Our Service

Talent Point take ownership of your organisation’s IT hiring. We provide Recruitment Process Management software through which positions and reports are coordinated; we design job specifications, recruitment campaigns and hiring processes; and we guarantee delivery of applicants, all of which we do for the same fee as a recruitment agency charges. We also represent a number of PE and VC firms for whom we conduct due diligence and performance reviews then map entire IT department structures in line with business growth targets.

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Vacancy Management

Rather than an outside-looking in third party, your hiring goals are also our hiring goals. We minimise the time you spend looking at CVs and doing interviews by eliminating unsuitable applicants using mutually agreed criteria.

  • A unique job specification for every campaign

  • Three applicant profiles per-campaign and a report detailing any talented individuals not selected

  • Three interviews per-campaign

  • A guarantee that positions will be filled

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Resources

To keep recruitment campaigns on track – and to make them completely visible – we provide simple to use, web-based software to all customers as the backbone of their new hiring process. We assign a dedicated Account Manager to oversee all hiring activity, spend at least one day each week on site and report on the results of our Research Team’s extensive coverage.

  • Applicant tracking and reporting software

  • Dedicated Account Manager

  • Research teams structured by technical specialism

  • Branded advertising across all major internet job boards and trade publications

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Process Design

For growing organisations, recruitment processes tend to evolve organically until such a time as centralised control becomes either affordable or necessary. The result is resistance to change from hiring managers accustomed to complete autonomy and the cost of appointing an internal recruiter. By planning and implementing hiring processes on engagement without charging a fee, Talent Point lay the foundations for seamless future hiring.

  • A template for engaging, informative job specifications

  • A clear set of steps for signoff, research, selection and interview

  • Software that makes following processes child’s play

  • An employer brand story and message that applicants cannot ignore

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Supplier Management

Where recruitment agencies are already being used Talent Point can maintain these relationships on behalf of your firm, widening our coverage to include preferred recruiters for specialist or non-standard vacancies.

  • A single supplier and invoice no matter who introduces applicants

  • A single point of contact who knows your business backwards

  • Reassurance that vacancies will always be filled

  • Long term supplier relationships maintained

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Cost

“Added value” may be a cliché, but by keeping our fees identical to those of a recruitment agency this is exactly what Talent Point delivers. Rather than hundreds of companies we barely know, our time is invested in a small number of customers with whom we have extremely close, contractual relationships. The result is far greater resources with absolutely no increase in cost.

  • A 15% fee when you hire a member of staff we have introduced

  • A 15% margin when you hire a contractor we have introduced

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Due Diligence

Where technology is critical to growth, Talent Point can deploy interviewing and research to report on what needs to change. Our research helps PEs, VCs and trade buyers make sound investment decisions around IT-centric businesses. Typically we provide structured reports containing in-depth analysis of the following:

  • Senior IT staff and structure

  • Key IT goals linked to business goals

  • Validity of current approach

  • People requirements for growth

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Department Mapping

Once investment has occurred we determine a department structure and hiring plan geared to realise specific growth targets. We consider what the market can support to produce the most efficient IT department possible.

  • Targeted CTO or CIO Search

  • Appraisal of technology and salary for all key IT positions

  • Advice on technology selection and methodologies

  • Design of multiple people structures based on business objectives

  • Department implementation alongside CTO and department leaders

What Happens?

Talent Point redefines, standardises and informs the way you source, select and appoint IT staff. To set up and operate our service we follow a simple, five-step process embedded in the web-based, Recruitment Process Management software we supply, free of charge, to all our customers. See below for a detailed walkthough.

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Research

We find out how you recruit now and the results this approach has yielded in terms of meeting business goals

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Create

We define and document a recruitment process and employer brand that your hiring managers and future employees can all buy into

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Plan

Through salary, skills and competitor surveys we edit jobspecs and design campaigns that result in the right long term hire

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Campaign

Our multi-channel sourcing casts a wide net but at the same time controls the way your company is represented and marketed

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Deliver

We absorb screening activity to deliver three applicants alongside a “piece of mind” report detailing all borderline rejections

The Difference

How much time do recruiters invest in sourcing and screening for vacancies they will never make a fee from? How much of their day is dedicated to scatter-gun business development? Having interviewed thousands of Consultants since 2001 we think the average percentage of daily activity that directly benefits a customer is about 2%. Which is a lot of wasted work.
Imagine if, rather than cold calling, sending CVs into a black hole or hard-selling applicants, that 98% of a recruiter’s time could be harnessed to provide screening, research, branding and management activity on behalf of your organisation.
So it’s simple (or rather, it isn’t because working out how to do this took us years): by retraining and repositioning our staff to actually understand IT, business and HR, and by forming close, contractual relationships with a select group of customers, Talent Point are able to take on far more of your hiring process for the same fee as a traditional recruiter charges.

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The Software

Talent Point’s service is anchored in our own web-based, recruitment process management software.  With unique logins for each user and a defined workflow for every campaign our software allows you to centralise, monitor and report on all IT hiring activity across your business.

Intelligence

Receive a Market Report and Job Specification including likely sources of applicants, salary levels and suggested team structuring.

