How HMRC strategically leveraged LinkedIn to build a skills-first talent pipeline and reduce costs
Taking a pro-active approach to skills-based hiring
HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) is the UK’s tax, payments, and customs authority and has one vital purpose: It collects the money that pays for the UK’s public services and helps families and individuals with targeted financial support.
Over the last three years, HMRC has developed a dedicated talent acquisition function to ensure it has the right skills to efficiently deliver services within its head offices and 14 regional hubs. However, when you need to recruit the best talent that there is, sourcing quality candidates, locating the right skills, and building talent pipelines is not easy.
To meet its long-term and aspirational goals, HMRC needed to adopt a proactive and partnership approach to skills-based hiring and build a talent pipeline to help recruiters source candidates for hard-to-fill roles, reducing its dependency on external agencies and saving vast sums of money on agency fees. But how? It partnered with LinkedIn, achieving impressive results and major cost benefits.
Developing a skilled talent pipeline whilst reducing costs
With more than 60,000 employees, HMRC is a major employer. The large non-ministerial department has 14 regional centres and several specialist sites across the UK, each housing business groups that service both business and individual customers. It’s imperative that the organisation hires the best talent. Therefore, skills-based hiring and quality hires are key, especially when sourcing candidates for hard-to-fill roles.
HMRC’s dedicated talent acquisition function realised that it needed to increase engagement with skilled candidates and build comprehensive talent pipelines as well as provide support and encouragement to talented individuals to apply for roles at HMRC. The organisation needed to identify market challenges and trends that would influence future recruitment strategies and there was also a huge desire to reduce the use of external recruitment agencies and drive down agency fees and spending.
HMRC turned to LinkedIn and established a talent intelligence function, utilising a range of LinkedIn products to create in-depth talent strategies, and ascertain which skills were available and where they were located.
Adopting a holistic approach to recruitment
HMRC adopted LinkedIn Recruiter, LinkedIn Careers Page, LinkedIn Jobs, LinkedIn Enterprise, and LinkedIn Projects. This holistic approach to recruitment – through the adoption of a variety of LinkedIn products – enabled HMRC to recruit quality hires quickly and effectively.
HMRC leveraged strategic insight from LinkedIn to ascertain where talent was located. Its team of 62 recruitment professionals wished to uncover untapped talent pools. This was particularly useful, as HMRC especially needed to hire quality candidates in areas outside of London.
Locating the right skills
As part of the Civil Service, HMRC are committed to the Places for Growth Programme and the Government’s Levelling Up agenda, a task made easier by the 14 regional centres. Different skill sets are required in different locations. HMRC needed to identify where those skills existed and discover where it could recruit talent from.
Andy Headworth, Talent Acquisition Director, leading talent acquisition for HMRC, explained: “HMRC is working towards the Places for Growth Programme that the Government initiated. We are committed to moving several roles outside London and into different regions – and this is where LinkedIn has proved useful. From a strategic point of view, it enabled us to work with different areas of the business and help them understand the skills needed, where they needed to recruit talent from, and how.”
He continued: “For example, the commercial department had a large density of employees in London. We needed to move the new roles outside of London, but we had a problem. We didn’t know where to go.
“I conducted discovery sessions with the department to understand the roles, job titles, key skills, what was needed, and what they were looking for in terms of future talent. I used LinkedIn to produce a comprehensive report detailing where the talent was. In this case, it was the M62 corridor and specifically Manchester, Liverpool, and Leeds.”
Understanding strategic talent requirements
LinkedIn showed Andy and his 62-strong team where people were, what skills they had, and what companies they worked for. That information was inputted into LinkedIn Recruiter; a fine-tuned search delivered a pool of candidates that recruiters then targeted, engaged, and interacted with. LinkedIn Projects was used to manage and engage the candidates and build a talent pipeline and Andy created inclusive job adverts that were shared by HMRC’s employee base.
Andy said: “From the levels of advertising to the project management to the talent pipeline and deep sourcing; it’s the perfect example of how we use LinkedIn to help the businesses understand their strategic talent needs going forward.”
Talent intelligence and influencing future recruitment strategies
HMRC’s talent acquisition function has had a high level of success with LinkedIn. In 2022, the talent acquisition team generated a 10x ROI compared to external agencies by directly sourcing candidates through LinkedIn.
HMRC uses a range of job boards to source talent, but LinkedIn is its primary recruitment partner and the only one it utilises to source hard-to-fill roles.
Andy said: “The whole concept of why we chose LinkedIn was to make sure we became as near as possible self-sufficient on recruiting talent.
“The results have been so effective that we rarely need to use external agencies for our permanent and senior opportunities."
Andy added: “The LinkedIn platform is such a wide and connected network of varied skills that we even achieve great results just by asking our employees to share vacancies and career opportunities through their own connections.”
Working in partnership and moving forward, together
HMRC’s talent intelligence function provides customer groups with detailed labour market reports. These reports regularly facilitate conversations with senior leadership teams to highlight challenges and key trends and influence future recruitment strategies. The data helps HMRC make key decisions due to LinkedIn’s analysis and insight. The platform is a key component for recruitment and HMRC’s talent acquisition teams' toolkit.
Andy continued: “I have used LinkedIn since 2004 and I have seen how it has developed to become a complete partner, covering all aspects of the talent acquisition lifecycle. “It has become much more user-friendly from a candidate/user perspective. It is more intuitive and its integration with Microsoft took it to the next level.”
He concluded: “From a sourcing/recruiter perspective, LinkedIn never stands still. Our recruitment team is always looking for the next big development and so is LinkedIn. So, as someone that uses LinkedIn daily, I know I am working with a partner that isn’t standing still either and is conscious of the way the market is moving.”
Main product used
LinkedIn generates >10x ROI compared to external agencies
27% of new hires have been influenced by LinkedIn in the last 12 months (above average for the sector)
Increased Talent Engagement
992K engagement actions from HMRC content
In their own words
“I have used LinkedIn since 2004 and I have seen how it has developed to become a complete platform, covering all aspects of the talent acquisition lifecycle.”
About HM Revenue and Customs
HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) is the UK’s tax, payments, and customs authority. It collects the money that pays for the UK’s public services and helps families and individuals with targeted financial support. It helps the honest majority to get their taxes and payments right and makes it hard for the dishonest minority to cheat the system.
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HM Revenue and Customs does not endorse specific companies or their products.