Career track: Coleen Paterson, HR graduate, Standard Life

For the next year, Personnel Today will be following the careers of two HR
professionals at financial services company Standard Life. This week, we hear
the latest report from graduate Coleen Paterson

"During my time on the HR graduate training programme here at Standard
Life, I have experienced a range of challenges.

"I have enjoyed roles in staff relations, compensation and benefits
(all those spreadsheets!) and in learning and development, but my current role
in graduate recruitment is the one I have enjoyed the most.

"I have also seen life from the other side of the fence since I joined
our graduate recruitment team as a recruitment consultant nine months ago. I
have recently been promoted to team manager.

"Graduate recruitment is a tough role, not only because of the sheer
talent of British graduates, but also because of their attitude and
expectations – they are demanding customers.

"Some I have met have been outstanding, which is very heartening
considering they will soon be our organisation’s leaders. On the other hand,
some answers I have received to our application form questions have made me
smile. After all, is it truly an achievement to have collected the alphabet in
Smarties’ lids?

"Every day has been different – and quite simply, good fun. The
challenge for me in the past nine months has been to acquire the necessary
technical skills to enable me to be an effective recruiter and ensure I can
help recruiting managers identify the genuine stars for Standard Life.

"The challenge going forward as team manager will be completely
different. This is the first time I will have had management respon-sibility
for a team and I am very excited about it. But I am also nervous – particularly
as the team is already well established, high performing and experienced.

"I have no issues such as performance or time keeping to worry about –
instead I will have to ask the team to change its thinking and working
practices slightly to achieve a little bit more. How do you elevate something
that is already excellent to outstanding? Answers on a postcard please…"

Every six weeks we’ll be revisiting Standard Life to alternately check on
the progress of the graduate and the manager.

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