Holly Williamson, Talent and Resourcing Consultant in the People and Services Team joined Edinburgh Napier in August 2021. Holly has a strong track record of attracting, identifying, and hiring individuals who have the potential to make a difference at Edinburgh Napier. Holly shares her career story in this Q&A

Did you always want to work in recruitment?

I always wanted to work with people, so I studied HR at the University of Strathclyde. I graduated in 2019 and had applied to study my PhD or my PGDE Secondary Education when Covid hit, which made me really reflect on what I wanted to do in my career. I was reluctant to start a career in teaching due to the uncertainty of the pandemic and wondered if this was really the route I wanted to take. I reflected on the work experience I had to date, before joining Edinburgh Napier I worked at Nationwide Building Society as a Member Relations Consultant. I was responsible for the final response to high level customer complaints and really enjoyed resolving challenging situations and helping people find a resolution that they were happy with. I also spoke with friends and family about their work experience and a close friend worked as an HR Assistant at Edinburgh Napier. On speaking to them I realised that having been interested in teaching as a career I was really interested in pursuing a career in an education/university setting and having studied HR, I was keen to put this into practical use. I also had transferable skills from my work experience at Nationwide so I was delighted when I secured the Talent & Recruitment Assistant role and joined Edinburgh Napier in August 2021.

What prompted you to join Edinburgh Napier?

Knowing someone who worked at the University already who could share what it was really like to work here – on both the good and the bad days was really helpful in assessing if this was somewhere I wanted to work. Going through the recruitment process also gave me an idea of what the University would be like as an employer - the thing that helped finalise my decision to join Edinburgh Napier was the open and honest discussion in my interview. The Talent & Recruitment function was looking to transform and improve its service offering and this was something I had strong experience in from my previous employment and something I was passionate about. Additionally, I recognised that, although change can be difficult and unsettling, there would be opportunities to shape the role and scope for career progression and development with this.

How did you secure your current role?

I was really enjoying the Talent & Recruitment Assistant role and more quickly than I expected a promoted post of Talent & Resourcing Consultant became available, I felt it was worth a shot so applied but was unfortunately not successful, which although disappointing was still a useful exercise for me and it helped me recognise the importance of not giving up and putting yourself out there. Through applying for this position, I was identified as someone looking to progress and this initiated discussions with my line manager on how I would get there. Within a few months, I was able to apply again and was delighted to be successfully appointed to the role.

Tell us a bit more about your role?

The best thing about my current role is knowing I’ve hired the right candidate in the right role. The hiring manager being delighted as well as the candidate. Another top one is connecting with someone on LinkedIn that you’ve hired and seeing them being promoted within - which confirms you’ve got the right candidate! It is a challenging role too, one of my biggest frustrations is when a candidate withdraws acceptance of an offer. In these situations, it’s so important to not put blame on yourself, as there are so many circumstances that can’t be prevented and are just outside of your control – being able to recognise that and start again can be difficult. Having a great team around me makes this easier as we are all there for each other to support each other through the challenges and celebrate our successes.

Have you faced any challenges in your career?

One of my biggest challenges personally has been doubting myself and my ability. As someone so early on in their career, it can be challenging to put an expectation on yourself and compare yourself to others. What I try to do now is when I find myself making comparisons with someone else I try to identify what I admire in them and then let them know this and if it is something I would like to develop in I might even ask them for help and advice.

What does the future hold?

I am passionate about career development and hope to study my PG Dip in Career Guidance & Development at Edinburgh Napier and see where that takes me in my career.

Away from work, what do you do in your free time?

I’m an active ‘Munro Bagger’ which means I enjoy hiking in extraordinarily beautiful places in Scotland to reach the summit of every Munro. Not only does it open an incredible opportunity to see Scotland, but it’s also an exceptionally rewarding experience that allows me to meet new people with totally different and new experiences and helps me discover my own limits and a chance to stretch myself beyond them. When I’m not up in the hills, you’ll find me spending time with my friends and my seven-month golden retriever pup, who likes to join in on many of my meetings on Microsoft Teams!


"Once you start appreciating the journey you have been on you’ll build confidence in yourself and this will help you get to where you want to be.”

Holly Williamson