Student Nannies’ Career College: Ten tips to make it in…Recruitment

Written by Student Nannies


In the latest of our series of Career College articles we take a look at the world of recruitment.

 Thom Staight, 40, Talent Sourcing Lead, Europe – Microsoft

1.Tell us a bit about your job, what the average day looks like and what’s involved…

I run the teams that source passive candidates for Microsoft in Europe, in simple terms that means researching  & headhunting  hard to find talent ahead of our competition. There are about 50 across my team and we cover all the key strategic roles across Europe, so the job involves everything from developing research projects into different markets, to building our pitches to candidates  and a lot of internal management of recruitment processes.


2. How did you get your first job in this industry and what tips would you give to students for routes in?

By accident, I was at a loss as to what to do with my career, walked into a recruitment agency and they offered me a job. Nearly 20 years later I’m still in the industry. That was fairly typiclal in the 90’s, in recent years people have been more intentional about joining the industry – partly because it has now matured much more and it is possible to build a good career .


3. What one piece of advice would you give to someone/a student wishing to forge a career in recruitment?

Join an agency and learn  the basics really well. how to source and to sell to a candidate.


4. Who was the one person who had the most influence on your career to date?

Arsene Wenger, the man’s a legend.


5. Considering all the people you’ve met in your field, what personal attributes are essential for success?

Resilience, strong communication skills.


6. What do you wish you’d known (but didn’t) when you first contemplated this career as a student?

How long the hours can be… be successful you have to be candidate focused, that means talking to them when they want to be talked to. That’s normally when you want to be somewhere else.


7. What is the best bit of career advice you ever received?

Always put the candidate’s best interests first


8. What is your career highlight to date?

Scoring the winner in an U13’s Cup semi final


9. What are the best and worst things about your job?

My current job  covers Europe and I am part of global team, so working with people from a variety of cultures, with different communication styles is incredibly interesting. As a recruiter you also get to meet the most senior people in a business on a regular basis – and to recruit them – this means you get to influence a business’ direction/ performance very directly. Seeing that impact is very rewarding.


10. What do you think the industry will look like in the next ten years and what skills do you think graduates will need to stay ahead of the game?

It’s a really interesting question. Changes in communication have changed the way we engage with candidates and the way we discover candidates. Some of the initial automation  has been good for the industry but some has had significant flaws. Improvements in machine learning should improve these and could have another significant impact on the role automation plays. My personal feeling is that people still make important choices (like where to work) in an emotive as well as rational way, so the importance of personal connections, relationships etc will remain – especially in industries where the competition for talent is intense. So the importance placed on recruiters with those skills will not  change, it will probably increase.


Tom’s CV

BA  (Hons) modern History & Political Philosophy

Page Group Consultant to Director 99 – 15

Microsoft 15 – to date