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Talent Leaders – Samuel Knight

January 29, 2024

Samuel is a lover of all things outdoors, things that go fast, and Golf!

He is the founder of Storm Talent & Head of Talent @ Reason.co

He has built 8 years scaling hyper-growth, Technology, SaaS & Data companies including Stealth Startups, Reason.co, DCX, Snowplow Analytics & more. Through this time he has built a specialism and expertise in hiring for Stealth / Seed / VC backed (Series A, B, C) Startups – $5m-$150m across
London, San Fransisco, Los Angeles.

Company: www.stormtalent.co.uk
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/samuel-knight/ 

What do you think is the key to being successful as a Talent leader in the current business environment?

Strategic Planning – Be diligent in your financial runway/ people forecast. Work closely with your hiring leaders to fully map requirements.

Ethical Leadership – If you claim to be a business that supports diversity, support it – no matter what!

Tooling – Do not be afraid of trying new tools and pushing boundaries – no matter how cutting edge your hiring stack, there are always new things/ ways of working that improve things.

Attitude and Motivation: Persistence and dedication to the little things that make a big difference to team, candidate, and stakeholder experience. Don’t forget what it was like starting out on your own journey.

As a Talent leader, what is your key advice for managing your teams and people?

Remember what it’s like starting out – the mistakes you made, the small things that make a big difference to how you operate today. How nervous you were picking up the phone – the first time you dealt with a difficult stakeholder……listen, engage, and guide!

I look to constantly preach the “It only takes one mentality” – Recruitment is super tough and its key to recognise that it only takes one good candidate to turn a campaign around. An important lesson taught to me in my early days – a lesson never forgotten that still motivates me today.

How has the role of a recruiter changed and what new skills do you think they need to possess and develop?

I have positioned my consultancy offering as an embedded solution to advise on wider areas than just Hiring.  While we’re able to provide an embedded service per month saving money on external agency fees – we can also provide strategic support including Hiring Plans, Stakeholder Interview Training, Salary Benchmarking, etc. – I think it is key to not be a one-trick pony.

With all the new tooling available – do not suffer “Analysis Paralysis” – don’t over analyse OR over complicate KPIs / Data – keep it simple.

Monitor the important stuff but don’t forget to stay structured and keep on truckin’

Be dynamic – don’t get stuck in a rut working in the same way for 12 months as ‘that has worked in the past’. There are new systems / tools being released all the time – TRY NEW THINGS, see what works and what doesn’t for YOU.

What do you think is the biggest challenge and biggest opportunity facing Talent and Recruitment?

Returning to the workplace – People have got so used to working remotely that some roles are tricky to fill if they are not offering hybrid/remote options. I do feel this is changing, but slowly.

The War for Talent – I recruit a lot in the US for stealth start-ups, the war for talent has never been as prominent with firms looking for such specific skillsets within a very small candidate pool.

Opportunity – Hiring Tech Stack – Tooling is so incredible now. I’m always trialing new tools and trying to increase my efficiency, even by 1%. Whether it be AI Notetaking, Candidate data, Investment Research, ATS efficiency – it’s all improved so much in the last few years…..Utilise this tech – don’t watch from the sidelines

What is the next stage of transformation for Talent Acquisition and Recruitment?

Human Augmentation – I have been working with an AI start-up in the US. They’re a group of young engineers from Stanford University who are leveraging LLM’s to train their AI sourcing tool – this almost acts as another member of your team. Through basic trial and error – you highlight 3x strong candidates and reject ones you do not wish to select (showing it what good looks like) – with the click of a few candidates, it will automatically profile strong candidates, saving you huge amounts of time sourcing ….this is bloody scary, but incredibly useful

RecruiterGPT – What a fantastic tool you can use to summarise interview notes, help conduct a search / build a search string. A lot of recruiters I speak to say they use AI, maybe to sound like they are keeping up with the times – but are you actually utilising the powerful tools that are available?

I’d really recommend testing new tools and testing what works for you.

How do you think external staffing solutions will partner and work with companies as we move forward?

Recruitment agencies have existed for a long time, for a reason. External partners can provide partnership/ relief during tough times. There will always be a need for a data-driven, shit-hot recruiter, equipped with the right market data, who can share examples of pre-made AI Driven searches, WHY ongoing projects are effective / not – and those who also implement efficient, cost-saving campaigns.

My sweet spot, is early-stage / stealth start-ups that don’t yet have internal teams.

Often, teams that are at Seed / Series A funding.

As part of our embedded consultancy, we provide hiring data and intelligence, salary benchmarking, demographic information, stakeholder interview training, etc. As mentioned, don’t be a one-trick pony – strengthen your value by coming equipped with data and utilising all the skills you have. This is a massive value add for teams and showcases your ability as a true talent professional.

Would you like to share any other opinions or thoughts about Talent acquisition and recruitment or the wider business world?

Talent Acquisition is my passion – You get to meet some incredible people, keep up to speed with an ever-changing landscape, and most importantly, learn.

Cherish your profession, don’t cut corners, be diligent in your operation and BE YOU!!

 

TA.guru’s Talent Leader Series seeks to share the view of leaders in the Talent space.

By sharing the thoughts and insights of these leaders will hopefully help the Talent industry as a whole as it explores new opportunities and faces new challenges.

If you are interested in participating please contact sean@ta.guru for more information.

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