Katherine Baylis

HR Recruitment Advisor

What is your job title?

Human Resources Recruitment Advisor – McLaren Racing


Could you give us a summary of your job role?

My job is to attract and retain the best talent in the industry. F1 would be nothing without the hundreds of people who design, build and operate the cars and in my role, I hunt them down and then try to help make working for our team feel like just that – a team. In HR, we are responsible for the nice bits (like implementing change, driving engagement, rewarding those who go above and beyond) and the not so nice, (managing disciplinaries, absence, etc.). All of this helps shape our team and support those who have the potential to be great leaders, as well as help people learn and develop in their own careers.


What did you want to be growing up?

A forensic psychologist!


When did you know you wanted to work in motorsport?

I’ve always been competitive and interested in sport. Formula 1 was something my dad and I would watch every Sunday but it wasn’t until I had finished university that I thought about it as a career choice. In HR, we can work in any sector, but F1 satisfies that competitive side of me that other industries don’t!


What’s the best thing about your job?

Calling successful candidates to offer them a job!


What subjects/courses did you take?

English, Maths, Physics and Psychology.  Then Psychology at University.


Did you do any work experience?

My work experience was for KFC’s HR department. Completely different but gave me the opportunity to learn about what HR could do for a business. It was interesting to learn about how an organisation of that size functions and also just how important people are.


What’s been your biggest challenge?

Understanding the technical side of F1! To do my role successfully, I have to understand who does what and how. I interact with people from marketing, manufacturing, engineering and business support on a daily basis and I need to know what they do and how it impacts our track performance. I never thought I’d need to learn about electrical engineering – even at a very high level!


What’s the best thing you ever did to get you to where you are today?

Being a PA. It wasn’t what I wanted to do but when I left university, I needed a job and this one was available. I did it for 18 months and I learnt so much about how to interact with clients, with colleagues and how to manage pressure. All of these are transferable skills that I use on a daily basis now. I will never regret taking that role because it set me up for my career in HR and talent acquisition.


Do you have any words of inspiration to share with others wanting to do what you do?

Do whatever you can! Like I said, being a PA wasn’t what I wanted to do, but I learnt so much from doing it. Even if it’s not your dream job, all experience counts and if you allow yourself to make the most of an opportunity and view it as a positive, you’ll learn so much and it will help you later on.


Any other information you can share?

Be open to learn. As much as I’ve always been a fan of F1, I never fully understood just how many hours go into putting 2 cars on a track until I joined my team. HR hasn’t got a reputation as being a glamorous career, but I have the opportunity to interact with a hugely diverse group of people and learn about mechanical engineering as I go! I may never be the next Adrian Newey, but I am open to find out what makes people tick or what they need to be able to do their job to the best of their ability so you never know, I might hire the next one!

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