Talent Leaders – Joe Atkinson

May 8, 2024

Joe is the Founder of Purpl, a peer-to-peer learning platform for internal and embedded recruitment teams


What do you think is the key for businesses to be successful in recruitment and talent acquisition in the current business environment?

The industry is in an interesting position at the moment. Recruiting functions are expected to deliver better outcomes, such as improved candidate experience and quality of hire, while simultaneously having their budgets heavily cut.

Looking at the businesses that seem to be doing well at the moment, they generally fit the ‘do more with less’ trend we’re seeing.

One example would be Metaview. They’re helping recruiters make better hiring decisions with less effort through automation. I think finance teams need more than just ‘better hiring’ but also improved efficiency to be inclined to allocate some budget.

How has the role of a recruiter changed and what new skills do you think they need to possess and develop?

Data literacy is a big one for me. Vendors are offering talent functions the ability to recruit on facts not feelings, which is definitely a good thing, but it doesn’t mean you’re data-driven just by investing in a tool.

For example, a lot of the ATS providers now offer a wide range of reporting and visualisation functionality. At the minimum this is quite helpful for a function leader to understand where their team is at. But I think it becomes a lot more powerful when individual recruiters know how to take this data and apply it to their recruitment decisions such as pushing back with hiring managers or deciding on their sourcing strategy.

More generally in the last year or two it seems we’re more focused on hiring all-rounders vs specialists. Early stage companies are generally hiring a People & Talent Generalist over a Technical Sourcer.

I think anyone with a T-shaped skill set (one area of deep expertise mixed with several areas of competence) will be more in demand in the near future.

How important is strong recruiter enablement in ensuring individual, team and business success?

Very! From speaking to a number of start-up and scale-up talent leaders over the last couple of years, the level of hiring maturity can vary so much from org to org and generally there is little benchmark for what best practice is.

As such, I think there is a huge opportunity for companies who can build towards some best practice in their talent function to gain a real competitive advantage.

What do you think is the biggest challenge and biggest opportunity facing Talent and Recruitment?

The ability to accurately forecast hiring demand to try and avoid the boom and bust cycle of the last few years. And in the meantime, avoiding taking backward steps on how recruitment functions are viewed (and valued) in organisations while budgets are cut. If talent loses a seat at the table, getting headcount right can only be more difficult.

What is the biggest challenge being a founder in the Talent space and how have you tackled this?  

As I mentioned above, the environment is quite fluid right now, technological change (e.g AI) is high and teams and structures are being simultaneously disrupted by budget cuts. I think there is quite a high need to be agile to these changes right now, but that’s also a big opportunity.

Would you like to share any other opinions or thoughts about Talent acquisition and recruitment or the wider business world?

I think if everyone in the industry could spend a bit of time helping others we’d be in a better place.’s Talent Leader Series seeks to share the view of leaders in the Talent space.

By sharing the thoughts and insights of these leaders will hopefully help the Talent industry as a whole as it explores new opportunities and faces new challenges.

If you are interested in participating please contact for more information.

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