Welcome to the latest edition of ‘In Conversation With’, our regular interview series in which we bring you profiles on senior leaders, groundbreakers, taking you on a deep dive sharing their knowledge, career insights and where they hope to see themselves and the Group in the future.
In this edition, we caught up with Georgina Cornelius, Talent Acquisition Manager for Sumo Group, to talk about her role and how the company goes about its recruitment strategy.
CAN YOU TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOURSELF?
“Hey! I’m Georgina, I have been at Sumo for a little over two years and I have recently been promoted to a Talent Acquisition Manager. This year I also became a Women in Games ambassador, and just this month have been named as one of MCV/Develop’s “30 under 30”. It’s been a really exciting year!
“I’ve worked in recruitment since finishing university in 2016, initially in agency recruitment specialising in education and then finance – very different to the roles I’ve had here at Sumo. Working in the games industry is way more fun.”
“I have a beautiful Bullmastiff – Goose – who a lot of people have met on calls with me as he doesn’t like to be left out. I brought Goose home the weekend before starting at Sumo Digital, I like to think of him as an honorary Sumo employee too. I have taken classes in aerial hoop – there’s actually a specialist school close to the Sheffield studio that I would absolutely recommend to anyone! Its far more fun than going to the gym.
WHAT EXACTLY IS A TALENT ACQUISITION MANAGER?
“It’s hard to put the role of a Talent Acquisition Manager into a nice neat little box. In general, it is thought of as a “lead recruiter”, someone who has experience in hiring niche candidates and who can do this consistently. Whilst this is a foundation of the role, it is also so much more.
“A Talent Acquisition Manager can be involved in equity, diversity and inclusion, employer branding initiatives, workforce planning, market-mapping, data gathering and even retention conversations. They wear many hats and play a key part in people operations structure in most successful organisations.
“As a Talent Acquisition Manager here at Sumo, I am involved in conversations with studio directors around workforce planning, trends in the market and offer insight into best hiring practice. I also lead a specialised team of talent partners who each contribute to hiring great talent across all our studios here in the UK.”
WHY IS THE ROLE SO IMPORTANT?
“The talent acquisition team in general is an integral part of Sumo’s culture. In one way or another, the talent team has dealt with almost every employee at Sumo and are responsible for attracting and recruiting the best talent in the industry. That could look like attending industry events, attending university open days and speaking at conferences worldwide.
“The role of a Talent Acquisition Manager sees us not only supporting the teams that attract new talent into the business and making sure that they can do their role effectively but having open and honest communications with the studios about the recruitment process and being involved with strategies to continuously improve the overall recruitment process.”
HOW DID YOU BECOME INTERESTED IN THE WORLD OF RECRUITMENT?
“It’s such a cliche, but if you ask around 90% of people who work in recruitment how they came to be in recruitment they will likely tell you that they fell into it, and I am one of those people. I was studying Law at the University of Sheffield and had contacted a few legal agencies to see whether they could help me get experience in a legal firm – they couldn’t – but as I had worked in sales throughout university, they suggested that I look into recruitment, the rest – as they say – is history.”
WHAT ARE THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES/REWARDS OF WORKING IN RECRUITMENT?
“By far the biggest reward is the feeling you get when you get to offer someone their dream role or a position that they’ve wanted for a long time. That, and getting to speak with so many amazing and talented people every day.
“I met one of my best friends through recruiting her into a role in our marketing team from a Women in Games event! Speaking to students and being able to give advice on how to get into the industry is pretty special too.
"One of the biggest challenges of working in recruitment for games development is ensuring we are reaching as diverse a pool of talent as possible, something Sumo has been actively working to do for a number of years now.”
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR PROUDEST ACHIEVEMENT IN THIS ROLE?
“It’s really difficult to narrow it down to one thing, I’ve really surprised myself during my two years at Sumo. Being nominated for, and then being selected as one of the 30 under 30 obviously makes the list, I never in a million years thought I would ever be included in something like that in my lifetime.
“I’m also proud that I have been involved in public speaking, whether that being with Women in Games, directly with universities or on panels that Sumo has organised. Leading on events with universities during lockdown was brand new to me, and we had some great feedback from the students which made all the stress of the events worth it!
“I’ve challenged myself to walk outside of my comfort zone over the past few years, and even though that’s still terrifying it’s also equally exciting.”
WHAT IS YOUR VISION FOR THE NEXT FEW YEARS?
“There is a big gender gap in the industry and though this isn’t something that can be fixed overnight, my vision for the next few years is to increase our engagement with secondary schools to help educate students – particularly girls and other under-represented groups in the industry – on how a career in games is both realistic and fulfilling. My hope is that if we can reach enough students, the gender disparity will get better with time.
“More specifically in the talent team, the vision is to enhance the whole recruitment experience for everyone who goes through the process!
“Making sure that people go away from the process - whether we hire them or not - having had a positive experience.”
IF YOU COULD GIVE ONE PIECE OF ADVICE TO SOMEONE STARTING IN GAMES, OR SPECIFICALLY IN RECRUITMENT, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
“Reach out to people! Everyone that I have spoken to in the games industry has been incredibly friendly, and I genuinely believe that if you reach out to people on Twitter or LinkedIn and you’re polite about it they will happily give you some advice/words of wisdom.
“It can be a tough industry to get into, and it’s hard to not feel discouraged by rejections but if you’re taking feedback on board and you’re persistent it’s more likely to happen for you. I’ve spoken to so many people who have taken “unconventional” routes into the industry, from costume design degrees to illustrating children’s books, a colleague of mine started in recruitment and is now doing great in production! Your first job in the industry doesn’t have to be your final one.
“For anyone looking for advice specifically about recruitment, I would say it is so important to find a company and a team where you feel supported. I feel incredibly lucky to have such a great team around me, which makes the hard days a little easier – having a supportive team around you is key.
“I’d also recommend looking at whether you would prefer agency or internal recruitment, I can hand on heart say that internal is my preference having done both, but that’s just my opinion.”