Interview with Debbie Cox, Recruitment & Development Manager, IKEA

Name:                                     Debbie Cox

Role within IKEA:              Recruitment & Competence Development Manager


IKEA FOOD manager Gateshead store & Wembley store; Assistant Store Manager Oslo, Norway; IKEA FOOD Country Manager Norway & Denmark; IKEA FOOD UK Competence Developer; numerous secondments and projects.

Debbie, you joined IKEA from being a foodcourt manager in 1994, how did you find the transition?

It was over 20 years ago now, but I remember it not being so easy. I”d come from a typically British hierarchical retail catering background where direction was created for me. Suddenly, I had to create my own direction. Once I got used to this, it was incredibly exciting, but I had to learn a thing or two about myself along the way. One thing I will say though…the people around me in IKEA were – and are – never less than welcoming, helpful and friendly. This is why I knew joining IKEA was the right thing for me.

How does your role of HR Manager at IKEA differ from your previous role?

I”d not done HR before joining IKEA, and I guess that speaks for itself! The opportunities to take your career in different, and unexpected, directions are very much alive in IKEA.

In your view, what are the key skills and qualities required for your role?

Influencing skills are key – the ability to get buy-in from colleagues is essential for success in IKEA as all leaders have a certain level of autonomy. Perseverence; things can take time in IKEA and you need to be able to stick with it. A strong identification with the IKEA culture & values – you have that, you’ll be able to achieve anything.

IKEA are known for recruiting the person rather than the CV, what makes someone stand out as a candidate for IKEA?

A fresh outlook. Open to ideas and contributing ideas – no matter how off the wall they may seem. A willingness to put themselves in new situations. Passion.

What advice would you give to candidates attending an interview at IKEA?

Be yourself.

What is the biggest challenge in your role at present?

Recruitment. I’ve only just taken this on as part of my role and not having a HR background, I know nothing about it. It’s probably only in IKEA where this is seen as a good thing! I guess I bring fresh eyes, a new perspective , and can challenge received wisdoms. We’re about to go in to expansion mode so there’s a lot of recruiting to do and it needs to be done differently than we’ve done it in the past.

What will your next role be within IKEA?

No idea! That’s the beauty of it. It could be anything. I’ve never had a career plan, but just walked through the doors as they opened!

And finally, what is the best thing about working for IKEA?

The fast pace, the freedom to set your own agenda, the space to be who you are.
To read more about opportunities to join the HR team at IKEA, click here


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