Michael Hall made a name for himself in Northern tech circles as a public face of fintech firm DueCourse. But now he’s going back to his roots in the recruitment sector – and this could be an interesting development for tech firms in the region.
Hall has joined London-based Talentful, to oversee its expansion in the North from its new outpost in Manchester. Hiring the right staff for a high-growth business is tough. Talentful breaks from the traditional recruiter model by working more closely in with tech firms on an ongoing basis.
Rather than just hunting down new staff, Talentful advises on recruitment strategy. Perhaps hiring a few great people for higher salaries is more effective than hiring more at a average salaries, for example. “It’s about hiring at a strategy level, not an operational level,” Hall says. This can help firms get more out of their funding round by recruiting quality over quantity.
The company charges a subscription fee for working with tech firms on an ongoing basis. This, it says, works out as around 50 percent of a traditional recruitment agency’s fee. Firms it’s already worked with include Zopa, ClearScore, Trainline, and Amazon subsidiary Audible.
Quality over quantity
Having recruited staff for DueCourse (a startup that had to close recently, due, we’re told, to a structural issue) Hall understands how finding the right people can be particularly difficult outside London. Sure, there you might be able to find a software developer, but are they suited to the kind of working environment inside many high-pressure, high-growth startups?
“Getting the first few hires wrong can put your business in a difficult spot,” says Hall. He said getting the right people for DueCourse involved hiring from outside the local area, and that’s what he now wants to do at Talentful. “I want to be able to fly into somewhere like Berlin and recruit top-class people for Northern companies.”
It’s a common observation that Northern tech companies can sometimes be humble to a degree that harms their growth. It’s also a fact that the North needs to attract more tech talent from outside the region. It will be interesting to see if Talentful’s expansion here – its first move outside London – can help solve these problems.
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Martin, thank you for publishing. You’re right, at times it can be about quality over quantity, but the first step is to get CEO’s to put people before the product, set the people agenda at a strategy level. Asking themselves, where are the people and who are the people to do the best job possible to achieve success? I see many businesses big, and small making decisions internally and then saying, “right, let’s find the people to make it happen.” That question needs to be asked at the beginning, before raising funding, before a new product or service, before a tech stack is chosen, asking one’s self, firstly – Where are the best people? Two – do I have the right solution and processes in place to find, attract and develop the amazing people? If you don’t have the answers to the questions at the start, don’t start. Recruitment/hiring is such a high-value item in business, ask any CEO – what’s one of your one most significant challenges? I bet 70% will say hiring, but yet recruitment is given such a low-value reputation; therefore, a reactive solution is in place. We need to do more!
Good luck Mike – I’m sure you will ace it!