Interview with Alison Livesey: Digital Recruitment in the North West

We know how hard it is to find and retain the best talent when you’re building your internal digital teams. Luckily, our Internal Recruiter, Alison Livesey, is here to help. We caught up with her to find out more about how she can help when seeking agency-calibre digital talent.

Tell us a little about your career so far

Before joining Return as an Internal Recruiter, I worked in recruitment agencies in Manchester for nearly seven years, specialising in sourcing candidates for both client and agency-side roles. Over the years, I’ve helped to build highly successful digital teams, from executive to heads-of roles across various industries.

I’d worked with Return externally, and had always loved their ambition and drive to be the best, so when the opportunity presented itself for me to join the agency full-time, I was delighted!

It’s a great time for the agency; we’re growing steadily and have some really exciting plans. I love working with a team of talented and motivated people who truly care about the work they’re producing.

How difficult is it to find good digital talent in the North West?

Tough! We’re lucky that Manchester has a great hub of talent, but it also has a lot of great places to work, so there’s stiff competition.

It’s important that companies think about what they can do to attract the best people. Employees want inspiring leaders, clear training and development plans, objectives for promotions, access to cutting-edge tools, a great culture and, obviously, a good salary.  Having all these in place not only helps with recruitment, but also leads to an environment conducive to great staff retention rates.

How do you tackle the challenges?

The demand for digital candidates is high across the UK, so finding and securing good digital talent can be a challenge.

It’s important that as an industry, we focus on attracting more young people and keeping them engaged. Return work with STEM and have our own ambassador who encourages young people to work in core technology subjects.

Recruitment has changed drastically over the last seven years. It’s now rare that I make hires through direct applications to job adverts. Talented staff are well looked after and rarely looking actively for new positions. For me, recruitment is about having a network to call upon for advice and referrals.

Recruitment can be a tough industry to work in and it’s disappointing when things don’t go the way we hoped, but being surrounded by our inhouse team and seeing them deliver great campaigns keeps me motivated.

What makes your services different to other recruitment agencies?

As well as recruiting for our roles, we’ve developed a unique proposition where I’m helping our clients to build their own internal teams as they grow.

Having worked in the industry for a long time, and now being surrounded by Return’s great delivery teams, means I have a sound understanding of marketing and the needs of our clients. I have access to a great network of active candidates that I can speak to.

I interview all potential employees face-to-face and only send highly qualified candidates who would fit culturally with my clients, making the process as efficient as possible.

I have achieved a 100% probation pass rate for everyone that I’ve recruited for Return, and it’s my aim to bring this level of success to my external clients as they build their own digital marketing teams.

What roles do you specialise in?

Ecommerce roles are my sweet-spot; I’m very experienced in recruiting SEO, CRO, PPC and Paid Social roles.

If you’re seeking agency-calibre digital talent to join your team, contact Alison today to see how she can help you.


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