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Matthew Edge-Wilkins

Matthew Edge-Wilkins on the skill of seeking talent

By Matthew Edge-Wilkins

MD & Founder, Talent Seeker

Having had an early career in financial services, at the likes of Barclays, Zurich Insurance and PwC, it was a working/holiday trip to Australia that initially led Matt Edge-Wilkins into the profession of recruitment.

A serendipitous meeting led to a job offer supporting senior level UK professionals to obtain employment and sponsorship into Sydney businesses. This was followed by another recruitment role – this time, recruiting international students from Europe and Asia into Sydney businesses on six-month internships.

Upon returning to the UK, Matt chose not to go down the recruitment agency route, but instead commence a career in HR. It wasn’t long though, before the pull of recruitment was too much and following a variety of hybrid recruitment and HR roles, across multiple sectors, Matt found his ideal role as an In-house Recruitment & HR Manager at a property investment company.

Keen to leverage his 12 years’ recruitment and HR experience and expertise into his own business, Matt launched Talent Seeker in 2015 – a boutique recruitment & headhunting firm – specialising in sourcing the very best marketing, HR, and executive level talent across the south.

You spent some time travelling and then living in Sydney, what did you take away from the experience?

I think travelling internationally and experiencing lots of different cultures and situations gives you a great perspective on people and life in general. You learn how to communicate effectively with people from different backgrounds and culture, especially where there are language barriers. You also develop great life skills like independence, tenacity and resilience.

Living in Sydney was great – it’s my favourite city in the world and the fated meeting I had there certainly shaped my new career path and life.

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Can you give us some examples of your clients at Talent Seeker?

We’re lucky enough to work with some amazing clients, in multiple sectors throughout the south, and I love the variety and challenge that each one brings.

To give some examples; we have done a fair bit of recruitment at the premier league football club – AFC Bournemouth and made a number of senior level HR hires for the RNIB charity. We have also done multiple marketing and HR hires for the London Doctors Clinic (part of Spire Healthcare).

We also recruit for tech start-ups, micro businesses who are local to us, and multiple marketing, digital and PR agencies too.

Maat sat in leather arm chair

How do you find the right people for the roles you are recruiting for?

Before starting the search, you need to find out what the ideal candidate for that hiring manager and business ‘looks’ like. To do this you need to spend time gaining an in-depth understanding of the role you’re recruiting for, the company, the team they will be working in, their culture, their competitors, and the sector as a whole. You need to ascertain where their ideal candidates are likely to be found.

Once you have these vital components; along with the skills, experience, qualifications, behaviours, attributes etc. of their ideal candidate profile, you can then begin the headhunting process – for me the most exciting part of recruitment.

Our absolute focus is quality over quantity, so we use a range of sourcing tactics, targeted searches and segmentation to find the ideal candidates. This means our client’s job opportunity gets seen by the most suitable talent for their role/business, and not just those who are active job hunters.

"I focus my time and effort on finding and engaging with those golden nugget ‘unicorn’ candidates - people who aren’t active on job boards or being found, or approached by other recruiters."

Matthew Edge-Wilkins - MD & Founder, Talent Seeker

What does the skills landscape look like; are there shortages, or strengths in certain areas?

Without doubt there are skills shortages. For us, these in the more technical marketing roles we recruit for. There’s a huge demand currently for expertise in marketing automation, demand generation, CRM email marketing, data segmentation and paid media.

With there being so many different elements to a marketing role these days, it’s impossible for companies to get somebody who’s good at everything. Marketing execs who are good at everything don’t really exist anymore, and this has changed the marketing recruitment landscape considerably over the last 10 years.

How do you differentiate your approach to recruitment?

Our main is USP is our ability to combine the sourcing expertise of a high-end executive search firm, with the personalised, professional and collaborative approach of an in-house recruitment team.

We are proud to be one of the few Five Star Google rated recruiters in the area, which is testament to this combined approach. It makes us unique in the external recruitment industry and sets us apart from our competitors.

Your business values are really important to you, what are they?

Absolutely, I think it’s important that when a company has its own values, they’re held to account by those values, and they come through in everything that they do.

Our three values are prioritising partnerships, innovate to impact, and tactfully tenacious and we live and breathe these in every interaction and activity we undertake.

Prioritising partnerships is about building long-term relationships with the clients, candidates and HR Consultants we work with. These partnerships are far more valuable to me than the revenue from a placement. We want our clients to see us as extension of their people function. We want our candidates to feel supported and valued and we want our HR Consultant partners to know they can count on us to find amazing talent for the clients they entrust us to.

Innovate to impact is about using the latest technology and search tools to ensure we continue to deliver a best-in-class service to everyone we work with. I am passionate about using tech for good and leveraging it to improve performance and efficiency and ultimately deliver better value.

Tactfully tenacious is about leaving no stone unturned when we’re sourcing the best talent, but doing it in a considered, professional and respectable way.

"I’ve also believed that both CVs and job descriptions only tell half the story….it’s my job to read between the lines, ask the right probing questions and deep-dive into what this candidate, or job opportunity is really all about."

Matthew Edge-Wilkins - MD & Founder, Talent Seeker

What are you passionate about outside of the business?

I’m a dedicated family man with a beautiful wife and two daughters – all of which keep me busy and on my toes! Outside of this, I have a passion for most sports (especially football), and I’m a big West Ham fan. I also enjoy hiit training and mountain biking in the New Forest.

I’m also a big believer in giving back to your local community, so often to talks to students at local schools and I’m also an active supporter and fundraiser for the Julia’s House children’s charity.

Matt portrait