Why I Work in Talent Acquisition

If only my desk was this tidy.

When people think of a Talent Acquisition role, they often think ‘recruitment’. Yes I earn commission for hires, work to monthly ‘starter targets’ and am focused on hiring into a company. I spend the majority of my time on the phone to candidates and embrace the target-driven and incentive-focused nature of the wider company, but I combine this with a strong focus on talent strategy and growing the global brand of my business.

Working in Talent Acquisition means I know my business inside out. I act as the face of the company and am the first impression of the firm to new consultants, so I need to be a reflection of the type of consultant I look to hire. I am responsible for hiring for three offices across the UK and also support our global offices in their hiring processes. I embody not just the businesses’ overall culture, goals, visions, but also the individual needs and requirements of each Sales Manager. The benefit of having such an intricate knowledge of the team means that I’ve developed strong relationships with each Manager I’ve hired for, as well as working on a one-to-one basis with the CEO and COO.

The job certainly isn’t just ‘CV-sifting’. The majority of my hires came from sources such as LinkedIn and referrals which means it isn’t my responsibility to just find someone who needs a job; I need to discover talent and attributes that align with the businesses’ needs and introduce the candidate to long-term career opportunities.

The benefit of working in Talent Acquisition over pretty much any other type of recruitment is that every day, I personally see and contribute to my hires progressing and growing into award-winning members of the team. Yes, working in sales means there’s nowhere to hide, but it also means that when you do well, the entirety of the office is supporting and celebrating your success along with you, but NOBODY cheers louder than the Talent Acquisition Consultant who hired you when you ring the deal bell for the first time!

My biggest achievement to-date has been filling four ‘strategic’ senior-level hires. These aren’t your standard roles and were challenging to fill, but seeing these people thrive in managing teams, devising refreshing training programmes and opening up the reach of the business is a huge motivator to continue to source these types of profiles for the company. The Talent Acquisition team work hard to ensure each consultant we hire adds a positive and fresh dynamic to the team.

The biggest challenge I face is the unreliability in candidates – there’ve been processes which has gone without a hitch right up until the day before the candidate was due to start…only for them to message me the night before they’re due to start saying that they’re dropping out. In my head, I’d already spent the commission and celebrated an early finish on a Friday for hitting target, so to know I needed to start the process again was really demotivating. From this, I’ve learned that no deal is truly closed until the candidate has turned up on their first day. I’ve also learned to listen to my gut feeling – it’s very rarely wrong.

So far, I’ve hired over 50 people into the company spanning three UK offices. I’ve witnessed my Consultants break billing records, receive promotions, earn life-changing money and be part of closing huge deals. I’ve more than doubled my earnings since my previous position and have hired into every team in the company. I’ve written blog posts for external sources and have been part of bringing in brand new processes and social media ideas for the company.

Talent Acquisition, like any recruitment position at my company, is genuinely more than just a job. I’m so invested in not just hitting my targets and making great commission (an inevitable motivation) but also in creating an amazing working environment and group of colleagues around me.

Teenage Life in the Country

Yep. It really was like this.

Sitting cross-legged on my side of the bed in our old bedroom writing this article, the downstairs television and wafts of conversation reverberate through the thick farm-house walls. The blustery Devonshire gale rips through an open window, closed doors rattling through the rooms. A call comes up the stairs “Callum, Lauren, diiiiinnnnerrrr”.

Visiting home is like being taken back in time. Nothing really changes in the small seaside town we’re from but it seems a lifetime away from our ‘new normal’ in West Sussex. Coming home provides the opportunity to reflect on my teenage years spent in the country and identify the differences to those who grew up in central towns and cities.

Now, don’t get me wrong… I know that West Sussex is hardly the Bronx. But the close proximity to London means ‘city-life’ feeds into the mindset of most who live there. Life is fast-paced, energetic, always on-the-go. Whatsapp, Deliveroo and Uber are ways of life. Devon? 3G is a rarity, your only takeaway option is a 25-minute drive to the nearest fish-and-chip shop, and convenient public transport means waiting an hour for a bus (and you’ve got no chance on a Sunday).

In my teens, a typical Friday started by mucking out the horses (usually in my school uniform), before our parents ferried my sister and I to the top of the country lane where we’d catch the school bus and not go home until Monday. Our parents never worried. They knew we’d be somewhere locally with friends, confirmed by a passing conversation with the postman who’d mention he’d seen us in the park earlier in the day, or with the barman who’d joke at our failed attempts of buying cider with awful fake IDs. I didn’t think twice about spending two hours on a rickety bus to travel to see friends in a nearby town, however the anger of missing said bus and waiting an hour for the next was a constant source of frustration. Our time was filled with the dramas each teenager experience: school, parties, relationships. But, we took for granted the horses, the beach parties, the freedom – because these things were all we ever knew. Until the age of 21, my life was spent with salty hair and minimal makeup, driving around in my 1987 classic Mini Mayfair called Beethoven.

Living in South Devon was an idyllic place to grow up. The pace of life was – and still is – most definitely slower and, although we lived in an expensive tourist trap, the cost of living was a fraction of that in London. However, it soon became clear that well-paying jobs are like gold-dust and, if you want to pursue a career, relocation (or a 4 hour daily commute) is necessary.

It wasn’t until we were propelled into ‘urban life’ upon our move to West Sussex that I understood just how different my upbringing made me to my new colleagues: I’d never been to London. Wearing heels and bronzer were alien to me. I was genuinely excited about being within walking distance of a train station. This period of adjustment was huge and it’s taken me two years to find a balance of ‘country’ Lauren and ‘professional’ Lauren.

I’ve learned that no city bar beats a beach BBQ and that life is a hell-of-a-lot simpler when there are fewer people around. But, I also have come to appreciate the beautiful surroundings of my hometown far more than I ever did when I lived there, and know when the time is to leave. It’s true what they say about living in small towns. Nothing really changes and that feeling is claustrophobic. I love now living somewhere which is vibrant and ever-changing. I love working in an environment full of energetic, young people who reflect my mentality.

Living in the deepest corners of the countryside before moving to ‘civilisation’ has taught me a lot about the qualities I want to maintain, no matter where I live. I’ll always hold on to the dedication it takes to live on a farm and appreciate early mornings. I’ll never forget the brilliance of board games and evenings spent with the family around a roaring fire in the depths of winter when nothing is open because all the tourists have gone home. I am only really calm when in open green spaces or on the beach, and I know to give myself the dedicated time each week to find my ‘calm’.

Moving away from your hometown is something everyone should do at least once. But, don’t forget what you learned from living there, and use that to help shape who you want to become.