What does it take to become a great Head of Talent Acquisition?

Frazer Jones’ Commerce & Industry team hosted an In‐House Recruiter’s Circle event at our London offices on the 11th September 2013. Members of recruitment teams from the likes of Apple, Samsung, Warner Bros. and the Bank of New York Mellon joined for the discussion.

We were delighted to welcome Paul Modley as the guest speaker, who led the inspiring discussion centred around ‘What it takes to be a Great Head of Talent Acquisition’. Paul previously led the recruitment function for the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (LOCOG) and held ‘Head of’ posts at both Barclays and Commerzbank.

The discussion focused on recruiters becoming true business partners to line managers and what this meant from an operational perspective. From Paul’s experience, the key aspects to providing a credible partnership and ultimately a personal brand are about being; passionate, knowledgeable, innovative and commercially acute, with immediate access to specialist talent pools. Paul also sees these as key measure of success for recruiters.

The need for quality and speed of hiring emerged as equally pertinent points as well as awareness of cost per hire statistics. Building close relationships with recruiters was seen as a crucial aspect in terms of building brand ambassadors for the business.

Specialist knowledge, of the business and of the recruitment market is a crucial aspect when influencing stakeholders. From a commercial perspective there is a need for business partners to understand wider strategic plans, understand the drivers behind hires and be confident and comfortable to have the right insightful conversations with managers, to ensure high calibre hires and help facilitate their areas of business.

This led to more in-depth discussions around personal qualities when it comes to making the step up into leadership positions. Key factors were a genuine belief in an individual’s organisation and brand, the ability to make and learn from mistakes and recognising the need to get the basics right before formulating ‘fancy’ strategies. A consistent theme was the business partnering element and that by building and maintaining brilliant stakeholder relationships you could create a truly effective service to the business and a successful recruitment function.

Other topics touched on included some of the challenges facing the market such as the availability and functionality of CRMs and ATS’ and the pros and cons of both a direct sourcing and multi-channel approach. There was an overall consensus that recruitment systems are an area which would benefit from further development, in order to help facilitate a stronger service to managers and to facilitate a positive candidate experience. Paul’s belief was that a multi-channel approach to direct sourcing is the most successful. Whilst it is looking like development in internal resourcing is likely to rise in future, attendees were in consensus that specialist agencies will remain a key resource for some time, especially at senior level.

If you would like to discuss the above in any more detail, be included in such future events or Frazer Jones can be of any support now or in the future please do not hesitate to contact us on +44 (0)20 7415 2815.