Find out how we helped Leonardo launch a new office in Newcastle-upon-Tyne

Neil Smith
Newcastle Upon Tyne
Company stage
Company size
Defence & Security
CS Manager
Neil Smith
Neil Smith
Hired by
Role title
Find out how we helped Leonardo launch a new office in Newcastle-upon-Tyne

Security clearable candidates

Challenge 1

Opening a new office

Challenge 2

Brand perception and awareness

Challenge 3

How has your experience on Haystack been so far?

We started partnering with Haystack in the middle of last year. We were introduced to them primarily because we were opening a new office in Newcastle. First of all, we had a look at the product, which we thought was fantastic, and really liked the principle of it - both the candidate experience, and the experience that we received as an organisation. We were looking for a variety of tech roles in the North East and we were able to fill a number of our software opportunities through using Haystack. Overall, the experience has been positive, we've extended the relationship further and are now starting to see benefits outside of Newcastle, which is great. We've really enjoyed working with Haystack for the last six months.

What kind of success have you had on Haystack?

Haystack has been successful in a number of different ways. Firstly, we've hired candidates off the platform. Secondly, we've had successful branding and marketing campaigns, which is great. I think overall, in terms of that working relationship, it's just been really positive. It's been really seamless. Working with Haystack has helped us widen our brand, it's helped us recruit people, and it's been an easy thing to do. Ultimately when we think about our candidate experience and the experience of people in my team, I want that rounded experience and that's what we've seen with Haystack.

Were you using traditional recruiters prior to launching on Haystack?

We have an internal recruitment team that use lots of different tools to source candidates, and we're also on more ‘traditional’ job boards, but Haystack obviously offers something a little bit different to that. It offers candidates a personal experience, an opportunity to find out a bit more about us specifically, and be matched to some of our tech jobs, so that was something that we were interested in. I think it's definitely a different approach compared to either contacting people directly through channels like LinkedIn, or the traditional job boards. While these obviously have huge value to us, they aren't as well tailored to candidate experience as Haystack is.

How did Haystack stand out from those traditional recruiters and the other tech hiring platforms?

I think what we've found from a company perspective is the level of support that we really appreciated from Haystack. We like the model, and that the product provides us with a good level of candidates, but also the interaction with the Haystack team is really positive. Having somebody within the Haystack environment that's able to help support that candidate journey is really important. It's not just a pure digital product, it's a combination of the digital product, which is great, but also the personal experience of having somebody being able to support that candidate through the journey on the Haystack platform through into our recruitment process.

What challenges did you face in your tech hiring prior to launching on Haystack?

Within defence we have quite a high barrier to entry. We have some fantastic opportunities, but they are limited in terms of flexibility at times, so we do have quite a high percentage of people that need to be in an office environment most of the time. We aren't really in a position where we can offer fully remote tech roles, so that's a challenge. We also have a lot of our projects where people are required to have a level of security clearance, and not everybody in the UK tech market would be able to get that security clearance, so that can be tricky for us as well. We as an organisation like to be quite upfront about that, so if we've got somebody that really wants to work for Leonardo, we do need to be open and honest. You may well be able to work on some projects, but in order to offer that full experience, they would need to be able to get that security clearance.

How has Haystack helped you with those problems?

I think probably just to my point before, the fact that Haystack is not just purely a product driven experience. It’s important that candidates know this early in the process and are able to understand why that’s important. We don't want to waste people's time and get to late in a process before, for example, they understand security clearance is going to be an issue. I think having a platform which looks at the skills and capabilities and matches them to the requirements of our jobs is great, but just having somebody helping support the candidates, I think is very important, because it's not something that people in the tech industry might have experienced before.

You mentioned that Haystack is more than just a digital product. Could you tell me about how we helped Leonardo’s brand awareness, particularly with you launching a new office in Newcastle?

One of the key considerations when we started the discussions with Haystack is that the organisation was based in the North East, and that we were a new company in the region. We're not a consumer brand, and unfortunately for us, a hotel brand has also renamed itself as Leonardo in the last 12 months, so brand awareness is really, really important to us. I think having the network that Haystack has was important to start with, even just to make people familiar with us. Having our brand page on the platform is really important, but I think the event that we hosted jointly in November, was a real big success from our perspective. We had over 100 people attend the event and we've actually made at least one hire off the back of it. However, the event wasn't particularly about trying to hire as many people as possible, it was about making people aware of who Leonardo is, the fact we've got that new office in the North East, and the fact that we want to be a part of the local community, both from a social perspective, but also from a tech community perspective. That event, from our perspective, was really successful and we're keen to do another one, whether that be in the North East or whether we look at some of our other locations around the UK. We're definitely keen to work with Haystack to try and do something similar again.

We've held similar events before, but we probably didn't think of it entirely from a tech perspective. Having Haystacks knowledge and expertise about what a tech event looks like was really useful for us, as we were able to balance the information about Leonardo with what's going to attract people. Working with Haystack really helped us to get that right balance of attracting people, and giving us the opportunity to share what we do.

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