Alumni Spotlight: Jackie King C’14, Talent Research Partner, Elements @ Spotify

Jackie majored in Anthropology and minored in Archeology and European studies at Drew because she was interested in exploring other cultures and viewing the world from a different perspective other than her own. After graduating she took her interest in people and applied it to business by pursuing a Master of Science in HR Management & Services at Kent University in Canterbury, England. She has worked in talent acquisition for Spotify for almost a year now, where she helps grow parts of their tech organization, including research and development,  hiring engineers, data scientists, product managers, etc. Recently she is focused on diversity and inclusion and hiring a diverse pool of candidates.

She met her husband while at Drew, on her study abroad experience, the Archeological dig in Umbria Italy with retired Classics Professor John Muccigrosso. After living in Philadelphia, she now lives with her husband in London where she finds talent for Spotify in both New York City and Stockholm, Sweden.

BENEFITS OF DREW

While at Drew, Jackie was part of Drew’s swim team and part of BOAS (the Anthropology Club).  She also had a great experience in the London Semester and the Archeological dig in Umbria, Italy, but one of the most important highlights of her time at Drew were the best friends that are still in her life today.  She said, “I loved that it was a tight-knit community and was a great community to be in.”

HUMAN RESOURCES

After graduating Drew, what inspired you to pursue a Master of Science in HR Management & Services at the University of Kent?

If you want to work in the field of Anthropology, you need to get your Ph.D. but I wasn’t interested in going that far. I wanted to connect my interest in people to business and I felt Human Resources was a great way to do this. My studies in Anthropology at Drew were a great help to me in my Master’s program. I was able to apply a lot of what I learned about different cultures, especially since the other students in the program were from around the world.  My education set me up to succeed very well in that degree.  I chose Kent because my now husband was studying there, I had loved the Semester in London, and it was also very affordable.

What attracts you to the field of Talent Research Management?

My master’s was general.  I wasn’t sure where I wanted to go in HR, but I started working in talent acquisition, finding the right person for the right job, and I enjoyed it. It’s a great feeling helping people to further their careers.  I’ve been working as a recruiter for over 4 years and as I’ve continued to grow now with Spotify it’s given me a platform to focus on diversity and inclusion sourcing.

You worked as a program coordinator for the London semester in 2015.  Can you talk a little bit about that experience? 

My academic advisor, Prof. Maria Masucci, was running the London semester when I was living in the UK and she approached me about it. I was really excited because I really loved the Semester in London when I was a student at Drew and she was also one of my favorite professors.  It was great to work together and see the experience from the other side of things.  For one, I had no idea how much work went into it.  Prof. Masucci and I supervised about 20 students. I coordinated everything they needed to do including figuring out schedules, buying tickets for plays and other events.  Basically I made sure students had everything they needed.

Can you talk a little bit about your job with IntePros Consulting and what precipitated the move to   Philadelphia?

After I finished my Master’s, I coordinated the London semester and then my Visa expired and I moved back to the U.S. to Philadelphia to start my career. One of my friends from high school referred me to this job and I worked there for three years. While at IntePros I really got started in my career in Talent Acquisition, recruiting for companies in the Philly market like Comcast. I then got engaged to my spouse who was still working on his Master’s in England. I applied for my spouse Visa in December of 2018.  I received it in March, resigned from my job and moved to London.

TALENT ACQUISITION FOR SPOTIFY

Your current position is Talent Research Partner at Elements @ Spotify. What are your job responsibilities?

Elements is my main employer and we specialize in talent acquisition. We partner with some of the biggest companies in the world to help their internal talent functions.  We make up a good portion of Spotify’s internal talent acquisition. We usually embed fully into a company, so you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between me and other Spotify employee even though I’m a consultant. I hire engineers, data scientists, and product managers, and for the past month I have been focused on diversity and inclusion sourcing. There are different methods of sourcing for diversity.  You can look at historically black colleges, also universities with over 50 percent diverse populations.  You can also search black or Latino fraternities, and there are networking groups that are specific to different groups, for example “women in engineering groups”, etc.

What are the highlights of your work?

I really like the culture where I work both at Elements and Spotify.  It’s really autonomous and I’m trusted to do my work, with no one looking over my shoulder.  I started off at a recruitment agency where everyone was focused on numbers, where they were looking at how many phone calls you make, and how many messages you are sending etc.  Now I’m truly trusted to do my job and figure things out on my own, but I also have a lot of support when needed. I also really like the people I work with.  It’s a great culture. Everyone is willing to help and everyone in Elements has expertise in Talent Acquisition, so if you don’t know something, you can quickly reach out to 150+ people in the company and someone will know how to help you. We are working remotely now until at least the beginning of 2021.

What do you think is the key to success in your field?

I’m able to be strategic and efficient in what I do especially when I’m actively sourcing for new candidates and pipelines.  It’s knowing how to manage your time and fully understanding what profile you are looking for, growing your domain knowledge.  Each time I have a new position I really research the role.  I talk to the people who are working within that role in Spotify and I ask them to send me profiles of people who are doing similar work to grasp the job requirements.  Also, I work with the hiring managers to fully understand what they are looking for even if they are not sure at first.

ADVICE FOR STUDENTS

What advice would you give students who are interested in H.R. management?

Get a better understanding of the field. My Masters degree gave me a really great overview of HR, but many people don’t realize there are so many facets of HR, such as talent acquisition, learning and development, employee relations etc.  Talk to people in the HR department at Drew to find out the different areas to gauge your interest levels.  Also remember that recruitment agencies are always interested in getting interns if you want to explore talent acquisition.

FUN QUESTIONS

If you could attempt a career other than your own what would it be?

I’d love to be a User researcher at a product company. User Researchers focus on understanding user behavior, needs, and motivations with the aim of improving products or services. At Spotify some User Researchers travel to new countries they’re launching in to observe how people use the platform and see if there are things they need to localize to that market or tailor to make it more culturally unique to that country and it’s users, combining anthropology and business.  For example, when Spotify went into India, they recognized that people search for music differently there, because Bollywood is so big. Many people search for music based on the actor who lip syncs instead of the actual singer.

If you could travel anywhere tomorrow, where would it be?

I would go to the U.S. to see my family and friends because I haven’t seen them in  about a year.

Fun fact(s) or hobbies you would like to share?

Since the pandemic my husband and I have enjoyed walking around London and really getting to know our borough of Islington. Recently we did a 7-mile loop and got to explore a lot of new neighborhoods we normally wouldn’t see if we were just relying on public transportation.

Posted by Yasmin Acosta
Yasmin Acosta Launch Catalyst Yasmin Acosta