Approaching talent acquisition today: the recruiter’s perspective

Anthony Haynes writes: Talent acquisition company FJWilson has reached its fourth anniversary. To mark the occasion I interviewed the founder, Fiona Wilson.

DSCF3247Some talent acquisition companies are quite general, others specialise in particular sectors. Could you explain FJWilson’s position?

FJWilson is a privately owned talent firm who specialises in headhunting, assessment, and development services, especially at a senior and executive level.

We have strong business expertise in a cluster of overlapping sectors: professional membership bodies; training and education providers; and awarding bodies.

What distinguishes that kind of market? And what attracted you to it?

It’s a small, dynamic, highly networked market sector that’s becoming increasingly commercial in its outlook whilst retaining its traditional focus on value, quality and relevance in its products and services.

Attraction? I know and love this market!  My own career started working for Hobsons (part of the Daily Mail Group) in 1996.   For six years I specialised in the 14−19 year old UK marketplace, recruiting for school leaver, apprenticeship and undergraduate programmes.

It’s a market that is tied into the development of people from all backgrounds. We typically get to work with exceptionally bright, talented, well-rounded individuals – both as clients and candidates – who are simply a pleasure to deal with.

Our clients (usually!) recognise the importance of a great candidate experience during the recruitment process from a service, commercial and etiquette perspective.  This fits snugly our service philosophy for good, long-term business.

 We live in interesting times. How do you see the labour market in FJWilson’s target areas at present?

Growing, especially in the areas of:

  • senior, strategic business development (regionally, UK and internationally);
  • market development/strategic research roles;
  • apprenticeship and employer relationship development roles;
  • talent management and leadership.

You founded FJWilson in 2009, when the economy was in recession, and the company has managed not only to survive but also to grow and prosper. What are the main factors that account for that?

Knowledge and candidate networks in the sectors we focus on.

Pace – we’re able to combine the pace of a generalist staffing agency with the research and methodology of a headhunting firm.

Candidate centric – we conduct over 85% of our senior candidate calls/meetings during the evenings and at weekends

High quality business development, service delivery and thoughtful customer service are the critical ingredients in our continued growth as a small business.

 What about the next four years? What’s your vision for FJWilson?

To be known as the talent firm to go to when recruiting, assessing and developing senior individuals in professional membership organisations or training and education providers.

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