Top job: Nicola McGouldrick, head of HR UK, Bigmouthmedia

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

As HR manager at Solectron Scotland. I held a generalist HR role supporting the company through challenging times.

What qualifications do you hold?

HNC HR management, Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, CPP.

What are the duties in your new role?

I will be developing and executing Bigmouthmedia’s HR strategy in the UK. The role is really exciting. Although strategic, my day-to-day work is very hands on. It’s a huge HR playing field, every day is very different.

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

Handling the effects of the migrant legislation, the challenges of skills shortages, and managing environmental issues in the workplace.

What is the most overrated tool in your job?

The naughty step. Super Nanny has a lot to answer for – the managers just won’t sit still for 36 minutes.

And what work tool would you like to see invented?

A lie detector.

What is the worst thing about HR?

The bad press that HR gets in some companies.

What three words would you use to describe yourself?

Driven, cheery and a ‘feeler’ (the other feelers out there will know exactly what I’m like).

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

It may be cheesy, but I look forward to a nice cuddle on the couch with my two lovely girls – and perhaps a sneaky gin and tonic.

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

While in a previous role, let’s just say that walking in on young lovers making the most of a fitting room was an eye opener.

What was your lucky break?

I’m not sure I’ve had it yet.

Who would you invite to your dream dinner party?

Family and friends, of course, but for making the table look good, film star Matt Damon, and for pure comedy value, actors Jack Nicholson and Mike Myers.

What advice would you give someone starting out in HR?

Always try to bring out the best in people.

What job would you like your children to do?

The selfish side of me would like a cosmetic surgeon and domestic goddess, so I can be taken care of in my twilight years. However, my girls would prefer to be a zoo lab technician and – after watching too many episodes of crime drama CSI – a forensic pathologist.

What is the greatest risk you have ever taken?

I’d rather see things as exciting and thrilling opportunities than as risks.

Sum up your philosophy on life in one sentence.

Don’t take it too seriously – you are here to enjoy yourself.

McGouldrick’s CV

  • Jan 2008-present: Head of HR UK, Bigmouthmedia (digital media)  

  • May 2006-Dec 2007: HR manager, Solectron Scotland (electronics)  

  • Jan 2005-May 2006: Freelance, HR and training, and studying

  • Apr 2000-Dec 2004: Store manager, Gap (retail)  

  • Feb 1995-Apr 2000: Store manager, Arcadia Group (retail)

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