“Don’t try and change yourself to what you may think the corporate norm is because there isn’t a corporate norm,” -Eve Bennett.
Hays Talent Acquisition Partner, Eve Bennett turned an internship into a full-time role while at university and now works for one of the largest recruitment companies in the world. Building upon her experiences and education, she optimised the opportunity by learning her role inside and out.
During our exclusive, the Hays stand-out is showing other Black professionals how to navigate their corporate journeys authentically, sharing her thoughts on cultural shifts and how companies can recruit and keep Black talent.
BYP: Tell us about your journey to your role and what skills you needed to acquire to get there.
Bennett: I started my career at Hays as an intern in 2019. I enjoyed it so much that I decided to return after I graduated. As an intern, I had more of an administrative role, supporting our internal recruitment team. An opportunity came up after I graduated to become a Talent Acquisition coordinator, moving through the ranks to become a Talent Acquisition Partner, which is my current role now.
I jumped at the opportunity to be part of the Talent Acquisition team, building on the skills I developed during my internship and as a coordinator. The role has given me greater opportunities to develop my communication, negotiation, and stakeholder management skills to suit my new role, always with the fantastic support from management and our in-house training.
BYP: In your opinion, what do companies need to do to harness Black talent?
Bennett: I think it’s always good to host as many events for people from minority backgrounds. We’ve collaborated with a number of events with BYP to say, “Look, we are here, and we would like to welcome as many people to our company as possible.”
BYP: What advice would you offer to others looking to follow a similar career path?
Bennett: My main advice would be to stay true to yourself. It’s very easy to try and create a perspective of someone else. That can be just how you look, such as your hair, especially for Black women. Go to the interviews with your curly hair or your locks, and stick to who you are throughout the selection process.
Don’t forget there are so many courses out there that are readily available to further your knowledge around the market, even just by searching through LinkedIn you can find a training course to upskill yourself.
Finally for people interested in following a similar career path to my own here at Hays, the great thing is you don’t have to come from a sales background, have any recruitment experience or even have a university-degree background, Hays considers everyone no matter their background.
BYP: Speaking of hair, did you feel like that was an issue for you early in your career?
Bennett: It wasn’t an issue at all. It was more within myself and what I thought the cultural norms were. It had nothing to do with Hays. I always felt that I needed to have straight hair to look corporate.
I grew up in a predominantly white school, and I always straightened my hair, and felt like I couldn’t wear it curly due to looking different. I damaged it pretty badly and I questioned how I would be perceived with my curly hair – was it ‘professional enough looking.’ Over the past couple of years, things have changed. We are seeing in social media there are so many things that hopefully will change the future for those from a Black background that weren’t available for me.
Want to learn more about Eve Bennett and other Black professional changemakers at Hays? Visit Hays’ employer profile on our BYP job board today.