NZ Young Gun: Susannah Leydon-Davis

Ask Susannah Leydon-Davis about the future of the recruitment industry and she will point towards using the latest tech to better match people to jobs they’ll love.

She will also point out that that future is already becoming a reality in her workplace, where the traditions of typical recruitment processes are being challenged for the better.

And now, with the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, that future is rapidly evolving and looks very different to the recruitment challenges of just a few months ago.

The Head of Recruitment Experience (Head of RX) across Agoge and recruitment platform start-up coHired, Hamilton-based Susannah was recently described by a colleague as someone who is “pulling traditional recruitment apart and reinventing how to find great people faster and easier”.

While she’s quick to point out that it’s a team effort, Susannah is at the forefront of a brave new world where science and technology plays a major role in recruitment.

“At Agoge and coHired, we are constantly reviewing and challenging the traditional journey of the whole recruitment process, from sourcing through to interviews to placements, to get the balance of a great experience right for the jobseekers and hiring managers… both of today and tomorrow,” she says.

And now that that ”tomorrow” looks a little different, Susannah says that supporting businesses to get people back into work, as fast as possible, is hugely important for both hiring managers and jobseekers.

“We’ve built our own recruitment platform that uses technology, with the latest AI and organisational science, to predict whether a jobseeker will love the job,” she says.

“With additional features like match and rank, and online reference checks on platform, coHired makes it faster and easier for hiring managers to find great staff… whilst being driven to ensure the use of tech doesn’t take away from the importance of human interaction in the recruitment process.

“We are always looking at the jobseeker process to bring greater value to them too…including understanding the jobseeker on a greater level than a CV on paper allows.”

Susannah’s time in recruitment began in 2012 when she applied for a job at Agoge while she was studying for her Bachelor of Management Studies, majoring in strategic management and marketing, at the University of Waikato.

She says the company’s vision “People Matter  Do Good” fits perfectly with her own philosophy.

“The ‘people matter’ focus of our company is pretty significant for me.

“We see it lived every day through our team where, as a vision, it’s so much more than writing on the wall.

“To me, it’s remembering that it’s always people at the other end… whether that’s a client or a jobseeker we see and value each of them as individuals with unique lives and stories. And in such challenging times like these, this love and care for people has never been so important.”

Agoge is a social business where the “do good” component of their vision sees them further contributing to their people and communities locally and worldwide.

“Hearing the stories of the impact we are having on people every day and the team I have around me gets me up each morning and loving the recruitment world,” Susannah says.

“It’s pretty special to be part of the greater story and also the creative approach of our business.”

If Susannah’s name sounds familiar, it might be because you saw her on the TV during the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, where she represented New Zealand in the badminton competition.

A member of the national badminton team since 2013, she and her brother Oliver have been a highly-successful mixed doubles pairing, competing in the 2013 and 2014 World Championships, winning the Oceania Mixed Doubles Championships in 2014, and also competing at the Commonwealth Games competition in Glasgow the same year.

From her time as an international badminton player, Susannah says that a real passion and love for what you’re doing makes having resilience a lot easier when faced with a big goal or challenge; an approach which has helped her in her recruitment career to date.

“My brother and I spent a lot of time travelling the world competing together, which for any athlete has its great highlights and its lows too.

“When you are on the other side of world and you’ve won a big game or perhaps you don’t perform how you’d hoped, you need to bounce back pretty quickly to be ready for the next match.

“Recruitment has its rewarding days and it’s challenges too. And my sporting experience has taught me how to work with those times – how to be okay with the unexpected things, celebrate them or learn from them, and to keep driving towards the next challenge.”

And she says her recruiting work has also helped her appreciate people in the sporting sphere as individuals with unique stories.

“You meet so many unique people in recruitment and you really appreciate them for this. And it is similar in sport.

“You learn there is no one solution or approach for all – whether that’s a job they’ll love, or a strategy to win a big sporting game. People are individuals and, it’s awesome to make a difference at a company with a genuine care and love for people.”

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