Many tech companies these days are excited about product-led growth. And rightfully so. When a product-led growth (PLG) strategy is executed well, your product sells itself, leaving your teams with more time and resources to focus on the end user.

If you’re a user of any successful product-led growth product, chances are you didn’t hear about them through a cold call. You may not have even heard about the product before you started using it. Products in this category tend to grow through the power of word-of-mouth or social virality rather than via traditional marketing and sales channels. But that’s not the only thing they have in common.

According to Blake Bartlett of Openview Ventures, product-led growth companies share a few key characteristics:

Virality: Product-led growth companies grow by word-of-mouth or by encouraging sharing within the product. Think about the first time you invited someone into Slack to chat or booked a meeting via someone’s Calendly link If you hadn’t heard of Calendly before, you became a user through a product-led growth model.

Value before money: Many product-led growth companies offer a free trial for a limited period or freemium business model so users can receive value from the product before paying for it. Users are much more willing to pay for a product once they understand how they benefit from it and may be more inclined to tell their friends and colleagues about it as well.

Deliver value quickly: These companies deliver value to users quickly. Since most product-led growth companies rely on social sharing to grow their user base, this is even more important because it increases the chance that they will tell a friend and create a viral loop.

Frictionless sign-up: Product-led growth companies make it simple and hassle-free for you to sign up for their product. They tend to use methods such as single-sign-on or even simply asking for the bare minimum information before you can get your hands on the product and get value from it.

they understand how they benefit from it and may be more inclined to tell their friends and colleagues about it as well.

End-user focus: PLG companies take a bottom-up approach to growth. The customer is no longer the key stakeholder, but the end user. By focusing on the person with a problem that needs to be solved, product-led growth companies are able to spread much faster. Aren’t you more likely to tell everyone you know about that new product that solved your file-sharing woes than a product that increases ROI?

Calendly Case study

Along with companies such as SurveyMonkey and Slack, Calendly is a good example of a company that has adopted a product-led growth strategy. The API based meeting scheduling software was birthed to solve the day-to-day problem of time-consuming back and forth faffing just to schedule a meeting.

So, what has propelled Calendly to go viral during its almost decade-long existence? Calendly can’t exist with just one user. A single user can’t do anything on their own using the platform. But when they send their meeting link to someone else and the other person schedules a meeting, both parties receive value. The inherently collaborative nature of this product creates a “viral loop of value.”

Every time a Calendly user sends a meeting invitation link, they are both using and promoting the product. Let’s say ‘User A’ sends a meeting link to someone who has never heard of Calendly. The recipient (‘User B’) then clicks on the link and is immediately presented with Calendly branding. User B then uses the link to book a meeting with User A and sees how simple it. He starts using it, sending people his Calendly link. They start using it. And so on and so on.

Through this viral loop, Calendly can acquire new users without any additional effort. They may have acquired user A through traditional sales and marketing means, and let the product take it from there. That’s viral growth!

Written by Charlie Sell, Group Managing Director.

Arrows Group are delighted to announce the formalisation of our partnership with youth empowerment organisation, 2020 Change. Founded in 2013, 2020 Change is dedicated to bridging the gap between education and employment, by delivering 10-weekly training programmes that support young people of colour by equipping them with the tools they need to flourish in the world of work.


Building upon an existing relationship with Major Players, this newly formed partnership will extend across several of the Majar Group brands too including Arrows Group Global and BOOSTA; supporting our collective efforts in helping our clients across the creative and tech industries, with attracting, engaging, and retaining talent from ethnic minorities.


As part of the partnership, the Majar Group will be supporting the ‘I AM CHANGE’ programme, designed to help 17–30-year-olds, specifically those from disadvantaged backgrounds, discover and fulfil their potential during 10 weekly sessions exploring topics such as leadership and responsibility, success, and motivation as well as mindfulness. The group will be supporting the programme by delivering practical CV and cover letter writing tips, as well as interview techniques.


Furthermore to the ‘I AM CHANGE’ programme, the Majar Group will be supporting 2020 Change with their newly launched recruitment solution, in addition to providing space for events, and corroborating on jobs fairs and graduations.


Duro Oye, Founder of 20/20 Change said, “We are super excited to formalise our partnership with Majar Group who have been huge supporters of our work since early 2021. Not only will this partnership expose our alumni network to new opportunities within the Creative, Marketing and Tech industries but it will also help 20/20 Change expand our recruitment and consultancy arm 20/20 Talent. I would like to thank the senior leadership team at Majar Group for believing in our vision of reducing youth unemployment and how it affects those from underrepresented ethnic groups.”  


Group Commercial Director, Rosa Rolo confirmed the partnership and extends, “We so delighted to expand our partnership with 2020Change across Majar group – what Duro and the team do is fantastic and the fact we can now facilitate cross collaboration between Arrows Group Global, BOOSTA and Major Players should not only benefit the candidates but our clients too.”


For more information about 2020 Change please visit: or to find out more about the ‘I AM CHANGE’ programme (now open for October applications), please visit:

As a talent acquisition professional in the tech space, I have had the advantage of conducting initial interviews with a mix of candidates with different specialisms and experience; from engineers to programme leads. I’ve also assessed a significant amount of candidate feedback from some of the most influential tech firms for senior level hires. I therefore thought it would be helpful to summarise a few key things that I believe will help you to stand out at interviews and make a great impression to your prospective employer.

  • Do your research – it is always important to do your homework about the company that you want to work for. And there is no excuse to not do some digging as everything is out there on the www. You can look on the company website, click the ‘news’ tab on Google and find out the most up to date company news and insights. You can also search LinkedIn to look at other people (potential colleagues) that work for the business and how your role fits in with what they do. Doing prior research would be glaringly obvious and attractive to a hiring manager and its never time wasted as you’ll normally learn something interesting about a company that you respect.
  • Be on time and punctual. It goes without saying but it’s important and this leaves a good impression and shows that you respect other people’s time.
  • Up your communication skills. Never underestimate the power of soft skills such as communication. Although communication can sometimes be underestimated in the world of tech, its vital as you must be able to articulate your thinking clearly and concisely and also listen to and discuss matters with your team.
  • Don’t hide your personality. Many companies now conduct cultural chats to see if there is good rapport and value alignment between the candidate and team members.
  • Ask good questions. Most candidates ask the same, conventional questions that hiring managers have heard over and over again. Pull a few other questions out the bag that make companies stop and think. You can even get more personal and ask questions such as what attracted them to the company, what are their key milestones and how do they see you fitting in to the team structure.
  • First impressions count, so make a good one. Did you know that it only takes 7 seconds to make a first impression? Research suggests a tenth of a second is all it takes to start determining traits like trustworthiness. On that note, despite the fact that many tech companies having relaxed, casual dress policies (which I am all for), I believe it’s still important to make a ‘tidy’ appearance. I.e., ideally you haven’t just rolled out of bed on to a Zoom interview but instead, you’ve taken a bit more care and consideration in your appearance.

