We are excited to be launching our new mini blog series, Peer Insights, a coffee break destination for HR, L&OD, People Managers and Workplace Psychologists to share their experiences and predictions for the future of the industry.

First up, we chatted to Gemma Appleford, Senior Talent Acquisition Advisor, Early Careers, at IPG Mediabrands. Gemma, recently shortlisted as a Future Leader in the HR Excellence Awards, is heavily involved with MOTION, IPG Mediabrand’s Apprenticeship programme.

Peer Insights


You’re at the coffee machine making your mid-morning beverage. What’s your drink of choice?

A latte! Simple and smooth!

A new graduate walks over and introduces themselves. How would you build rapport with this person?

Ask them about their interests and what they’re up to. Informal chats are a great way to make other people feel relaxed. I also love helping others where I can (whether that’s related to my role or not), especially as there’s so much uncertainty at the moment. Casual chats can lead to great network contacts.

They ask you what your role is and what a typical day looks like in the life of Gemma Appleford?

Around 80% of my day consists of recruiting for Entry-Level roles across Mediabrands and Kinesso. This involves screening CVs, catching up with candidates, scheduling interviews and my favourite – making offers! It’s great to work with so many driven and ambitious applicants. It’s always nice to build a relationship with someone and help them to find a role that meets their expectations and interests. The other 20% of my day is project based. This includes creating supporting documents and improving our entry-level programmes such as our Apprenticeship and Intern Scheme.

What a coincidence! They would love to pursue a similar career to you and ask for a single piece of advice. What do you say?

If you’re wanting to move into Talent/Recruitment for the media industry, do your research. There are lots of different roles and teams combined with plenty of acronyms and jargon! It’s a fast-paced industry so gaining trust from Hiring Managers who want tasks turned around quickly is key.

They want to know what excites you the most about the future of talent acquisition?

Apprenticeships!! I completed an apprenticeship myself after dropping out of university and it has completely shaped my career. I had originally planned to pursue a career in media planning but decided to use my experience and expertise to help and support those wanting to start their career in media. Apprenticeships are under-valued. Not only are they funded by the government, but you learn so much and have incredible opportunities! You can also fast-track your career.

Your colleague returns to their desk and you’re left with a cooling latte. Reflecting on the conversation, what kind of person do you prefer working with in the office?

Someone who is supportive and collaborative. I also think it’s important to have friendships in the office as well as a professional relationship. I’m very lucky to say I work alongside some of my closest friends!


Have you heard about our Profile:Match2 tool?

Profile:Match2 provides a wide range of report options, and one of these, the PM2 Sifting Report, lends itself to screening candidates prior to interview – matching an individual’s profile with the specific skills and behaviours you’re looking to recruit.