Inteligence

Prompts

Receive emailed prompts for all required actions and notifications for all stakeholders whenever an agreed milestone is missed.

Email Prompt

Reporting

Thorough process tracking records all hiring activity across every campaign for performance review at the touch of a button

Reporting RPM

Control

Fixed, multi-level workflows ensure processes are followed and SLAs adhered to with no involvement from senior management outside key approval points.

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People

Simon Mortimer

Sales Director

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Simon Mortimer

Duncan Seward

Managing Recruiter

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Duncan Seward

Alain Chong

Managing Recruiter

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Alain Chong

Will Kempster

Resourcing Consultant - Front End Development

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Will Kempster

Victoria Goodchild

Recruiter - Linux, Dev Ops and Application Support

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Victoria Goodchild

Mark Folley

Recruiter - Business Analysis

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Mark Folley

Luke George

Head of Recruitment and Training

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Luke George

Jamie McCurrach

Resourcing Consultant - Testing and QA

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Jamie McCurrach

Dan Bennett

Resourcing Consultant - Windows Support

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Dan Bennett

Ben Charlton

Managing Recruiter - .NET Development

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Ben Charlton

James Shelley

Shannin McCauley

Recruiter - Business Intelligence and Data Warehouse

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Shannin McCauley

Ryan Howard

Recruiter

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Ryan Howard

Jaspreet Manoor

Resourcing Consultant

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Jaspreet Manoor

Giggs Sharma

Talent Manager

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Giggs Sharma

Divisions

Any business claiming to access the top 10% of IT talent must specialise. Our Talent Management teams are divided into three divisions, each of which is again split into markets covering the major IT skill sets. Through these divisions we make fast, informed responses to every type of position and advise on the best way to meet hiring objectives within a given budget.

First Point

Permanent IT Staffing Our staff understand the link between IT, business and people and the impact this relationship has on hiring and screening. The upshot is an informed, thoughtful response, a clear message for each business we represent, and the highest quality service for our applicants.

Reference Point

Interim IT Staffing Uniquely in the IT sector, Reference Point only work with applicants they have referenced or have a contact in common with. This is your guarantee that the IT Professionals we represent for contract assignments are from a trusted source and will perform exactly as they say they can.

Search Point

Search-based IT Staffing When hiring senior staff a more confidential, targeted search is often appropriate, and in these instances we undertake a managed search on your behalf via the Search Point brand. We research, network, shortlist, screen and select, all in close collaboration with you.

Coverage

Founded in 2001, Talent Point’s experience and reach cover almost every conceivable IT position. On the rare occasion we do come across an unfamiliar role, the eventual outcome is usually a new job title or a reworked specification in line with the wider market for IT skills. Our key areas of expertise are listed below along with a few notes on the specific challenges faced in recruiting for each.

Software Development

.NET

Positions: Developers, Architects, Deployment, Development Managers

Technology: C#, MVC, ASP.NET, Solid Principles, Agile inc TDD and BDD, Angular, JavaScript, WebApi, SQL Server, NUnit, TeamCity, WPF, VB.NET

Challenge: The key vetting challenge for .NET positions lies in understanding the type of applications a developer has built and the team they built them in, thus revealing where in the application stack their abilities actually lie, the basis of their approach to development and their contextual level of ability. There is a considerable skills shortage in the .NET space, with salaries increasing at an exponential rate that may not always reflect true value. We frequently recommend under-recruiting based on intrinsic programming potential and communication skills using the carrot of training and career development opportunities rather than being caught up in a list of salary-boosting buzzwords. For example, is MVC5 really rocket science when every single piece of code a developer writes is already based on in-depth knowledge of OO Solid Principles?

 

Java

Positions: Developers, Architects, Deployment, Development Managers

Technology: J2SE, J2EE, Spring MVC and backend components, Spring Boot, RESTful/SOAP web services inc API work, SOA and MicroService architecture, Messaging – MQ, JMS, Rabbit, ESB -Mule, Camel, multi-threading etc – and NoSQL databases – Mongo, Couch, Noe4j, Cassandra etc

Challenge: Java technology is a buzzword minefield in which it’s extremely easy to get lost among an ever-expanding blob of frameworks, processes, approaches and expressions without really understanding what anything actually means. Grasping the evolution of frameworks, changes in web usability, how testing, requirements and development now interlink, and breaking down languages and approaches across application tiers are all critical to writing the right spec and making the right hire. Given the speed at which skills evolve within it and increasing need for “technical” staff to interface with the business, Java perpetually suffers from a skills shortage. Our solution? Keep requirements broad, hire on intrinsic potential and OO knowledge rather tech, and offer a clear and enticing career development plan tailored to the individual.


