Mark Wollin is a Senior Manager, Lead Technical Recruiter for SiriusXM. He has been in the
industry for 14 years now. Mark studied Psychology & Business Administration, and took a role
out of college as an HR Assistant/Generalist with Poly America, where he found his passion for
What do you do for SiriusXM?
“I am responsible for managing our Technical Recruiting team at SiriusXM. I have team
members in NYC, DC, Dallas, and San Francisco. In addition to team management
responsibilities, I have individual recruiting responsibilities filling certain full time and
contracted roles for various levels of positions throughout Connected Vehicle Services,
Streaming Services & Products, our Automatic Labs division, and the occasional Satellite Radio
What areas of technology interest you most/are your favorite to work on?
“My bread and butter that I’m most able to communicate is specific to networking and network
security, which goes back to my time at Check Point Software Technologies, when I was
exclusively hiring Network Security Engineers…that’s going back to 2006. Basically, I was
responsible for the technical phone interviews during the first call, so I had to learn a lot around
networking and security concepts. I feel that I can very easily fall back on that, but over the last
7.5 years, I’ve become very thorough with Java and J2EE technology concepts, because that’s
the bulk of what we hire out here.”
What advice do you give your team for recruiting in such a competitive candidate
“The main thing that you have to realize is they are (the candidate) always going to have 4-5
offers, so you’re always going to have to be on your A-game when talking to technology
candidates, because if you give them any reason to not accept or have interest in your
opportunity, they have plenty of other options, and they’re not going to worry about it one bit.”
This is a challenge we often run into while recruiting – we always say time kills all deals. This is
a candidate market, and companies can lose out on great talent when they have slow or
unresponsive interviewing processes.
So, How do we keep candidates on the line?
“The more knowledge you have about the technologies that you’re talking to them about, the
role, and what systems they might be working on, the more comfortable feeling you’re able to
present to them. Also, they will be more likely to accept your offer, especially as it relates to
similar compensation packages, or even lower packages if they feel that they’ve gotten a better
understanding from your interactions. I’ve had plenty of people who have moved forward with
our offer at lower amounts, because they felt that they understood more about the role.”
What is your favorite candidate/ successful placement story?
The position that sticks out to me… was for a company called Glidepath, back in my
Robert Half days. What they do is design, develop, and implement baggage claim systems for
airports, and they do the modeling for what those devices will look like, in addition to
implementation of the hardware component.
They had a position that was very unique in that it was a .NET developer that also
needed SolidWorks 3D modeling experience. This was a needle in a haystack at the time, and I
very much got lucky in finding this person. They tried 10 other agencies and received 0
candidates before reaching out to us.
I ended up attending a software development focus group, and struck up a conversation
with someone who was a .Net Developer, recently out of work. We began talking about this role,
and it turned out he actually did 3D modeling as a hobby on the side, and had this SolidWorks
background. I sent him over and he was successful throughout the interviews… I know he stayed
there for a couple years, and seemed to enjoy his time with the company.
How do you see recruiting evolving as technology advances and demand increases?
“It’s getting tough, because there is starting to be more automation with recruiting, so if you’re
going to be a recruiter, you need to stay up-to-date on current technologies, in order to provide
consistent value to your employer.”
Mark and I discussed the onset of companies that are using testing and a variety of metrics to
create an in-depth candidate profile, and subsequently skill marketing them to receptive
companies. Their methods are increasingly effective- which is a threat to the recruiting industry.
So how can we differentiate ourselves from these automated processes?
Mark stressed the importance of having personal interest in the technologies you’re recruiting on
and educating yourself on them. If you can discuss the applications of technologies and the
systems and environments candidates will be working in with them – you will add value to both
the client and candidate when working to fill a position.
What advice do you have for people applying to SiriusXM?
Mark said for SiriusXM, they are very selective due to the nature of their industry.
“They (the candidate) have to understand certain protocols on top of development that most
developers would not have. There’s certain IP and other technology protocols that are utilized in
our development that you would not get in most places.”
“General advice- research the company you are interviewing at…that shows interest. If you don’t
do that, you’re failing before you even go out there. They want to know that you have a passion
for what they’re doing, and you’re just not interviewing for another job.”
Do you have a favorite book/blog/podcast that you go to that has helped in your career?
“I read various technology books and forums, but believe that the most important thing to keep
an eye on, is targeted around your own company’s news and any competitor/industry
announcements. The more that you can compare and contrast your organization to anyone
seeking the same talent in your area, the more ammunition that you can bring with you to any
competing offer situation.”