ISE Fellow interview: James Darley, Transform Society

Aug 11, 2022 | Careers, Sector & policy

We catch up with ISE Fellow James Darley, Founder and CEO of Transform Society.

Graduate recruitment stalwart James Darley recruited 10,000 graduates over the 15 years that he headed up recruitment at Teach First.

He has since proudly supported Frontline, Police Now, Think Ahead and Unlocked from their conception, sitting on their Boards and helping them get launched. James now leads Transform Society – the UK’s only specialist network promoting careers in public service.

We caught up with James to find out about how he has been supporting ISE in his role as an ISE Fellow.


1. What is your role as an ISE Fellow?

JD: “I suppose you could define us as wise old owls! ISE Fellows are professional recruiters who have given their career to the sector and achieved impressive results across the different stakeholders groups that make up our industry – employers, agencies, suppliers, universities etc.

“We are here to advice and support the ISE Board and make ourselves available at events and to members when our experience can be valuable to discussions.  It’s a huge privilege to be a Fellow and I am hugely proud to be one.


2. Why did you want to be an ISE Fellow? 

JD: “I have been a passionate supporter of the ISE (and AGR as it used to be called) my entire career. I was a director for a number of years in the early 2000s, as I have always appreciated and valued the knowledge, insights, connections and networking opportunities the ISE has provided.

“To be an effective recruiter you need to have all of these. The ISE has always been the place to come and to build one’s knowledge of the sector and discuss important issues pertinent to our industry.


3. How do you support ISE? 

JD: “I attend as many events as I can to network and share knowledge. This year’s Student Recruitment Conference was exceptional. It’s important to me that I engage and support this pinnacle event in the recruitment calendar. I am currently helping the Board with their upcoming strategy.

“I am lucky enough to support graduate programmes across 60 countries around the world, so am learning a lot about the aspirations and motivations of young people post Covid-19 and also the approaches that employers are adopting to adapt to these unchartered waters. I will be sharing that knowledge to help ensure the ISE stays relevant and topical over the coming seasons.”


4. What is your biggest ambition for the ISE and its future? 

JD: “That it not only continues to adapt and evolve based on market forces – just like it did brilliantly during Covid – but that it continues to be the beacon in the industry for talented recruiters to come together, learn and discuss important issues and have some fun getting to know fellow professionals.

“Personally I would love to see the ISE find more ways to inspire talent to grow their careers in the sector. Having completed 25 years now I can honestly say that I have loved every moment, made lifelong friends and had significant impact – what more could you want so that all those early in their careers stay?

“Finally I would love to see the ISE having more influence over government and policy makers as we have an important voice to listen to!”


5. What advice would you give to members?

JD: “Like everything in life – you get out what you put in, so my message to all members is to use the ISE, contribute, engage, challenge, network, learn and grow. The ISE is a leading light across professional associations so it’s worth using as much as you can!”

Read more about the careers of our fellows and members


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