Recruiting talent is harder than ever these days. There are so many people to choose from, but finding the people who fit your culture and have the correct skill set can be extremely time consuming. As Shahirzad Rafati pointed out in her Fortune article,
“Creating a successful business isn’t just about having a stand-out product, true success ultimately comes down to having a team of stellar people.”
At Spektrix, we firmly stand by this idea so we take hiring the right people and keeping them working for us very seriously. If you ask any of the 52 people working at Spektrix, you’ll know that our priority is finding people who are passionate about doing what’s best for the arts and our clients. Simple as that!
Our team comes to work knowing that what they’re doing is making an impact, and without that kind of passion, we wouldn’t be the company we are today. There are a couple of things we do during our recruitment process that help us to find great people, and they could be useful to any arts organisation, where passion and enthusiasm is key.
Find the right people
Spektrix is a growing company; we had 21 new team members join us in 2015 and 5 more since the beginning of this year already. When we’re looking to fill a role we spend a lot of time with the hiring manager to really understand what they are looking for, in terms of the person, their skills and ideally what kind of background they’d like them to come from. Whoever is hiring will know best what they need.
We use a lot of recruitment channels depending on the type of roles we’re looking to fill but one of our favourite ways of attracting great people is through our own network. Often we recruit for positions internally, either in a step up to a role with more responsibility, or a side step into something a bit different. We invest a lot of time and money into developing our team members, so it’s always really satisfying when we can help them progress in their own career as well as fill a gap in our team at the same time. If we decide to recruit from outside, the people who work for us are our biggest advocates.
The arts sector is a small one and current team members in an organisation will likely know of people on the search for new positions. Organisations should make sure to utilise those connections as much as they can. Most of our team come from an arts background, particularly our Support team, so they already have a network of people with similar passions to them.
When it comes to crunch time, our decision will go beyond just looking at their skills and background. If we have a choice between hiring someone who seems to have all the skills for the job (but isn’t that interested in the company), or someone who might need a little bit more training but is clearly enthusiastic about our mission and the arts sector, then it’s always better to go with the latter. Without passion and enthusiasm, you won’t be able to get the best out of a team member, because they won’t be happy. Someone who loves the business will always be striving to learn and improve as much as they can.
Remember to keep the rest of your team in the back of your mind as well. Always consider if a possible new employee would fit well with the dynamic of your current team or if they’re likely to ruffle some feathers. Happy people will always be more productive so if you add a new person to the mix that upsets everyone, be prepared for productivity to nose dive.
Being a great interviewer
We always try to remember that not only are we trying to look for the right person (and the right fit), but the candidate is also looking for the right job for them. Take the time to answer any questions they might have and make sure it’s the best move for them as well. There are a few things we do to make interviews as pain-free as possible for both the candidates and the interviewing team members.
- Make candidates feel at ease. Interviews can be really stressful for some people and you won’t get the best from them if they’re feeling worried or anxious. To help with this, we make sure to give them a warm welcome when they arrive; ask how their day is going, give them a cuppa and help them to chill out before the interview starts.
- Start with the easy stuff. We try and start with things the candidate will already know, like asking them to talk through their CV. This helps them relax into the conversation and warms them up for the tougher questions that come later in the interview. Never start with a problem-solving question. If a person starts off badly, they may not be able to recover and you may miss out on a real gem.
- Have a conversation, not an interrogation. We ask lots of open ended questions, giving the candidate time to answer. Don’t be afraid of silence and giving a candidate some thinking time. You won’t be doing yourself or the candidate any favours by feeding them the answers, just to fill the silence.
- Get to know them. Often interviewers can get bogged down in making sure someone is ticking all of the skills boxes and forget to get to know them as a person. At Spektrix, it’s really important for us to find out what they enjoy in their free time, be it performing in Am-Dram, going to the theatre or playing computer games.
Keeping them for the long term
Businesses often say finding good people is the easy part, keeping them is the hard part. Companies and their people are becoming more and more focused on progressing in their careers and working for a business that gives them the room to grow and develop than ever before. We believe that a manager should never be intimidated by their direct reports’ ambition and thirst to progress. In fact, they should see it as an opportunity for them to progress in their own careers. We encourage our junior staff to take on more and more, with their managers handing over challenging projects that they are able to take the lead on.
Sometimes mistakes are made, but we shouldn’t be afraid of them. This is how people learn and improve, and we’d much prefer people to make a mistake taking a risk and trying out something new, than not try at all.
Work-life balance is also really important to keeping our team members happy and staying with the company for a long time. At Spektrix, we encourage people to make use of our flexible working hours. Sometimes coming in a little earlier and leaving a bit earlier or the other way round can make a huge difference; to mums, dads, people who like to go to the gym in the morning or watch the next episode of Game of Thrones that couldn’t possibly wait until later. The key is flexibility. 9 to 5 is not when everyone is productive and we trust our team to know what works best for them.
Working from home is important for us too. During the tube strikes, if it was difficult for some team members to get to work, we lent them a laptop so they could work from home. We’d rather do this, than have someone sit on a bus for over 2 hours.
Your employees are your biggest assets. They are the heart of your business and can make it or break it. So choose them well and don’t forget to look after them.
If you’d interested in joining the Spektrix team, have a look at our careers page.