I used to work in agency recruitment, but it was very sales-driven and very cut throat. I was under a lot of pressure – I’d go on holiday but end up looking through candidate CVs. Working in an HR department was always my goal. When I interviewed here it was celebration day, with a donkey and a barbeque. The sun was shining and people looked happy – it wasn’t at all what I’d expected, and I realised I’d misunderstood the environment completely. It was a ‘yes’ from me straight away.
I’m like an in-house agency. Before I came here the responsibility was with HR business partners we used to end up spending a lot of money on third-party recruiters. What I’ve tried to do is build line managers’ faith in an internal process that just didn’t exist before. To do it properly I have to know the School, and the departments inside out so that I can give people a good impression of what it’s like here. We have all the tools and skills that an agency has, but because we’re inside we know the offer much better than they do.
There are four of us on the recruitment team and not really built along typical, higher education lines. We work much more like a business does. We’re a few steps ahead of other business schools in that regard. I expected there to be resistance to change, but in fact most people here are very receptive to it because they see the value of what we’re trying to do.
There’s a misconception that LBS is slow and ploddy – that because it’s a higher education institution it’s going to have a bit of a ‘public sector’ feel. But it’s actually very slick and commercial, and it suits people from a commercial background. The work is interesting and fast-paced, but it comes with a positive atmosphere and a great work/life balance. But it’s a collaborative environment, too, and you have to be a team player who wants to get involved in all the social events that go on.
I used to live for work, but now I’ve got the chance to take a breath and upskill myself. I go on courses with the development team to improve my presentation and communication skills, and I’ve learned how to deliver content in a different way. Plus, I can fit it all into my 9–5 role. There’s a flexibility here that I haven’t experienced before – whether it’s taking time off for family commitments, getting involved in volunteering or going on a course, LBS really promote the idea of a strong work/life balance.