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Jamie Lawrence


Insights Director

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Interview: Frédérique Scavennec, Global VP Talent Acquisition, L’Oreal


Who is Frédérique Scavennec?

Frédérique has been with global cosmetics company L’Oreal for over ten years, with the last two as Global VP.

She has spent more than 20 years working in HR, mainly in senior HR Director positions and covering all aspects of the function.

Frédérique holds a business degree from Ecole supérieure des Sciences commerciales d’Angers and a strategic HR MBA from HEC Paris. 

1) What are the major challenges of recruiting in an industry that is so incredibly fast-moving?

Our major challenges are probably the same as in other industries. Finding the right talent – the one with a unique character and the agility to go beyond and create new opportunities to lead the beauty industry. The challenge today is to find that talent all over the world, being as demanding from one country to another, and making sure the talent will fit L’Oréal and vice versa.

2) What steps do you take to ensure that new recruits suit the L’Oreal culture?

Induction is key at L’Oreal, because we are a fast-moving industry, because we have a strong oral-oriented culture and we love matrixes. To be successful induction needs to be personalised to suit individual profiles. This is coherent with our recruitment policy to hire individuals with a diverse range of personalities. A personalised approach is even more crucial in cases of “atypical,” “creative”, fresh graduates, experienced profiles or international profiles. Each individual has special features that we need to take into consideration when preparing his or her program to ensure a successful integration. Also, we have a special induction program for senior executives.

3) How does L’Oreal strike the balance right between recruiting externally and promoting from within?

In 2013 we hired more than 4000 managers for all our divisions and all our countries. Every year, we start new businesses, start new plants or research centers and we have to recruit externally to absorb our growth. Our priority is to promote internally and our HRDs are tasked with identifying internal talent and preparing succession plans. Of course, sometimes we don’t have a successor, we want to hire external competencies and we want to do things differently. Hiring a candidate externally might introduce a fresh perspective to the fold…

4) What do most multinationals do wrong when it comes to talent acquisition?

Recruiting for a multinational is complicated as you face so many types of businesses, so many cultures, so many different mindsets. The major mistakes would be to try and clone profiles or to think that everything that glitters is gold. The next challenge will probably be the relationship between companies and candidates expectations especially with Generation Y and Generation Z. We need to be very transparent about who we are and what we offer and showcase the “behind the scene” of our values.

5) What are the qualities you most value in new recruits at the moment e.g. resilience, adaptability, hard working?

We value people for their unique talent, set of competencies, and personality. We believe in individual entrepreneurship, that high employee engagement and networks are stronger than processes. We look for people with potential, who will contribute to L’Oréal’s growth and become the next generation of leaders. We search for diversity of mind, teams and ideas, which are an asset for our development. We need people who show adaptability when faced with emerging trends in the beauty market, changing and innovative business environments, and different cultures. We often need agile people.

6) How does L’Oreal define ‘talent?’

At L’Oreal we think each of us has a talent to reveal but not everyone has the ambition to be a CEO. We define talent as a high performer with the potential to take a key position, sharing our values of passion, innovation, entrepreneurial spirit, open-mindedness, excellence and responsibility and our ethical principles of integrity, respect, courage and transparency.

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Jamie Lawrence

Insights Director

Read more from Jamie Lawrence

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