The Marketing Institute: What does a Head of Talent do?
Sorcha Coleman: In Alternatives, as Head of Talent, my purpose is to ensure myself and my team are providing the best talent to the market and offering relevant and compelling career opportunities to our tribe of marketing mavens and customer evangelists. I also focus on being consistent in how we learn and develop our understanding of the key requirements that are relevant to customer centric marketing demands.
MII: What were your key career moves to get to your current role?
S.C: I’m always very appreciative of the Masters in Marketing Practice that I secured in Smurfit Business School which provided a huge springboard to my marketing career. A couple of years spent leading the Marketing remit for a global medical company provided me with a great grounding in marketing skills. However, I am true believer in consistent upskilling and education in order to adapt to ever-changing skills in demand.
MII: What is the biggest challenge you face in your role?
S.C: There can be a misperception about recruitment being simply about searching through a database and coming across a couple of candidates suitable for a position. If only it was that straightforward. In order to maintain such a high level of quality in our service delivery and investment in building our relationships with our Marketing tribe, there can never be enough time in the day.
MII: What key skills do you need to be effective in your role?
S.C: The role of marketing continues to be incredibly complex in this digitally-enhanced, data-driven world. To be effective, you need to have tenacity and persistence with the ambition to provide the best service to your market, whilst delivering talent that is relevant to specific technical and cultural skills. Alternatives is a unique boutique agency that is very different to most within the industry. We are expected to absolutely understand the complexities within the evolved world of marketing, so a passion and interest to always learn and grow is essential. I am also a strong believer in showing integrity within every step of the recruitment process.
MII: Describe a typical working day.
S.C: The joy about my job is that no one day is ever the same. Meetings with our marketing tribe, with my inspiring team and managing the recruitment process usually makes up the bulk of my day. My 45min walk in and out of work helps me balance it all out!
MII: What do you love most about your role?
S.C: Without doubt, I get such a buzz when I meet with exceptional marketers and then find them a new position where I just know, they will excel with their career. It is an honour to have the opportunity to work with such incredible marketing talent every day where I am in the unique position of getting significantly valuable insights into incredible marketing teams across every sector. This allows me to be able educate and inform people of what is going on outside of their area of expertise.
MII: Looking ahead, where might your career path lead to next?
S.C: The wonderful advantage with working in the Alternatives Group is that you are always allowed the opportunity to diversify. As Head of Talent, along with the actual recruitment, I do have a very strong general management remit, managing a super team, developing new business, growing our presence within specialist fields and driving commercial growth. There are always new opportunities on the horizon which is probably why I’m here so long.
MII: To whom do you look for professional inspiration in your role?
S.C: My Dad is semi-retired now, but has always been self-employed and I have most certainly inherited my ambition and commercial drive from him. He is always my first call when it comes to any career advice I need. I also consider myself exceptionally lucky to have worked for our Founder, Sandra Lawler for the past nine years. Sandra has built a business and brand that is held with such admiration in the market. Like most small businesses,
Alternatives experienced tough times during the recession and it is only for Sandra’s immense business acumen that we survived that rough patch and have now built our little empire back up with such integrity and innovative ambition. With Charley Stoney as our MD, I am lucky to be surrounded by inspirational leadership.