Claire Wilkinson, HR director, Imprint

Where were you working before and what were your duties?

I was HR director at finance firm CLS Group. I established and managed delivery of the global HR and payroll functions. As part of the executive team, I was also involved in developing strategy and helping to shape the group’s culture.

What qualifications do you hold?

A BA Hons in sociology, and I am a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.

What will be the duties in your new role?

At Imprint, I manage a team responsible for delivering HR and training to a community of nearly 500 employees, 20% of whom are overseas. My responsibilities include developing a compliant and commercially appropriate HR strategy for the business and ensuring that we continue to build on the high-performance philosophy. I report to the chief finance officer.

What are the main challenges HR faces in the next five years?

Keeping up with aggressive international growth plans and still ensuring that we are able to maintain consistency and are culturally diverse.

What is the essential tool in your job?

Being able to think on my feet and cope with ambiguity.

And the most overrated?

Any form of electronic communication. Time constraints tend to make e-mail the preferred option when a face-to-face meeting would often be more appropriate and productive.

What is the worst thing about HR?

All the queries and projects that don’t have an obvious home tend to end up there, diverting effort from more important issues.

What is the strangest situation you have been in at work?

Being asked by a temp if he could advertise his sideline photography business on the intranet, and finding when I checked his website that it was not for family portraits.

Who is your ultimate hero?

Anyone with a gift or talent that they exploit for the benefit of others.

What is the most annoying piece of management jargon?

“We’ll see if it has legs”.

How do you fill your spare time?

Enjoying life at home outside London, long country walks, travel.

What three words would you use to describe yourself?

Tenacious, caring, focused.

What song gets you on the dance floor?

All Right Now by Free.

What is your worst habit?

Impatience with the fallibilities of others.

What is the greatest risk you have ever taken?

Joining CLS – at the time, CLS’s service was running behind schedule, over-budget and floundering.

What three items would you take with you to a desert island?

A library, a wine cellar and my partner.

Who would play you in the film of your life and why?

Me. A teacher once told my mother that I should pursue a career on the stage.

Sum up your philosophy on life in one sentence.

Make the most of it, and don’t dwell on what might have been.

Wilkinson’s CV

  • Jan 2007-present HR director, Imprint (recruitment firm)

  • May 1999-December 2006 HR director, CLS Group (finance firm)

  • April 1991- March 1999 HR manager, Macfarlanes Solicitors

  • May 1986- March 1991 Personnel manager, Arbuthnot Latham Bank

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