KD Headshot




Who is Kris Dunn? That’s an easy question – he’s the Chief Human Resources Officer for Kinetix. He’s a VP of HR type who has led HR practices in Fortune 500s and venture capital-held startups, and believes that the key to great business results is to get great people, then do cool stuff to maximize their motivation, performance and effectiveness once you have them in the door. As it turns out, that’s his simple definition of talent management.

Kris Dunn is a Partner and the Chief Human Resources Officer/Chief Marketing Officer at Kinetix. Prior to joining the team at Kinetix in 2010, Kris was a VP of People for DAXKO, a VP of HR for SourceMedical, a Regional VP of HR for Charter Communications, an HR Manager for BellSouth Mobility (subsequently known as Cingular and AT&T based on which round of consolidation you are referring to), and a Project Manager in the market research division of Aragon Consulting (gobbled up by IBM Global Services).

Kris holds a B.A in ES/Communications from Northeast Missouri State University, an M.A.E in Education from UAB and an MPPM from Birmingham-Southern College. He’s also the noted founder of The HR Capitalist and Fistful of Talent, as well as a Contributing Editor at Workforce Management Magazine and workforce.com, where he has written over 50 feature columns. He’s also achieved the SPHR designation from the Human Resources Certification Institute.

Kris is among the most transparent HR pros or recruiters you can find, and here’s why: He cares so much about the art of HR and recruiting that he’s started two blogs (The HR Capitalist and Fistful of Talent) with the goal of building a community he and others could learn from. He’s been putting his thoughts down every business day for over 4 years. As a result of that commitment, he’s been named one of the Top 100 Influencers in the World of HR and a Top 25 Digital Influencer in the HR and Talent Management communities.

Specialties: Belief that the HR function rocks. Business chops. Crossover Dribble.

10 Questions with Kris Dunn

1. It’s hard on a recruiter/HR pro out there. Tell us why you’re in the RPO game…

Why am I in the game? Opening…. Sourcing…. Interview… BOOM!!! … Great Match… There’s nowhere else you get that feeling… I’m an HR pro by trade, but matching talent with an open slot is really the intellectual pursuit that charges my batteries and gets me through the aspects of the job that aren’t as thrilling… It’s also the reason why I wanted to own a piece of Kinetix. Why should I limit myself to that feeling for one company when I can be a part of helping multiple companies get that match? Word.

2. Finish the following sentence: “People want to hang out with me because…”

Because I look like a cross between Brad Pitt and George Clooney. No? Because I’ve got every line from Caddyshack and Blazing Saddles down cold. No? If that doesn’t do it for you, then try this: I get how cool HR pros and recruiters really are. They’re rock stars trapped in a profession that has long touted administration as its primary value add. It’s a lie, and it’s limited how others view us. HR pros and recruiters are much more than that. It all starts with getting the best people you can afford for every gig in your company. That’s what we help you do at Kinetix.

3. First thing that comes into your mind when I say this: “RPO works because ____…” First thing. Don’t plan it.

Your company gets to focus solely on picking the best candidate. We do all the dirty work for less money than you would spend if you did it yourself. We hunt so you can stay strategic. Boom.

4. What’s your favorite HR/recruiting buzzword to openly mock and why?

Seat at the table. It was hot for awhile, now it just seems like a cliché. Just take the seat, Alice. No one’s stopping you. Oh, right. You have to deliver the goods. Ship product. That’s what it takes to stop talking about the seat.

5. Let’s face it – there’s a lot of humanity out there in the recruiting scene. What’s the sure sign in the first 3 minutes you interview a candidate that it’s not going to happen?

There’s no eye contact whatsoever. It’s like candidate repellent to me. Also, I’ve had a “close-talker” or two on the way in from the lobby, and that can be a deal-breaker…

6. Who are your favorite two recruiters – RPO, sports, entertainment, whatever – and what makes them rockstars from a recruiting perspective?

1) Ari Gold from Entourage – singular focus on the business and getting good deals done for his clients. A little profane, but hey – some eggs are gonna get broken when you get in an egg fight. 2) John Calipari (college basketball coach for University of Kentucky)—4 first round draft choices from the same team in the same year, and he got them all to come to the same school and share the spotlight. I think he knows a thing or two about talent. Love him, hate him… You can’t ignore him…

7.We’re midstream in this interview, so let’s give a shout-out to the intellectuals. What are the last three books you’ve read? Why did you choose those books and what did you learn?

1) Linchpin by Seth Godin. Quality isn’t job one. Job one is to be absolutely freaking amazing. Be an artist in whatever it is that you do. Give gifts. Refuse to let the lizard voice tell you it can’t be done. 2) One Page Talent Management by Marc Effron and Miriam Ort. Complexity is the enemy of getting things done in business. Have 2-3 good ideas and focus on those when it comes to talent. Got 100 competencies you’re working with at your company? Your managers are ignoring you. 3) The Drunkard’s Walk by Leonard Mlodinow. This just in – random stuff happens every day that you have no control over. Understand probability theory and the stats behind it, and you can make an educated decision whether to double down or walk away.

8. Enough with the book learning. A great tradition in Major League Baseball is that each batter for the home team gets to pick his own intro music as he’s walking up to the plate. If you could choose a song to play as you entered the Kinetix HQ, what would it be and why? Feel free to give us 2-3 choices, and you can’t say the uber-lame “I like all types of music”…

First of all, those rumors about me being a huge Deep Blue Something fan are just that – rumors. I’m a man, baby.

I’m also Gen X through and through. So my walk to the plate is going to sound like I should be wearing flannel, because it’s all grunge. I’d roll with the following: 1. “Smells Like Teen Spirit” by Nirvana 2. “Spoonman” by Soundgarden 3. “Machinehead” by Bush


If you push me for something more recent, I’ll roll with something like “I was a Teenage Anarchist” from Against Me:

9. Describe your first car to us. God, please let it be a junker that embarrasses you…

Soft top, manual Orange Jeep CJ5, with no heater in the Midwest. Let’s just say gloves weren’t optional in the winter. Took it to college, the knob of the stick shift was replaced with a Miller Lite Tab from a bar. My dad gave it to me. Wouldn’t he go to jail for that today? It defined me by making me never buy the premium model of anything. You have three packages? I’m taking the middle one… I’m thrilled to have it after driving a machine of death with no heater through Midwest winters…

10. Give it up – 2 things that the last 10 people you’ve talked to outside of Kinetix don’t know about you…

I started my career as a college basketball coach in the Division I ranks, working for Gene Bartow at UAB. HR and recruiting have a lot in common with that experience. Ask me how sometime… The best man in my wedding and college roommate is a guy named Glenn Jacobs, who’s had a decade-plus career in the WWF/WWE. He’s a character known as Kane (brother of the Undertaker). He was an honors student in English. Taught me never to judge a book by its cover.

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