Words by Maleek Montgomery, Specialist Consultant in Data and Engineering

Successfully building an inclusive workplace goes beyond setting DEI goals and making public diversity statements. In order to truly implement inclusion and ensure that its effective, leaders need to incorporate actionable methods that encourage inclusion at every stage of the employee experience; from interviewing to day-to-day working culture, right through to offboarding. 

In the spirit of Pride Month, we challenge ourselves by raising the question, what does inclusion look like in practice and how do we ensure that colleagues – regardless of their backgrounds, sexual orientation, gender etc. – are made to feel understood and valued? 

Below are just a few tips that may be helpful to consider in the workplace to make progress towards inclusivity. 

  1. Update policies  

Employers should make it a priority to revisit and update their policies to be more inclusive to their LGBTQ+ employees. In addition to their policies, they should consider implementing diversity or Pride days dedicated to celebrating employee differences.  

2. Communicate updated policies 

Communicating updated policies, expectations and consequences often and through appropriate channels is beneficial. Its vital employees understand that harassment, discrimination, bullying, intimidation, etc… will not be tolerated.  

3. Adapt current recruiting strategies  

 Current hiring strategies could be revisited to ensure that LGBTQ applicants aren’t excluded. Companies can evaluate the current language used in job descriptions and replace any gender coded terms with neutral language.   

4. Hire an inclusivity specialist 

It is not the job of the employee to educate their co-workers. Companies can hire consultants that identify as gay or trans to review training materials and make sure that the company is promoting the right messages in the right way.  

5. Be an ally  

Allyship is an unconditional willingness to act with and for others, especially for marginalised groups of people.  It is important to educate yourself about various identities and experiences of marginalised groups and be aware of some of the biases that you may have. Another important aspect to remember is that allyship is about providing genuine, active and continuous support for groups that suffer from discrimination; it’s not enough to just talk about injustices without addressing them head on if they happen. 

Words by Tracy Iqbal Director of People Operations

Being a working parent is a delicate balancing act which challenges even the most organised.

In the last 10+ years a lot has changed with men striving as much at home as they do work. Gone are the days where a 9-to-5 was followed by coming home to dinner and playing ball before bedtime with the little one – men are more actively involved at home than ever before, cooking meals, doing laundry and generally having more quality family time.

Research from Open Mind Strategy about health and wellness goals for men and women at different life stages found that younger men (Gen Zers and Xers and millennials) considered “work-life balance” as their top priority. Between their demanding careers and busy home life’s, researchers explain, guys are feeling crunched.

In the run up to Father’s Day, we caught up with our Group Managing Director, Charlie Sell , on how he manages to thrive in the best of both worlds – as a father in a leadership position in his career.

AG: What does fatherhood mean to you?

CS: Values, Love and warmth. I was told by a great family friend once; this is all we can offer our children and then we need to let them find their way.

AG: What 3 key habits/behaviours do you adopt to help you to stay on top of things at work and home?


  1. Be engaged – No emails / calls when with the kids and no kids when reading emails / taking calls
  2. Prioritise jobs at home and in work. Tick off the must-do jobs first
  3. Regular breaks – focus on one thing for 2 hours max and then reset the mind / energy

AG: What is the best thing about fatherhood?

CS: Witnessing and helping to shape the personality and values of the most important people in my world

AG: Do you get anything other than pens, socks and coffee mugs for Father’s Day?

CS: Homemade cards, trying to cook breakfast, doing a day trip of my choice – going to a rugby match.

AG: Since becoming a father, did your professional life change? If so, how?

CS: Life changed from work life balance to work life blend. i.e., before kids I would work in fixed blocks throughout the day and evening. Post kids, work blends in with my life so I can be much more flexible.

AG: A lot changed since the pandemic, for instance, hybrid working/flexible working. Has this helped you manage work life and home life? How so?

CS: Yes – the days I work from home I can work around helping take kids to school / dinner etc.… However, also love and appreciate going into the office 2 or 3 days a week to build relationships, enjoy our culture and learn from others.

AG: What were your post-pandemic learnings RE home and work life?

CS: It is possible to be a good parent and advance your career. Its ok to blend the two and not live in guilt. Trust should be given not earnt.

AG: What will a typical work from home day look like for you?

  • 5:00am –  I naturally wake up and spend an hour ticking off key emails / work
  • 6:30am – 7:30am – I do some HIIT training with Orange Theory Fitness
  • 8:30am – I take my kids to school
  • 9:00am – 12:30am – I work
  • 12:30om – 1:30pm – I have lunch with my wife, take the dog for a walk
  • 1:30pm – 3:30pm – work
  • 3:30pm – 4:00pm – pick up my kids from school
  • 4:00pm – 6:30pm – work
  • 6:30pm – 8:00pm – with the family
  • 8pm onwards – time with the wife, see friends, do life admin

AG: What advice would you give to a new Dad who is concerned about how to balance work and home life and still perform highly?

CS: Be kind to yourself and don’t feel guilty about spending time with you wife and children. Look at life as a work life blend and therefore no problem going to a health visitor meeting in the morning or working later another day. Early risers can tick off work before kids wake up, late night people can do work once they are asleep.

AG: How does your company support parents to strike healthy balances with work and home demands?

CS: Here at Arrows, hybrid working is now the norm which allows parents to have flexibility around family life. We have no internal meetings on Fridays so people can finish early if they have achieved their weeks goals. Parents can also take advantage of childcare vouchers that we issue to them. We also have family days – inviting the family to our offices at Christmas and during summer. There is no judgement on booking slots for child activities. Lastly, there are flexible benefits to cover healthcare and laptops as well as support for children.

Since 2015, Tony Hayes has been driving the digital transformation agenda at Arrows Group Global.


In the third of our ‘Who We Are’ series, join as we talk in-depth on topics including data as the heartbeat of the industry, what it takes to digitally transform and advice for those looking to start out in the sector. 

Welcome, Tony. Can you tell us a bit about your background and the path that has taken your role as Tech Director at Arrows Group Global?

I landed in recruitment at the end of the 00’s. My first roles involved delivering CRM solutions for staffing businesses and that was quite timely. We were starting to see a proliferation of Software as a Service (SaaS), with online CRM systems starting to replace more traditional on-premise databases. This change started opening the recruitment industry to adopting more technology in the digital space.

I worked for several businesses, either as an employee or as a consultant. In 2015, I was approached by Arrows to take ownership of their technology roadmap. Arrows was an early adopter of technology. They were already thinking about how to improve productivity and effectiveness through a richer understanding of data and business insights and that mindset really motivated me to join.

My mandate has changed alongside the presence of technology within the industry. Now, in my role, I look to identify the right technology and make sure it’s fully adopted, a valuable investment, and that it supports colleagues to achieve productivity levels that would be impossible without it.

