Matt Maher, Head of Resourcing at iLUKA, gives us an insight into a typical day in his office, how he came to be where he is today and the qualities needed to be successful in his role.
What does a Head of Resourcing actually do?
iLUKA is a specialised agency, developing and delivering coordinated strategic activations for sponsors and other stakeholders at global sporting events. I work closely with the Commercial Team to devise team structures and salary budgets to ensure we have the right team in place to meet our client’s expectations. During the lead up to an event, as part of iLUKA’ s Games readiness Team, I recruit and train staff to work at the event.
For events like the Olympics or a World Cup we can recruit up to 1,300 staff, interviewing interesting candidates, building a talent pool of people with exciting experience. Being part of an agency means we need to react to our client’s needs, which could mean anything from finding a candidate with a particular skill or finding 50 hosts to deliver an event at short notice. As we get closer to an event, I will be working with the relevant global agencies to ensure our brand is recognised and represented in all the markets we are working. For some of the more junior roles, I run candidate assessment centres which are the most effective way of meeting people for high volume roles. During the event, I will be on site to deliver training and help lead the operational delivery – iLUKA have a great reputation for training. It’s the favourite part of my job and I feel it’s one of the reasons iLUKA teams stand out.
2. Can you lead us through a timeline of a typical day in the office?
No two days are the same at iLUKA. We are a small agency which means I am involved in all elements of the staffing strategy for the business. My day may include working with the Commercial team offering them guidance or updating them on a relevant market, or the Games Readiness Team preparing for the operational delivery of the event. The iLUKA talent pool is something I’m really proud of, so I’m often interviewing either in person or using Skype. Depending on the location of the event, I may be interviewing outside of normal UK working hours. In the build-up I will regularly travel to the event location to run assessments and work with our international teams in person.
3. How do you become a Head of Resourcing?
I have always worked in sports and my roles have naturally led me to this position. At the start of my career I managed water sports centres, where I taught sailing, windsurfing and water-skiing. A key part of my role was recruiting the team for the centre. When it was time to hang up my board shorts I moved into a recruitment role at a water sports and ski tour operator. I am extremely passionate about sports, so I knew I wanted to be involved in London 2012 in some way. That’s why I moved to iLUKA in 2012 as Recruitment Manager. I’m very proud of the team I built for iLUKA ahead of London 2012 and the amazing delivery the team gave our clients. After that I was hooked on this Industry and I have stayed in events.
4. What are the qualities needed to be a Head of Resourcing and what have you learned since being in the role?
You need to be flexible and able to cope with pressure! We work to deadlines that can’t be moved and work long hours in order to meet our client’s needs. You have to be passionate about what you do, otherwise you won’t be willing to put in the extra mile. I pride myself in recruiting the best talent in the business. To do that, you need to know your business inside out. Sometimes I will be given only a very short brief – my experience means I know exactly what candidate the team need. Since joining iLUKA, I’ve learnt that preparation is key. iLUKA is part of the CSM Sport & Entertainment Group, so I quite often work with other agencies within our group. We may be working in three or four international markets at any one time, and my team expect me to be an expert on each – it’s critical that I know the local job markets, and understand the local employment laws. A lot of my role is about building relationships, you never know who may have some information that you need!
5. Can you tell us about a project/task within your career that you have particularly enjoyed?
Brazil 2014 World Cup is a great example of a recent success - such a great team. It was the result of two years hard work and preparation, and a large scale international recruitment drive. I delivered the on-site training to our staff in Brazil, which meant visiting a lot of football stadia. As a football fan it was a great 2 months spent in Brazil. The project I am most proud of is the London 2012 Olympics. I am very proud to have been part of that. Having an event of that scale in your home city is something I will never forget. Only Leicester City FC winning the Champions League would top that.