Top job: Kevin Hogarth, global HR director, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer

Where were you working before, and what were your responsibilities?

Capital One Bank (Europe) – I was responsible for developing and implementing HR strategy for the HR, internal communications and real estate groups.

What qualifications do you hold?

A BA (Hons) in politics. I’m a chartered fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.

What are the duties in your new role?

I will be responsible for leading the HR team, for the operational management of the global HR function and for implementing HR strategy across the firm.

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

Attracting and retaining talent, raising the quality of people in HR roles, and the increased use of HR metrics and analytics.

What is the most overrated tool in your job?

E-mail. People need to talk more.

And what work tool would you like to see invented?

A time expander so that I can get everything done that I need to.

What is the worst thing about HR?

Ivory tower theorists who don’t get anything done.

How do you wind down after a bad day in the office?

I listen to The Archers.

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

I once had an interviewee who was so nervous and perspiring so much that I had to go and get him a towel so he could wipe his face dry.

What three words would you use to describe yourself?

Approachable, competitive and inclusive.

What was your lucky break?

I’ve had a few in my career. When I worked at the National and Provincial Building Society, I had a lucky break in the form of the arrival of a new chief executive, who decided to restructure the HR function. I was given quite a high-level HR job at a young age, which was a great chance for me.

Who would you invite to your dream dinner party?

Former US president Bill Clinton, football manager Kevin Keegan and my wife.

What advice would you give someone starting out in HR?

Don’t start out in HR. Begin your career in any other function – finance, marketing, IT, sales – and then move across. It’s important for people to gain other business experience before they move into HR.

What job would you like your children to do?

Anything that makes them happy.

What is the greatest risk you have ever taken?

Allowing my wife to persuade me to buy our current house at a time when we couldn’t really afford it.

Sum up your philosophy on life in one sentence.

Treat others with the same respect and dignity that you expect to be shown.

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