With the pace of change of technology, how has your role evolved?    

In the early days of my career, it was quite difficult to convince teams to adopt technology. Tech spend was often viewed as a necessary evil, with companies preferring to invest in sales capabilities. Going back to c. 2010, there was a fair amount of suspicion about the role of technology within recruitment! The industry wasn’t yet mature enough to articulate the justification for it; people didn’t know what it should look like or how to optimize it.

Over the last decade, technology has become completely embedded in the productivity of any business. New technology has emerged that has transcended general activity tracking. What we’ve all been through in the last two years and the reliance on digital services has also had a huge impact.

The recruitment industry has been preparing for our current phase of digital transformation, where data is the heartbeat, since 2018/19. Deploying the ecosystem and harnessing the capabilities of AI, machine learning and automation. That’s the trinity.

The role someone like myself plays within industry today is a million miles away from that necessary evil of ten years ago, which is quite satisfying! Most importantly, it’s now clear to see the impact digital transformation can have from the desk level up for businesses, employing a little bit of science into the art of recruitment.

“ … it’s now clear to see the impact digital transformation can have from the desk level up for businesses, employing a little bit of science into the art of recruitment.”

It’s clear you are an advocate for the power of digital transformation in the recruitment space. How do technology advancements create benefits for recruitment companies, their clients and candidates?   

It’s a huge question, but I’ll try to unpack it!

I’m not advocating as a type of crusade. But, taking a step back, the recruitment space is probably one of the final enterprise-level industries that hasn’t completely adopted digital transformation. If you look at retail space, travel, accommodation. for example, they’ve been completely digitally transformed.

For clients, we’re talking about market differentiators. Companies need to be able to operate efficiently, get access to talent quicker and optimize their recruitment experience. They come to companies such as Arrows to achieve that, as we have developed a digital product offering that is an enjoyable experience to be involved in and produces long-standing results.

For Arrows Group, because we operate within the tech recruitment space, digital transformation means we subscribe to the same principles our clients work to. It’s a more harmonious relationship.

For candidates, convenience is important and digital transformation supports that. They can enjoy a better experience because they have more consistent, richer relationships with a smaller number of people. They can be in contact with us at a time that’s more convenient to them and be presented with more relevant opportunities.

For Arrows, our consultants are liberated from the more traditional admin duties of a non-digitally transformed environment. This gives them the opportunity to be more consultative, spending more time talking to candidates or clients.

The impact for company stakeholders / shareholders is also considerable. If you execute tech correctly, you should expect around 10 times the return on your people investment. So, digital transformation is not just about technology. It’s about people, process and data and harnessing the potential of those components.

It’s interesting that you talk about tech liberating deeper human relationships. You seem to be describing technology as supporting better relationships, not removing the personal element.  

This is where the data, people and process elements come in. Simply deploying technology is not going to make you successful overnight. But, by understanding what digital transformation is trying to achieve, which is to enrich the experience of candidates, clients and companies to devote more time to what we’re truly unique at doing, it serves everybody to create a pleasant and productive experience.

“Simply deploying technology is not going to make you successful overnight.”

To what extent has the availability of universal data sources, starting with something like LinkedIn, been a driver for recruitment companies to improve data efficiency and tools? 

In the early 2010’s, there was a real drive and grab for data in the industry – the more the better! To some degree, that’s still a challenge.

More mature technology-led businesses will understand why the highest-performing consultants don’t have 10,000 candidates or 3,000 clients. They’ve got a small, optimal network that is highly valuable. They manage, nurture and develop those networks really effectively, to ensure a world-class candidate and client experience.

There are so many different data sources now, the challenge isn’t the quantity but the quality of it. If you aren’t confident in the quality of your data, your entire digital transformation strategy is going to fall down. This is especially true when you progress towards AI and machine learning, which rely on, or assume, that the data they operate under is accurate.

Now for a change of direction – what are the most important things people should know about you?

I’m motivated to be a thought leader within the recruitment space. I’ve been supporting businesses with digital transformation through my entire career and want to be known as the guy to go to for advice, guidance, and support.

Prior to landing in the industry, I weaved an interesting web travelling the world as a DJ. That’s as much as I’ll share on that one for now!    

Arrows Group describes itself as a technology-led recruitment company. Do you believe the recruitment company of the future will be as much a tech business as a recruiting business?  

I’m inspired and motivated to work with a company / team who want to be known as a technology-led recruitment business. That really aligns with my values. Does that mean we’re the finished article? Absolutely not.

It’s not realistic for a business to say they’re perfect in terms of use and adoption of technology. The desire and strategic support, though, is unwavering. It’s on me to keep on driving the high expectations of the business to deliver the digital roadmap.

There are plenty of successful businesses that have barely even begun their transformation journey. Lots of industries rely on people, process and a whole lot of hard work. If they can be that successful without digital transformation, what might the extra benefits be with it?

What are some of the biggest barriers to implementing new technologies at scale?  

Impatience and unrealistic timeframes. That comes back to someone like me giving the confidence that we can get a business to where it wants to be, but that it’s going to take time, money and perhaps some tears along the way!

If transformation is at scale, the foundations are even more significant. For Arrows, for example, this was about getting a best-in-class CRM and making sure the data in it was as clean as it could be. Then, from there, developing a data strategy and insights roadmap.

Once you become a data-led business, then you can truly become a technology-led business. You will have the capability to report, forecast and provide insights and a demographic willing to absorb and react to the information. If you try to do it all at once, the change challenge may be too much.

“Once you become a data-led business, then you can truly become a technology-led business.”

Subscription to this needs to be from the top down. Leaders need to be able to demonstrate that they too are adopting technology changes, and that their productivity is enhanced. It can’t be a question of do what I say, not what I do!

What’s in the Arrows Group Global Tech Stack? We’d love a tour …

We’re proud of our tech stack and quite transparent about it. So, by all means, take a look!

I’m always looking to satisfy strategic objectives from any of our tech partnerships. I always need to be confident there will be a worthwhile return.

Front and centre is our CMS system, Bullhorn. I’ve been collaborating with them for more than 10 years; the system is the sun around which the rest of our tech orbits. Circling this is world-class recruitment providers, who allow us to deliver a complete end-to-end experience.

A diamond in our crown is Cube19, through which we offer data insights and reporting analytics. We’ve partnered with them since 2018. Cube19 is pivotal to our day-to-day operations. Through it, we’ve advanced from traditional reporting to data-led decisions at every level of the business. We can perpetually challenge our data to give us clearer insights and efficiency gains for our teams and external partners alike.

Another partner is Sourcebreaker, a machine learning and AI search and lead generation tools. It’s fantastic for improving efficiency on delivery.

And I’ll also mention Herefish, which offers AI powered automation. Among the many, many things it supports is access to the right candidates at the right time, a better experience for contractors and it frees consultants from manual admin, allowing them to own their own marketing and brand.

