Preview Mode Links will not work in preview mode

Aug 22, 2022

Hello London! We are live! And we are thrilled to welcome you to this Talk Talent To Me special edition: the Nightclub Rave Recruiting podcast. Joining us today at the magnificent Steel Yard nightclub is the Director of Talent at MasterCard, Sam Sparks. We take a look at Sam’s professional background and how she ended up at MasterCard, before diving into the complexities of acquiring a business, from a TA perspective. Our panelist gives us the makeup of her recruitment team while letting us know how she is able to ensure that they are getting involved with their clients and candidates. Sam prefers to silently observe interviews and meetings, and she lets us know what she wants to hear from her team in those situations. You’ll learn about cross-department partnerships, what it’s like to hire as a globally recognized organization, understanding what a candidate wants, the pros and cons of building a recruitment management team, and the importance of social media for big corporations. After getting an idea of Sam’s future career prospects, Rob steps into the audience to give them the chance to ask our guest a few questions. The impromptu interviews help us understand Sam’s views on how TA will evolve in the near future, the best ways to assess the technical skills of candidates, and how you can build a company culture in a remote-work world. 


Key Points From This Episode:

  • Welcoming our guest, Sam Sparks, and some thoughts on today’s nightclub venue. 
  • A look at Sam’s professional background and how she ended up at MasterCard. 
  • Understanding the complexities of acquiring a business, from a TA perspective. 
  • What her team looks like: hiring managers and heads of departments. 
  • How the other recruiters on her team go about their business. 
  • What Sam is on the lookout for when observing meetings and interviews. 
  • The other departments that she partners with to make sure that hers is not the last to know.
  • Whether it’s a good thing that most prospective candidates already know MasterCard.
  • Understanding what candidates want and how to offer it to them. 
  • Localized marketing and building a recruitment marketing team. 
  • If it is important to have a specialized local marketer on the recruitment team: Sam thinks not. 
  • Why it’s important for big corporations to make good use of social media. 
  • Sam’s future career prospects. 
  • Rob goes into the audience to take some of their questions.
  • How Sam sees TA evolving over the next two years. 
  • The best way to assess the technical skills of candidates. 
  • How to build a company culture in a remote-work world. 
  • Whether it’s possible to make TAs a business critical at the decision-making table, and how.




“Agencies are very salesy and I love the interaction with people, but I hated the KPIs.” —Sam Sparks [0:04:46]


“In order to truly sell what the team does, what the growth potential is, what the experience they can get being a part of that team, you really need to live and breathe it. I really encourage my teams to do that.” —Sam Sparks [0:08:13]


“It's empowering my team to be able to have the confidence to push back, ask those questions, and manage those conversations. You have to do that in partnership with HR, rightly or wrongly, because these conversations are important.” —Sam Sparks [0:11:08]


“What we're seeing in the economy now, MasterCard as a brand is not enough. It's all well and good working for a great brand, but you need more than that now.” —Sam Sparks [0:13:53]


“I'm a firm believer in thinking outside of the box. I think sometimes recruitment can be so boring, and we don't make the most of what we can do.” —Sam Sparks [0:18:28]


“That's the problem we had with our global approach to content. It was very professional. It was quite stilted. There was not a lot of personality coming through. It seemed too fake. It didn't really resonate. It didn't represent what we are in Europe.” —Sam Sparks [0:019:49]


“We're trying to do a bit more and push the boundaries a bit. I'm a bit of a maverick. I like to do stuff and just annoy my manager and say that we should do it” —Sam Sparks [0:20:33]


“I mean, she loves me now. She probably secretly hates me, but she knows I'm like a dog with a bone. I just won't give up. I think you have to be a bit like that.” —Sam Sparks [0:32:49]


Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:


Sam Sparks on LinkedIn


The Steel Yard





Talk Talent to Me