Interview with Chris Abbass
Founder & Co-CEO @ Talentful

Ever thought that recruitment is broken? Most people have. Talentful is the solution. Since 2015 we’ve led recruitment strategies for over one hundred businesses with technology at their core. These range from seed stage startups, through to post-IPO household names. We specialise in the highest bar of hiring across technology, marketing, product, sales and operations into ambitious, innovative companies. We work onsite with clients most of the week, shaping hiring process and training hiring managers alongside sourcing the top 10% of candidates for each role.
How do you ensure that both the talent and hiring companies are comfortable throughout the recruitment process? What differentiates you from other recruiting agencies?
So this is a relatively complex question and one I probably can't answer in two minutes. However, there's also benefits to our model allow us to get under the skin of our clients and find out what's important to them. We work onsite three days a week with our clients Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Monday and Fridays we are back in our HQ. What allows us to do is really embed ourselves in the business, understand what makes them tick, what makes that company so great and then be able to articulate that to the market in a very efficient and precise way. We can also look at what's working in business, what isn't working, we can iterate on the process, make suggestions, really certainly them up for success in terms of efficiency in their talent acquisition strategy. And that can make a massive impact with the people they hire, the quality they can hire and the speed in which they can hire, and also create a much wider range of possibilities in value ads for that business. So once one site we can do interview training workshops, we can do onboarding workshops, we can look at unconscious bias diversity and really skill that organization out from a talent point of view. So we're a more holistic solution for companies that are going through growth. I think that it makes a massive impact to the people they can bring onboard.
What are the biggest problems with the recruiting world?
So I think it's safe to say there's a few problems with the recruitment industry as there is with any other industry. However, the main ones are rooted in the incentive structure and the motivations of third-party recruiters. I feel like having a focus on KPIs and commission really puts you at odds with the needs of the kind you're trying to service. So he had a clear focus on what makes clients happy, what the objectives of our clients and how to partner with them properly, I think can move to a different model that may be more embedded, retained or exclusive at the very least is the way the industry should move. And how I see things at the moment is there's lots of innovation in the recruitment sector whether this technology, whether it's different models like Talentful is likely to shift in the right direction. I feel like people who aren't going to innovate, that isn't going to change are going to be left behind. So it's been a really exciting time for the recruitment industry. I'm feeling very positive about it and to be interested to see what happens next.
Could you please introduce Talentful and what led to your founding the company?
Talentful was founded about three years ago by myself and Phil. We spent about eight years each in recruitment agencies me, from a technical perspective. and Phil, from more marketing commercial perspective. After this time we both went in-house to fast growing tech and digital businesses. I worked for Shazam and Amazon, and Phil worked for a massive design agency called Forward 3D and some small startups with machine learning and gaming. We felt like it was a massive space from the first party point of view to help fast growing tech and digital business scale. So companies were getting a lot of business funding. They had that to mainly grow their headcount and grow their teams but the options available to them were quite limited so they could maybe build a permanent team, reduce the volatility and the changing nature of a startup that might not work, using recruitment agencies might not work, using recruitment agencies offers very little value and is incredibly expensive in the long term. And then hiring contract recruiters can also be time-consuming and you never know if there are any good until they start. We want to provide a flexible solution, that ebb and flow with the needs of the startup but provide all the benefits of having an in-house team. So that's what we've been doing over the last 3 years, we have worked with over 100 clients mainly in the V.C. funded space and our mission is to really change the perception of recruitment. We feel like good talent acquisition strategy and good recruitment can have a massive impact and create huge value for companies and we're a mission to kind of put that on the map and have recruitment seen as a really valuable asset to any growing business.
What's next for Talentful? Any big projects coming up?
We've grown incredibly fast this year. So we've always doubled in headcount the last six months, we're close to 70 employees in less than three years. That's a testament to the great work that everyone at Talentful has been doing and a real focus on customer success and customer advocacy that we have within the business. We've introduced an NPS scoring system this year and our last quarter's NPS was 8.9 our of 10 across our 42 different clients. So we're going to look at trending up past the 9/10 mark and really focus on how we can better service our existing clients, also looking at renewal rates and extensions and growing that out as much as possible. There's tons of other opportunities within this space. We're looking at kind of talent acquisition at the moment, but there's retention, branding, there's LND, there's training, there's onboarding, there's a whole host of different things within the lifecycle of an employee that we can get involved in. So the future is really exciting. We're also looking at geographies that we can service like Amsterdam, Stockholm, Berlin, the US. We're already working those locations from a remote point of view but having a physical presence that's something that we're looking at doing in the next 12 to 18 months. So watch this space. We're going to go from strength to strength, and really focus on that quality piece and that's the most important thing for us because if we do a great job the rest will follow.