Greenhouse Open 2016 speaker spotlight – Kinh DeMaree, director of Talent Acquisition, Axiom Zen

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6 mins, 9 secs read time

We are excited to announce Kinh DeMaree, Director of Talent Acquisition at Axiom Zen, as a speaker at Greenhouse Open, our annual summit and networking event for those in the Talent Acquisition, People Ops, and HR space, taking place this month in San Francisco! (For more information, click here).

Meet Kinh

Kinh is Axiom Zen's globetrotting talent huntress, expertly tracking down the world's most gifted builders to join the company’s dynamic and expanding team. Prior to this role, Kinh worked as a technical recruiter at Facebook (pre-IPO) where she spearheaded its first international university recruiting efforts and hired hundreds of software engineers, including a record number of female engineers. Prior to Facebook, she was a technical recruiter at Google, where she hired over 100 software engineers in one year! Kinh began her career as an HR supervisor and lead recruiter for Anheuser-Busch.

Kinh's personal diversity shines through in her work. She has lived, traveled, and studied in over 30 countries, most recently joining two "Geeks on a Plane" trips across the Middle East to mentor local entrepreneurs, investors, and startups. Kinh is also a founding mentor of TechWomen—a program funded by the U.S. Department of State that helps women in Africa and the Middle East pursue careers in technology.

Kinh’s passion for people and business started early. She was voted "most likely to take over the world" in middle school and then became president and the only female member of her high school science club.

Connect with Kinh on Twitter.


We recently chatted with Kinh to get to know her better. We were intrigued by her path into the talent and HR industry. Here’s what she had to say:

1. How did you get into the talent and HR space, and what drove your passion for it?

Originally, I majored in psychology and had an eye-opening internship at a state psychiatric hospital. I worked with convicts and murderers and saw things that most would only see in movies, like electroshock therapy and psychogenic polydipsia in which one has an insatiable thirst for water. It was a really fascinating job and I got the chance to observe the realities of what I was studying. Though there was never a dull day, I ultimately decided I wanted to work in a more corporate environment.

I decided to change my focus to HR and recruiting so that I could use my psychology background and apply it to business. I enrolled in grad school but didn’t realize until after I graduated that many recruiters fell into the job without going to school for it. Had I known, I might have done things differently, but then again, I probably wouldn’t have landed a corporate career in management so soon without it. My first job after graduating was as an HR supervisor and lead recruiter with Anheuser-Busch, which had a rigorous hiring process. I administered personality inventories, live assessment centers, and comprehensive drug testing. I loved being able to apply what I learned in school, and this solidified my desire to stay in staffing. That was a decade ago and a lot has changed (for starters, I no longer get an expense account just for beer!). Now, instead of recruiting factory workers in masses, I'm finding our future co-founders.

2. What are your go-to resources for staying on top of talent and HR news? How do you continue your learning and make sure you continue to evolve as a professional in this space?

I know it sounds like nothing noteworthy, but I get a lot of my industry news from Facebook and Twitter. Since I've been in recruiting over a decade, most of my friends are in related industries and like to share what they learn, which I find invaluable. I love to geek out on sourcing blogs, but I'm finding the need for complex boolean strings is less necessary for many recruiters since there are so many sourcing tools available nowadays.

I also think it's the responsibility of tech recruiters to stay abreast of technology itself. I attend coding classes through RailsBridge, go to tech events and conferences, watch documentaries, and try to immerse myself in the tech and startup scene.

In addition to tech, I’m also interested in entrepreneurship. My colleagues and I discussed Sam Altman's "How to Start a Startup" series in a weekly reading group. I also took part in a couple of “Geeks on a Plane” delegations. We traveled to Dubai, Istanbul, Amman, and Tel Aviv and gave talks to entrepreneurs, investors, and local tech communities. I liken it to going to business school abroad, and the connections I made are still paying dividends.

3. Are you involved in any causes or initiatives outside of work that are related to the talent and HR space? Please tell us about them.

I am a founding mentor of the U.S. Department of State's TechWomen Program. I’m a strong believer in volunteering and giving back because I couldn’t have gotten where I am without the help of my mentors.

Through the past five years I've gotten to mentor to some amazing women in STEM who come to Silicon Valley from the Middle East, Africa, and Central Asia. They are doctors, entrepreneurs, mothers, engineers, and activists, and I learn from them at least as much as I introduce to them. We forge lifelong friendships: I've visited them in their home countries, met their families, and continue to stay in touch.

I’m also a part of the selection committees for Women Enhancing Technology (WeTech) and Girls Who Code. When I was working at Google, I volunteered as a docent at the Computer History Museum, which was intimidating because I was giving tours to renowned engineers from around the world who had so much more technical knowledge than I did! But, I learned that people respect humility and so they were open to teaching me—I realized I didn’t yet know what I didn’t know...but it was definitely interesting learning along the way.

4. What are you most excited about for Greenhouse Open?

I am really excited to (re)convene with my peers who are also passionate about staying on the cutting-edge of this industry. I learn something from each session I attend and am so honored to be a speaker again (Kinh was a member of our Employee Referral Program panel at last year’s event). It's great to catch up with colleagues from years past and network with people who I otherwise wouldn’t get a chance to see.

5. Can you give us a taste of what you will be speaking about at Greenhouse Open?

I will be talking about how we at Axiom Zen have integrated Greenhouse with one of our own products, ZenHub, a collaboration solution used by some of the world’s most innovative software teams. At Axiom Zen, we like to “dogfood” our own products, and our talent team has been using ZenHub since we developed it. I’ll also share how recruiters can build a custom process regardless of whether they’re a lean startup or a massive distributed organization.

Engage with Kinh and other professionals in the talent and HR space by checking out Greenhouse Open, May 25-27th in San Francisco.

Greenhouse Open 2016