My journey from Sourcer to Senior Talent Partner at Prolific
Three years ago, Jodie Craig, our Senior Talent Partner, joined Prolific as our first employee in the talent team. Jodie looks back at her journey to Prolific, explores how the market has changed, and shares some valuable tips for starting a career in talent…
A little history of my career so far
Amongst various part-time roles in retail, I had a summer internship at 16 as a sourcer for an apprenticeship provider, looking for school and sixth-form leavers to enter Software Engineering apprenticeships. This gave me a flavour of the world of recruitment.
My first “proper” job was during my Psychology Degree. This was my entry into recruitment. I sourced for roles from sales to mechanical engineering to software engineering. I even hired a Japanese translator for a Design company.
I then began to specialise in Software Engineering sourcing. I enjoyed my job but I felt like the progression path wasn’t for me and I didn’t want to work in recruitment long-term. But what I later learnt is that I didn’t want to work in agency recruitment.
Which leads me to…
My short-lived experience as a Sales Development Representative…
I joined a Drone Technology company for about six weeks as an SDR after finishing my degree. I had the plan to earn loads of commission selling amazing technology.
However, cold calling fills me with fear and it turns out money is not a big motivator for me to pick up the phone. Especially when it didn’t feel like the product resonated with my values.
I have so much respect for Sales people in any capacity, but it wasn’t something I felt I would thrive doing. I really evaluated what I wanted, and that’s when I considered internal recruitment. I had the impression that internal recruiters are boring old gatekeepers and failed agency recruiters. But of course, I couldn’t disagree more now.
Experiencing the Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) model
RPO is a way for companies to have short, medium, or long-term embedded resources that either bolster their internal teams or provide full-cycle recruitment support and consultancy.
I joined an RPO where I partnered with several businesses, from Banking Technology to Agricultural Tech to Market Research Tech. This is where I learned the ropes of internal recruitment. I got such invaluable knowledge and experience in my time here. I learned everything from the value of an internal talent team to the inner workings of hiring and employer branding.
When COVID hit, I started to look for a remote opportunity as an internal recruiter. I had the chance to work for a company I really admired rather than where I was placed. And I could have a long-term impact on their growth.
This is where I found Prolific!
I used Prolific as a participant when I came across the role of Internal Recruiter and I was a huge fan of the product. The more I learned, the more I loved the culture and the scope of being the first permanent employee in the Talent Team.
When I began, onboarding fully remotely was a totally different experience. But I soon found my feet and was hiring across Finance, Engineering, Support, and Growth. As the Talent team grew, I then specialised in the Technology side of things and I now hire for our Engineering department.
How the market has changed
Early in my career and working for an agency, I was never pressed to think about Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. I was quite naive about the technology sector and was unaware that it wasn’t a very diverse market.
Over the past couple of years at Prolific, we've seen a marked improvement in the diversity of our workforce. We have a plan for how we're going to improve the representation of underrepresented groups. With a DEI strategy, we can set continue to educate and engage the wider company on matters of diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Some of the initiatives we've introduced include:
- Prioritising and tracking diversity in our hiring processes.
- Making impactful DEI partnerships with the likes of Coding Black Females.
- Introducing Employee Resource Groups for Ethnic Minority, Neurodiverse, LGBTQIA+ groups.
I’m pleased about the way the market has recognised and responded to the lack of diversity within Tech. But there's still such a long way to go.
I'll admit… I really didn’t have an understanding or appreciation for Candidate Experience when my career started.
I'll hold my hands up to all the ‘big no nos’, like:
- Not giving adequate feedback.
- Not setting expectations appropriately.
- Not really knowing enough about the companies I worked with.
I had a far more quantity over quality mindset and thought recruitment was a numbers game. I thought that the more people I found and put into the process, surely one of them would be successful, right? 🤔
I didn’t appreciate the role a Talent Partner could have in setting a candidate up for success. It really felt like the burden to impress in an interview was heavily on candidates. Companies would have very high and sometimes ever-changing expectations.
For example, a client I worked with at the agency added two interviews, a last-minute presentation, and a conversation with the CEO for a mid-level role, only to go with someone else who “just had more experience”. At the time, this felt like the norm, so went unchallenged. But now, with the power of Employer Branding, Social Media, and Glassdoor, companies can be at a disadvantage if they don’t treat people with respect and kindness.
One of the best things a company can do is invest in creating a great candidate experience. Finding bar-raising candidates is a game changer for achieving company goals. So, have a process that’s going to attract, engage, and keep amazing talent.
These candidates aren’t going to be sold on the job ad or website but actions, like:
- Appreciating their time.
- Setting expectations for interviews.
- How you handle the offer process.
- The feedback they receive.
Interviewing should be a two-way street. So, being able to showcase the company, the opportunity, and live the company principles through a hiring process can be a great way to meet the best talent.
I’m glad this is the standard we strive for at Prolific.
What I love about my job
Seeing the impact amazing people have on the business
At Prolific, I’ve had the privilege of working with some of the most intelligent and talented people. It’s always fantastic speaking to passionate individuals who not only reflect but add to our culture and principles.
I love that I’ve been part of their journey working here. It makes me feel I’ve had a first-hand impact on the success of Prolific. I can’t wait to see who else we hire!
The joy of being in a remote-first environment and flexible working
I love flexible working and being able to work how and where I choose. Having moved away from my main hub of family and friends in 2021, being able to work from my parent’s house on a Friday and have more time at the weekend with them is fantastic.
I also care a lot about my physical and mental health. Being able to manage my day so I can have a long walk and get outside for a bit is hugely important. Especially in the winter, when the sunlight is pretty sparse! The autonomy of choice is something I never want to give up.
The scope for improvement
The way we hire at Prolific has come a long way since I joined almost 3 years ago.
We got ourselves a new ATS (Applicant Tracking System) and HR system. The team has gone from one (me) to six people. We've interview-trained the whole business and defined our hiring processes.
This hasn't been an easy journey, as we've grown by nearly 100 people since then too. I love working in a growing business as there's so much to get involved in.
Advice I would give to anyone looking to start a career in Talent
Start broad and discover what you really love
There are so many routes when it comes to a career in Talent; different disciplines, departments and roles to learn, talent operations, employer branding, different company sizes and industries, and more.
If there’s a particular thing that interests you or a problem you enjoyed solving most, chances are there’s a route for that. It can guide what you learn next and the career path you want to take.
Work with a company or product you actually believe in
I feel incredibly privileged to have a job I love with a company whose product is having a positive impact on the world. I work somewhere that reflects my values. And this means I want to see it succeed and be part of the journey.
Finding a company where you understand the problem it’s trying to solve and believe in the product means it’s so easy to talk to candidates and sell the opportunities we have.
The best way to learn is to ask lots of questions and challenge people. Being a sponge can help you understand the core of problems and help you solve them.
It’s the best way to become a true partner to the company you work for and your stakeholders. Technology is a market that's always changing, no matter what role you’re in. So be sure to keep learning. Prolific offers a £1,000 per year Learning and Development budget - next year it’s my priority to make the most of it 💪🏼
Thanks for reading!
If you’re interested in joining our Talent team or one of our many diverse teams at Prolific, head on over to our careers page and check out our open roles.