Shazam’s Ruth Penfold talks talent attraction and career advice

By March 2, 2017Events, For Talent

With over 100 million monthly users, Shazam is one of the most popular music apps in the world. Their team is made up of 230 humans but they’re always on the hunt for exciting Talent. We spoke to their Director of Talent Acquisition and yogi master Ruth Penfold about what she looks for in a new hire and what values are important in their team.

What do you think is the most important attribute in an employee?

Shazam is 15 years old but very much has a startup mentality. Therefore someone joining us needs to be autonomous and independent, whilst also being visible and accountable. So you need to be very good at figuring stuff out, working with a good deal of unknowns and finding new ways to make things work. 

What do you think is the most important attribute in a manager? 

Giving people the opportunity to shine. Helping to build on the skills that they have, celebrate what they are great at and also realise how to use some of the tools they already have in their ‘tool kit’ and they hadn’t figured out yet. Then, once they’ve figured that out, getting the hell out of their way and giving them the space to outgrow you.

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What’s your biggest challenge in attracting talent? 

For tech hiring, it really is about numbers. We have to hunt hard to have a steady pipeline of talent coming in to meet with us. So I guess it’s finding new ways to interact with passive talent.

How does Shazam nurture a diverse and inclusive team?

We do that by attempting to create a space and a dynamic where people feel able to truly be themselves. It’s something that I spend a good deal of time looking at and I’m always on the hunt for ways we can improve. Tech is blessed by a good deal of things like cultural diversity that other sectors aren’t, but we are lacking in other areas like gender diversity, so its something we definitely focus on.

What’s your favourite question to ask in an interview?

I like to keep things pretty straightforward, I see no need to trip people up. I ask things about what they are doing right now, what’s been their biggest challenge and their biggest success in the role? Then I as them what they love about what they are doing right now, and what they don’t. A combination of all of the above gives us a great sense of what makes them tick and how suitable they might be for the role we have.

What’s the most useful tool in promoting your employer brand?

Your team are your biggest asset when it comes to talent attraction.

When I ask the question; “What’s your favourite thing about your role right now?” 95% of people answer – the people. So make sure you are celebrating your team and it’s successes with the rest of the world.  

Find ways to support your team to take their work and their voices beyond the walls of your business through things like; blogging, speaking at events, videos and sharing case studies. There are tons of ways you can get creative to take your people to a wider audience.

What’s the best career advice you’ve ever gotten? 

Be yourself. The day I stopped trying to be like everyone else and just became me was the biggest day in my professional career. Everything changed for the better.

What are you most looking forward to about EXPAND London? 

Meeting tons of interesting people who want to learn more about Shazam!

Read more from Ruth Penfold


Author Aoife Geary

Aoife Geary is the Content Editor at Jobbio specialising in the areas of Workplace Culture, Diversity, Startups and Digital Trends. She's partial to a burrito, a bad pun and living way beyond her means.

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