Recruitment is crucial for entrepreneurs as first hires play key roles in driving the business forward and boosting growth. Wrong hires can cost companies time and money, which not all entrepreneurs can afford. We sat down with Sam Wall, Founder of SEAO Talent Partners, to learn more about her business and how recruitment can help startups and SMEs.
1. Hi Sam. Can you tell us a little more about your business and how you help entrepreneurs?
Hi – super nice to speak with you.
I am the founder of SEAO Talent Partners – a bespoke and agile recruitment business who use our in-house experience to partner businesses to grow through talent.
As an entrepreneur myself, I created SEAO to work with other business owners to create a unique and engaging client branded recruitment campaign in order to drive the very best candidates to their business. We don’t just look for roles to fill for fees (like traditional recruitment companies) – we look for businesses where we can add true business value by building and creating a long standing careers brand which attracts the right people now and for the future.
SEAO is a company’s in-house and virtual talent acquisition team. We pick up the phone as the company’s brand, the adverts have the company’s brand all the way through them, we manage the company’s careers inbox – and we use all social media channels to push the message far and wide.
2. Can you share an example of how you have helped a startup or young organisation implement a recruitment strategy? What can we learn from this?
We are already supporting startup and scaleup businesses. One of our current clients has a fragmented and remote workforce and is keen to bring talent together and grow over the next 12 months. This business had no careers presence before SEAO. The product which the business offers to clients is amazing, however candidates are unaware of them as an employer of choice. We have worked strategically with the COO to establish the USPs of the business to the candidate market. We have also used competitor analysis and benchmarking exercises to recommend values, behaviours, opportunities to engage with talent, salary banding and terms and conditions. We’ve created client owned suites of job descriptions, advert templates, careers images and videos, and have held one to one interviews with the current internal team to determine exactly what attracted them to the business and what is making them stay.
3. One of the services SEAO Talent Partners provide is headhunting. What key attraction methods can entrepreneurs implement to recruit new talent?
As experienced head hunters we use the individual business message to go out and source talent proactively. We will use social media campaigns, LinkedIn, job boards, CV searching tools and recommendations and referrals to source candidates for our clients. Again – this is the talent bank for the client – not SEAO – it’s all about the client.
Another service we offer is the provision of Assessment Centres. My previous life was as Head of Talent Acquisition for a large and successful business. Assessment Centres were extremely successful in gaining multiple candidates at once – allowing costs in both money and time to be reduced. This is extremely important in the start-up and scale up world (as we personally know from our own experience with SEAO).
We would advertise the roles for the Assessment Centre (should it be externally with volume roles, apprenticeships, graduates or a talent bank – or internally for development programmes) screen the candidates and then work with the business stakeholder to run the day, select the candidates, manage the candidate processes and onboard the successful person.
4. Alongside attracting talent, SEAO Talent Partners can help organisations host interview days. For entrepreneurs who are not in possession of an office, what suggestions do you have for locations to host interviews?
I would always recommend somewhere neutral and central for an assessment centre. So should a business not have an office location at that time – no problem at all. Hotels or conference centres can be ideal and somewhere highly accessible for individuals to get to and from.
5. Recruitment isn’t just about placing talent. It’s about sending the right message to candidates and retaining them. What advice do you have for new employers looking to develop a great work culture for their first hire?
Extremely important in any recruitment drive – particularly the first appointment – is cultural, behavioural and values based fit. Yes, skill is essential however some elements of skill can be trained. Behaviours and values cannot. Therefore a campaign to attract the ‘right fit’ is essential.
Hence the need for an advert to be just that – an advert – not a job description or a list of duties. It is important to ensure the advert shares the personality of the business and what it is like to work there. This will attract a certain type of individual who would thrive in that environment – they are the people you need.
6. You specialise both in graduate and apprenticeship recruitment. When considering whether to take on graduates or apprentices, what key factors should business owners take into account?
To build a business, where funds and capacity allow, succession planning is the way to do it. There needs to be enough people coming up through the business – who have room to grow and push the business forward with a new, fresh, innovative and different perspective. Apprenticeships and graduate schemes could be great initiatives to gain that talent. Apprentices ‘learn while they earn’, have the support to learn theoretically along with trying and testing in a live environment. They tend to be loyal. You are investing in them and they invest back with dedication.
Graduates on the other hand come already armed with the theory and have had the room to explore their chosen specialism in detail. Some already have a level of experience. Many have had to pay university fees so, are dedicated and committed to their chosen area and jump right into the work place with ambition and drive.
Both, in many cases, come without pre-learned habits. If nurtured and developed, their difference in approach could be simply enlightening for any business.
How can business owners get in touch with you?
SEAO Talent Partners support with all things recruitment from long-term strategy building, business branded full end to end recruitment solutions, assessment centres and outplacement.
For further details, contact Sam Wall (Founder and Recruitment Director) on 0191 2111570 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Want to learn more about recruitment within your business? SEAO Talent Partners will be present throughout Newcastle Startup Week and are sponsoring our ‘Day 1’ ‘Be More Pirate’ afterparty. Don’t forget to book your ticket today to attend.