Who or what is your biggest source of inspiration?  

Professionally, inspiration comes for me when I see people who truly engage in and adopt digital transformation.

What advice would you give to any young people considering a career in data analytics / business intelligence?

Get in touch with me – we might have jobs going!

A good University level education will stand you in good stead, as will a natural appetite for data and analytics. There are opportunities to embrace and engage with data everywhere – you can follow the analytics around football games for example!

There are lots of communities, particularly on sites like LinkedIn, where people within the industry are happy to welcome you and talk on the topic. Feel free to reach out to me on LinkedIn for guidance on those or any other advice on the topic.

And finally, you’re a fan of endurance, obstacle events. What’s the toughest one you’ve tackled yet and what are your top tips for getting through them?    

I’m a huge fan of cross-fit training and the community element of it. The toughest one by a mile was the London Marathon. The first half was a joy, and the second half was hell on earth! Hopefully I’ll have the opportunity to redress that battle again this year if I get a place again.

It’s the community element you get with these challenges I love, whether it’s training for them or the day itself. These events bring people together to achieve goals they’ve set out to do for a long time. There are parallels between that and the digital transformation journey, right?!


As Director of People Operations, Tracy Iqbal has a clear passion for people.

In the second of our ‘Who We Are’ series, join as we tackle topics including a holistic understanding of people and emotional intelligence, neurodiversity as a superstrength and the keys to a happy workforce.

Welcome, Tracy. Would you like to kick off by telling us about your background and path to being Director of People Operations at Arrows? 

Well, this is an interesting one. I did a BTEC in Business & Finance at college and was intending to go to university. I needed to save money to go, so I got a sales job in a newspaper. I did well quickly and decided I liked earning money! So, I continued working.

In time, some of my colleagues left to join the wonderful world of recruitment. In 1996, I made that move too and joined Reed. The training and onboarding were exceptional – it was a big part of my inspiration to become a trainer. After 13 years there, I joined a smaller boutique agency. I worked my way up and managed large teams until I effectively made myself redundant!

In 2016, I set up my own training company, Talent IQ Ltd. It was while running this that I was introduced to Arrows Group. There was

something different about the company for me from the start. I was brought in to do sales training with consultants. I got to know the Directors and realised there was something missing for me running my own business. I wanted that sense of belonging you have as part of a company.

I took on the role of L&D at Arrows – for the first year, while also running my training company. I developed Thrive, which is our end-to-end candidate experience programme. As Arrows has evolved and grown, I’ve had the opportunity to become the Director of People Operations. The team includes HR, Talent, Marketing and L&D and we are all about ‘putting people at the heart’.

What was the motivation behind setting up your own training company? 

I’ve always been a coaching leader, that’s my default style! I get a lot of joy from seeing people develop.

My training company was the leap of faith to see if I could make it on my own. You need a commercial mind to set up your own business and to know your market. It was about putting into practice everything I’d done to develop people. It was me, a phone and laptop starting from scratch.

I’m privileged to have a great network. I’ve supported a lot of people as a recruitment manager, and I always treat people with the respect they deserve. Thanks to this, I finished work on Friday and had my first client on Monday!

What are the most important things people should know about you?

First and foremost, I have a passion for people.

I’ve almost finished studying to be a master practitioner in Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP). I’m already a trained practitioner in various mindset and behavioural tools. These help me bring language, behaviour and emotional intelligence elements into my coaching.

I’m a curious person. Every time I deliver a training session, I learn something too. We should all be open to continually evolve and develop.

I am neurodiverse; ‘delightfully dyslexic’ is a good phrase I heard recently. I think dyslexia is a superstrength and I don’t want anyone to think it creates barriers. We’re just wired in a different way; I like it!

Being neurodiverse also helps me when I write training. I know from the courses I have studied that I need to learn repetitively to absorb information. For my training, I vary learning modalities to be more inclusive. I combine videos, activities, and self-directed research. I’m mindful there’s not a one size fits all way of learning.

You are an advocate for a holistic view of people, based on understanding and emotional intelligence. How does this apply in a business context?

Understanding people holistically helps you recognize, respect and value differences. At Arrows, we use tools that help facilitate discussion. We don’t want to put people into boxes. But, by understanding behaviour and mindset preferences, we can better understand individual strengths and limitations. This means we can better rely on each other.

I’m a big fan of emotional intelligence. We can always build on it – it’s possible to be emotionally intelligent one moment and not the next.

We run an Emotional Intelligence for Leaders programme at Arrows. It helps people understand their own behaviours and the impact they have, as well as understanding others better. This is the building block of a high performing team; respect for differences and knowledge of what people are good at.

High emotional intelligence also helps you to recognise when someone goes from ‘mindful’ to ‘survival’. When we’re ok, we can build strong relationships and perform at an optimum level. But when we go into survival mode, we can go from high to low performance. It’s about recognizing the subtle changes and acknowledging when someone is not ok.

In your view, what are the keys to having a happy, motivated, productive workforce?

You have to be interested in people as individuals. Businesses are nothing without them!

There’s a fantastic model I use in leadership training called the Roger D’Aprix model, which is about creating buy in. This starts before a person even joins the company, through total clarity about the expectations of their role. If this is clearly defined, someone who is extrinsically motivated can then get the rewards when they meet these expectations. Or, someone who is intrinsically motivated can know they have reached those standards.

Feedback is something we all need to grow and adapt, whether you’re a senior leader or starting out. The way things are done now isn’t the way they will always be done. It’s good for people to know what their growth opportunities are.

People need time – someone to check in and show they care. On a personal level, stuff happens in everyone’s lives. Giving wiggle room when needed is important.

Businesses need to have a clear vision. People should feel empowered to take control of the support and resources they need. And, there should be ownership, so people get a sense of satisfaction.

These elements are a framework I live by as a manager, leader and trainer. If one of these things is missing, that’s usually when people become disengaged and unhappy.

How do you go about embedding things like feedback and a clear vision?

At Arrows, we do regular team huddles as individual teams and company-wide across different geographies. There are constant updates on company strategy and progression. We let people know in advance about any change on the horizon – as some people need time to acclimatize.

No-one’s perfect and we’re always trying to be better. For example, we’re very good at talking about what and why at a business level. We’re working on making sure that translates into what that means for individuals.

In the last couple of years, COVID has of course had a profound effect on the way we work. What are some of the biggest changes and challenges you have seen as a result?   

This has been a very difficult time for lots of people – those who were put on furlough, for example.

One of the positives was recognizing that hybrid working can work and the accompanying increased trust. Traditionally, recruitment hasn’t been a home-working industry. There was a perception that people needed to sit in a team of salespeople to be successful. We now have clear evidence people can perform as effectively remotely, giving a better work-life balance.