Open Source

Positions: Developers, Architects, Development Managers

Technology: OO PHP, MVC frameworks such as zend, laravell, sypfomy2 etc, LAMP including MYSQL, CMS including wordpress, drupal, symphony, AWS, Python, NoSQL, Javascript (Angular etc), Node.js, RestFUL webservices and API integration

Challenge: the single fastest evolving market in IT, Open Source technology appeals based on the absence of a license fee and its intrinsic link to the hottest start-ups, but hiring staff to work with it can be both expensive and frustrating. With new tech released at lightening speed today’s cutting edge project is tomorrow’s Betamax, and in a community so newly emerged these are staff members who have never experienced traditional, company-centric careers where loyalty lies with an employer more than the latest tech. The explosion in demand from tiny companies creating innovative products at low cost has created a skills shortage which itself has lead to a highly artificial value-base. “Developers” trained in their own bedrooms are able to command salaries that would more usually reflect architect-level knowledge and actual developers are pushed out of their depth into management or complex design roles. Our advice for Open Source software teams is to nurture skills in house from graduate level wherever possible, promote experimentation during the working week and encourage a culture based on flexible technology that can be influenced by every employee. High turnover can seem like an inescapable reality, however open-minded working environments where technology-stacks are driven by collaboration not dictatorial management can produce loyal, homegrown teams of truly talented individuals for far less cost than appointing experienced developers who turn out to be under-skilled, transient or both.

Management and Analysis

Project Management

Positions: Project Manager, PMO, Programme Manager, Project Support

Technology: Agile, Scrum, Prince, sector and product specialisation

Challenges: Advertise a vacancy for a Project Management and your should expect to encounter 100+ applicants all certain they are the man or woman for the job. The reality of course is that only one of them is, but getting to that point is far more complicated than it might appear.

We love Project Management recruitment simply because it baffles anyone unable to grasp the link between IT and business. There are no buzzwords so the only way to screen is by breaking down projects around the businesses in which they existed. What were they expected to deliver, not just in tangible, physical terms but also in business benefits? Who were the stakeholders, who were the users, how were project teams structured, who ran them, what was the technology and was it used to build from scratch or delivered, boxed, for implementation? There are a lot of questions, and judging which to ask when is a skill that cannot be acquired using a checklist.

While Project Management may seem like the most generic practice in IT with soft skills at the root of all screening, it’s actually very, very specific. Contingency is the key to good Project Management and successful contingency requires understanding of a particular size of business, a particular product, a particular way of working or a particular industry sector, what is likely to go wrong when projects are run within them and how specific, tried and tested methods of planning can prevent common issues. This must be reflected in all hiring for Project Managers: be as specific as possible around size, aims, product, business, software and structure, and – once you have come down from 100+ to ten – move into selection based on culture and person-fit.

 

Business Analysis

Positions: Business Analyst, Systems Analyst, UX and UI Designers

Technology: Agile, Scrum, UML, process design, requirements, workshops, UAT

Challenges: You might think hiring a Business Analyst would by much the same as hiring a Project Manager but in fact – due mainly to the availability of skills and quality of applicants – there is a big paradigm shift between the two. If a Business Analyst is adept at taking and documenting requirements, then it follows this skill should be transferable from project to project and business to business. In some cases – particularly for new systems and products – domain knowledge is worth paying a premium for but doing so narrows the skills pool from which a “generically” strong applicant can be selected. We advise balance.

Although product-based Analysts perform a very different role from those focused on implementation, professionals used to producing requirements for the creation of systems in one sector should quickly acquire the industry and business knowledge needed to do the same in others.

Try to differentiate based on user and stakeholder numbers, and how requirements were taken rather than simply focusing on industry and product type. After all, four willing users in a small organisation or department eager to replace a system that makes their lives difficult, one million web-based users it’s impossible to make direct contact with, and one hundred entrenched accountants whose jobs are difficult enough as it is without having to learn new software, are three very different beasts that require very different approaches.

A spec for new software to be developed under Agile is very different from a spec for business change or implementation of packaged software, hence screening is a matter of understanding background in terms of both IT and business.

On the flip side, the Business Analyst space is not skills-rich so one should not expect high levels of advert response. This is a market in which long-term connections combined with good screening and a willingness to compromise in the right places are all but essential to success. 

 

Senior Appointments

Positions: CTO, CIO, IT Manager, IT Director, Ecommerce Manager, Head of Development, QA Manager

Technology: Change, Process Design, Funding, Influence, Supplier Selection and Management, Process and Department Design

Challenges: It’s ironic that roles traditionally given to headhunters based on the highly targeted approach required to fill them are now the single biggest generators of advert response. This, however, makes them no easier to fill and in fact suggests that a more targeted, anonymous approach remains the right one, such is the often politically charged nature of positions at the top of IT.

The key to CTO or similar roles is hiring via networks and referrals. In fact, we strongly advise against other methods. Search Point have been building networks within UK IT leadership since 2002 when we placed our first CTO, and have been accumulating knowledge of IT departments and their reputations for even longer. We know which IT functions are well run and what the perception of them is in the employment marketplace both from ex-employees and job seekers. This approach gives us intrinsic knowledge about who not to approach, but also means we can make specific recommendation based on our actual working experiences – after all, it’s very easy to understand a CTO’s capability once you’ve recruited staff for them.

Our key tips for hiring IT leaders, then: ensure anonymity and hire through networks alone. If you are going to rely on advertising be extremely specific in terms of outlining the key challenges your IT function needs to overcome within the next four years and using them rigidly as screening criteria.

