Five minutes with Ethan O’Connell, Internal Talent Acquisition Advisor

5 Minutes With Our Talent Acquisition Advisor

Recruiting for SEA is not a simple task. With a huge variety of professionals with different skillsets and who specialise in a range of different industries, we need to reach a wide spectrum of audiences with our vacancies. Despite its complexity, this challenge is crucial to the continuing development of the business, which is why we have specialists such as Ethan O’Connell to search out and engage with talented individuals who are suited to our many exciting positions. 

With recruitment in full flow across SEA, we thought it would be a good idea to take five minutes out with Ethan to find out more about his crucial role as our Internal Talent Acquisition Advisor.  


Kicking things off, could you tell us a bit more about your role at SEA please Ethan? 

Of course! I work in the Talent Acquisition team at SEA that was formed to support the rapid growth of the company. We’re a dedicated team responsible for filling the variety of new roles across the company, whether it be in engineering, finance, intelligent transport systems, manufacturing, catering or other departments. 

We work closely with the hiring managers of each area of the business to ensure that we can find the right candidate for each job; those that will fulfil their role to the highest level but also feel at home at SEA and continue to work with us for years to come.  

As talent acquisition experts, we're also here to advise our colleagues. That might be helping them to rethink exactly the kind of candidate we're looking for or how we go about attracting the talent we want. It can also be supporting with the interview process to make it as efficient and smooth as possible.  


How does the talent acquisition team underpin and enable the growth of SEA? 

In order to sustain and drive our growth, we need skilled employees who are dedicated to our long-term project and fit the mould of our company. To help us do this, we’ve implemented an applicant tracking system (ATS) that provides a platform to help manage the recruitment process and ensure the operation runs smoothly. 

With this system, our admin heavy tasks will be taken care of at a push of a button and hiring managers find it much easier to go into the system and keep a close eye on the role that they're hiring for.  

This system (and our team, of course) makes for a more efficient and mature recruitment function that will be vital to enable sustainable growth for SEA.  


At an innovative manufacturing company like SEA, what does the talent acquisition strategy look like? 

I’d say our talent acquisition strategy at SEA is not dissimilar to other companies, but it is so crucial here because of the nature of the work that we do.  

Our overarching aim is to bring in highly skilled individuals that will be committed to us and work at SEA in the long term, so we're certainly not looking for quick fills. 

We want to build a team of people that are going to be with us for a long period of time which means we’re also on the lookout for young applicants that can learn and progress through the ranks. We have a specialist Emerging Talent lead to develop and oversee our Apprenticeship and Graduate programmes, and our placement and work experience opportunities. Some vacancies have resulted from employees retiring after 25+ years of service, so it’s important that we find replacements that are equally as dedicated to their jobs.  

This all starts with finding the right candidate for the right role, making it so important that we communicate the opportunity to them clearly, showcasing the mission and ethos of SEA and ensuring the job on offer is something that they're interested in and that they can get excited about.  

And as a business proudly based in the South-West of England, regional recruitment is also a big focus of our strategy. We want to help boost the local economy around us by reaching out to talented individuals in the regional and across the country, encouraging them to ply their trade in the heart of the South-West. 


And finally, what kind of skills and criteria do you look for when recruiting for SEA?  

Of course, each role that we recruit for has its own requirements and expertise, whether it be accounting, manufacturing, engineering or even recruiting! But, across the board, we look for a good a fit for the culture of SEA.  

Transparency and integrity are two important values that we look for, essential at a large manufacturer working on high-tech government projects, and we really look for team members who aren't afraid to make mistakes, are willing to think outside the box and are confident in expressing themselves.  

On the other side of the coin, with the majority of our vacancies involved in defence and security, we seek the skills of ex-service personnel who have invaluable experience working at the forefront of the industry and can benefit SEA with their operational insight. 


If you’d like to learn more about Careers at SEA, please contact us.