Mental health has definitely been affected. I know it impacted me mentally; I’m someone who likes working with people. There was a lot of uncertainty and guilt as we didn’t have all the answers. Those on furlough were questioning their contribution and value. Those working felt a huge responsibility to pedal fast to try and get those on furlough back in.

I feel very loyal as a result of this storm we’ve weathered. We’ve come out with more clarity about what we need to do as a business.

You’ve touched on mental health already and it’s a topic you are keen to bring even more into the open. Do you think it is becoming easier for people to talk about it? What more can companies do to support people? 

I think mental health was discussed more during Covid than it has been previously. I have suffered with mental health, which means in times I’ve been diagnosed with depression. Would I have admitted that earlier in my career? Probably not. I think something has changed a bit.

Most of us will have suffered with our mental health. How we experience that will vary, for example from feeling a bit low to being actually depressed. If people felt comfortable to be more open, and businesses were better able to recognize the triggers that take someone from ok to not ok, that would be a big step forward.

It can also be about the right support.  Ask, “are you ok, what can we do to support you?” Sometimes leaders think if someone is struggling, they need to be a rescuer. But sometimes people just need to say they’re not ok and need someone to listen or give wiggle room. By being understanding you build loyalty and trust.

It’s also important that people take their annual leave, so they can renew and don’t continue to burnout. It’s about ensuring people have balance.

In your role, you champion Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I). How can companies make sure this is truly embedded and not just something they pay lip service to?

You are what you present to the market. If you want to build a diverse culture, but people can’t see anyone like them, how can you attract a diverse workforce? For example, maybe my talking about neurodiversity will get others thinking ‘recruitment is an industry I can be successful in if I’m neurodiverse’.

It starts as a business by recognizing sources of unconscious bias, which we all have. If everyone commits to making incremental changes, it can evolve over time. If you can be open to change, that’s the starting point. Then work on what you can do differently. This could include little changes, like having pronouns on emails / LinkedIn to show a level of awareness.

We have representatives from some people with some protected characteristics, but not all. We have to ask what we could be doing differently. Our office has wheelchair access, but we don’t have any imagery of someone in our office using our wheelchair. We may need to be more explicit about encouraging wheelchair users with our job adverts.

It’s something that needs to evolve, taking account of feedback, ensuring it comes from the top down. I like to think we’re open but what if that’s not what other people think?

Who or what is your biggest source of inspiration? 

My parents have always been my inspiration. We’re a working-class family; my dad worked for the same company for 30 years. My parents gave me a strong foundation and a belief I could reach for the stars. I also respect that they have adapted and embraced change – like their use of technology. They’ve demonstrated being really bold and brave!

I see different things in different people that inspire me, of any age in any circumstance. Understanding people’s stories is inspiring to me.

And finally, you’re a fan of fitness and have a busy family life. What are your tips for keeping things in balance?        

I do group HIIT workouts and a lot of running – every morning I’m at the gym as the doors open! Balance for me means keeping this as a priority; training is an investment in myself. I get so much from the group activities – I talk to people while doing burpees / dancing!

Fitness links to mental health. You have to look after yourself, or you can’t then look after others – it’s the oxygen mask analogy.

Invest time in what you enjoy – don’t run if you hate running! There’s a lot to be said for being happy. It can be a choice. You can cultivate and change your environment to make sure you stay happy.

In autumn 2021, we proudly announced to the world that Berlin-based Caissa Recruitment had joined the Arrows Group Global family.

In the first of our ‘Who We Are’ series, join us in conversation with Caissa Recruitment’s Founder, Konstanty Sliwowski. From the critical responsibility of recruitment to proud feminism and extreme ownership, discover his thoughts on work, life and the best things about living in Berlin.

Welcome, Konstanty. Can you kick off by telling us a little bit about your background and the path that led to you founding Caissa Recruitment in 2009?


My academic background is in history and politics. I studied at Oxford and after university, I worked for an NGO tasked with restructuring local governance in Iraq. It sounds very interesting, but it also exposed me to the realities of how slow this work can be. I wanted to make an impact more quickly.

Luckily, the owner of an Austrian executive search firm took me under his wing. This sparked a genuine interest. I am one of the few who has chosen headhunting and not fallen into it!

By 2009, I’d spent several years working for recruitment companies as well as in executive search and had built teams. The time felt right to go out on my own. I started Caissa Recruitment from my kitchen table in London, offering staffing solutions for engineering roles. Those were the early humble beginnings, when all I had was my belief that I could do it better than anyone else.

The connection between Caissa and Berlin started early on. Many of my first clients were based there; people I had built relationships with over my career. There became a clear need for Caissa to have a permanent base in Berlin. We opened an office there in 2015 and I relocated in early 2017 with my family. In 2018, we closed our London office to fully focus on Berlin.

Why the engineering sector?

We focus on engineering and product, which I see as the sharp end of the spear when it comes to innovation.

Most of the companies we work with are VC backed and at advanced stages. I love working with companies that are building the future and new solutions, innovating and being fast, breaking things, pivoting and adapting to the market. As for being close to the product and engineering side – well, that’s the fun part of the business, isn’t it?!

How did the partnership with Arrows Group Global come about?


There’s very little in the form of alliances between companies in recruitment. I was always open to having conversations with companies where there were synergies.

A mutual contact introduced Caissa and Arrows. We found a lot of similarities in terms of values, how we operate and a vision for how recruitment can be improved. We spent more than a year in discussions before making it official.

Now we have announced the partnership, it’s very exciting. It’s still early days, so the integrations and how we function are still being processed.

Read about the partnership of Arrows Group and Caissa here.

For Arrows Group or Caissa clients and candidates, how will they experience the partnership / how will it impact them?

Caissa will remain a separate brand under Arrows, with our distinct feel, culture, and way of doing things. One benefit for all candidates and clients is the access to additional services, information and wider data that we are working on pooling together. As a group, we can provide our clients with more insights and opportunities than they had before.

From the business to you personally. What should people know about you and what makes you tick?

I’m a third-culture kid. Born in Poland, I’ve since lived in Vienna, Moscow, London, Berlin, Oxford, and some time in Mexico. I was raised by Polish parents, going to American schools receiving Anglo-Saxon education, and speaking four languages. Adding to that mix, my wife is half-German, born in Hong Kong and our children are a mix of all the above. This makes for a fun setup!

“What you can learn from conversations, even when you disagree, is an artform I hope is not lost in this day and age.”

I have a lot of appreciation for different cultures, religions, and perspectives. What makes the world interesting is that there are multiple ways of looking at things. What you can learn from conversations, even when you disagree, is an artform I hope is not lost in this day and age.

Being with my family and showing the world to my kids is important. I travel mainly for food and photography and enjoy exploring. It doesn’t need to be 5* hotels. We like to show the world as it is.

How do you translate your feminist principles into your professional life?

InterviewI’m a proud feminist. There are a lot of strong women in my life, including my daughter who is turning eight soon. I want to make sure her world is better than the one I grew up in, with more equality, opportunities, and space for her to be who she wants.

