David Liu, BHP Class of 2013, is a recruiter for the Austin office of Dropbox. He loves the challenge of finding the best talent for the company and has enjoyed interacting with BHP students at recruiting events over the past couple of years. Dropbox will be hosting the BHP junior class social at Easy Tiger on April 30. Juniors can register for the event here.
Why did you choose to go in to HR and recruiting?
I was thinking about consulting and investment banking as a freshman, but after reflecting on what I wanted to do after graduation in terms of community involvement and work/life balance, I decided I wanted to follow a different path. I started off with an internship that I found on OCR with AMD in their Global Benefits & Mobility group. I stepped into the HR world, and it was eye-opening to learn how diverse of a world HR was and how many high-impact business problems there were to work on. I enjoyed being the “people behind the people” and seeing the impact my work had on AMDers as a whole and how that translated into them being able to make greater impact for the company.
The next summer I went to National Instruments and did some learning and development work, mainly around training for employees in their marketing communications group, and then my last semester I had an internship where I helped out with new employee onboarding among other HR functions at Samsung.
I actually had an offer lined up with a very early-stage startup after graduation that fell through due to the vicissitudes of startup life, but in ending up at Dropbox it all worked out for the best. An acquaintance contacted me about Dropbox letting me know they were looking for people to join their recruiting team in Austin, and I signed with them the summer after graduation. I say it worked out for the best because in joining this team I had the privilege to be among the first six people to help start the Austin office and actually found out later that I was the first person to be hired for the Austin office. While I’ve definitely had to learn a lot and very quickly, and I’ve made my fair share of mistakes along the way, it’s been an honor and a pleasure to have been part of building this office together.
What skills were most transferable to your role?
The Art & Science of Negotiation Class (MAN 337) I took has been really helpful. I’ve had to navigate my way through some fairly complex offer situations, and many of the concepts that I learned in that class have been directly relevant to those situations. More generally, having had to work in many diverse groups and learning to proactively think about how people will respond to different situations has been very valuable. I’ve learned to examine problems from different perspectives, objectively weigh the merits of those perspectives including my own, and work towards a common goal. Finally, I make it a central focus of my work day to be proactive rather than reactive, and having had multiple commitments to juggle while in school has helped me a lot in making sure I’m taking care of the different responsibilities I’ve been entrusted with now.
You have worked on several initiatives to increase efficiency in your role. Can you talk more about this and how your BHP degree has helped you in this work.
When you have an open role to fill, the goal is to fill it as fast as possible with the best possible person because the business impact of that role isn’t actualized until someone fills the role. That being said, there are a lot of steps to get right in the process, and we care tremendously about making every hire the right hire at Dropbox. I have had many opportunities to figure out ways to decrease the time it takes for that process to run and to find more efficient ways of identifying if a candidate is a good fit earlier on in the process to save both candidates and us time. Finally, the case competitions and projects I did in BHP helped me learn to look at a problem in a systematic fashion, break it down into all the relevant components, and identify the areas of highest impact. In short, I learned how to find the low-hanging fruit, go after it, and work your way upwards.
What do you love about working for Dropbox?
It comes down to the people. I know a lot of companies say that having heard it a lot in college from a lot of different companies, but I can confidently say that the collection of people here in terms of their caliber (what they have done in the past and are doing now), how helpful and genuine they are, make them a pleasure to work with each and every day. While we may not always agree on the best way to do everything, we have a tremendous amount of respect for each other and are able to get a lot done.
The other thing I really enjoy is the type of work we are doing. We have a lot of interesting challenges here to address. We aren’t as young of a start-up as we used to be, but there is still a lot that needs to be figured out and could be done better. There’s a lot more that could be said here, but suffice it to say that I couldn’t have imagined going into Dropbox how much I’d learn and experience in less than two years.
Lastly, a question on what I love about working for Dropbox wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the benefits and perks that Dropbox gives to its employees to make life easier and more enjoyable. The whole range is pretty incredible: free breakfast, lunch, and dinner, unlimited vacation, a $100/month wellness subsidy that can be used on everything from fitness equipment to massages, a cell phone subsidy that basically takes care of that bill, and of course as much Dropbox space as you need/want. I’ve said this many times before to new grads, but having Dropbox as a first job out of college makes it pretty hard to imagine a second job.
Dropbox has almost completed construction on the new Austin office. Describe what that office is going to be like and how you think that will impact your Austin recruiting efforts.
We have a space at the corner of 5th and Congress and will eventually be on the 3rd, 4th, and 5th floors. We will have an exclusive on-site gym, on-site food as I mentioned, and a private rooftop patio. Being so centrally located will be a huge draw. We are right in the thick of things downtown, and I’m really excited for all the ways it’ll really showcase our culture. There will be a lot there, and I’d go so far to argue that it’s going to make us the best workplace in Austin in terms of what we’re going to be able to provide.
What should students do in order to be successful in recruiting with Dropbox?
This won’t be earth-shattering revolutionary advice, but as BBA Career Services says do your company research and be able to clearly and succinctly articulate a specific interest in the job. Also, while we’re absolutely looking for people who are high achievers, it’s a non-negotiable for us for that the people we work with are people we look forward to working and collaborating with each and every day. Be real and genuine and help us to see that you’re one of those people.