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ISMS.online | employer testimonial 2022

We catch up with Mark Darby, Chief Executive at ISMS.online about his experience of working with Learning People to source their techtalent…


Why did ISMS.online start using Learning People for their recruitment?

As a fast growth scale up, we had a plan to go from 12 staff to circa 100 in just a few years. Therefore recruitment was going to be a massive challenge, especially during Covid and post Covid times.  

We’d hired some people very successfully in the traditional channels, although others were let go as they were just not the right fit for our ambitious plans.  Whilst some people love the idea of being in a scale up and moving fast, the practical realities of working hard, people, systems and processes changing regularly to cater for growth and dealing with uncertainty on a daily basis is just not for everyone.  

We’d heard very positive things about the management team and calibre of the students coming through Learning People (LP).  Having hired one person from LP last year, I set out to determine whether that was a fluke or could be repeated on a regular basis.

Over 10% of our current 70 person workforce are now LP alumni and all hires are fitting in well with our cultural norms.  All of them, without exception, have that key characteristic of working hard, improving self and others for personal and organisational benefit. 

Knowing that these candidates are self-investing to change their life for the better, rather than wait for others to do it for them (or having no ambition for self development) helps them and LP stand out from others. 

It’s easy to tell a good story on personal development in an interview but LP candidates walk the talk. With the courses on offer from LP, along with the pastoral care your team offers, we get career changers that can start to make a difference more quickly than other hires too.  




Did Learning People understand your recruitment needs?

The team at Learning People were all keen to understand our goals, explore the workplace culture, assess fit for different types of the students etc so we could target the right candidates quickly and easily.  We discussed the challenges and opportunities of remote working staff to also give us a wider pool of talent given the international breadth of LP.


How different has it been working with Learning People to your usual recruitment channels?

LP are atypical to the normal hiring and recruitment model of either using online portals or expensive recruitment firms that offer much but generally deliver little understanding of the people put forward and their fit for the roles.  LP are not then taking away our other talent to promote them into other firms in that vicious circle of recruitment life…

As discussed above too, LP can only put forward candidates that have been on that personal development journey and set out to improve their life.  That helps us avoid the noise and waste of time spent sifting through CVs and interviews which go nowhere but are very costly to consider as you want to give everyone the benefit of the doubt in their initial application.


What were the top 3 skills/behaviours you were looking for in the successful candidates?

  • Self-drive, hard working and an ambition to be part of something better
  • Communication skills – verbal, written, single, team, especially in remote working situations for customers and colleagues relationship management
  • Technical or business skills (depending on role) to help ease integration into the complex world of cyber, privacy and information security management 


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Was it helpful being able to interview Learning Students while they studied and before they were actively interviewing with other organisations?

Yes, because we are building our own production line to meet the growth needs of the scale up.  That has helped the candidates with their next role, and also helped us coordinate and plan well too.  Simon Oye is a good example.  We were introduced to him late last year as he was training up on some new areas.  We’d stayed in touch and he joined us once his exams were completed and he was ready to focus his attention on the new role.


What has the best part of working with Learning People been for your recruitment?

A common purpose without conflict for Learning People, the student and for us with no material waste or noise in our recruitment efforts. 


What would you say to other companies thinking about using Learning People for their recruitment?

If you are looking for pre-qualified talent that has got a hunger to keep developing themselves whilst delivering your organisational objectives, Learning People is a great place to start.  And you won’t want to go anywhere else afterwards.