I believe in hiring the right person for the job, regardless of anything else. It so happens Caissa Recruitment is predominantly female, and I love that. I get to work with amazing women and men.

The engineering sector is an interesting one. Companies should be thinking about how they can develop engineers internally to support their diversity ambitions, not headhunting from one another. About 17% of engineering graduates in Europe are female. With that in mind, how can companies possibly have a 50:50 gender split? There are not enough graduates to enable it. It’s a grassroots challenge.

You are very upfront about the shortcomings of recruitment, describing your approach as challenging the status quo. Where do you think the traditional recruitment process goes wrong?

Recruitment has traditionally been very transactional. As recruiters, we have a big responsibility for people’s careers, growth, and prosperity – including that of their families. We need to take this seriously. We’re not just selling a doodad!

This problem has a historical context. In the 1940’s/50’s, executive search developed from strategy consultants. They would help companies with their strategy and then suggest the best person to lead it. At the same time, job centres were there to fill positions in factories, hospitals and large blue-collar organisations. Then came the question of who’s going to manage the factory or hospital.

Executive search firms didn’t want to touch that middle level of management. So, it was the job centres who filled the gap. This is where things went wrong, and we still see perpetuated to this day. This transactional mindset focuses on ‘bums on seats’, time on the phone, number of CVs sent out, etc. This dilutes the value we can bring as recruiters and what we can do for people.

If we do our job right, we have an incredible view of what is happening in the job market. We can see where shortages will be, what salary and employment trends will be – such as hybrid working – and inform our clients and candidates. We can be mentors/coaches, supporting our candidates’ growth trajectories.

How do you do things differently?

It doesn’t matter what type of company you are; it is your people that make you. No other function functions without them. How you hire, how you engage with the candidate market, how you treat your employees, how you are able to create career paths, how you ultimately retain the right people – this has the biggest single impact on your business.

This is why recruitment matters and is such a critical job in an organization.

It is also why we share information with our clients and candidates that we observe from the market. We do annual surveys on how candidates perceive being hired and salary surveys based on actual offers. This means we can advise companies on the sort of benefits that will land with their hires. People don’t want ping pong tables or free fruit anymore. That’s not what it’s about.

We work with our clients to create the best employment proposition for their candidates.

You mentioned your annual surveys, which Caissa Recruitment has run for the last five years. What are some of the biggest changes you’ve seen in this time?

The number one motivator for people to change jobs is still money. When we started running our surveys, over 80% put money as their number one reason to change. This year, while it is still number one, less than 50% of respondents put it top.

“[Candidates] are now asking “how does the job fit around me,” not “how do I fit around the job.”

Zooming up behind money is flexibility of work. It’s by far the next biggest reason. People have certain expectations of what flexibility is. They are now asking “how does the job fit around me” not “how do I fit around the job.”

Has flexibility become an expected norm?

It’s not yet the norm that companies offer. But candidates expect it. This is the Grand Canyon of hiring; it’s a huge divide.

Companies are debating how many days people will go back to the office for. Two? Three? How about instead asking what people want, then supporting them to ensure they are able to deliver on their work obligations.

There are some Caissa team members I have never met in person. It works for them. I’d like to meet them for a beer, or lunch, but I don’t need them to sit next to me in an office to make sure I can look over their shoulder. They’re adults. It is time employers embrace the fact they have employed adults.

How people own their work is what distinguishes them as good or bad employees. The definition of ‘extreme ownership’ is that you own everything that impacts you. It’s not about waiting for someone to get back to you. It’s about taking ownership of why that person is not getting back to you.

Companies will miss out on the best hires if they are not flexible. The negotiation used to be on salary and days holiday. Now we are seeing people ask; “what’s my flexibility?”

People are asking what time they are being given. Time is an unrelenting currency. You can always get more money. Time, you’re not going to get back. It has become a serious bargaining chip.

“People are asking what time they are being given. Time is an unrelenting currency. You can always get more money.”

For companies, this is difficult to figure out. There is a set-up for when everyone works in the office, or for when fully remote. But a hybrid workplace is the most difficult because there are so many variables. How do you build a framework which, by definition, is inflexible to accommodate for the flexible employment the market demands?

What do you think is driving “The Great Resignation”?

The Great Resignation is multi-faceted. There are more jobs right now. People’s priorities have also changed or been seriously readjusted. Some people have moved from cities into the countryside. They want a company that will, say, allow them to surf at 5am before work. Two years ago, this would not have even been a conversation.

This new way of working is not better for all, though. Some people – like me – need a dedicated space for office vs home life. The point is, there should be room for all.

At Caissa Recruitment you have a 90% offer acceptance rate, way above the industry average (of around 65%). Why do you think that is?

Any hiring process is a relationship-building exercise. A good relationship needs to be relatively equally balanced.

An interview is as much an opportunity for a candidate to interview a company as it is for a company to interview a candidate. The ‘product’ here is as much the company’s position, job, values, and mission as it is the candidate’s skillset and experience. These things need to match up.

We work on creating valuable interactions and relationships. We ensure both sides have all the information they need to make the best decision. There’s never a ‘perfect’ match. You need to ensure there’s enough flexibility on both sides to make it work.

“We work on creating valuable interactions and relationships. We ensure both sides have all the information they need to make the best decision.”

From relationship-building to personal inspiration. Who or what inspires you most?

I read a lot and listen to a lot of audiobooks. I seek inspiration in daily life, through the people I talk to. I believe there’s something to be learnt from every conversation.

I’m often inspired by what my kids say! Sometimes asking your kids to help with difficult problems is the best solution you can get.

All the knowledge you need is already out there. It’s about opening yourself up to it and being able to embrace it – and having the confidence to admit that sometimes your perspective is wrong.

And finally, what are your insider tips on the best things to do/see in Berlin?   

InterviewCome talk to me if you’re ever visiting!

Berlin is a wonderful city, with very distinct neighbourhoods. You can find anything you want: crazy parties, outstanding dining, superb art from galleries to street art, amazing coffee, very good wine bars. Berlin was a divided city, but the result is that it’s got almost two of everything. Two opera houses. Two philharmonics. You have access to all of that.

If you go to a party, you will invariably find a founder, an engineer, an opera singer, an artist, a world traveller who pops in. You will be exposed to a richness of conversation in a melting pot of the world. It is that eclectic mix that makes the city what it is.

The widening digital skills gap threatens to hold our economy back and we will all suffer as a consequence. According to a study by the Learning and Work Institute, the number of young people taking IT subjects at GCSE level has fallen by 40 per cent since 2015.

This webinar covered a number of key themes including:

  • How businesses can get the most from Gen Z
  • The hopes and fears from Gen Z about the future
  • Diversity & Inclusion in the workplace

If you missed the webinar, you can now access the whitepaper that will give you practical and useful advice for bridging the digital STEM gap in your business.

