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Transitioning from HR Consultant to Headhunter

As a management consultant, my passion had always been in human resources – as I’d always held an interest in people and what drives them. I started my career at EY, where I was involved in a variety of assignments, namely IT implementation, marketing, sponsorship strategy, and so forth. Out of all the services and industries I worked with, People Advisory Services (PAS) captivated me the most. First and foremost, I loved the people working there. As far as I noticed, PAS was the most friendly, flat, and inclusive team amongst all the business areas that EY operated in at that time.

As the PAS team worked for the “human” side of the client business – in areas such as talent management, employee experience, recognition, communications, and diversity and inclusion, all the projects entailed a sense of empathy and compassion to some extent. I really enjoyed my time at EY and in particular the people I worked with. Amongst all the people-related consultancy topics, employee experience was one of the most intriguing areas of work to me given that it can change people’s life for the better in a relatively short period and a very noticeable way. There are plenty of ways to improve employees’ lives other than through pay rises (indeed academic research shows that salary increases only increase employee satisfaction for a short period of time).

Pursuing my interest in people within the workplace, I joined a division of a market research firm which primarily provides employee engagement surveys for a variety of clients. Through numerous surveys for large organizations and conversations with heads of HR and management, I discovered that most of our clients are facing the same issue – a difficulty in finding the right candidates and retaining them for the longer term. Let’s say there is a big corporation which has gained a large proportion of revenue through a traditionally offline business model they had built for decades. They needed to change their way of business and modernise it – through work process automation, data-driven decision making and investing in AI related products. They wanted more tech-savvy staff, but it wasn’t always easy to attract those talents from the market, because of high competition for those candidates and ever rising salaries. Often modernising a business entails a degree of cultural change as well, and bringing in new talent can help to effect this sort of cultural shift. Helping companies go through this kind of organizational change was a core part of my role and one I found particularly fascinating.

This led me to the world of recruitment. Our job is to present a curated shortlist of candidates to our clients and to attract candidates that are the best in the market. We need to understand candidates not just in terms of their skills and experiences but also their cultural fit within each client’s organization. Each project is a puzzle and the solution is finding and understanding the best candidate. There’s definitely science and process to solving each project but also a lot of room for feeling and intuition.

At Neon River we work with a range of technology industry clients, from early stage VC backed companies through to later stage PE backed companies and corporations. Most of our projects are in Europe, and we find ourselves in the middle of a booming technology market. I’m looking forward to working with a variety of clients – both with B2B and B2C business models and helping them to find and attract the best candidates.