Quality Assurance

Testing

Positions: Test Analyst, Test Engineer, Test Manager, Test Lead

Technology: Selenium WebDriver, QTP/UFT, Cucumber, SpecFlow, Nunit, Junit, Jmeter, loadRunner, TDD and BDD, Developer in Test and Unit testing for Java, Python or C#, manual testing and QA including regression, UAT, writing plans, scripts and cases.

Challenges: The software testing employment market is a minefield of miss-communication. While it’s not hard to find two-hundred applicants, it is extremely hard to find the one in two-hundred who is good at what he or she does. Very few QA professionals have the business communication ability needed to make meaningful contributions in TDD and BDD environments, and being able to select those who do is not easy.

First it requires knowledge of what a tester actually does, which – in terms of manual testing at its most basic level – is really just what a user does (if a user worked with complete adherence to structure and repeated large parts of their job over and over again). Putting a Tester’s day to day tasks into context with a piece of software and its use within a business allows us to make quick decisions around whether that person will contribute positively on behalf of QA in Scrum sessions, whether they can plan tests as well as execute them and whether they have the first clue about the wider impact of their work on users. Introduce the ever-increasing trend for “technical” testers who can write scripts in programming languages or – as a Developer in Test – absorb the Unit testing traditionally undertaken by developers, and you have some pretty complex vetting to undertake with a huge applicant base.

Seeing Selenium on a CV is not enough to know whether that person has deployed it, executed scripts in it, written those scripts for it or created a complete testing framework within it. The only way this can be determined is – after understanding the software being tested and its purpose – breaking down team structures and job roles within a department then juxtaposing these against expected standards and investigating the anomalies.

There is no short-cut to hiring software QA staff. Adverts and agencies will generate low quality responses and someone will have to screen them, hence this is an area in which Talent Point can save businesses a huge amount of vetting and interviewing time, and also hunt down the rarer, in-demand skill sets required for modern approaches to software QA.

Data

Database Administration and Development

Positions: DBAs, Developers, Designers, Architects, Database Managers

Technology: SQL Server, T-SQL, Oracle, PL/SQL, Production, Development, Test, Install, Deployment, Tuning, OEB, Big Data, NoSQL

Challenges
: Because databases sit some distance from direct user activity there is a real tendency to separate Database Developers and Administrators from the purpose of the software they support or build. Consequently positions are often viewed as purely “technical” in nature. Nothing could be further from reality. Understanding database positions always starts with the specific data under management.

In fact, at Talent Point we’ve taken this further and dropped the word “data” entirely. Instead of a catch-all buzzword we refer to what that data actually, physically is, how is it collected, who wants it, what will they do with it, where is it now and how much of it there is. Questions flow from here around the split between production and development (or perhaps even test) instances; likely or existing performance and integration issues based on database size, data sources and query volume; and the relationships – both user and technical – that a post-holder will need to form.

Securing response to Database Development and Administration positions is not in itself a huge challenge; understanding the person needed for a particular role and going on to attract them, though, certainly is. Our key advice is simple: drop bullet points. Take job specs from the sort of generic skills list that makes them all identical and focus on the unique story, situation and software behind this particular set of databases. Then, when screening, do the same with applicants. PL/SQL is PL/SQL but contrasting its use between, say, databases serving the CRM and data management behind an entire supermarket loyalty scheme vs the software created and managed by a seller of online cinema tickets, immediately shows that selection based on “words” alone isn’t much use as a screening criteria.

 

Data Warehouse and Reporting

Positions: Data Analyst, MIS Analyst, Reporting Analyst, Data Manager

Technology: ETL, SQL Server, Oracle, Business Objects, SAS, Cognos, SSIS, SSRS, SSAS

Challenges: Business Intelligence can be extremely confusing. It combines seemingly endless lists of technology with a vast range of positions that span analysis, implementation, development and support. Recruiting here is about understanding how each technology is used in a business then adopting a compromise mentality to generate generically strong applicants with real potential.

Some technologies are highly transferable for an analyst-style role but not transferable at all for a development position. With others it’s the reverse. So in the first place let’s understand which is which and what each one contributes to a business’ reporting in terms of display, extraction, storage or transformation of data. What does Tableau do? What did businesses use before they had Tableau? Can we understand Tableau’s impact on data and users? Now based on this do we actually need experience of Tableau or could we train it relatively easily with the right background? Now let’s look at the goals of a particular reporting project or system in the context of who users are and what information they need then map this to staff already in place and the contribution a new hire is expected to make.

Without these two steps we end up with an inflexible spec that restricts suitable applicants to such a low number that screening based on softer skills essentially becomes non-existent. Advert response is moderate in this market, but the breadth of skills across companies and people typically restricts choice below where we want it to be, hence taking a flexible, reporting-aware approach.

Support

Application Support

Positions: 1st-2nd line Support, Senior Application Support, Applications Support Manager

Technology: SQL, .NET, Java, ITIL, call logging, documentation, business knowledge, domain knowledge, WIndows, Linux

Challenges: There’s nothing too complex about helping someone use a piece of software, right? Wrong. Let’s take a support professional who knows a piece of software inside out from both a user and technical perspective and hand out his phone number. The result will be 95% of this valuable resource’s time wasted switching a PC on and off. To protect his time we need to document his knowledge and spread it across lines of support that allow quick resolution of simple queries and the escalation of more complex ones to individuals qualified to deal with them.

