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The Art of Scaling: The Role of Talent Acquisition in Tech Success

In Conversation with Nick Bartlett, CPO, nShift

Scaling a business involves many hurdles, with one of the most significant being the development of a strong team that grows alongside the company.

Talent acquisition plays a critical role in this process, becoming more crucial as a company expands and its culture shifts. Crafting successful talent acquisition strategies is essential, demanding a deep understanding of both the current and future needs of the business.

Nick Bartlett, Chief People Officer at nShift, offers his insights on tackling these challenges. With a wealth of experience in the tech industry, he emphasises the importance of creating robust internal talent teams that resonate with the company’s culture and values. For Nick, it’s about more than just filling vacancies; it’s about weaving new hires into the fabric of the company, enabling them to excel and push the company forward.

Nick also addresses the careful yet strategic incorporation of artificial intelligence (AI) in recruiting. While AI holds the potential for revolutionising talent acquisition, he underscores the need for a balanced approach that pairs technological innovation with human judgment. As the workplace evolves, it’s crucial to employ AI in ways that complement human skills, ensuring it enhances rather than replaces the human element in talent acquisition.


The Synergy of Culture and Strategy in Talent Acquisition

Nick highlights the crucial role of talent acquisition teams as extensions of a company’s culture and the importance of a deeper understanding of the product and business. He says, “The key thing is the talent team must be an extension of your culture. When a new talent acquisition team member is hired, the first thing they do is undertake product training. They go and spend some time with the engineering teams, as well as the sales teams. Ideally, they visit a customer site. They acquire knowledge from across all other parts of the business.” This view champions the idea that successful talent teams do more than fill positions. They also immerse new hires in the company’s ethos from the start.

Nick also points out the importance of strategic planning and relationship building in talent acquisition, especially during quieter times. He notes, “When you have downtime the talent acquisition team are doing a lot of work on things like pipelining, building and nurturing relationships in the market.” This strategy ensures that the talent acquisition team remains an integral part of the company’s strategic initiatives, actively contributing even during slower growth phases.


The Role of AI in Shaping Future Talent Acquisition

Nick offers a balanced view on using AI in recruitment, appreciating its help in keeping job descriptions relevant in the fast-paced tech industry. He states, “Where it has been used now is in the formulation of copy, we use it to sense check our language, not for any form of assessment.” This careful use of AI reflects a cautious optimism about its role in talent acquisition.

Looking ahead, Nick sees a bigger role for AI, especially in the initial screening stages, while also stressing the need to keep human elements in the recruitment process. He predicts, “I’d hate to take the human out of the recruitment, but I do see us not being too far away from AI being potentially involved in initial screenings.” This vision acknowledges the balance between using technology for efficiency and preserving the human touch that enriches the employee experience.

Nick’s thoughts on AI in talent acquisition also touch on potential biases and the importance of careful management. He points out the need for governance to avoid unintended biases. Yet, he also sees AI as a way to possibly reduce human bias in recruitment, suggesting a future where AI contributes to a more objective and efficient hiring process.


Adaptation and Learning: The Cornerstones of Scaling Success

Facing scaling challenges, Nick advises being brave and adaptable. He emphasises the importance of tough decisions for the organisation’s greater good, saying “there is a duty of care to the whole organisation, not only one individual or one team.” This principle is key in managing the complexities of growth and change.


Final Thoughts

Nick’s insights into talent acquisition reveal how culture, strategy, and technology come together to shape the future of hiring in growing tech companies.

By emphasising the role of internal talent teams, the cautious but optimistic use of AI, and the need for adaptability and strategic planning, Nick offers a practical blueprint for navigating the recruitment landscape in an ever-evolving sector.

As companies grow and technology becomes even more integrated into all aspects of talent acquisition, Nick’s perspective serves as a valuable guide for leveraging both human and technological resources to build resilient, culture-aligned teams.


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Interested in learning more about the Art of Scaling? Read our conversation with Alex Kerswill, VP Customer Success at One Click LCA who discusses how you can leverage customer success in tech start ups.