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Shazam Director reveals top tips for hiring – Ruth Penfold


By Dominic Chapman / April 26, 2017

Shazam Director reveals top tips for hiring – Ruth Penfold


Penfold: moving great people around since 2001. 

Connecting with brilliant people rocks my world. And to that end, I have the best job on the planet; I am tasked with leading a global team to find the best possible people to join our brilliant (and growing) business here at Shazam.

We recently caught up with Ruth Penfold, Director of Talent Acquisition at Shazam, to discuss hiring talent, what she has learnt and what advice she would give to candidates who are currently applying for roles. You can watch the video here or read below.

Tell us a little bit about your company? 

Shazam is one of the best loved apps in the world. And we really are a discovery platform for people, connecting them to the world around them, connecting them to either the music, a song that they love, or a brand that they’re particularly interested in. We currently stand at about 220 people globally. About a hundred of those in the UK, a hundred in the US, spread about, and small offices in both Berlin and Sydney.

Tell us about your company culture? 

Shazam really has an awesome culture. It’s an environment where, if you have an entrepreneurial mindset, we’re kind of perfect for you. Very much a startup culture. So, if you see something that you think you can improve and make better, then we’re really excited for you to come in and tell us how you’re going to do that.

What do you look for when hiring? 

The best advice that I would give to businesses if they’re looking to hire people is very similar to that which I’d give to individuals, and that is be yourselves. So, work out who you really are as a business. I spent a lot of time when I joined Shazam working out what we were great at, but, also what we sucked at. And, in doing that kind of exercise, you have to be prepared to improve on the things that you’re not great at. But then, once you’ve worked out who you really are, make sure that you’re giving enough people access to who that really is, the human face behind the business, what you stand for, what your people are all about. And then, from that place, when a role comes up that you want to hire, it’s much easier to attract the right people.

How can a candidate stand out from the crowd? 

The most important piece of advice I would give to anybody if they’re applying for a role, to stand out from the crowd, would be just to be themselves. There is only one you. There can never be another. So, work out who you really are, and really focus on letting that resonate out to the world. And, trust me, you will find the right place to be. You will find the right place where you will thrive.

Describe your hiring process..

One size definitely doesn’t fit all with hiring in any business. You need to be prepared to have different kinds of interview processes for different kinds of roles. And we definitely have that. But what we have is a very honest process. You can expect to speak with us on the phone, you can expect to meet us in person, you might get a technical assessment. But, through all of that, we aim to provide as human a face as possible to our organisation, and have the opportunity to really get to know who you are so that we can understand what some of your goals are and see how we might be able to support those.

What do you look for when hiring? 

For us, it’s less about attracting high-quality candidates. It’s about attracting the candidates that are perfect for you. Right? So, the right fit for the right business. And that can mean different things in different people. I think that all any business can do is be the very best version of your business that you can be. So, focus on that every day. And, by being the best business you can be, you will, of course, attract the right people for you.

Does interacting the with local community help?

At Shazam we try to be as involved with some of the great organisations out there doing good stuff as we can be. We are a very well-known consumer brand. We create magic for lots and lots of people in the world. And that’s wonderful. We have a real opportunity to create some magic with our brand by inspiring people. Perhaps to consider a career in technology when they hadn’t, or something like that. It’s very much a part of our talent attraction strategy to make sure that we’re out there doing that stuff as much as we are filling the roles right now.