workers continuously grow?

Ø  What are the best ways to compensate? Is there any truth to a common notion that junior knowledge workers are more motivated by the work itself (and free food) but as they move up the corporate ladder financial compensation becomes more and more important?

Ø  What about team evaluation and compensation rather than by individual?

Ø  What about the trend for individual workers to do their own training on their own time with their own money versus company paid training? What about training by team?


About the Panelists:

Mark Finger. As vice president of worldwide human resources at National Instruments, Mark Finger works closely with the company’s management team to foster a productive working environment through the development of systems to recruit and retain the “best and brightest” employees across the globe. Through these systems, National Instruments has become recognized globally as a preferred employer.

Before joining NI as director of human resources in 1995, Finger spent 14 years at Fisher-Rosemount, now Emerson Process Management, in a variety of HR positions. He received his bachelor’s degree in marketing from St. Cloud University.

Away from work, Finger is a respected service member in the community and currently serves as board chair for Goodwill Industries of Central Texas. In addition, Finger has served on the board of directors for the Capital Area United Way and INROADS organizations. He also enjoys a long-standing relationship with Town & Country Youth Sports, where he has coached 25 youth teams and served as a commissioner of basketball.



Dan Medlin is a Senior Recruiting and HR professional with 24 years of experience, a Master’s degree in Counseling and Career Guidance from Texas State University, PHR and Mediation certifications, active membership in AHRMA and SHRM, and a global LinkedIn Network of 12 million+.

Dan has experience in corporate staffing, agency recruiting and as an independent headhunter.  He is currently the Recruiting Supervisor for Samsung Austin Semiconductor, where he leads a team of corporate recruiters, is developing new best practices in staffing processes and is upgrading the current talent acquisition technology for SAS.  His team supports the 2,600 employee Austin manufacturing site, while he partners with the North America Samsung Electronics HQ. 

Prior to Samsung, Dan was the global talent acquisition manager for Wayne, a 2,000 employee GE Energy Business in the retail petroleum equipment industry.  Dan wrote and published the successful STAR Career Workbook in 2009, now available on 



 Darrel Raynor is Managing Director, Data Analysis & Results, Inc., Interim COO / CIO / VP Operations.  He holds the Project Management Professional (PMP) certification and an MBA in Information Systems, Managing Advanced Technologies.  He is the Director of the Project Management Program at St. Edward’s University Professional Education Center.
 Darrel is a senior technology executive, consultant, and turnaround specialist with over twenty years leadership experience streamlining operations, systems, people, and projects.  He consults, presents keynote speeches, and trains for organizations of all sizes in finance, high tech, manufacturing, retail, data, telecommunications, energy, nonprofit, government and other industries. He is primary author of the popular Agile & Integrated Project Management™ courses


He is the author of the forthcoming book, "Agile & Integrated Project Management - An Approach to Leading People Through Deliverables"



 Matt Roberts is the Senior Director of Software Engineering, CA Technologies.  There he is the leader of the development team that produces the CA Hyperformix product line as part of the Cloud, Virtualization and Data Management Center of Innovation.

He is President of AgileAustin and is on the Board of the IEEE Computer Society.  He is an Instructor with the Austin Community College.  He holds several scrum certifications: Certified Scrum Professional (CSP), Certified ScrumMaster (CSM), Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO)


 Steven Teleki is a software engineering executive and mentor. He is Managing Director of Engineering, Crimson Division, The Advisory Board Company (NASDAQ: ABCO). Steve has over 20 years of experience in the software industry; worked on software released to over 40 million customers worldwide; has 3 software patents. He is passionate about solving problems with great software on a schedule and budget that makes the project successful. He focuses on understanding, measuring, and improving individual, team, and organizational software development performance. Steve is member of the IEEE Technology Management Council, Austin Chapter and is Past Chairman of the IEEE Computer Society, Austin Chapter. Contact him through