The Pilot in Command for a Scaleup’s Flight: Head of Talent Acquisition.

Feb 22 - 2022 | 4 min read

As capital continues to flow in, most digital tech scaleups today aspire to cast their nets far and wide. Fundraising rounds accelerate not just product capabilities, but also call for replicating growth to newer markets. Hiring plans are often hugely ambitious, and the biggest challenge in the quest for internationalisation is expanding the technology teams remotely – across engineering, developers, product design, customer experience, and so on. This involves infusing digitisation into every function.

The immediate aim is hyper-growth, but the long-term vision is a stable, sustainable, mature organisation. The bridge between the two is a long one, full of transitions, and it can be a massive transformation journey to embark on. So whom should you enlist as your driver?

The single most important hire a company can make in this case is a ‘best-in-class’ Global Head of Talent Acquisition. Sounds fairly straightforward, but hiring the right TA leader can be quite challenging. Why?

Unprecedented Demand: It’s a HOT Market!

The TA talent market in Europe is overheated, and there is significant market churn. As the skillsets required are vastly similar, most candidates are flooded with offers, are in active interview processes, or are being promoted in-house. As such, engaging the best can be hard and largely depends on how well your mission and growth story resonates with this talent pool.

Low Supply: It’s LONELY at the Top!

There are only so many TA leaders who will tick all the boxes in the scorecard:

  • Hyper-growth scaleup experience
  • Technical recruitment leadership
  • Multi-regional experience hiring and managing remote teams
  • Leading strategic direction within the TA function
  • Creating a high performing recruitment organisation
  • Setting up recruitment processes and systems
  • Tracking recruitment metrics and input goals on D&I
  • Employer branding specialist – often the TA position actually lacks direct oversight of employer branding!
  • Experience working on an automated recruitment tech stack

Phew! The list is never-ending.

To navigate this complexity, it's vital to understand the three types of TA leaders in the market.

  1. Operational talent at hyper-growth scaleups.

    They bring significant experience in technical hiring and improving and implementing scalable hiring processes, tools, analytics, and systems. However, these TA leaders at both C and C-1 levels might lack significant team management experience and strategic capabilities.

  2. Strategic leader and partner to the leadership team.

    They have immense experience in building a top-tier recruitment role, gravitas to present results to the Board and are a true strategic sparring partner to the LT. But you might be faced with question marks around agility and how hands-on this leader is.

  3. The energetic hustler is what a scaleup often needs!

    These leaders are agile when it comes to results, learning, and change – they are equipped to effectively manage transitions as the organisation goes through different growth phases. They not only understand strategic organisational issues but are adept at influencing key leaders and stakeholders, can lead alignment, get everyone to agree on priorities, and ensure quick decision-making.

They have been in the trenches and seen organisations grow and scale. They thrive in high-velocity environments with limited structure and resources – and bring structure in while building a solid workforce plan. They are highly data-driven, have led operational transformation, and are excellent at tracking recruitment KPIs, reducing the time to hire, and driving D&I.

Most importantly, they know how to build and grow talent hubs in difficult, under-penetrated and underdeveloped markets across the globe. They act as an advisor and business partner to ensure the organisation takes flight, help build a mature establishment with strong roots, and smoothly land a giant institution on the world map.

Can we help you find the right pilot?

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