Driving Digital Transformation​ with Embedded Search and Talent Sourcing

Our client is the Technology division of a very well-known global consumer business. The Group is undergoing a major digital transformation, underpinning its ambitious international growth plans. A key focus is to develop world-class digital products and services across its marketplace and e-commerce platforms, in-store solutions, and internal and public app ecosystem.

Background & Scope 

To enable the digital transformation of the Group and to support its ambitious international growth plans, they knew they needed to hire the best talent in the market. When the company approached Armstrong Craven in mid-2022, it was facing several challenges with respect to attracting standout technology talent: 

  • Their brand is recognized globally but is not usually associated with technology and innovation 
  • The company’s Talent Acquisition function was understaffed and limited in its ability to proactively source passive talent 
  • They were working with a global search firm to fill certain executive roles, but the results were often mixed, and the associated costs would be prohibitive at scale
  • They were also working with a small number of locally-based RPOs, but the quality of candidates coming through was not meeting expectations, and these firms struggled to find talent beyond the company’s home country 
  • The roles they needed support with were at a senior/executive level, and they did not have the in-house search experience to manage the associated complexities within the required timeframes

The Need

The company wanted to test a different approach to sourcing experienced executive-level tech talent at scale. 

Due to the seniority of the talent in question, and the competitive nature of the markets they were looking to hire in, the company knew they could not rely on active candidates applying for advertised roles; many prospective candidates would need to be directly approached. Each candidate would have their own opinion of the organization and in many cases would need to be educated about our client’s vision and strategy; rarely would this be a simple ’move to a competitor’ career decision.

Our client needed to partner with experienced search consultants who would proactively engage with passive talent and hold detailed and bespoke conversations with individuals in order to convince them to enter a hiring process. They also needed a partner with the expertise and ability to act as true advisors, influencing and helping them to improve their internal hiring processes and further optimize the candidate experience.  

Our client selected Armstrong Craven on the basis that our tried and tested tech sourcing and search expertise would provide a solution that is: 

Scalable: The company’s ambitious growth plans required support that was also expected to grow over time 


  • Support would be needed from individual contributor level to C-suite 

  • Focus would be on sourcing, but some end-to-end recruiting was also expected

  • Due to expected spikes in hiring volume, access to additional resources at short notice and potentially for short periods of time was required 

International: Both our client’s team and operational footprint were expanding into new markets, so an ability to source in-demand tech talent in multiple locations and languages was required  

Research-driven: As well as gaining access to ready-now candidates, the company was looking for a partner that could deliver (a) insights and data from external talent markets and (b) pipelines for future hires and succession planning  

Proven: A track record of success on similarly challenging cross-border projects was requested as part of partner due diligence  

Cost-effective: Significant ROI and cost-savings vs. traditional search would need to be demonstrated in order for the partnership to be a success

This project is on track to save over EUR 750k in search fees in the program's first full year.

The Outcome 

Based on the company’s needs, Armstrong Craven implemented a “sourcing engine” approach that would involve dedicated sourcing specialists working exclusively for the client – in a fully embedded manner, and continuously identifying, approaching, assessing, and presenting qualified and available talent to the relevant stakeholders within the business. The program launched in Q4 2022. 

Initially, our team consisted of two dedicated sourcing specialists working alongside a project leader, who would meet weekly with the client to evaluate activity and progress. Our team was tasked with seeking talent for niche tech roles (primarily within Data, Product, Engineering) at the executive level (Director level to VP), and was focused almost exclusively on sourcing, with screened-in candidates being handed off to internal stakeholders for onward assessment. 

In early 2023, a third sourcing specialist was added to the team. Over time, our sourcers were taking increased ownership of more of the recruitment process, interfacing more frequently and directly with the C-level stakeholders. As a result, the role of some of our embedded resources officially changed to being that of a full-stack recruiter. Several months into the project, a fourth dedicated resource was added, with our embedded team at that point consisting of 3 full-stack recruiters and 1 sourcing specialist. 

Key Results:

  • Estimated cost-saving of EUR 685k versus executive search during the first 7 months of this partnership.
  • 21 hired  
  • 25 candidates offered  
  • 28 roles initiated  
  • 163 candidates interviewed  
  • 244 candidates submitted  
  • 582 candidates screened  
  • 2636 relevant candidates mapped 

Contact our team today to learn more about Armstrong Craven’s range of services, including talent sourcing, insights, mapping and pipelining.

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