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Insights into in-house recruitment: Diageo

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In this bi-weekly series, we speak to organisations to explore how they're reaching out to talent and efficiently hiring. Today, Diageo discuss their recruitment strategy.

Andrew Porter is head of talent engagement, Europe, at Diageo.

Please tell us about Diageo.

Diageo is the world’s leading premium drinks business with products such as Guinness, Pimm’s, Gordon’s Gin and Johnnie Walker sold in more than 180 countries around the world. Diageo is also a British success story, headquartered in London and employs around 6,000 people in the UK – home to some of our most significant manufacturing and distribution sites, including 29 Scottish distilleries.

What does your role involve?

I am responsible for all aspects of external talent acquisition and internal talent movement for all European markets, global functions, the international supply centre and our shared services function in Budapest.

My remit spans across the organisation, from working with the business to form their strategic workforce plans, translating that into an annual resourcing plan through the recruitment / talent movement process, through to the execution and delivery of the plan.

I also work as part of the global talent engagement leadership team, developing the global service and supporting key business stakeholders on various projects.

How many graduates and apprentices do you recruit each year?

In Europe we recruit 70 graduates and apprentices annually.

How are you tapping into talent, while ensuring you're reaching out to all relevant genders, nationalities and age groups?

We operate a multi-channel sourcing strategy. First and foremost this focuses on promoting talent within the organisation by looking for opportunities to develop individuals through new and exciting career opportunities, both in their home markets as well as across the global business.

We work with the global talent team to make sure no talent goes unrecognised within our development programmes. This also allows us to ensure that we’re constantly identifying new career challenges for individuals.

When it comes to external hiring, the emphasis is on finding impressive entry level and specialist talent. Underpinning this is the need to create a true sense of diversity and inclusion within the business, and we actively promote balanced shortlists to help achieve a more balanced workforce across genders.

What’s your sorting process to select the best candidates for a shortlist?

We deployed the HireVue digital interviewing platform in 2015. This has proven highly successful in helping us to swiftly sift through large volumes of candidates against key screening questions. For graduates, we also implemented a Values Fit process to provide an additional layer of screening and to allow a faster end-to-end process, as well as enabling us to spend more quality and focused face-to-face time with candidates in our new ‘final audition’ events. In 2016, we are looking to further develop our screening and assessment process using HireVue in 2016. 

How are you ensuring potential recruits know about Diageo and its values?

Diageo adopts a highly transparent approach to sharing both our values and also our leadership standard, helping interested candidates to evaluate their organisational fit. We have tailored information on our LinkedIn careers page, our website career pages and our YouTube channel to provide potential recruits with a tangible sense of Diageo as an organisation, our values, our CSR work and how we give back to the communities we work in.

How do you make Diageo stand out to applicants, against competing businesses?

We believe we compete on our ability to provide fascinating and varied careers to the people who work for us. Although our demands and expectations are high, the career opportunities that we give back, we believe, are unparalleled in our sector. Everyone has potential and as a result we regularly assess what shape or form this might take, and allow people to grow their careers as they themselves grow.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your role and how did you overcome it?

Delivering what we believe to be a fundamentally different talent service compared to many other organisations has been a challenge for both the business and for our team. Although we haven’t got it right every time, we’ve learnt from prior experience.

Keeping our long-term objective in mind to find great talent can often prove challenging, especially when roles need to be filled; a hiring manager’s most important issue is an empty chair. This is particularly acute in a revenue generating or client facing role. Bringing people on the journey has been a challenge but our perseverance is paying off.

What are the best and worst aspects of your role?

One of the best aspects of my role is the breadth of the business in which I’m able to interact. In Europe alone, I work with four different parts of the business: supply, demand, shared services and global functions. This entails juggling varying priorities, needs and requirements as well as considering how to serve each and every one of these both in the short and long term.

Diageo is an agile business, which comes with great benefits. One of the worst aspects of my role however, is the speed with which we sometimes have to adapt, and at times the risk is that we lose structure along the way. To combat this we are putting additional infrastructure in place to help us improve our talent engagement service all the time.

Do you have any advice for other recruiters that you’d like to share?

Don’t shy away from working in a fast -paced and agile environment. For all the headaches this brings, it guarantees fresh and different challenges – but don’t forget the candidate.

We are all competing for talent and it’s getting more difficult. The ability to put the candidate at the centre of the work you do is the difference between a good and a great recruiter.

As marketeers we need to recognise the need to build relationships over time, not just when we need to fill a role. It’s also worth noting that a positive hiring experience can go hand-in-hand with positive promotion of your brand; as we say at Diageo, “everyone sells”.

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