Sumo Digital: Life as a talent acquisition manager

In this series of articles from Sumo Digital, the UK studio opens its doors to show us what they do and how you can get involved

This month we speak to Sumo Digital’s talent acquisition manager, Rebecca Askham, about her experience in the role. Askham is leaving the company shortly, and so Sumo will be looking to fill her shoes. Interested? Then this is a must read.

What is the role of the Talent Acquisition Manager?

The TAM’s role is to develop and execute effective strategies and processes to source, attract and recruit talented candidates for current and future staffing needs. The TAM’s remit is diverse and encompasses employer brand development, social media recruitment campaigns, headhunting, agency relationship management, university talent development initiatives, reporting and analysis of recruitment/retention data, relocation assistance, visas and immigration, database and process management as well as mentoring and overseeing recruitment staff who administer day to day recruitment workflow processes. It is an incredibly varied and busy role with relationships – both internal and external – at its heart. There is never a dull day!

How is this different from agency recruiters?

As a TAM, being a part of the business that you are helping to build and shape is incredibly rewarding. Hiring talented people into open vacancies is still the ultimate aim, but the buzz comes from understanding the impact that these new employees will have on the projects and teams, and the part they will play in Sumo’s future. Having an offer accepted is only the first step in a successful hire; helping new recruits to relocate their families and lives is hugely important in ensuring that we have a happy and settled employee and ultimately a successful placement.

What involvement does the Talent Acquisition Manager have in the company’s strategy for recruitment?

The TAM works closely with senior management to understand Sumo’s short, medium and long-term staffing requirements, and then designs and schedules appropriate strategies to deliver. Developing our employer brand and social media content with the marketing department, seeking collaborations with universities and institutions to increase and engage with emerging games industry talent, and collaborating more widely with local organisations to promote Sheffield as a city to live and work in are all vital to achieving our long-term recruitment aims.

How does the Talent Acquisition Manager work with external partners?

Working with external partners is crucial. Investing our time and effort in university talent development initiatives such as Brains Eden and Search for a Star/Rising Star has given us a terrific talent pipeline for entry level employees in all disciplines. Working with good recruitment agencies is also important; of course, we do everything we can to drive direct engagement with prospective employees, but we recognise that some candidates will be agency introductions, and have a great relationship with several recruiters who work hard to understand Sumo and consequently source excellent candidates for us.

What kind of skills are Sumo looking for in someone interested in this kind of role?

We are looking for a highly capable internal recruitment professional who is passionate about bringing the best people into our business. They must be good at balancing priorities and solving problems against tight deadlines, and able to communicate at all levels with diplomacy, patience and confidence. We are looking for someone who has implemented and managed talent strategies and recruitment processes in an in-house role in the highly skilled/creative/digital industries. Games knowledge is a bonus but not essential. The culture at Sumo is open, collaborative and team focussed with a relaxed atmosphere where people are passionate about what they do. It’s a really exciting opportunity and a role where someone can really make their mark.


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