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Elevate Round Up

How to get alumni hiring right.



On the 8th June 2023, we invited David Brammer, TA Director to take the Elevate hot seat.

David shared his approach to alumni hiring strategies - bringing us insights and learnings from his projects and previous companies including Boots and TK Maxx.

David then took this strategy to the room of brilliant TA brains to help him elevate his strategies and figure out how to make them even better.

David Brammer leads the discussion

The first objective is to identify the differences between a good leaver and a bad leaver, because you don't want to go out and re-hire people who the business didn't have that much of a problem losing in the first place.

Key takeaways


1. When is an alumni hiring strategy the right strategy?


“Alumni hiring specifically works incredibly well when you’re talking about niche or very specialist skillsets.” – David Brammer

This is not the right strategy for bringing in talent that you can recruit and train quickly, but it is the right strategy for the roles you struggle to hire using traditional methods.

It’s for the roles where getting someone into the business who has experience with the right systems and processes and has pre-built relationships within your business will have a supercharged effect on the productivity of a team.


2. How do you set up an alumni hiring programme for success?

Where do you start with an alumni hiring project?

Step 1: Use your exit interviews to identify good leavers

“The first objective is to identify the differences between a good leaver and a bad leaver because you don’t want to go out and re-hire people who the business actually didn’t have that much of a problem losing in the first place.” – David Brammer

You can’t begin this programme of work without first ensuring that your exit interview data gives you valuable insights about who the organization would benefit from having back and building out a potential talent pool accordingly.

Step 2: Create a dedicated team who’s job it is to network the group of good leavers that you’ve identified

This is not the right place for your transactional recruiters. This needs to be a team of people who really understands what the business is doing and how it operates, because they will need to be able to operate with the agency to have open and honest conversations with your leavers about what’s possible.

This team should be contacting your alumni talent pool about 3 months after they’ve started their next role. This is typically the probationary period at which people will have a conversation where they figure out if it’s working out or not, so it’s the optimum time to have a conversation about the potential of returning.

Step 3: Have other strategies for engaging your good leavers

If someone left you because your salaries aren’t high enough, then they’re probably not going to re-join your business if your salary ranges haven’t changed. But, you can still leverage your good leavers by asking for referrals and incentivizing these with vouchers.


3. The real value of an alumni hiring project isn't alumni hires

If you get your exit interviews right, then yes, this might help you to attract some talent back into your business. However, the real value doesn’t come from attracting these people back. It comes from the insights you can glean that can help you stop people leaving in the first place.

If you can understand what’s causing your specialist talent to leave your organization, TA can deliver greater strategic value by helping to design transformation programmes that tackle these issues and work to reduce attrition.

“I think the big takeaway today is that yes, we can come up with strategies to fix problems, but we shouldn’t leave it at that. We have to think about how we can impact the business in much bigger ways and give ourselves the permission to do that.” – Graeme Paxton


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