Download our whitepaper now

How to stop HR compliance slowing your growth plans

HR compliance is a crucial process. But that doesn’t mean it’s not frustrating when HR responsibilities cause bottlenecks that stall growth. Especially when those delays mean you lose top tech candidates to competitors.

It might feel like HR compliance is out of your hands. Your biggest priority is getting the right people onto your team – not making sure you’ve dotted the i’s and crossed the t’s from a compliance perspective.

That’s not quite true. 

There are things you can do to make HR’s lives easier – and make sure HR compliance doesn’t slow your growth plans. 

Shift your mindset

Compliance is vital to successful recruitment. Nobody loves compliance – it’s a headache. But without a green light, nothing is possible. 

So shift your mindset. And know the consequences of getting compliance wrong. HR compliance isn’t a bureaucratic delay. It’s not something you can work around (or skirt around). 

Losing that technical hire you need might feel like the worst case. But securing that candidate without ensuring compliance can be worse. 

Either because you’ll get all the way through process and last-minute company compliance concerns will rear their head and mess things up. Or worse, because you could find yourself in legal hot water. 

Never assume

As recruiters, we’ve learned the hard way: never assume compliance is taken care of. If those assumptions are wrong, you’ve wasted significant time and effort – for nothing.

From our perspective, compliance is often a more strictly defined process in larger businesses. Which on one hand, is frustrating because it can cause hiring delays. But on the other, smaller businesses might lack a compliance process altogether – which can cause even longer delays while they sort everything out.

Especially for high-growth businesses, compliance might be an ongoing battle to get right as the business scales. That makes compliance even more important – so never assume; always ask. 

Be proactive 

This comes hand-in-hand with the first two points. There’s a fundamental shift in attitude here – HR compliance isn’t just on HR’s lap. It’s on everyone’s lap, because compliance effects everyone.

Managers can play their role by being proactive. If you wait for HR to come to you, you have no control over the process. If you approach HR upfront, you can make sure they get what they need and when, before they ask. 

For example, the visa situation in the Netherlands has changed a lot over the past few years. As more companies seek international technical talent, visas have become harder to secure from certain locations. 

Make sure you know what proof you need, and how long the process will take, so you can proactively manage the process. You’ll be red-faced and frustrated if you didn’t take into account that your new software engineer needs to wait five months for a visa when you need them on a project in two.  

Particularly in the Netherlands, many of our clients turn to international technical talent to help them grow. Relocation introduces more moving parts into the equation but we’re experts at helping clients navigate this space without disruption. 

Involve your team 

HR compliance shouldn’t be a skeleton in the cupboard. It should be something you discuss openly, to build compliance into your normal working processes. Likewise, compliance shouldn’t be a discrete, one-off thing. It’s not just a box you have to tick – it’s a process.

For example, are you managing your team in a compliant way? Do team members interact in ways that leave them vulnerable to non-compliance claims?

Compliance doesn’t just happen during recruitment and that’s the end of it, is the point. As a manager, you have to set a compliant culture from day one. 

Uncover unconscious bias  

To be compliant, your recruitment process must be fair and non-discriminatory. But unconscious bias can sneak in where you least expect it and leave you vulnerable to non-compliance claims.

You want to hire fast and this compliance stuff probably feels tedious. But take the extra time to rigorously assess all your recruitment touchpoints. 

Are your job adverts using implied gendered language, for example? Research shows language like ‘dominant’, ‘ambitious’, ‘self-confident’ and ‘achievement-driven’ are associated with the male gender stereotype. If your ads consistently use this language you might only attract men – or your interviewers might unfairly assume male candidates better fit the role. 

Or another example – are all your interviewers male? Are you – and anyone else interviewing – well-briefed on the interview questions you definitely can’t ask (even if they’re well-intentioned)? 

HR compliance is everyone’s responsibility 

HR compliance can sometimes be frustrating but it’s a crucial aspect of the technical recruitment process. Stepping up and taking responsibility helps you bring the right technical people into your team – the right way. So you don’t make costly non-compliance mistakes later.

Arrows Group help high-growth, high-tech companies hire the technical talent they need to scale. Let’s chat about Arrows becoming your strategic growth partner.

Four-stage sourcing process to find the best tech talent

You know the story. It’s a hyper competitive hiring market and the best technical people are hard to find, let alone hire.

So. Where do you look for them? 

Finding technical rockstars might feel impossible but it’s certainly not. If it were, we wouldn’t have built a highly successful recruitment business helping high-growth businesses like yours hire them. At scale, too. We generally work in multiples of two, five or ten for any one company, at any one time. 

Here’s our four-stage sourcing process, from the moment a client calls us with an opening. (Active recruitment comes later than you might think). 

1 – Qualify the opening  

First things first – who are we looking for? There’s no point going to market unless you know precisely who you’re going to market for. Equally, there’s no point going to market with an impossible list of requirements. 

As we’ve said before, it’s about compromise. 

If you want someone yesterday, you can’t also demand niche, senior technical skills and a niche industry background. If you want local Dutch speakers, you might have to wait, or pay above the odds. And so on.

If you’re working with Arrows, we’ll help you refine your brief so you know the person you’re looking for is actually out there. And we’ll tell you if your requirements are impossible – there’s no point wasting your time, or ours. 

2 – Approach your active hotlist  

We spend all day, every day, immersed in technical recruitment. So our network is our biggest asset – and something our consultants have spent years building. 

A typical consultant with three years’ bedding into the market should always have an active hotlist of three to five technical candidates who are actively looking for a new role. So that’s the first step – we see if they could be a fit and ask for referrals if they’re not. 

There’s not a like-for-like equivalent to this if you’re recruiting solo, but asking your employee network for referrals is a good idea. 

3 – Approach your passive hotlist   

In recruitment, a huge bulk of the role isn’t actually about recruiting. It’s about mapping the market – identifying every single player (only possible when you specialise, as we do) and building relationships with them.

As a result of that activity, a typical Arrows consultant also has a passive hotlist of around 150 to 200 technical candidates. As a business, we’ve got a global database of 250,000 technical candidates. 

These are people we’ve built a relationship with – often chatting or meeting for coffee every few months. Sometimes we’ve worked with them before; sometimes we’ve even placed them in every new role throughout their career. 

So that’s the second step. Calling your passive candidate hotlist and seeing if anyone’s situation has changed, and asking for referrals. 

The two hotlist stages are generally so successful that 75% of our hires might come from this source. It’s rare we’d ever ‘go to market’ in an active sense. 

But again, this stage is hard to replicate unless recruitment is your day job (building relationships like this takes a phenomenal amount of time). What you could do is call through your ATS and speak to anyone you’ve spoken to before, and ask them for referrals.

4 – Active recruitment (job applications; boards; social media)

The smaller your network, the more you’ll rely on active candidate sources like job applications, job boards and social media.

