Back to Blogs
Blog Img

​Making a Difference: A Career in Public Sector Recruitment

Curious about what recruitment looks like beyond the norm? Meet Richard Grove, Manager of our Human Resources division in the Public and Third Sector team. He tells us why his role isn't your typical recruitment gig. Read more and uncover what sets his and his team's approach apart.

Q. Tell us your name, your job title, and what you do for the Pub Sec team.

Richard Grove, I head up our Human Resources division, placing HR professionals into the Public and Third sector organisations. My team specialises in interim and permanent talent solutions for higher education, government, and the charity sector.

Q. We often describe our Public Sector offering as ‘Recruitment but not as you know it’ What does that mean to you?

For me, it is one thing that lifts us out of that ‘traditional’ recruiter mould that you may expect from the industry: Innovation.

At Investigo we innovate. It’s not just about getting the deal over the line sometimes; it is about connecting people. For example, I worked with a client who was struggling with workforce planning, through my network I have another client who heads up the workforce planning team in their organisation and is a specialist that has worked on numerous sizable projects. I believed that it would be mutually beneficial to both parties, so I connected the two businesses. There was no immediate fiscal benefit to me but as a result, I have two much stronger relationships in place with my clients.

Q. What does this mean for your clients?

No client wants to be responsible for expensive mistakes, so we take the time and effort required to see beyond the here and now and the immediate transactional benefit. We’re lucky enough to be sat at the table through our expertise and networks. We use that trust to focus on working towards the same target as our clients, what their pipeline looks like, and how we can support that whilst removing their pain points. It’s not only better for both parties but also so much more interesting.

Q. How do you approach a client with a talent challenge?

We are interim and permanent recruitment specialists so providing staffing for an immediate need is very much part of our role. Often the talent requirements we work on are more complex than a staffing solution. Last year, I hired one of my clients to specifically look at how we can best support our clients with their talent challenges. I had been working with Charlie as a client for 7 years when I asked him to join my team. He was working in the public sector in an in-house talent acquisition role at the time but had previously spent over a decade working across government, higher education and not-for-profit organisations. He has very much ‘walked a day in the shoes’ of our clients and can identify pressures and understand pain points within talent acquisition. This makes him the perfect addition to our solutions-led team, he can go onsite with our clients diagnose the challenges and pull together a blueprint for the future, whether that’s around attraction, retention, EVP, looking at ED&I challenges, upskilling capability or reporting on system/advert usage to understand the return on investment.

Q. What sort of solutions have you presented in the past for a client.

We recently have delivered numerous interims onto a substantial change programme – this was for a merger of two universities. The function had staffing requirements on the face of things. Through discussion, it became clear that whilst skills were missing from the team, they needed guidance on the sorts of roles and professionals that might have those skills in the market and what they would look like to hire and onboard.

We went away and put together a talent solution, initially benchmarking 18 specialists from across the profession each with different skill sets and offering a different dimension to the People function. We provided price pointing, availability in the market, and value-added professionals. Working outside of the job specs and concentrating more on people and skill sets, we looked at building a team that worked for our client. As a result, we appointed 6 people. Not only did we change the dynamic and deliverables for the People function but also created opportunities based on individuals for our starters.

For me, it created a deep sense of community and all the people we worked with on the project are valuable members of my network. I am so proud of the work we did for them and that is great for job satisfaction.

Q. Do you get the opportunity to work on some interesting projects?

We do! I’ve worked on large-scale culture change programmes. We’ve built teams from scratch for example, we put in a Talent Acquisition team of 10 before and placed 14 out of 19 professionals into an HR function. Alongside this we get to navigate the widely varying challenges of our clients, a Russel Group university and a global charity will have completely different issues and outlooks for example. Not to mention clients who have locations in conflict zones or are navigating disease lockdowns.

Q. Can you tell us about a project you have worked on that will make a difference?

We worked with a large global charity during the pandemic, which as we know was not the easiest time to recruit. This charity had a series of talent challenges from retention to culture. We worked closely with the senior management team, at first breaking down the challenges and then offering solutions from which they could build. We deployed an interim team working on HR and systems to stabilise processes and implement change. We then worked to restructure their HR function. The challenge here was that there had been no continuity within the current team due to turnover issues. Any permanent team would be beginning from nothing effectively. We were very candid with potential hires about the current situation but on the other hand offered an opportunity to be part of the recovery. As a result, we placed all four of the permanent hires required and they are still in place now 3+ years later.

Q. What does the future hold for you and your team (if relevant)?

I would say the future holds more growth opportunities, the chance to work with even more amazing clients, and continue to offer a different approach and service to our clients that centres on people and relationships.

Q. What is the best bit about what you do?

I have two, working with the HR network I have. They can honestly change everything in a business from front to back and it is great to be a part of that. Secondly, my team, they are a wonderfully diverse mix of people - I am lucky to work with some amazing individuals who all get on with one-another, work extremely hard, set really high standards for themselves when it comes to service offering and truly make work fun (sorry for the cheese). They are a pleasure to work with! ​