Recruiting Enablement Blog



Q&A with Georgina O'Connor of Mondelez International

Charles Hipps December 24, 2020

In the run-up to the Christmas period, we are publishing the full transcripts from our interviews with finalists from the In-house Recruitment Manager (Individual) category at the In-house Recruitment Awards 2020.

Today, we profile Georgina O'Connor, Talent Acquisition Lead - Northern Europe at Mondelez International.

Q1: 2020 has been an interesting year, tell us about your talent acquisition challenges and how you have been resolving these?

2020 has undoubtedly been a challenging year for TA, we have experienced many hurdles but I will focus on a few key examples.

At the end of Q1 this year we started to see the impact of COVID 19 really take shape, things we had been used to for so long were changing by the day, we had to be agile in the TA team to try and overcome these, starting with our interviews and new starters, we had moved to remote working and we needed to ensure interviews could still continue and new starters could still join us, which made for a fast shift to remote and virtual working and a heightened form of communication to both candidates in processes and new starters about to join. This was complicated by my TA team being responsible for Northern Europe, so we had multiple guidelines by country from government and public health advice to be adhering to. We took an approach to keep each country moving at the same pace, with the same adaptions to the process and adapted the communications as necessary to be relevant per country.

This resulted in us moving to virtual interviews & assessments, adapting our interview format and case studies to all be completed remotely, we upskilled our hiring managers and created “how to guides” to support them along with candidates in making the process as human & engaging as possible. We then went on to consider the hiring experience of new external candidates and what an isolated and distant experience this would be for them, we created a new Virtual On-Boarding platform, with the purpose of adding the human touch back to our new starters first experiences, this involved the following:
  • An information pack on our brands and culture, which included virtual office tours.
  • A welcome pack (with lots of chocolate) & personal letter for every candidate from our Northern Europe People Lead, welcoming them to the business and signposting our key sites for engagement, inclusion, wellbeing & COVID.
  • An internal new starter Yammer page, which was built with the purpose of being a site for new starters to connect and form a community and drive support, we also posted videos from our employees at different levels and functions with a welcome to Mondelez message.
  • A virtual induction, for all new starters to get to know one another and our business, held bi-weekly from June onwards.

Q2: What would you say are your biggest accomplishments this year?

The biggest key achievements of this year include,

  • Building our content and attraction strategy for Northern Europe, shifting our approach to showcase our employees experience throughout the pandemic and how we have been supporting and engaging with them as an employer, this included a number of posts, videos and articles on various social media channels.
  • Navigating the necessary changes from a hiring perspective on our processes and building mitigation plans in preparation for Brexit, a huge piece of work and project team have been involved in delivering this for Mondelez to ensure we are ready and we have the plans in place attract and hire talent from 2021 onwards.
  • Ensuring we keep our hiring processes human in a virtual environment, adapting our interview and onboarding processes to be fit for purpose but also engaging and supportive.
  • Transitioning to a new global HR platform, where I was responsible for leading the NE TA team through this change, which included integrating two teams, training on new ways of working, people manager training and communication and a lot of analysis in the preparation stages – a great change project to be a part of though pleased it’s completed now.
Other achievements for my NE TA team include:
    • Shifting our Glassdoor score from 3.8 to 4.2 in the UK
    • Featured in Target Jobs Top 300 UK graduate employers, beating 2019 rank of 69, coming in at 48 in 2020
    • Launched our partnership with Vercida job board, one of the largest D&I Job sites in the UK
    • Kicked off our school partnerships program, where we will partner a number of schools from different backgrounds and locations in supporting their students with understanding different careers options and paths.
    • Launched our new Employer Brand Proposition in Northern Europe, with an internal & external launch.

Q3: What advice would you offer others for 2021 and the slow return to normal that we are hearing about?

My advice for 2021, if we’ve learnt anything from 2020, is:

  • To remain agile in how you adapt to change, don’t be afraid to test and learn in this environment as you may be surprised by what you can achieve.
  • Lead with purpose, always consider the desired outcome of what you’re trying to achieve to understand if it’s meaningful and worthwhile, especially in times of uncertainty.
  • Finally, don’t stop or turn off your other key priorities or goals, if they were important before COVID they will likely be important after COVID and you don’t want to fall behind.
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