Lisa Farthing - HR Consultant and Company Director

Name: Lisa Farthing

CIPD membership: Chartered Member

Current job title: HR Consultant and Company Director

Current employer: Human Capital Squared

Location: Greater London

Employment status: Self-employed

Previous role: Head of Talent Acquisition


What was your previous role?

Head of Talent Acquisition, EMEA at Juniper Networks


Why did you decide to move into your current role/field?

I had been contemplating how to achieve more meaning and flexibility in my career. After attending a CIPD seminar titled “Steering Your Career through difficult times” it gave me stimulus to start thinking about what I wanted to do and how to move my career forward. I developed a plan with some key objectives and milestones and through this process, started discussing my ideas with an ex-colleague. We saw the opportunity of forming an HR Consultancy partnership, having recognised there would be value in working together to build the business. We have complimentary skills and we also enjoy working together to develop ideas.


What transferable skills did you identify would be useful in your new role?

Good networking and communication skills are essential. Being a good listener and able to understand the business needs and then translate these into practical solutions that fit with the overall strategic goals is essential. Resilience and determination to persevere or adapt to evolving situations are also key skills.


What did you focus on to sell yourself during the application process rather than experience?

Understanding who the target customers are and how we could meet their needs was an important area to focus on. Reaching out to our current network as well as forming new alliances, discussing areas of mutual interest is a good way to develop business opportunities.


What went well during the transition?

It is still early days, but having some good project success that we can reference is helpful.


What role did continuing professional development (CPD) play in your transition?

Being able to continue to develop professionally is a key part of my decision to transition to a self-employed career. It has provided more flexibility in my time allowing me to progress with self-development, attending courses and seminars in areas where I want to progress with a deeper level of expertise.


How has the CIPD and continuing professional development (CPD) supported you during and after your career transition?

It is important to keep up to date with current and evolving HR practice and employment law, so using the CIPD central and branch resources have been very important to me in this transition process.


If you had your time again, would you do anything differently? Is yes, what would you do differently?

The biggest challenge has been to convert prospective clients into live projects. If I had my time again, I would endeavour to have a couple of confirmed projects with approved budgets, before making the move to self-employed status.


What are your top 5 tips for someone who is currently working in a full time employed role and wants to move into being self-employed as you have?

  1. Ensure that you are really prepared for a different way of working and that financially you have planned for a more irregular pattern of income.

  2. Don’t under-estimate the value of having a good network.

  3. Research your target customer/market as thoroughly as possible.

  4. Find yourself a mentor who has successfully made this transition and will be a good sounding board.

  5. Don’t be afraid to take risks, but be willing to adapt and change approach if needed.
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