To hire staff at any line of support we have to understand the type of issues they will resolve, the material at their disposal to do so, the process required for diagnosis and the type of problem they would need to escalate and who to. Why would an Application Support Analyst need to know how to code? Typically it’s to diagnose which issues result from bugs in software as opposed to user error, but it might also be to fix bugs or to escalate confirmed bugs to the developers who are able to fix them. No hiring for Application Support Analysts should take place unless we know why they need technical knowledge, where they sit in the escalation chain and which applications they will take responsibility for.

Once we have this information it’s easy to apply the same filtration criteria to applicants. In terms of response to adverts, these are moderate but misleading. Most applicants will be network or server rather than application focused and few recruiters will truly grasp the difference. Actually rounding down to a batch of three qualified applicants from whom it’s possible to pick the most attractive soft skills is next to impossible based on buzzwords – if in fact there are any buzzwords if the position has no technical element.

Key to screening is an applicant’s ability to detail and explain at least three support issues they have dealt with in the last few weeks. One that shouldn’t have been escalated, one they dealt with and another they passed on. The depth and accuracy of each explanation is the best guide to how capable they will be in resolving similar support issues with users.

Windows Support

Positions: 1st line, 2nd line, 3rd line and Systems Administration, Project Lead and Architecture, IT/infrastructure, Managers, Deployment, Service Desk Managers.
Technical: Windows Server, Active Directory, Exchange, VMware, IIS, Powershell, Citrix, Hyper V, terminal services, AWS, Cloud, SQL Server, ITIL etc

Challenges: Helpdesk for Windows infrastructure is the most popular route into a career in IT, something advert response reflect with an almost bewildering numbers of job seekers presenting themselves for Windows-based vacancies from senior to entry-level. Consequently, actually filling a position should not be challenging.

The real issue with Windows Infrastructure recruitment is how you get there. Buzzwords are not an efficient method of rejecting several hundred people because almost everyone has the same skill set (AD, Exchange, VMware etc), and yet they are most commonly used, in most cases probably eliminating the right applicant early on or, at the very least, burying hiring managers under CVs of applicants who may or may not be right.

How to prevent this? Understand how issues escalate across lines. Know the most common problems being resolved at the line the person will join. Now know what tech (if any) is needed to deal with them. Move on to the environment. High user numbers mean rigid structure and narrow but specialist tasks, low user numbers mean a wider breadth of skills and a more creative approach to problem solving. Just by knowing these few things you would be surprised how easy it is to reject 95% of applicants off the bat and know you’ve made the right decision.

The key growth area here, as with all areas of infrastructure, is build and release. This is baffling to most recruiters, particular around the use of IIS in web environments and the use of Powershell to automate infrastructure builds. Applying “Dev Ops” to Windows environments complicates matters further in a market where, in fact, there is a huge skills shortage with scripting an alien concept to most support professionals.

Unix and Linux Support and Engineering

Positions: 1st line, 2nd line, 3rd line and Systems Administration, Dev Ops, Project Lead and Architecture, IT/infrastructure Managers, Deployment, Service Desk Managers.

Technical: Redhat, Debian, Ubuntu, Puppet, Chef, Salt, Shell, Python, LAMP, “Dev Ops”, Apache, MySQL, Cloud, VMware, Virtualisation etc

Challenge: Thanks to the explosion in departments powered by open source technology, Linux has grown at an almost unprecedented rate. The lack of control from any one entity or owner of source code has created a skills base that’s unregulated, resulting in a hugely diverse range of skills and buzzwords, and the combination of affordability and robustness means environments which for the UNIX technology on which Linux is based were always hulking great things, have become as diverse as the tools and systems run in them, jumping from one man in his bedroom to multinational blue chips.

The impact of this on hiring Linux professionals is fourfold. Firstly, understand what is a word and what is a thing that’s really needed. Is Chef the same as Puppet? Why’s Debian different from Redhat? Without knowing this you will exclude good applicants based on “technical” knowledge they don’t need.

Secondly, focus on environments. No assumptions can be made regarding job titles – a Linux Sys Admin may focus on automation and scripting for one small division in one company and day to day administration with networking and virtualisation for an entire organisation in another. The titles are the same, the skills look the same, the reality and employability are in fact very different.

Thirdly, don’t get bogged down in Dev Ops. Dev Ops is cultural idea to align Agile development and its associated release structure with automation of infrastructure deployment. It isn’t a job. It can be a job, but those who work in it have to come from somewhere – when you hire them it’s usually best to let them come from that place rather than try to find someone who thinks they’ve already arrived and requires paying accordingly.

Finally, time is of the essence. Linux professionals are in demand and if you don’t put them through the hiring process efficiently it’s a safe bet four of your competitors will. 

Careers

Overview

Talent Point provide Recruitment Process Solutions using some clever software that helps companies put a bit of structure into their IT hiring. If you’ve ever worked with customers who were all over the shop with feedback, job descriptions, booking interviews etc, you’ll immediately understand how useful some extra control can be.

Although the crux of our work resembles that of a traditional Recruitment agency, we have a very different culture that promotes the idea of doing a fantastic job over simply making a sale. Rather than getting one over on IT geeks we don’t understand, we’re in the business of helping partners we respect grow their businesses.

