DigiSpace
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Recruiter Spotlight

FEBRUARY 8TH 2021

DigiSpace is a black-owned recruitment consultancy, specialising in supporting businesses with their talent needs. They understand that each company is different, so they don’t offer a one-size-fits-all approach to recruitment, instead opting for a more collaborative role within a company. What sets them apart? For one, they are specialists within digital and can hire across Tech, Creative, Marketing/PR, and Sales. But, perhaps most importantly, they focus on diversity. Owners Nyamka and Ali are both people of colour who have experienced racism within the workplace. Their goal is to ensure this changes - especially within the current political and social landscape. 

Here, they discuss how they got into recruitment, what insights they’ve learned about recruiting in this climate, and what employers and candidates need to offer, if they want to hire – or be hired - successfully.


Meet Nyamka and Ali

Nyamka:

I’m the one usually doing the interviewing, but I have actually been interviewed a few times. I have a radio show that focuses on hip-hop, rap and trap soul music, and I do a lot of stuff on Instagram. I have an Instagram Live chat show where I interview a lot of music artists! A magazine focused on influencers labelled me as their “Ones To Watch”. I’ve been interviewed a few times for the radio stuff and I always give insight into the hosting and presenting that I do alongside running DigiSpace.


Ali:

I was studying Accounts and Finance with Arabic, and the dream was to get into the quantitative field in the UAE. There was a lot of groundwork needed before and after graduation. I learnt Arabic but it was still quite daunting to get set up with no existing connections over there. I got hooked into recruitment in the two months after graduation and I’ve been riding that wave ever since.


On focusing on diversity

Ali:

Tech, Marketing and Design. Generally speaking, and this goes back to when I was working in agencies and dealing with talent and recruitment managers, Tech and Marketing don’t necessarily have that diverse workspace. So, a big goal of ours is to transform the way the tech and marketing industry look at diversity in companies. We’re not just talking about race, but also religion, disability, and all other factors around diversity.

On their approach to recruitment

Nyamka:

We’re Nyamka and Ali. Yes, we’re your suppliers, but we’re also people. We want to help out on a personal level. We’re not here to simply fill a role, and then go our separate ways. We are different from other people because we go above and beyond to make more personable relationships, so that they’re long-lasting. We’re a partner for you, not just a supplier. We’re us.

On the joy of being a recruiter

Ali:

Essentially, you’re running your own desk, generating your own business and providing clients with what they need. And it’s that kind of human communication that I enjoy: adding value to the experience of both parties. For example, there have been cases where I’ve been working with a candidate for two years, and they just haven’t found the right role for them. If you help them find what is right for them – the right team, the right setting, the right salary – it’s a very rewarding feeling. It’s the same with clients. A client will come to you in a moment of need and worry, not being able to find the adequate candidate for the role. You’ll embark on the journey to find the perfect piece for the puzzle, and that gives a lot of meaning to recruitment as a profession. 

Nyamka:

The best thing is when you check in with a client and they start telling you how the person you placed is smashing it! They’re so thankful and grateful. And then when you check in with the candidate you can see how much they appreciate it, and how grateful they are. What satisfies me is knowing that what we do actually impacts people’s lives. Say, in their previous role, they were feeling rubbish or underperforming. You’ve moved them out of that situation and they’re happy and you’ve helped them financially [Gabriel (editor): giving them a market rate salary]. That satisfies me the most!

On their proudest placement

Nyamka:

I placed the Head of Retail Experience for Vodafone. They design all the Vodafone stores, and they used to design all of the Virgin stores at Heathrow. They designed the Apple store in Oxford Circus too!

Ali

I have two actually, and they both got placed in two weeks. It was the CRM Manager and Content Marketing Manager at Big Bus Tours. They were really key hires for the business at the time, and they became great friends. 



On their client hot list

Nyamka:

I’ve worked with so many big companies across the board - Samsung, Adidas, Netflix, Facebook. And loads of startups too, such as Koru Kids, Fatmap (a mapping startup in Berlin), Sharpest (an HR startup), Ticketmaster. Since starting with DigiSpace, we’ve had a lot of work with German startups.

