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#WilsonHCGlife | 4 minute read

Q&A: James Atkins' career transition from in-house recruitment to recruitment process outsourcing (RPO)

December 20, 2022

We recently interviewed James Atkins, account director at WilsonHCG, who has more than 20 years of experience in talent acquisition and recruitment. We discussed his career journey and his transition from in-house recruitment to recruitment process outsourcing (RPO).  

Read more below.

Q: Can you walk us through your career journey? 

When you get to my age, career journeys become quite long but an important thing to note is that I have always worked in talent acquisition. I was an individual contributor from 1998 through 2007 but that changed once I joined Barclaycard as a recruitment manager, took on overseas assignments and started working my way up the ladder. After Barclaycard, I took on my last inhouse recruiter role at Caterpillar. I worked there for 7 years, centralizing and building an efficient and effective delivery function. I left in 2019 after the company swung the pendulum in the opposite direction and decided to decentralize all centralized services and place recruitment responsibilities back into HR functions. Wanting a new challenge, I decided to transition to RPO and started working for Parisima. I loved the change of direction that RPO brought! Once my contract at Parisima ended, I knew that RPO was the right next step in my career and started looking for full-time roles based in EMEA, which led me to WilsonHCG.

Q: What was the most important stepping stone in your career so far? 

I would say my time at Barclaycard was the most important stepping stone in my career because it gave me the opportunity to gain overseas experience in Dubai, United Arab Emirates and Hamburg, Germany. This gave me the opportunity to live and work in other countries, experience new cultures and navigate cultural nuances that I had never been exposed to previously. All of my experience before that point was UK-centric.   

Q: Why did you decide to transition from an in-house recruiter role to RPO? 

After leaving Caterpillar, I was at a crossroads in my career. Do I look for another global head of recruitment role? Do I do something different with the skillset that I already have? Or do I try something completely different? I opted for the second option and decided to pursue RPO. A lot of the foundational skills needed in RPO were skills I had already developed in my previous roles, so I felt confident in making the transition. 

Q: What intrigued you about working in recruitment process outsourcing (RPO)? 

To be honest, I always envied RPO. Previously, I had always worked for a recruitment function within a business and often found that recruitment was an underinvested area. Meanwhile, the reason RPOs get up in the morning is to deliver excellence in recruitment, and you can’t deliver excellence in recruitment without investing in your recruiters and recruitment technology.  

Q: What made WilsonHCG stand out while you were searching for a role within RPO? 

While I was job searching, I spoke with a lot of different RPOs. None of them excited me quite like WilsonHCG did. This is an organization that genuinely cares about its people and their development. I think it's fair to say that my colleagues are extraordinary individuals who are passionate about delivering for the client, but also look after and support one another, which is something I really care about.  

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About Jenny Boyer

Jenny Boyer is the Creative Marketing Specialist at WilsonHCG. She was born and raised in New Jersey but now spends most of the year in Tampa, Florida. She graduated from the University of Tampa in May 2023 with a Bachelor of Science in Marketing. In her free time, she enjoys going to the beach with her friends, exploring the city she lives in, traveling the world, and photographing birds and wildlife.