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Making a Difference: a career in Public Sector Recruitment. An interview with Charlie Donoghue

​Meet Charlie Donoghue, from our public sector team at Investigo. With a background in in-house talent acquisition within the public sector, Charlie has a keen eye for understanding what makes our clients tick. He's passionate about uncovering their pain points and finding solutions to reduce them, with the aim of solving current challenges and setting them up for future success. As someone who has walked in their shoes, Charlie brings a unique perspective to the table. Curious to learn more about why Charlie believes a career with us is "recruitment but not as you know it"? Read his thoughts below to discover how we're redefining the recruitment experience.

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

Charlie Donoghue, I work in Investigo’s Public and Third sector team. Before I joined, I had a long term relationship with Investigo as a client in this sector and I’d always enjoyed our working relationship. In 2022 I came onboard as a Principal Consultant in a client-facing role. I aim to engage with clients’ pain points and work with them to solve issues. I am here to create bespoke talent solutions and help embed those with our clients.

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

To me, it’s a departure from traditional recruitment methods to a more innovative, client-centric approach, one tailored to the unique challenges and constraints of public sector organisations.

For smaller organisations with limited budgets, creativity becomes paramount. Offering package deals or a piecemeal /hybrid approach allows them to access essential recruitment services within their financial means.

Maintaining integrity is key. It's about more than just filling positions; it's about ensuring that the right tools are in place that create a talent environment where those being onboarded can truly make a difference to the organisation. This involves understanding the needs and values of both the client and the candidate and aligning with those values.

The emphasis on relationships is also crucial. Building trust and rapport with clients and candidates alike fosters long-term partnerships and enables a deeper understanding of their needs and objectives. This relationship-driven approach not only enhances client satisfaction but also contributes to the overall quality of recruitment outcomes.

Q. What does this mean for your clients?

For our clients, ‘Recruitment but not as you know it’ translates into a transformative experience in talent services, one that goes beyond the typical transactional approach of shortlisting candidates. By focusing on fewer clients, we can dedicate more time and resource to comprehensively understanding challenges both within their industry and their talent landscape.

Our commitment to integrity means that we are not just order takers; we are strategic partners who will tell our clients if their expectations are unrealistic or if their requirements need to be better scoped out. This level of transparency ensures that our clients receive realistic and actionable advice, setting them up for success. This focused approach also allows us to provide insights and recommendations that are not only relevant but highly informed, positioning us as true business partners rather than mere service providers.

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

Our methodology is centred around working backwards from the solution. Rather than simply executing what the client requests, we take the initiative to educate and inform them about potential alternatives and optimal strategies.

For me, I draw a lot on my background as an in-house talent acquisition specialist, leverage my expertise to delve deeper into the client's organisation and talent strategy. This involves understanding their internal processes, how they use data to inform decision-making, and how they allocate resources towards talent acquisition. We're particularly focused on elements like Employer Value Proposition (EVP) and attraction strategies, seeking to enhance these aspects to attract the right talent effectively.

Our approach isn't just diagnosing issues; it's about collaborating with the client to co-create and implement tailored solutions. By taking this consultative approach, we aim to not only solve the immediate talent challenge but also to empower our clients with the knowledge and tools they need to navigate future recruitment.

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

Recently, I provided an in-house talent acquisition diagnostic for a client. This involved conducting extensive meetings with the client's talent team, as well as wider stakeholders, over several months to understand their needs and challenges. I gathered insights and produced a comprehensive report outlining short, medium, and long-term solutions. These solutions encompassed all aspects like budget allocation, setting priorities, and enhancing organizational effectiveness through improved talent acquisition practices.

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

Yes, absolutely. I find the projects I work on incredibly interesting. I'm deeply invested in the sectors and clients I work with, so their challenges become my challenges, and offering solutions becomes a shared project. What particularly excites me is the purpose-driven nature of our work. For instance, our charity sector in the UK is very developed so we're dealing with highly established and professional organisations tackling critical issues. It's fascinating to see how this sector intersects with current affairs and government involvement, making every project both stimulating and socially impactful.

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

I had the opportunity to work on a project with the Francis Crick Institute, a renowned research institute dedicated to advancing medical research. They were facing challenges with their recruitment processes, which directly impacted their ability to contribute to future breakthroughs in medical science. Despite being a small part of their overall work, improving their recruitment processes was crucial to ensuring they continue their important research efforts. By addressing their recruitment challenges, we were able to support their mission of advancing medical knowledge and making a meaningful difference in the field of science and healthcare, even if indirectly.

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

The future holds a focus on further establishing my role and building out our offering in this area. We aim to increase market share while and make the Investigo Public Sector the go to brand for client wanting expert led talent solutions.

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

The best part of what I do is interacting with such interesting clients and witnessing the unique ways they pursue their mission and purpose. Additionally, I value my team immensely. This role demands mental fortitude, and having a supportive and capable team, like I have, is essential for success.