Three leadership lessons I learned from Paul – Bazaarvoice

It takes a very specific type of leader to last more than 20 years in their profession and to successfully lead globally distributed teams.

Paul Abercrombie is one of those rare gems. He has 20 years’ experience in recruitment and has spent the last 10 years working at Bazaarvoice. Paul leads recruitment teams based in the US, UK and Europe. He sets the strategy for these teams, and shared with me the following three leadership (recruitment) tips on the Coffee with a Recruiter podcast:

Adapt your goals

Bazaarvoice can be pretty up and down in terms of volume of hiring (..). It wouldn’t be right for me to say, “ok everyone needs to make X amount of hires in a quarter”.

It’s important to adapt your hiring targets to the number of roles your recruiters are working on, whilst looking at how these targets change throughout the year. We also need to adapt our targets to the difficulty of the roles themselves. As Paul mentions: a German-speaking marketing VP level role is much more challenging than a straightforward sales position, so keep that in mind when giving guidelines to your recruiters.

Track your progress on candidate experience

We survey candidates (..) and ask them about how they found their experience with Bazaarvoice. We do the same with hiring managers.

How do you know if your methods are working or not? Measuring your progress is very important for you to know where to focus your efforts and improve your processes. Do this by asking candidates how their interview process went, and what could have gone better. Take this one step forward and do the same with hiring managers: ask them about their experience working with your recruitment team and what improvements you can make. This information might just give you the edge towards hitting all your targets. 

Aim for a good distribution of sources of CVs

Paul and I agree on how important it is to differentiate our sources of candidates: direct sourcing, referrals and applications help with having a diverse pipeline and proving your value as a recruiter. Headhunted candidates are often the most valued, so it’s good to have a third of your hires come from this source. 

Be careful with using referrals; overall, hiring managers value this slightly less than headhunted candidates. Additionally, too many referrals mean you might get a lot of close friends and ex-colleagues joining, which might lower (cognitive) diversity within the team. 

Do give Paul’s Coffee with a Recruiter podcast episode a listen for more information on his experience, what it’s like at Bazaarvoice, his recruitment strategy and much more. And remember: adapt your goals, track your progress and diversify your source of hires to smash your targets.

Paul’s profile:


Published by José Marchena

Hi, I'm Jose Marchena I’m a London-based internal recruiter, host of the Coffee with a Recruiter podcast and occasional blogger. I use this website to explore insights on recruitment, productivity and self-development.

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