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Career profile: Matthew Mills, senior manager, executive talent acquisition & resourcing strategy, Asda

Posted on by from Orion Partners

Get to know your peers in the global HR community through our career profile series. Today, we talk to Matthew Mills, senior manager executive talent acquisition and resourcing strategy at Asda. He shares his career path, from how to be patient when recruiting executive level employees to the importance of keeping up to speed with the retail sector.

Basic details

Name:  Matthew Mills

Job: Senior manager – executive talent acquisition & resourcing strategy

Current employer: Asda

CV in brief:

  • October 2012 – present: Senior manager – executive talent acquisition & resourcing strategy
  • October 2011 – October 2012: Senior manager – operational recruitment, Asda
  • October 2009 – October 2011: Resourcing manager – retail & distribution, Asda
  • April 2005 – October 2009: Regional pharmacy & optical manager, Asda

A day in your life

Tell us about your job and organisation

My role is predominantly focused on talent acquisition throughout the entire Asda business within the UK, recruiting senior vice president, vice president and senior director level roles for Asda and Walmart within the UK and Europe. It is my responsibility to evolve the resourcing strategy at executive level within the UK, leading strategic projects that support and align to the enterprise-wide talent strategy.

Who do you report into?

I report to the senior director of talent, resourcing and diversity & inclusion at Asda, with a dotted line reporting to vice president – international executive recruiting at Walmart International.

Tell us about your team

Within my team everyone works across specific areas, but equally we all support each other in the development and implementation of our overall recruitment strategy and systems. We’re not a huge team, but one that is dedicated and focussed on recruiting the right candidates and developing top talent within the business.

What is the most rewarding part of your role?

One of the best parts of my job is recruiting candidates and then witnessing the positive impact they make on the business. It’s a great feeling to know that you’ve found a candidate with the right attitude, skill set and personality to make a significant difference in the direction and future of Asda.

What is the most challenging part of the role?

A challenge that we face as a team every day is keeping up to speed with the sector. The retail landscape is constantly changing and it’s necessary to keep a finger on the pulse in terms of the talent we will need as a business in the future – not just in the here and now. Part of this is recognising up and coming top talent in the industry and knowing who the movers and shakers are.

What does a typical day look like for you?

It might sound like a cliché, but no two days are ever the same in my role. A day can start with a productive chat in the coffee queue, to jumping on a train to meet a prospective candidate, to making a final job offer. It’s a fast paced and varied role and that’s what keeps me interested.

Why did you choose your current organisation to work for?

I’ve spent most of my career at Asda – starting out on the shop floor and working my way up the career ladder. I was bitten by the retail bug when I first started working at Asda – I loved the culture and fast-paced environment and soon realised the wide variety of opportunities available across the business that were there for the taking if I worked hard. It’s important in my role to understand the company, the brand and the culture in recruiting the right candidates and many years working across different roles has certainly given me that. It’s also important to be passionate about working at Asda to pass on that enthusiasm and sense of team spirit to potential candidates.

What are the perks and downsides of your role?

A perk of my job is definitely meeting candidates who are at the top of their game and are innovative and insightful. There are very few downsides, but sometimes you have to be patient in order to recruit the perfect candidate to a role if timings just don’t align.

What skills are essential for the role you’re in?

You definitely have to have to have the ability to listen and be considered – both in understanding the brief when recruiting for a specific role and in making a judgement on whether a candidate is right for a role and will be a good fit culturally.

Career path

How did you get to where you are now?

Starting out on the shop floor and gaining a solid understanding of the retail industry and the opportunities available to gain experience in a variety of roles.  Also, working hard and aiming high – self-belief is important in succeeding in a career.

What were your best subjects in school?

I always enjoyed history – finding out what happened in the past, why it happened and how it shaped who we are and what the world looks like today (nothing to do with retail!)

What was your first job? How did you get it and why did you choose to work there?

My first job was actually part-time at Kwik Save, just for spending money when I was a student. I didn’t realise I was destined for a career in retail until I started work at Asda.

Have you followed the career path you set out to?

I didn’t set out to work in recruitment, but I knew quite early on that I wanted a career in the retail sector. The wide and varied experience I’ve gained at Asda has helped me to shape my career path, trying out different roles along the way until I found my niche.

What challenges have you faced along the way? How did you overcome them?

One of the main challenges at times has been deciding what direction to take in an industry that offers such wide and varied experience and career opportunities – but that can only be a good thing. I’ve risen to the challenge by always trying to push outside my comfort zone and take any new chances that have been offered to me.

What’s the craziest thing you’ve done to land a job?

I’ve done plenty of crazy things in my life outside of work – but thankfully my career path hasn’t required me to go wild to land a role!

What has been the proudest moment of your career so far?

There isn’t one moment that I can pinpoint, but I’m always proud of bringing new people into the business and seeing how they shape a role and positively influence their teams and the business as a whole.

Do you have any career regrets?

I can honestly say that I don’t. Starting my career at Asda was a really positive move and I’ve been given bucket loads of encouragement, development opportunities and experience along the way – as well as having lots of laughs and meeting some amazing people.

What advice would you offer to others who are looking to get to where you are now?

Be brave, have confidence, stick at it, get on with it and then anything is achievable!

What advice would you give to your 22-year-old self?

Don’t worry about your career – take every chance that is offered to you, work hard and make sure you have fun along the way.

Either/or

  • Coffee or tea? Coffee – it gets the morning off to the best start
  • Jam or marmalade? Jam – marmalade should be reserved for Paddington Bear!
  • The Beatles or The Rolling Stones? The Beatles – they created a music genre
  • Mac or PC? Macs – they’re much cooler
  • The Guardian or The Times? The Guardian
  • BBC or ITV? BBC – I’m not a fan of adverts!
  • M&S or Waitrose? M&S – but mainly Asda
  • Morning or night? Night – time to relax!
  • Rain on snow? Snow – it looks much nicer than rain
  • Sweet or savoury? Sweet – always!

Favourites

  • App: BBC News – it keeps me up to date with the world minute-to-minute
  • TV show: Big School – Catherine Tate is the goddess of comedy!
  • Band: Too many to name – but I love the 80’s!
  • Song: Titanium by David Guetta – I could listen to it all day
  • Book: Anything in the Harry Potter series – I never get bored of these books
  • Sports team: I’m not a sports fan at all
  • Thing to do on a Friday night: Red wine, chocolate and good company – speaks for itself
  • Place to eat: Restaurant Bar & Grill – they do the best gin & tonic
  • Holiday spot: Sitges near Barcelona
  • Piece of advice you’ve been given: Be brave, take a chance and enjoy life!
Karam Filfilan

By Karam Filfilan

Orion Partners

Karam is Changeboard Middle East's editor and UK deputy editor.

Orion Partners

Orion Partners

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