A Better Way To Hire

Meet Matt Halsey, the Founder of Create + Adapt.

Matt Halsey has two things on his mind: creating sustainable processes for hiring, and helping growing companies to adapt their mindset to match. As the founder of (the aptly named!) Create + Adapt, a strategy and employer branding studio based in London, Matt is generating a blueprint for a new kind of recruitment.

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“I was always creative in the way I went about finding and hiring people, and I love helping people realise their potential,” explains Matt, who has previously worked in-house across people, talent, resourcing and strategy. “When it comes to figuring out how companies find people, there’s no silver bullet, no one-size-fits-all”.

Putting Culture First

Create + Adapt always begin by considering your existing company culture, implement clean, simple processes, and follow this with comprehensive support as the team gets used to the changes. “Most people look at change as this heavy, long-term way of thinking. We believe that change can be simple. It can be something as basic as changing the way that you speak to your audience.” One of the first things that Matt does is examine how team members communicate with one another, which increasingly tends to be over several, often muddled, channels. For the purpose of hiring, he directs his clients to choose only one public-facing channel — be it Twitter or a dedicated landing page — which can be dedicated to hiring, and then to make sure that their messaging reflects this purpose.

How Traditional Hiring Processes Fail

Startups who find that growth is suddenly a priority often find themselves on the back-foot in terms of recruiting the best talent. Until now, fast-growing startups have had three main options:

  1. Hire or lease an in-house recruiter, who lives and breathes your brand. However, they’re likely to get bored quickly and/or head-hunted (the average in-house recruiter only spends 10 months at a company).
  2. Contract a recruitment agency or individual recruiter. This option comes with a commission that can be as much as 20%, but more importantly, they don’t help you to develop a sustainable recruitment process, and do little to promote your brand.
  3. Get internal people to do it on top of their existing jobs. This might feel like the ideal option, as it keeps things personal, but can take up as much as 50% of their time. It also means that people without knowledge or expertise are at the helm, usually without any specialist training.

A New Type Of Talent Search

Luckily, Create + Adapt have a better idea: “we want to create sustainable processes for start ups to grow from 5–10, 10–50, 50–100”. This year, they launched a monthly subscription service for companies with under 250 employees. “We’ll do everything for you. From talent processes to systems, to recruitment content channels. Instead of being an agency, we’re the virtual in-house talent team for those brands.”

Ask The Expert

If you are going to handle your hiring internally, here are some of Matt’s top tips for getting the process right every time:

  1. Don’t lie about the realities of the job; put your culture and values front and centre, but always be honest.
  2. Create demand. Find out where the specialists hang out (from LinkedIn groups to real-life events) and shout about your company. Tell your story.
  3. Simplify hiring, but make it rigorous: no one good wants an easy job. Ask interesting and challenging questions in interviews. Keep the process relevant and memorable.
  4. Find out what’s more important to your demographic. Is it title? Responsibility? Equity? Is this in line with what you’re offering? If you’re demanding a lot of your dream employee, narrow down your priorities for the role: what are the non-negotiables? Where can you meet them half way?
  5. Build scoring criteria, so you can remove bias from your decision. Though it may seem a bit stark, it’s important that you keep your process fair and agile. As an example: try removing education and company details from their CV…how would you rank their experience? Try to make sure that they meet several members of the team and collate everyone’s scores.

The Future Of Hiring

How do you know when you’ve got it right? As Matt says: “for me, the biggest examples of great culture and great hiring is where they empower their teams to be the best that they can be. You can see when a culture works: people have a sense of worth, a sense of a direction, and feel heard.”

CharlieHR is the HR software for small businesses. Building a company is hard, running one shouldn’t be. Find out more here.



Neo Sepulveda

Neo Sepulveda

Software engineer at CharlieHR 💻. I like climbing things quite a bit 🐒.


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