Ask the expert – our conversation with Sam Spoors

Image of Sam Spoors of Talentheads

'You don't build a business. You build people and then people build the business.' - Zig Ziglar

Our passion is to partner and collaborate with like-minded folk who have a purpose beyond purely ‘making money’. We want to support a more ‘conscious’ model of capitalism where entrepreneurs and business leaders share a growth mindset, have a true sense of purpose and are passionate about growing their businesses and achieving their vision; whilst harnessing the best out of their people to deliver performance and profits.

This is why we have decided to ‘Ask the expert’ and showcase some of our business partners; exploring what makes them tick and more importantly finding out more about their views on working in partnership and sharing their tips for how to make it work.

This month, we caught up with Sam Spoors, founder of in-house recruitment specialist, Talentheads.

Through our conversation, this is what we found out…

Tell us about you and your business…

When starting Talentheads we knew that we would need to set ourselves apart in order to attract both the right clients and the right candidates. This is our main point of difference; all of the team has worked in-house for large, multi-site businesses. In those roles, we not only attracted candidates but we were instrumental in business planning through large scale growth. We fully understood where the business wanted to go and who we needed to recruit to make that happen.

We still adopt this approach at Talentheads. We work on-site with all of our partners to truly understand company culture as well as business goals. This helps us advise on the growth strategy in relation to people initiatives as well as support recruitment, when needed.

Recruitment is not just firing CVs and hoping something will stick – it’s a lot more longer term and strategic to help business growth.

What is the most rewarding part of running your business?

Having the freedom to make my own decisions. I enjoy being able to select the businesses I work with where I feel I can add value. Having that choice and being able to make decisions on my own terms is invaluable. It’s not necessarily about money, it’s more about the reward of seeing the businesses you have helped.

Most challenging part of your job?

Switching off! It can be very difficult to set a ‘home time’. Earlier in the pandemic, I did have a little bit more time to spend time with my kids, do the housework, have lunch and then sit down to work until 10pm. But, my name is above the door, I am fully committed to delivering, and because I love bringing results, I will work until it’s done.

Three tips for a good working relationship with partners:

  1. Honesty – even if it’s not great news, it’s a partnership, so just say it as it is and come to a positive conclusion together. Keeping things from a partner is how that relationship can break down.
  2. Be ambassadors – promote their business with passion and make referrals. Even if I can’t help, I will introduce my network to people who can. This makes any relationship less transactional and builds a partnership based on trust.
  3. Get involved – mucking in every now and again; making the tea or supporting decision making from a different perspective outside your remit. A true partnership is a lot more than putting your two cents in then getting out. I love knowing everything about a business so I can advise on what I know and make introductions to people on things that I don’t.

How can a true partnership strengthen a business?

To give an example, one of my clients is Cooplands Bakery. I was brought in by the newly appointed people manager to support the internal recruitment team.

My remit was to support her in-house to advise on what I thought was needed to grow the business in the way that they wanted to.

Whilst there, I installed an applicant tracking system, I trained the team on how to recruit differently, I recruited people into the existing team and then trained them on the new people service. It was an extremely inclusive role and it was like I worked in-house at Cooplands – well I did two days a week!

The people director trusts me and I trust her. We have clear objectives and understand what we each bring to the partnership and it worked really well. It was a great example of Talentheads completely merging with a client and working towards the same goal to deliver the results they wanted.

How can that partnership add strength to your business?

I learn lots through all the partnerships I have, as every business has a different challenge so every single company and person I work with teaches me something.

For me, it’s about finding out about how others work and what their challenges are, as well as their successes. Then I feel like my job is to share my experiences and add value to their individual circumstances. There is no cookie cutter approach to the way we work.

I’ve learnt so much more running my own business than I did working for 11 years in national and international recruitment agencies, before going in house to establish and lead a multi-site changing organisation’s talent acquisition strategy.

Who and what inspires you?

It may sound cheesy but it’s my kids. My husband and I have four children aged between 6 to 13 between us. And I feel, particularly with the two girls, it’s about being a role model and showing them that you need to work to get what you want. I try really hard to instill that you can be a woman, set up your own business that you’re passionate about, work how you want and try to have a good balance between work and family life.

It’s all about making my kids proud but also thinking about our family legacy.

The end goal is to be lying on a beach with my husband and we can look back and think ‘Wow, we worked for this and we can really enjoy it.’

What are your plans for the future?

When I first set Talentheads up I didn’t want to have a strategy that I wasn’t necessarily going to be able to deliver. I was so reluctant to put my signature to anything because of the current climate we find ourselves in. But now, we are in a position to grow. We have amazing partners who love what we do, and my mission is to change the frequently negative image that recruitment has through our business model and the reputation we have built.