We offer a range of roles for experienced and non-experienced Recruiters, all with one requirement in common: anyone we hire must be motivated to deliver brilliant Recruitment services. If you don’t care about customers or job seekers and have no interest in bettering yourself as a Recruiter, well, you probably won’t fit in. If you, however, you do, we should have just the opportunity for you…

  •     Experienced agency-side Recruiters love the flexibility, KPI-free working environment and up to 40% commission of our Managing Recruiter and Recruiter roles.
  •     Managers of Recruitment teams find the huge customer influence, remuneration opportunities, and entertainment package of our Account Director roles extremely attractive.
  •     Internal or agency-side Recruiters who love delivery but want to escape the need to develop business have found our Account Manager positions hugely rewarding.
  •     Resourcers or Recruiters who love working with applicants but don’t relish the hours and demands of traditional agency environment will find flexible working hours and lots of live roles to source for as a Talent Manager
  •     Graduates or experienced sales people keen to enter the Recruitment industry will find our best-in-class, three-month development programme and flexible career path the single most attractive option for kick-starting their new career.

Culture

You can’t run a Recruitment business without a culture that embraces sales, and yet the concept of sales in Recruitment seems to carry so many negative connotations around pressure, miss-selling, aggression and poor matching.

Presenting an applicant with a job, or a job-seeker to a business, should be no different from presenting a motorist with a car; the skilled sales person possesses the knowledge needed to take a requirement, explain the product and quickly build a mutually beneficial relationship, or to identify that no such relationship is possible and move on. As anyone who has worked agency-side will know, though, the reality is rarely anything like this.

Just like a Recruitment agency, Talent Point and our divisions make a lot of phone calls and meet a lot of people, but unlike a Recruitment agency we don’t use a language of billing figures, designer suits and fancy cars to drive a culture based purely on closing “deals” or becoming a “top biller”.

Our communication centres on customers and how we are able to help them. We talk about their business, their IT structure, their growth plans and their employees from the perspective of Business Consultants more than Recruitment Professionals. Rather than big-talking cliches in fat ties and pin-stripe, our superstar employees are those confident and conscientious enough to advise on department structures, guide on interview best practice and make positive contributions both to customer growth and individual careers.

Our monthly MVP is picked based on overall contribution to the company rather than individual billing figures, those who attend our quarterly lunches do so based on customer satisfaction, time in our box at The Emirates Stadium comes from developing customers who genuinely need our help, and, rather than get blotto in the pub every night after an 8pm finish, we stop work mid-afternoon each Friday for relaxed training and presentation workshops over a beer or two.

So although a desire to achieve goals, have fun and increase earnings underpins our work and is certainly one of the reasons individuals find rewarding careers with us, our culture ensures that the motivation to succeed goes hand in hand with absolute quality for applicants, colleagues and customers.

Talent Manager

This is a position designed to promote excellence in applicant networking in individuals committed to a long term career in Recruitment. Promotion and earnings are based around competencies demonstrated more than placements made, with the role supporting the development of an unrivaled set of applicant contacts in a particular sector of IT.

Those who love the challenge of sourcing applicants, get a kick from finding someone the perfect job, and want to refine their screening ability and business knowledge in a role that promotes quality as opposed to volume will find a rewarding career with us as a Talent Manager. We are particularly interested in individuals from the agency-side who are seeking less demanding working hours outside a commission-based role.

Account Director

At the top of our model, each supervising a number of customers whose business they have won, our Account Directors network among the UK’s most senior IT staff, broadcasting the benefits Talent Point can bring over and above traditional Recruiters or in-house teams. For all new accounts they assist in customer set-up and act as a point of escalation for our Account Managers or customer-side staff.

The role allows Recruiters with a strong customer network to find a profitable future in the profession that doesn’t involve growing and managing a team of staff. A lot of work takes place on customer sites or remotely with interviewing, relationship-building and customer entertainment all key to success. With budgets left to the discretion of the individual to manage and control, this is the right position for senior Recruitment sales professionals seeking true autonomy, trust and flexible working.

Account Manager

Working closely with Account Directors, our Account Managers come from a host of backgrounds across HR, agency-side or internal recruitment and are responsible for delivering the Talent Point service to customers. Typical duties cover editing job specs, training on software, second round screening, coordinating interviews and designing recruitment processes both on and off site, underpinned by bringing hiring managers into line with recruitment processes designed to save them time.

The role suits highly professional, knowledgeable, career Recruiters with innate confidence who are keen to increase their technical, screening and business knowledge while improving Recruitment for companies fully invested in allowing them to do so. Account Managers receive a higher base salary than is traditional in agency-side roles, are granted a large amount of autonomy, perform considerable customer-site work, and access a generous bonus scheme based around delivery, quality and retention.

Recruiter and Managing Recruiter

Our Recruiter and Managing Recruiter roles sit under the First Point and Reference Point brands where they provide agency-side Recruiters looking to focus on quality a competitive commission scheme.

While some applicant-side delivery is inescapable what these roles promote is a KPI-free ability to win, advise and manage customers, passing out roles for sourcing to other staff thus allowing exponential increases in earnings. Those who have achieved success in a Recruitment agency but can’t see any room for progression outside of becoming a manager will love these positions.

