Balancing the Grind with Damon Pal, Head of Asia Pacific at HireVue

Damon Pal is the Head of Asia Pacific at HireVue, a talent experience platform designed to automate workflows and make scaling hiring easy.

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1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?

A proud San Francisco Bay native, I kick started my career in tech in the Bay Area where I worked in various tech sales roles for my first few years in the working world. I immediately knew tech was the sector I would make my career in, and I was in one of the places in the world to learn the ropes.

I soon moved into telecommunications at Telstra, where I headed up sales operations. After a subsequent stint at British Telecom, while still in the US, I eventually decided it was time for a change and made the move into advertising and marketing – all in the middle of the global financial crisis. 

I was lucky enough to work with some of the brightest minds in business at eBay, Epsilon and Expedia, and the lessons I’ve learned along the way – regardless of industry – have helped guide me to where I am today. 

Within this time, I made the move to Australia, where I have lived and worked for the last 12 years. Now Head of Asia Pacific at HireVue, I am responsible for the business’ operations, continued growth and expansion within the region. 

APAC is one of the most culturally diverse regions in the world. The way you roll out a product in Australia is a world away from how you would approach it in Singapore or Malaysia. But that’s what I love about it – it’s a challenge. In this next chapter of my career, I am focused on helping businesses from Australia to Vietnam find the best talent for their company with local cultural and linguistic nuances front of mind.

2) What does a day in your life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?

As with most people, the first thing I do is check my email for correspondences from either the USA or Europe. As a global company I work across a range of timezones and being several hours ahead of the rest of the world often means that things happen overnight that I need to catch up on first thing.

As a virtual company with no physical offices, I work from my home in North Sydney five days a week. Once I’ve checked in on any urgent emails from my international colleagues, Ilike to check in with my local team members to see how they are doing and make sure they have the support they need to do their jobs effectively.

Next I make sure my daily calendar is up to date so I know where I need to be at certain times during the day, and then start with my daily meetings.

I like to be close to all sales activities so I check in with the team on any new developments and work with them to understand where I, or the team, can support their efforts.

While connecting with the sales team, I like to make sure our current customers are satisfied with our solutions and our service. This is when I’ll ask questions about delivery, KPIs and customer relationships to ensure I’m fully across all activity and developments.

 People and relationships are very important to me and something I consider critical to establishing a strong, inclusive and collaborative culture, both with clients and colleagues.

3) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?

Work life balance is very important to me. We are a global company with global customers working in a work-from-home environment, so it could be easy to blur the lines if you don’t impose strict barriers.

As a result spending time with my family during the evenings and weekends is non-negotiable for me. That includes an 18 year old son who just sat the HSC, and another son who is a competitive water polo player at the NSW State level – so they both need the family unit to be safe, secure and growth oriented. 

My family is the most important thing in my life. I enjoy spending as much time as I can with my wife, and make sure I set time aside to make her and myself a coffee each morning.

Outside of family time, I’m a firm believer that everyone should make time for a hobby and a social life. That can be going to the pub with a few friends, helping your kids sports club with coaching or volunteering, or making time for an ocean swim before or after work. It helps to keep you in balance, healthy and present.

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4) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?

I have always had a major weakness for sweets and chocolates. In the last 12 months I have tried to cut those bad habits out of my daily routine. It is getting harder to justify the caloric intake!  

More generally, my wife and I are becoming more conscious of our and our children’s eating habits – a healthy diet is a healthy mind.

5) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?

I am a huge fan of the author Scott Turow. I have read everything he’s written. I’m also a sucker for all things Stephen King. 

As a father of two sons who play high-level sports, I spend a lot of time in the car driving them to training, so I’ve recently had a chance to get into the Wondery podcast series too – they seem to put a lot of research and effort into their productions and I thoroughly enjoy their topics. 

6) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?

As a San Francisco Bay native and a huge Golden State Warriors basketball fan, I would love to hear how Head Coach Steve Kerr balances his work life managing that basketball organisation. His ability to coach the best players in the world while raising a family would be very interesting to hear about. 

7) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?

Coming from a swimming and water polo background, I have the inherent ability to relate to individual goals and team collaboration. As an individual athlete, you don’t have to depend on others for your success. Whereas, on a team your success is totally dependent on teamwork. 

This is something that I believe you need to tune into to maintain balance across work and life in general. Don’t get too caught up in your individual goals and lose sight of the team goals (and vice versa). There is always a happy medium with balancing, work, family and relationships successfully – you just have to look for  it. 

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About Author

Hey there! I'm Hao, the Editor-in-Chief at Balance the Grind. We’re on a mission to showcase healthy work-life balance through interesting stories from people all over the world, in different careers and lifestyles.