Recruiting Enablement Blog



Talent Talks – Talent Acquisition Advice from Industry Leaders - Part 2

Charles Hipps April 12, 2021

Since last summer Oleeo has supported the Forum for In House Recruitment Managers (FIRM) with a new podcast series “Talent Talks”. The first selection of interviewees were profiled in this blog. Part 2 summarises some more of the best advice offered by the industry practitioners for persevering in these uncertain times.

Kesh Ladwa, Strategic Resourcing Manager at Staffordshire County Council: 

“The public sector has consistently been recruiting and transformation has to continue too - it has been non-stop! I was inducted in Covid - the virtual world has become the norm, organisations need to adapt rapidly and hiring managers have to be comfortable with that and be able to put candidates at ease with it. Volumes have increased in these strange times, video lets you have some element of humanisation and personalisation - across assessments, interviewing, onboarding and so on. Tech is now facilitating recruitment because of the situation but it is key to equip everyone for that with tips and tactics to be more personal and meaningful.

Employer branding now really matters more than ever. Use the opportunity to revisit employer brands and EVP - refine it, tweak to make it relevant, enhance to the times and be sure that it is visible and reflective. People are reassessing options right now so they look for things like this. It has certainly made the difference in getting more candidates to consider the public sector lately and it will also be pivotal after the uncertainty of covid lifts for companies that have placed staff on furlough. Understanding skills mix and looking for ways to develop existing workforces is also critical. Recruitment has never been so relevant - don’t panic! Be ready for the next phase, it is coming.”

Cheryl Stacey, Talent Lead for Diageo Supply Chain and Procurement: 

“I work with some really inspiring people - we are all working from home and are fortunate that flexible working has been available. We stay connected via zoom, morale boosters include quizzes, coffee chats and use the same tech for interviewing candidates. Striving to bring Diageo experience to life without in-person, we use corporate backgrounds & do more icebreakers.

Culture is so important for us. Really focused on our selection methods right now especially for graduates as future leaders - at the heart is recruiter and candidate experience. The future is around understanding business goals & what markets are saying. Covid has changed so much, must acknowledge, understand and reassure against high volume markets. Where talent comes from & the experience they bring is key - listen, understand and apply to your organisation skill gaps - really add value to the business going forward. The next normal will open up new opportunities we couldn't have predicted before.”

Dan Fitzpatrick, Director, Talent Acquisition, Carrier EMEA at Carrier Corporation:

“Our team in China first had the slowdown but we were surprised by how hard it hit in Europe & the US shifting the team to a complete work from home operation. Connectivity became vital, replacing team meetings with zoom and then dealing with the uncertainty of the uncharted territory we were in. It has been hard but we are coming out of it on the other side now worldwide.

The thing we embraced the most is video - almost overnight we accelerated our video strategy to be all embracive and very normal recognising all the output challenges that presented. You have to find that balance and not get stuck in your home environment as work - it can be difficult to find natural breaks in your own house! For 2021, we need to nail the basics - harness technology & automation - but remember your value adds too - great experiences, easy processes, lots of stakeholder engagement, human elements that have everything else revolving around it.”

Ben Gledhill Head of Resourcing at Thames Water:

“Transformation is important - moving away from process to experience including automation to free up a resourcing team to deliver human touch and impact. Resourcing should be a strategic asset, well planned and mapped even if 2020 has been a curveball! We have an organisational commitment to be a community partner so we have to show that in our workforce and hiring - especially diversity, inclusion, bias removal and social mobility. I started my job two weeks before lockdown but the situation has accelerated our focus on the need for transformation and making experiences as seamless as possible, including onboarding - gear employees up for success at every touchpoint until the day they leave the business.

We also have to stay relevant and front & centre in candidate minds. Reviewing team skill mix & capability is also vital - letting people flourish in their roles and be able to interact strategically not transactionally across the whole business. Whatever the role, we want people to feel skilled, equipped and be respected for having the gravitas to grow the business. Data needs to be your best friend to be able to fulfil your objectives and gain the respect of your leadership peers for having knowledge of your function and knowledge of the wider business needs critically too. Strategic resourcing is essential to demonstrate impact on business performance - sadly that means lots of time looking at numbers, facts and data or spreadsheets!! Stay positive and keep your head above the water, upskill & stay relevant.” 

Ian Stilgoe, Talent Acquisition Manager, North Europe Region for 3M:

“We used lockdown to redefine the role of recruiters and hiring managers in the process. Video tech has absolutely been thrown into the forefront of our daily lives, it is now the norm. It allows us to really collaborate with teams globally. We have the time to work together on a project to make talent acquisition mean the same thing around the world steered by a great global leadership team.

It helps you feel a part of the decision making process which is vital for us living & breathing the work day in, day out. We have also been phasing return to workplace initiatives where people can and circumstances allow - flexibility is key here and managers are asked to ensure that no one feels forced to do so. As a company, there is so much more collaboration than ever before and talent acquisition has never been more integral. Now is the time to embrace technology and yield the rewards that these tools can bring.” 

Neil Foames, Head of Resourcing [interim] at The House of Commons:

“Understanding what stakeholders want - not so much general fit, engaging with candidates. Articulate stories back. Understand matches to the missing pieces of jigsaws. Recruitment is an experience with so many facets attached to it where you are forced to learn new things and ask difficult questions without a single view of how to go about doing things without being afraid. A collective story leads to a strong overall brand! Take the time to think for yourself about what change is meant to accomplish and ensure you communicate that to your teams to have the buy-in that is necessary.

Be prepared and unafraid of unknowns but be ready to tackle them head-on. Try to keep true to a positive & inclusive candidate experience with all the tools you can utilise. Understand what your role to play is, ask lots of questions, express opinions when things aren’t going right and guide others. Align with values of organisation and how that depends on you contributing. Recruitment is a part of a business, not a place. Understand that and you can yield equity - reflect, listen, learn. Recruiters becoming marketers is a future not too far away! And remember that inclusion lens in all your volume handling!

Maria Floud, Director of Recruitment & Marketing at Now Teach:

“Innovations and being slick on processes and candidate engagement are the golden bullet for every organisation now. Treat people with respect and you will have a wonderful team. Building back up to where things are all running smoothly will be key, identifying contingencies and helping to make a difference in the longer term. And lean on networks to learn from your counterparts and maintain the things you love about your roles alongside the more everyday things you need to do.”

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