Ali:

We worked with Typeform out of Barcelona, Turnbull & Asser, an eCommerce / Fashion client. A lot of it has been repeat business, rather than picking up the ad hoc cold calling quick wins. It’s been a lot of establishing repeat service for these guys.


On their recruitment insights

Ali:

There’s a lot of attention paid to the salaries and jobs in tech, and a lot of weight given to the Computer Science world. Tech and Marketing departments are essential to companies - and it’s something that didn’t quite come to light to me before I started recruiting in those fields.


On what talent wants

Ali:

Generally speaking, talent is looking to see how their skillset and experience best meet the demands of the role. They also want to know what kind of figure the company scopes this individual to have, what influence they’ll have, and how much of their own way of working they can introduce within the company. They’ll also ask a lot about the team, the goals of the company, where the company see themselves in the next couple of years, and how they can grow with the company. Candidates generally come in wanting to make their mark and bring results to the company.

Nyamka:

Remote working is a definite ask. Moving forward, I think any company that doesn’t offer remote working is going to struggle to hire. I can’t imagine any candidate, whichever field, working for a company which doesn’t offer flexibility around remote working, especially after this pandemic. On top of that, a lot of people need visas right now, especially given Brexit.


On what employers want

Nyamka:

A lot of clients are asking about personal qualities in candidates, rather than just technical abilities. This is new to me, as I was taught to tick off technical and skill criteria. I’ve had a lot of clients asking, “what’s their mindset like?” or “how do they come across on the phone?”

Ali:

Definitely agree! I feel clients want to learn a bit about the character of the candidate rather than what they have on the piece of paper and where they’ve worked. For example, I’m working with a client who is looking for someone that has carried out both the strategic and hands-on jobs, but more importantly they’ve stressed I look for someone without an ego. They have to have that rare attitude to come in and undertake the responsibilities of the role, look to learn and grow without ego. I can see from conversations with the client that it is important to have that character coming into the role.


On the gap in the market for talent

Nyamka:

Especially within the tech space, there’s still so much unfulfilled demand for anything online and customer-facing. For example, there’s more of a demand for UI/UX designers than for graphic designers or people that can do physical product, packaging designers. Even with art direction, everything is digital.

Ali:

Clients like candidates that are able to work across many sub-disciplines within their field. For example, if it’s an SEO, PPC and Paid Performance Marketing role [Search Engine Optimization, Pay Per Click], clients will be looking for someone who has also worked within general marketing or on mobile user acquisition, or has an external skill that they can add to their fundamental core skillset. A few specs that I’ve seen across the year are asking for a bit more from that candidate. Another concrete example: I have a client looking to fill a marketing role with an organic growth focus but also for someone with mobile acquisition and AppStore optimisation experience.

On the gap for employers

Nyamka:

Remote working is a definite gap that employers need to look at. Even going fully- remote as an offering.

Ali:

The client needs to look at more than the base salary to attract a candidate at the moment. I’m speaking to senior candidates and they’re looking for share options, they’re looking for external benefits that will give them more personal time or benefit them in specific ways. Having a full understanding of a client’s share option scheme and carrying that across to our candidates has often made the difference.


On what they get asked the most as a recruiter


Ali:

“What makes you different from other recruiters?”

Nyamka:

Employers also ask us about market insight. How are we finding the market? How have we been recruiting for other companies? On that basis, we’ll always answer and provide our knowledge whatever way we can. We’ll give them the up-to-date feel of the talent market; a lot of people are losing their jobs, there’s been limitations on hiring, people are afraid to return to the office... A lot of people are in stable companies, so for them to leave that stability in the COVID climate is a big risk. We advise clients on how they can eliminate these risk factors by giving candidates reassurance.

Ready for a more balanced, human recruitment experience? Join our waiting list today.



Transcribed by Gabriel Warren
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