Learn how Talent Acquisition Lead, Craig McGeough, overhauled Perfect Image’s recruitment journey, the challenges he faces as an IT recruiter, and how his law degree helps him in his role

I was working in sales, managing phone shops – which was soulless – when I got a call out of the blue asking if I was interested in a career in recruitment. Then in 2017, when the Talent Acquisition Lead position came up at Perfect Image, a friend of mine said I might be good for it. At the time, I wasn’t looking but I didn’t want to pass up the opportunity to join.

The recruitment agency I was employed by at the time had worked with Perfect Image, so I knew of them a long time before I worked here. Over time you see trends in the employment market, and people didn’t really leave Perfect Image. I always said if I was going to move in-house it would have to be somewhere that I wasn’t constantly replacing spinning chairs.

 

“Over time you see trends in the employment market, and people didn’t really leave Perfect Image.”

 

Recruiting for the Right Reasons

I was the first person to come into the business into a purely recruitment role. That says a lot about the business – you don’t have many unsuccessful businesses that can afford to carry someone exclusively in recruitment, it’s a luxury a lot of businesses don’t have.

There are two things that seem to drive recruiters; money or the end result. For me it’s all about the end result, matching skillset to need for both parties. That’s why moving in-house was much better because it’s about achieving the right outcome. The things that drive Perfect Image are the things that drive me: fairness, openness, customer service-led, and ethical.

A Legal Background Helping A Recruitment Career

Before recruitment, I had a background in law with my degree, but I didn’t want to practise law or live in London. But I find building up a case as to whether you hire someone is the same as building up a legal case: have you got all of the facts, have you asked all the right questions, do you know everything about this person, and what is the other side going to say? Ultimately, I need to present back to both the hiring manager and candidate about whether they would be a good fit.

 

“The things that drive Perfect Image are the things that drive me: fairness, openness, customer service-led, and ethical.”

 

Overhauling Candidates’ Recruitment Journey

The typical recruitment journey from a candidate’s point of view can be difficult: lack of communication, not knowing where you stand, the vagueness of what to expect, not being sure of who the point of contact is. I think we remove all of that – without a doubt it’s a better journey. The process was working, but it’s now working more efficiently.

For hiring managers, I’ve been able to free up a lot of time. Managers spend less time thinking or caring about recruitment. I’ve taken a lot off their plate; fewer people spend less time on recruitment but get better results.

For candidates, I like to think people join this business with a friend already in the building. Being in-house means that when I tell a candidate something, I have to look them in the eye on their first day of work – so it better be true. I’m not just a voice on the end of a phone. I try and treat people the way I want to be treated, and I don’t want to be another number on a spreadsheet; I want to be a story that people tell.

GDPR: A Challenge to Recruitment

One reason I was wary of staying at the recruitment agency was that I wasn’t sure how GDPR would affect recruitment. For the agency I’d worked at, a huge part of their USP was they could contact people who couldn’t be contacted and make them become interested. If you remove the ability to do that, what can you do?

Perfect Image moved well ahead of the curve for GDPR which put candidates and stakeholders at ease. Becoming entirely GDPR compliant without giving Peter Dinsdale (our in-house Data Protection Officer) a heart attack was great – it was seamless and efficient.

 

“The long and short of it is that we’re a business of people; the technology is almost secondary to that. You could have the best tech in the world, but you need the people who understand why customers need it and the best way to deliver it.”

 

Facing the Skillset Challenges Within IT Recruitment

There are leading tech hubs out there – Manchester, London, Bristol… I think sometimes the North East can be forgotten about. There are certain technologies we offer that, in this region, there’s a very small number of people with the right skill set. But we’ve got a lot of talent up here; we’ve got great people. So, we’ve got to look after those people and grow new people.

The long and short of it is we’re a business of people; the technology is almost secondary to that. You could have the best tech in the world, but you need the people who understand why customers need it and the best way to deliver it. We’ve brought in some exceptional graduates and young talent – “young” in terms of where they are in their career. In ten years’ time, I still want to be here, bringing the people here who will be sitting in their teams.

 

“We’ve brought in some exceptional graduates and young talent – “young” in terms of where they are in their career. In ten years’, I still want to be here, bringing the people here who will be sitting in their teams.”

 

About Craig McGeough

Craig began working within recruitment in 2013 as a Recruitment Consultant across various disciplines, working his way up to become Data Acquisition Team Leader. In 2018 he joined Perfect Image as Talent Acquisition Lead where he has full ownership over the recruitment life cycle. He also continually improves recruitment-related marketing including managing the production of bespoke video content, updating our careers page and liaising with 3rd party organisations.

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