The Benefits

  •    Commission of up to 40%
  •    No more passing out roles to someone else based on skills or geography – you own the customer, colleagues source for you
  •    An instant team of experts in each technical market working on your behalf with no line management responsibility
  •    A high quality applicant and customer database built up since 2001 to an extremely high standard of data quality
  •    A culture focused on quality over KPIs that allows you to focus on customer retention over spray and pray

Resourcing Consultant

Our Resourcing Consultants sit under the First Point or Reference Point brands where they perform a mixed role blending a little business development and customer management with applicant delivery for Talent Point. For Recruitment Consultants or Trainees keen to retain commission-based remuneration this role offers the sort of mix that can satisfy aspirational earning goals alongside the safety net of an existing customer base.

The Benefits

  •    Commission of up to 25%
  •    A pipeline of positions to source for and a very high quality applicant database built up since 2001 to do it from
  •    Unlimited advertising on all major job boards
  •    No requirement to pass over roles based on geography or skills – if you create a customer you own them
  •    A culture focused on quality over KPIs that allows you to focus on applicant delivery instead of spray and pray

Trainees

For those interested in entering the Recruitment industry, we don’t believe there is a better place to learn the modern Recruiter’s role than at Talent Point. 75% of our staff are “home grown”, all passing through a 12-week training programme that gradually builds their ability and knowledge via class-room learning, practical targets and mentoring to open up a range of roles and career options that allow them to specialise in the work they have most enjoyed.

Rather than focus 100% on Recruitment sales techniques, our training encompasses a broader, business-based education to create well-rounded business professionals as opposed to pure sales people. Contrast this with the two-week “induction” followed by “on the job learning” common to  Recruitment agencies and you’ll understand why those who work for Talent Point lead their sector in terms of knowledge and ability.

While we obviously don’t like to lose staff, we’re nonetheless proud that those who have passed through our training over some twelve years have gone on to varied positions in IT Consulting, Project Management, Marketing, Operations Management, IT Sales, SAP implementation, Software Development, Training and Learning, and Human Resources.

Many of our trainees are money motivated and it’s certainly true that high earnings are possible – our most successful ever performer accumulated £95,000 in their first year going on to earn £270k in year six before becoming a Director of the business – but this is by no means the basis of selection.

Clear thinking, logical reasoning, a proven ability to learn, great listening skills, a thick skin and impeccable communication coupled with a single-minded ability to set goals and achieve them are the competencies common to all those we hire.

Like most Recruitment firms we often include graduates in our intake but, unlike many of our competitors who operate a sell, sell, sell culture that requires the naiveté of a 100% first-job workforce, we are also very keen to hire experienced business professionals who would like to exponentially increase earnings in an intelligent sales environment.

Story

A message from our founder…

Six months into my recruitment career I read a book called Using Oracle Applications. It was quite fat and intended for the sort of technical types I was at the time finding jobs for. It appealed to me because I wanted to stop pretending I knew what applicants and customers were talking about and start actually knowing. It was a lightbulb moment. Interfaces; requirements; Forms that don’t change, Reports that do; vanilla vs customisation; user acceptance, parallel and unit testing: all of a sudden I could explain them. I became a peer to my customers and seemed to be doing a different job. Looking back at submissions from two months prior I couldn’t believe any hiring manager had continued to work with me: relying entirely on buzzwords it had been pure chance that I’d put the right CV on the right desk, and it was only the 80 calls+ I was making per-day that were keeping me in the game. The book was my epiphany: if every Recruiter could link these mysterious “tech” words with a real thing that happens in real life, hiring would get better for everyone. So with barely a year’s experience I quit the UK’s largest IT Recruiter and started First Point in my bedroom.

Ten years later I had a team of fifteen staff across two offices which based on my lofty aims was frankly a bit rubbish. So why had I struggled to train and develop the army of enlightened Recruiters due to change the face of the industry? Well, aside from being one of the world’s worst line managers, it was simple: agency-side Recruiters must work three times as hard to win professional respect as a gardener, a plumber, a marketeer or a programmer might have to. Rather than useful service providers they’re intrinsically tarred as disposable meddlers engaged under a unique reversal of the customer/provider dynamic where companies who use agencies actually believe they are doing the Recruiter a huge favour. Recruiters are often a scapegoat for bad management or hiring decisions completely out of their hands and their right to supply services to a particular business is at best transient, at worst in perpetual jeopardy, nor do they ever have the clout to actually change this because their opinion is – obviously – based on nothing but wanting a fee.

Most Recruiters deal with this reality by ignoring it. They put their heads down and make hundreds of calls and submissions they don’t understand to customers they don’t respect in a volume-based culture that encourages them to do so. This lack of interest and care shields them emotionally from a feeling of professional worthlessness. Yet here I was dropping Recruiters driven by quality into a market place dominated by firms whose staff didn’t have the training necessary to even identify quality, and customers highly unlikely to either expect or appreciate it.

