Overcoming Recruitment Challenges with Philip Morris International

Philip Morris International (PMI) is a multi-billion-dollar global organisation. The company has been undergoing a period of change to its core business, as it shifts from tobacco to pharmaceutical products. We played a crucial role in building out multiple complex and specialist functions.
Philip Morris International
Published on
June 2, 2023

Key Insights

About our Client

Philip Morris International (PMI) is a multi-billion-dollar organisation with a major focus on UK and Europe, its largest markets after the United States.

In recent years, the company has been undergoing a period of change to its core business, as it shifts from tobacco to pharmaceutical products.

The Challenge

PMI faced challenges in hiring a significant number of specialist and niche roles, including Cybersecurity, Artificial Intelligence / Machine Learning, Data Solutions, and Site Reliability Engineering (SRE).

The company spent nearly a year on many of these permanent opportunities without achieving successful outcomes.  

The extended recruitment process resulted in wasted resources, further delaying the fulfilment of these vital roles. This situation not only strained the hiring team but also created additional pressure on the business.

The Solution

Unlike many consultancies that primarily engage with internal recruitment teams as intermediaries, our approach at Broadlight is centred around forging direct partnerships with all stakeholders.

To achieve this, we invested considerable efforts in building trust and credibility with our client, Philip Morris International (PMI). As a result, PMI recognised our expertise and granted us a unique level of autonomy that meant we were able to act as an arm of the business.

Through our direct collaboration, we established ourselves as a 'critical friend,' providing invaluable support in shaping roles and navigating a competitive, complex market.  

Instead of relying solely on job descriptions, we engaged in comprehensive discussions to gain an in-depth understanding of PMI's talent requirements. This approach allowed us to act as a strategic partner, contributing to their overall talent acquisition efforts while aligning the needs of the business with market realities.

Part of that open dialogue involved us advocating for and recommending changes to PMI’s remote work-from-home policy. We were quick to recognise the increasing demand for flexible work arrangements and understood the importance of positioning PMI as an attractive employer.

Drawing on our expertise in talent acquisition, we recommended changes that better aligned PMI with market trends. We emphasised the benefits of flexible work arrangements and how they contribute to employee satisfaction, productivity, and recruitment success. This saw us work closely with PMI to shape their policy.

In addition to our advisory role, our team also took care of essential administrative tasks. This includes CV screening, coordinating, and scheduling interviews, and managing the logistics of the hiring process. By handling these  aspects, we free up time for the hiring managers, allowing them to focus on their core responsibilities.

The Results

Our collaborative approach and deep understanding of PMI's talent requirements resulted in significant business outcomes. We played a crucial role in building out multiple complex and specialist functions, including  Security Operations and Incident Response, Machine Learning (ML), Natural Language Processing (NLP), and more. Some positions had remained open for over a year without success.

By actively listening to the specific needs expressed by the senior team and going beyond the surface level of job descriptions, we were able to identify the key skills and qualifications required for these roles. Leveraging our expertise and market insights, we swiftly delivered a diverse range of highly qualified candidates who possessed the technical expertise necessary.

As a result of our targeted approach, the candidates we presented were well-matched to the requirements, often needing only a small selection to fulfil the roles. This efficient process saved a substantial amount of time for the hiring team and senior management, as they were able to make rapid and confident hiring decisions.

Overall, our ability to understand the technical nuances of each role and our expertise in navigating the market allowed us to deliver exceptional results. By filling long-standing vacancies with highly skilled candidates, we significantly contributed to PMI's operational capabilities, enabling them to successfully build out critical functions and advance their business objectives.  

We are excited to continue our journey together, unlocking new possibilities and propelling PMI toward even greater achievements.

The success of our talent acquisition support and strategic consulting services speaks volumes. Take a look at what candidates and hiring managers have to say about their experiences with us:

James supported me on many occasions with hiring needs in IT. He was always very helpful, honest and reliable. He helped us to hire a few difficult and niche roles and always ensured about a balanced and diverse shortlist. James always understood the role brief very well and the candidates he submitted were always well prepared. He always kept me updated, he is very professional and extremely knowledgeable. I would definitely recommend James as he is great at recruitment and I am looking forward to working with him on more IT roles at PMI.

Joanna Nabil
UK Head of Talent Acquisition, Philip Morris International

James helped me get my role at PMI and I found him to be very professional in his approach. He is honest, friendly and very detail oriented. He has the knack to identify the right skillset required for a role and match it to the right candidate. James communicates with the candidates and the employer throughout the hiring and onboarding process to ensure everything goes smoothly. I have also referred some friends to James and he has provided them the same high class service. James is one of the very select few recruiters that I admire and hold in high regard. I highly recommend him.

Kamran Zaidi
Manager InfoSec Cyber Defence, Philip Morris International

I've contracted for most of my career, so I'm used to recruitment firms getting in contact. Most though it is clear they've no idea what I do or what the client is actually looking for. James is not one of those people. Not only did he have a very good grasp of what the client was looking for, but he also understood how my skillset could fit. The combination of this and him taking the time to explain the size of the opportunity I knew I had to take the chance and apply, even though I'd not been looking to change at all. If I ever need to recruit or look to move in the future James is absolutely at the top of my list, couldn't recommend him highly enough.

Laura van Weegen
Business Data Architect, Philip Morris International


This is some text inside of a div block.
This is some text inside of a div block.
Tools Used
No items found.
Project Team
James Crouch
Senior Delivery Manager

Broadlight's partnership with Philip Morris International (PMI) transformed its talent acquisition strategy, overcoming recruitment challenges and filling niche roles with exceptional results.

LinkedInYouTubeIcon of meetup webpage