The Employer - Natalie Lightfoot (Talent Acquisition Specialist - Morgan McKinley)
Name: Natalie Lightfoot
Job Title: Talent Acquisition Specialist - Morgan McKinley
What competencies do you like to see in candidates?
From their CV I want to know that they have read the job description, they have an understanding of the
industry and they've linked their CV to the job. This is key and can show that someone is not sending out their CV
to hundreds of jobs but they're very specific about what career they want to go into and they have put a lot of
thought behind it. This could be tailoring their experiences to what the job requires. For example, if they have
worked in a supermarket they would understand that in Recruitment you need strong customer service and they can link
the two. It is looking at their key transferable skills.
For me it is also about personality. This can be difficult to get across in a CV or covering letter,
however when you get to the phone interview you don't need to have robotic answers. It is encouraged to be engaging,
to ask them questions and be positive in your answers.
Another competency is seeing that someone knows the industry, they know about the highs and lows and
understand the sales environment. They know that it is not HR but is Sales. I'd also advise applicants to research
the business. Knowing we're a global company is not enough depth. Research the person that is interviewing you and
ask them some key questions at the end, which can show you're taking this seriously.
Can you talk us through the application process?
You would start by applying through graduate-jobs.com, which sends the applications through to our main
inbox. We then shortlist applicants, usually by those who have included a covering letter, tailored their CV and
acknowledged the person's name on the job description. We tend to pick up on these small things as it demonstrates
whether a candidate has paid full attention to the job description.
We then shortlist the hundreds of applications we receive and telephone them to ask them their
availability for interview, what their salary expectations are and other basic telephone screening questions. They
are then invited for an hour long telephone interview or a digital interviewing process called HireVue, a digital
video based interview done online. After that there is an assessment day at Morgan McKinley where candidates will
undertake individual, group and paired exercises. There is more of a cut down and then a final one-on-one
What is the most common mistake you see in an application, which leads to candidates being
Besides spelling mistakes, it is not addressing Morgan McKinley. People submit applications for jobs in
Marketing, when there are no marketing positions at Morgan McKinley. Candidates must proof anything before they send
it in. Also make reference to the position, why you want to work there and some basic background information about
What is the main piece of advice you would give a graduate starting in the Recruitment sector?
Graduates should not think about the Recruitment sector as a job but as a career. Recruitment is not a
stepping stone into something else. It can be but you shouldn't see it as that. You do not reap the rewards in year
one, you reap them in year two. Recruitment is not a quick win; it is about building a foundation.
Be aware that it is a sales environment, not HR. Every day you will need sell yourself, sell your
client and sell Morgan McKinley as a brand. So it is being confident in being able to do that. We'll give you the
training and the technique to approach clients in the first instance, but it is having that confidence in the first
place to just pick up the phone.
I know it's a clichÃ©, but it is definitely a work hard, play hard environment. It is long hours, tough
days, lots of client meetings but there is also a big social scene. You're encouraged to go out with clients,
colleagues and candidates. If you place a candidate in a role, the likelihood is you're asked to take them out for a
What's the main challenge graduates face when they start?
Our consultants are industry experts in what they know. When you come out of university, you don't tend
to know anything about a risk manager; it's more about picking up industry knowledge and awareness. We work in very
technical areas, whether it is in Tax, Operations or Asset Management, so it is important to know your industry
inside out so you have the gravitas when talking to senior level people.
Where do you see the company in two years' time?
We're planning even more growth. As a privately owned company, with over 500 members of staff, we are
celebrating our 25 year anniversary this year. We are still run by the same guys who started the company all that
time ago. We aim to have more market share in the next year.
If you weren't a Talent Acquisition Specialist, what would you be?
I would like to be on TV. I think I could be Britain's answer to Oprah.
The Employee - Sophie Loughe (Consultant-Tax - Morgan McKinley)
Name: Sophie Loughe
Job Title: Consultant - Tax - Morgan McKinley
University: University of Leeds
Graduation Year: 2011
How did you find your graduate job in Recruitment?
I applied to Morgan McKinley after I received an email from graduate-jobs.com where I'd stated I was
interested in Sales and Recruitment. I wasn't so keen on selling an object, but rather could see myself selling
people for roles. I saw the email with vacancies in London, I got in touch and attended an open day where the
recruitment sector was totally sold to me as a fantastic career.
Why do you think you were successful at Morgan McKinley?
The Recruitment process here is mainly based on values and these values are important for financial
success for the company. You need to be confident and the person that someone wants to talk to. The values that
they hire by are:
Always Communicating - you have to show in the recruitment process that you are a good communicator,
enthusiastic when engaging with people and know the importance of that. Always Committed - they like people that
have worked hard to get where they are and prepared to work hard if they're successful. Embracing Change - looking
for people that were dynamic in the way they went about the tasks. Building Trust - there were quite a few
questions asking how you would feel about lying to someone or how far would you go to get a fee.
What do you actually do?
When I first started I was a Researcher and was largely focused on the candidate side. This meant I
was mainly sourcing candidates for the consultants and their side of the job. Whether this was a job they were
working on at the moment or a good candidate for them to know about. This meant a lot of headhunting, calling
ex-candidates seeing how they were getting on, advertising jobs, responding to the jobs, clearing people, meeting
people and face to face for screening interviews.
Now I'm at a consultant level, so I speak to clients and try to pick up jobs and work both sides of
the recruitment process.
What skills do you need?
Confidence is the first skill you need to have because even though you've spoken to one client 18
months ago they might not remember you so it can be a bit like cold calling. Having the resilience to carry on
when someone tells you to go away because some people don't have the time to speak to recruiters. There are some
people who have had bad experiences with recruiters so will not speak to you.
If you are engaging, this really allows you to progress in Recruitment, especially when talking to
clients and managing your contacts. Organisation because sometimes the candidates that you have can form a large
list and it is being able to manage that and be organised in your approach to them
What is the best thing about your job?
With everyone being driven and working hard, between every call people chat and discuss clients. It
is not everyone sat in silence; people discuss candidates they have just spoken to.
Likewise, the best thing about my job is speaking to the candidates that I look after. You become
interested in them and interested in your industry. I quite like the fact I'm talking to different people all the
time. This leads to the perfect match which is a great feeling when you have the perfect CV for a role or the
perfect candidate for a role.
And what is the worst thing about your job?
You can't force people to talk to you, which is sometimes frustrating. When I first started I was
working through lists of one hundred people or more and you would only get through to ten of those and, of those
ten, only three of them could speak to you. This can be a bit demoralising at the start. Also, sometimes you have
to give candidates bad feedback from interviews which can be difficult early on.
Where do you see yourself in ten years?
I've been here nearly a year. At Morgan McKinley they have got a very good progression structure
which can take you right to the top, should you wish to pursue it. You can either pursue the client side or the
candidate side and they expect the driven attitude to be successful and progress when you start.
What advice would you give to graduates applying to Morgan McKinley?
You should definitely look at the role as a Sales job because you are targeted and need to be
prepared for that. Show yourself as confident and willing in anything you do. For Morgan McKinley I'd definitely
recommend researching the values. They are really important and are followed through in everything we do. Go in
with an open mind and know the industry to make sure you know what you're going into.
If you want to find out more about graduate jobs with Morgan McKinley, please take a look at their