Thanks for reading! This series is designed to shine a spotlight on Talent Acquisition professionals and highlight their career journeys and learnings so far. Today, we're joined by Claire Lowry-Hubball; if you'd like to be next, please reach out to a TTC Community Manager.
Claire Lowry-Hubball is a People and Agile Delivery Leader with experience across early and later-stage start-ups. She is not your traditional HR leader bringing her unique experience and passion for People and Technology to build and implement people strategies to drive your business forward
Can you walk us through the key milestones in your career in the talent acquisition space? What were some pivotal moments or decisions that shaped your journey?
I’ve never had a 5-year plan, and I’ve never been precious about job titles; the best opportunities and challenges to stretch myself have been when I’ve focused on the impact I can have and keep an open mind.
I transitioned from Head of Delivery (within software engineering) to people roles; people and processes have always been an area of interest for me, from when I played international hockey to studying Social Psychology and played a key part in how I led delivery and engineering teams. I drove this transition when I saw the 12-month strategy for the company I was working at and felt I could add real value to the areas our Chief People Officer was owning. So I pitched to them (and our CTO whom I was currently reporting to) a new role and why I felt it would be valuable to the business. They agreed and the rest is 'herstory'!
Focusing on impact and where my skills can offer the most value has enabled me to push myself out of my comfort zone and continue to be important to me as my career progresses.
In this rapidly evolving industry, what strategies or practices have you adopted to continuously enhance your skills and stay ahead of the curve? Do you have any resources or learning methods you'd recommend to others?
I have a number of go-to resources and people I follow on LinkedIn that inspire me and challenge me to think about problems and opportunities differently. I’m dyslexic so I am a fan of short-form writing, visuals and discussions.
Some of my favs include:
Jessica Zwaan for People Ops as a Product and applying business metrics within the people space.
Open Org for building transparent businesses.
Natal Dank for their content on agile HR, people experience and culture.
Jurgen Appelo I’ve followed for a number of years now and continually refer back to their books ‘Managing for Happiness’ and ‘How to Change the World’.
I also really value being part of a number of communities like HRNinjas and discussing topics with my Network. I like to set myself challenges to consider scenarios and how I’d approach them; it keeps me thinking and on my toes!
Although I value formal training, I’m a very practical learner and have developed a considerable amount through hands-on experience, challenging myself and building solid relationships.
What has been the most challenging aspect of your career, especially when you were actively seeking work? How did you overcome it, and what advice would you offer to others facing similar hurdles?
Coming from a non-traditional HR background has been challenging, and although I’ve been in leadership roles for a long period of time, part of that has been delivery leadership rather than HR/People, meaning when reviewing a CV, I struggle to compete with the other amazing candidates with 10+ years of pure HR experience.
However, I find when people speak to me, they are excited by my experience, skills and the value I can bring to their company. Knowing this, I spend time building my network and reaching out to people on Linkedin. It proves to be a great way to learn more about some of the really exciting businesses out there and hear about what's happening in the market from different perspectives. I’ve acquired the vast majority of my jobs through introductions from people who have worked with me previously
It's a really difficult market, especially not living in London. Now, more and more roles are hybrid and onsite, and I think it's important to let yourself feel the things you need to but then build yourself up and control the things you can. It's really important for me to stay in a routine similar to when I’m in full-time work, so that's something I make a conscious effort to maintain.
The recruiting world can be fast-paced and demanding. How do you strike a balance between your professional commitments and personal life? Are there specific routines or rituals you follow?
It's all about balance and communication. I have 5 year old twins and a number of commitments outside of work like most people and for me, it is about building those strong working relationships and focusing on impact.
There are times when work needs to be the priority and there are times when home and family need to be and it's impossible to plan when those times will be so by focusing on the relationships and communicating effectively I can lean more one way or the other as needed.
I read an article a while ago that described this as juggling a load of balls, some are plastic and some are glass and the key is knowing which are which so if you need to drop a ball it's a plastic one that you can pick up later.
As someone involved in talent acquisition, you've likely witnessed various technology and trend shifts. Which technologies or trends do you believe have had the most significant impact on the industry, and how have they influenced your role?
I’m a big fan of using technology to simplify parts of the job that allow us to focus more on human operations, something Jessica Zwaan describes as ‘empathy, listening, coaching, supporting, ethics and values’.
There is real value in balancing technology with human experience and utilising tech to help us provide even better human operations. Using technology can help provide really great insights and define problems (or even better anticipate them) so we can focus our energy on high-impact areas. This can be seen in the improvements and developments of People systems such as ATS, HRIS and Engagement tools providing much greater insights.
The increase in remote working during the pandemic saw a move towards much greater virtual interviews allowing for less time overhead for candidates and hiring managers (travelling to the office etc) and also enabled more businesses to consider candidates from a much wider pool.
For those entering the talent acquisition space or those looking to pivot within it, what's the one piece of practical advice you'd give to help them thrive, especially if they are actively job-seeking?
Network, network, network. Join communities, post and engage with LinkedIn, and reach out to people you’ve worked with previously. I’ve been amazed by how many resources people have been able to point me to and how willing people are to try and help. If possible, attend events virtually or in person, and keep growing your network.
This keeps you involved and up to date with what's happening out in the market.
I also recommended deepening your knowledge within the industry or industries you are keen to work, continuing to develop yourself and showing your commerciality is appealing to businesses.