Future talent: Securing the talent - part one

In the first of a two-part feature, agencies, brands and organisations reveal how they locate and recruit future stars.

Last year saw Taylor Herring create a chocolate sculpture of Benedict Cumberbatch
Last year saw Taylor Herring create a chocolate sculpture of Benedict Cumberbatch

Taylor Herring

Taylor Herring is an agency renowned for its memorable stunts, including a chocolate 'Cumberbatch' creation and a school opera performance with food brand Sacla.

Personality and life experience

Given its reputation, the agency seeks creative and enthusiastic young talent. "We look for candidates with interesting experiences and passions for all sorts of things.

"This includes varied work experiences, involvement with charitable initiatives, creative abilities, sports achievements and extreme adventure experience," says Cath Taylor, managing partner of Taylor Herring, who also handles the agency's recruitment.

"All of this makes for candidates with vision, passion, a knack for teamwork, ambition and a sense of organisation."

Degree versus on-the-job experience

A degree is not a prerequisite at Taylor Herring, but industry experience is important. "The more a candidate has, the more interesting and relevant they are," says Taylor.

Additionally, it is expected that those with a degree will have either been involved with or executed events during their studies.

"We look for individuals with initiative - throughout their time at university they will have done things that have added to their degree," Taylor explains. "We tend to hire people who have a certain amount of natural entrepreneurial and creative ability."

Internal schemes for students and graduates

Taylor Herring's work experience scheme sees three students work within the agency at any one time. "Interns and work experience candidates are assigned to a team to sit with and support, but they come together on all projects that need an extra pair of hands," says Taylor.

Participants get to experience different roles within the agency, and it is through this programme that Taylor Herring recruits the majority of its young staff.

M&C Saatchi PR 

M&C Saatchi PR's events and experiential division is behind activations including The House of Peroni residency and EE's Charging Bull station at Glastonbury.

Personality and life experience

Humility, the ability to retain a sense of humour, a 'never give up' attitude and authenticity are the top traits Gemma McCartney, global head of talent at M&C Saatchi PR, looks for in young recruits.

"I like people who have had a bit of life experience, those who have done something more than just their studies.

They might have been travelling, lived in a different country, or worked within the Teaching English as a Foreign Language programme," she says.

"These experiences make people a bit more worldly-wise, and in events that is really useful. It is about being able to understand different cultural reference points and negotiating things under tight deadlines."

Degree versus on-the-job experience

McCartney says a university degree is not a requirement at M&C Saatchi PR. It is, she notes, perhaps a reflection of society's changing attitudes towards undergraduate study: "As a business we are looking at apprentices as well as graduates now.

We are also aware that the cost of putting oneself through university is almost prohibitive, and, as a business, we wouldn't want this to mean that we could miss out on great talent."

She also highlights the value of practical experience: "People who come in and have at least some level of understanding of the industry will always be at an advantage."

Internal schemes for students and graduates

McCartney has recently employed a recruitment manager, who will be tasked with bringing the agency's internal graduate programme to life. "The plan will be to pilot it in the UK, and if it is successful we will roll it out globally," she says.


The digital music platform looks to employ those with a genuine interest in the art form.

Personality and life experience

"A passion for music and an interest in technology goes without saying," says Kate Marriage, experiential marketing manager EU at Spotify. "A positive outlook and good sense of humour also go down well."

She seeks candidates who demonstrate communication skills and can work as part of a team: "Individuals need to be enthusiastic, self-motivated and proactive, have the ability to stay cool in a crisis, and be fine about a lifetime of long hours, late nights and weekend work."

Degree versus on-the job experience

Marriage sees a degree as being beneficial, particularly for those who go that extra mile during their university years.

"Doing a degree gives students attitudinal skills and shows they can organise and motivate themselves, especially if they were involved in a student brand ambassador role or a society while there," she says.

In saying that, Marriage doesn't believe a degree is necessarily essential: "I know a lot of people who have done very well without a degree, simply because they're hard working, motivated and smart people by design."

Internal schemes for students and grads

Spotify has an established student ambassador programme, and it is here that the brand tends to find graduates for internal roles.

"We have a pool of awesome people who love our brand, and who we love in return, to choose from when seeking new talent," says Marriage. "We've seen it lead to internships at the company, and even full-time jobs."

The brand offers paid internships in the months leading up to summer, which are communicated via the @spotifyjobs Twitter handle.

More: In pictures: Spotify's motorised DJ booth takeover

Future talent - Meet the class of 2018

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