No matter how good a job we did, it was always swallowed up in the pile of CVs sent by our competition, or lost in a convoluted feedback process that blocked well-meaning advice from ever reaching hiring managers. For our customers to actually benefit from our investment in staff development and get access to the advice and assistance it allowed us to offer we had to somehow remove ourselves from the “agency” model. Hence, Talent Point.

As well as offering customers a genuinely useful service they can’t get anywhere else, the jump from First Point to Talent Point was an attempt to offer Recruiters – or those looking to enter the profession – unique career opportunities that made them feel good. For us – and we hope you, too – the true holy grail of a rewarding, positive career in Recruitment rests on the one thing from which holiday targets, designer suits and who’s going to be first to smash the billing for a Porsche are all superficial distractions: respect.

Our aim with Talent Point has been to create a service and brand that allows our staff to command the respect of hiring managers; to be seen as a supportive peer rather than a pest out to make a fee by any means necessary. Relationships are contractual and implemented from the top of IT down, removing the stigma of an ulterior motive from the work you do, freeing you to add value for a customer who sees you as a partner. The feeling of positivity and professional worth that comes from making Recruitment better should be the single most rewarding element of a Recruiter’s role. At Talent Point anyone with a passion for good technical recruitment will be put in a position where they will feel it constantly. And of course if you have business, technical and sales knowledge that’s ahead of the industry we insist it’s reflected in your earnings.

I don’t think we’re out to change the face of agency-side Recruitment anymore – that seems like an undertaking too far to me (youthful enthusiasm is a wonderful thing!) – but we do hope to provide a truly rewarding, long term home for quality-driven Recruitment professionals, and make IT hiring far less of a headache for companies open to letting us do so.

And no, I don’t make all our staff read ‘Using Oracle Applications’! Although I will admit to our training programme being single-handedly responsible for raising the Amazon price of a particular book from 10p to £999.11.

Apply

For positions in London please send a CV and covering letter stating your interest in Talent Point and the position you feel would be right for you to Luke George luke.george@talentpoint.co or for Reading to Victoria Goodchild victoria.goodchild@firstpoint.co

Or, alternatively, call any of us for an informal chat on the numbers here.

Customers

A snapshot of the organisations for whom Talent Point or one of our divisions have sourced, selected and screened new members of IT staff

  • At lastminute.com I’ve been hiring for several technical roles in London.  In a very competitive market for enterprise Java skills, Talent Point have worked hard to secure the right combination of strong technical skills and cultural fit with our organization.  In a recent developer recruitment drive, they were our strongest performing recruiter, which gave them the opportunity to work exclusively on a UI Development management role within the dev team.  For this important position, they worked quickly and professionally, with an intelligent search approach to sourcing applicants.

    — lastminute.com —
  • Aol has utilised First Point on numerous occasions to fill very niche, complex roles within the technology functions of the company.  These roles have covered varying levels of seniority and skillsets, particularly front-end and back-end developers and testing functions. They offer a great reach into the industry and I can definitely rely on being sent high quality candidate submissions who make a point of learning all facets of a role prior to recommending a candidate.  I have also worked with First Point to help define assessment criteria which has become a staple format within the recruitment process.

    — AOL —
  • Since June 2008 192.com have used First Point for all of our IT recruitment needs.  As a technology focussed company, IT recruitment is extremely important and the requirements that arise are very broad.  First Point have assisted us with all of our needs. They have placed people at a variety of levels and across different specialisms such as, but not limited to: User Interface Developers, Agile Java Developers, Quality Assurance Analysts, System/Network Engineers, Business Analysts and Database Administrators. As a business we have very complicated systems and use the most recent technologies.  As such the demands we place on our agencies are difficult to fulfil.  I would highly recommend the team at First Point, since we have used them I have never looked back.

    — 192.com —
  • I engaged First Point IT at easyJet at a point when we were struggling to find high quality applicants for .NET development.  We were inundated with poor quality CVs from our existing suppliers and wasting a lot of valuable time filtering and interviewing candidates.  First Point quickly differentiated themselves by putting forward high quality, vetted applicants. They were always open to feedback and responded accordingly.”

    — Easy Jet —
  • Having worked closely with Talent Point at Crown Packaging on a number of assignments I Duncan to be very knowledgeable, professional and intelligent in his approach; from understanding complex business and technical environments to industry and cultural backgrounds of the people required to succeed in the role. Additionally he was able to give valuable advice on the skills available in the market and outline a process which made the whole process of hiring smooth and successful, with a 100% offer to hire ratio. Without exception all hires are still employed and are performing very well, testament to Duncan’s ability to secure the right staff first time!

    — Crown Packaging —
  • I am always impressed with not only the professionalism of First Point but also how well you get our business, you understand not only our business but our departments and what we look for in our people – great people who work really hard for us and deliver quality results every time.

    — QVC —
  • The consultants at First Point have faithfully serviced our recruitment needs for many years, with a real understanding of the role profiles we seek and supplying the talented applicants that we need to keep our business at the cutting edge. I would not hesitate to recommend them.

    — Tullo Marsh Warren —

Contact

Reading Office

Unit 8, The Aquarium
King Street, Reading
RG1 2AN

01189 585 507

London Office

Fourth Floor, Waverley House
Noel Street, London
W1F 8GQ

020 3011 1501

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