State of the internal recruitment market with Peter Miller – Hawkwood

The internal recruitment market has undergone quite a shakeup over the last few months, and I wanted to bring you some clarity as to the status of our market.

My guest this week on the Coffee with a Recruiter podcast is Peter Miller from Hawkwood. Peter recruits HR and internal recruiters into media and tech companies in London, ranging from early-stage startups to big brands such as Facebook and Google. His domain experience is unmatched, and he’s here to tell us all we need to know to make the right career move.

The internal recruitment market

Unfortunately, the talent market is in a tough place right now, but I’m optimistic that things will bounce back quite quickly.

Junior recruiters and individual contributors were impacted the most, primarily in mature scale-ups such as Deliveroo, Babylon Health and Revolut. Senior-level roles such as talent partners and leads remained stable. However, the last few months have seen an increase in talent coordinator opportunities, and it only takes a big tech company to start hiring recruiters again to turn the tide. We were both left wondering: will Facebook, Google or Amazon snap up a large portion of recruiters anytime soon?

With slower months such as December and January creeping up, talent professionals need to be improving their skills and build out their brands whilst growing their professional network, but how do you do that?

Top skills employers are looking for

The key things (that employers look for) haven’t changed: the first thing they look for is having a problem-solving skillset, which means thinking creatively, being resourceful and systematic with your work. 


Employers also prioritise the ability to build-out structures and frameworks. Founders of startups love to hear about tools and systems that can be brought into the company so you can hit the ground running. These frameworks include your approach to metrics, employer branding, candidate experience, interview guidelines and referral systems you can get in a company. 

Finally, what’s your approach when recruiting for hard-to-fill roles? Stakeholder management is vital in this case, so have examples ready of times where you’ve had to use data, market feedback or other methods to influence hiring managers towards making the right decisions.

Tips on improving your job search

Reach out to your network – this can include previous colleagues, sharing a status on LinkedIn or perhaps on the DBR slack channel, or various talent community forums. Talk to contacts in recruitment agencies.

There are lots of companies that prefer not to advertise their roles and have thousands of people apply, so be sure to network with your contacts or agencies to find those undiscovered roles. Additionally, you can reach out to companies you’re passionate about or that have weathered the COVID-world quite well. Another thing you can do is research Sifted, TechCrunch or other media platforms where you can find out about companies that have gone through funding rounds. Odds are these companies will be hiring in the future, so be sure to connect with the stakeholders there. 

Salary expectations during COVID

Be very cautious when accepting a job that’s paying less than what you were previously earning. However, it’s worth being mindful that a lot of candidates’ salary expectations have come down, so you would be competing against people with more experience than you.

What are your salary expectations?

Perhaps the right strategy right now is to be careful until the market improves. This market is one where people are looking out of necessity, which means people are more flexible about how much they’re willing to get paid. If you do take a massive drop in salary, then what will happen once the market gets better? Will you stay at your company, or will you move to a company that will pay you much more?

What’s next for Peter and Hawkwood? His team has remained resilient during the pandemic, and they’re working on many internal projects. They also have several talent partner and HR roles with early-stage startups, so be sure to reach out to them if you’re looking for your next opportunity and have any comments or questions.

You can find the full episode on the Coffee with a Recruiter podcast. Links below:


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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