The issue is, candidates who are actively looking for a role will likely be interviewing in a huge number of places. Possibly ten or more. Which dampens your chances of a successful hire considerably. 

Not least because it means you don’t have the level of candidate management you’d like – which comes from having strong relationships. 

Also, the best technical people often never make it onto the open market. Top techies generally have strong relationships with recruiters – if they’re looking for a new role, they call the recruiter and ask for one, and that’s that. 

Don’t lose hope though. Probably 25% of candidates we send to clients are actively looking for a role, and of those, maybe one in four offers are successful. 

Having a great job advert is important here – you never know who’s eye you can catch; someone who never thought they were looking. 

That’s why it’s important your advert really sells your opportunity (standing out from the crowd is hard) and doesn’t unintentionally alienate anyone (unconscious bias can be a secret talent deterrent). 

To recruit better technical people, network is everything 

If you’re only recruiting a couple of technical people a year, you can go to market ad-hoc and you’ll probably be fine. It might take longer than you’d like and you might have a few drop-outs along the way. But you’ll get there.

If, on the other hand, you have ambitious growth plans, you need to view recruitment differently. At that point, recruitment needs to be less about reacting to a need and more about creating a pipeline. So you’ve got the technical talent waiting in the wings when you need to move. 

That’s not impossible to do yourself – not at all. But it does take time. And experience. And deep knowledge of the market. 

Long-term you can invest in building those capabilities in-house – or you could scale now, by working with strategic growth partners who’ve spent 16 years learning the technical recruitment space inside-out.

Your call. Call us if it’s the latter – we’d love to chat.

How high-growth teams can find tech talent that ticks all the boxes

Every business, every team, has slightly different hiring needs. But all the same, we’re all familiar with the ‘technical rockstar’. 

That dream technical candidate that slots seamlessly into your team, integrates effortlessly into complex projects, energizes and engages colleagues, and becomes an evangelist for your culture and values.

Read on to understand what separates those dream candidates from the pack. And then keep reading to discover why you can’t always get what you want (but what you should do instead). 

What sets a dream tech candidate apart? 

Here’s what our consultants say:

    • Specialists not generalists. Less is more. Mostly we want tech candidates who’re real subject matter experts. They know their language inside-out; they’re not jacks of all trades.  
    • Understanding of wider context. The best tech talent knows they don’t work in a silo. They can clearly articulate what they’ve done within teams, and how those projects related to broader business strategy. 
    • Longevity. Tech candidates move jobs more often than they used to. That’s an unavoidable fact. But too-early turnover throws projects into turmoil and your team into workload overdrive while you re-recruit. So ideally we hunt for tech people with two to four years tenure in past roles.      
    • Exceptional communication skills. IT has changed, and the tech professionals you need have changed too. We look for tech people who play well with others. It’s crucial they can clearly articulate what they do and what they need to non-techie people. 
    • Cultural fit. The types of companies we work with generally have a bold, vibrant culture, so need technical professionals who can hold their own. The days of back-office cost-centre IT is over, at least in the worlds we work in. 
    • Track record in high-growth companies. We work with high-tech, high-growth businesses, so tech candidates need to be intimately familiar with that environment. It’s fast and furious – and there’s no room to hide.
    • Agile experience. By the same token, many of our clients specifically look for project managers and developers who’ve worked the agile methodology, with paired or extreme programming. Tech candidate with that experience who embrace that mentality are always in high-demand. 
    • Ability to learn fast. The demands of evolving technology like cyber security means businesses often cross-train, so we look for tech people who learn fast. If your business is set-up to effectively upskill, we’ll find you fast learners. 
    • They live and breathe tech. The best techies don’t see tech as a job. It’s a passion. Maybe they’re actively engaged in communities and forums, or maybe they contribute to open source, for example. The point is, they live their subject matter.

So that’s the unicorn. The dream tech hire. And they are out there. Probably two in five of the candidates we work with match that profile, for example. 

But let’s talk about compromise for a moment.

Find YOUR perfect technical hire (not THE perfect technical hire)

In reality, both the Netherlands and the UK are competitive, candidate-driven hiring markets. There are more open roles than technical professionals to fill them. Which means a comparatively small number of businesses will find THE tech rockstar that ticks every box.

Everyone else has to compromise. Recruitment isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. Every business has unique needs – and faces unique challenges.

Defining those needs and challenges helps you decide what your recruitment strategy should be – today and for future growth.

For example, maybe your interview-to-offer ratio is poor because your interview process takes too long. You want the unicorn technical candidate that ticks every box – but you simply won’t compete until you address your processes.

Maybe right now, you compromise and decide to hire someone with three years’ Java experience instead of five, because you’ve got a great in-house training set-up. And then longer-term, you start adapting your recruitment processes.  

Or maybe you’re absolutely certain you need a best-in-class developer and you need them yesterday. But you’ve been looking for weeks and nobody local fits. So you compromise, and decide to hire a Canadian developer who’s the absolute top of her game. 

And then long-term, you start fleshing out an apprentice programme to cultivate future skills locally. Or you invest into boosting your local employer brand, to help your business stand out from the pack. 

For example, we often help high-growth Dutch tech teams expand their search into international talent. Sacrificing Dutch-language skills – which often aren’t really needed, since code is universal and most high-growth businesses have international expansion plans anyway – unlocks incredible developers from elsewhere, who can add real value to your business.  

The point is, hiring ad hoc for top-tier tech talent is becoming nearly impossible, in both the UK and the Netherlands. You might get lucky a few times but ultimately a scattergun approach will hamstring your future growth. 

What’s needed is a long-term talent strategy that addresses your unique challenges, to build a future-proof recruitment mechanism that helps your business scale.  

That’s what Arrows Group help with. We partner with some of the world’s fastest-growth businesses to create talent strategies that help them stay ahead of the competition. 

How OneDayTM is transforming technical recruitment

You’ve probably heard us talk about our OneDayTM technical recruitment framework. 

Some clients hear OneDayTM and assume that means they can totally forget about recruitment apart from one day of interviews, and they’ll magically get five technical hires at the end. 

That’s not the case. 

OneDayTM is a dramatically faster way to hire – yes. And it does culminate in a single day of interviews. And you could have five new technical hires by the end of the day. 

But there much more going on behind the scenes. And only certain businesses can elevate their recruitment function to achieve OneDayTM. So let’s put the record straight.

What is OneDayTM?

OneDayTM is a collaborative, strategic recruitment framework for making multiple technical hires fast. It’s a controlled recruitment process with defined timescales and deliverables – culminating in a single day of interviews, and usually two to five technical hires.

OneDayTM condenses the recruitment lifecycle dramatically, usually to only two weeks from defining roles to having offers accepted. 

It also gives a dramatically improved candidate experience, which means candidates are more likely to accept your offers. Even candidates who don’t ultimately become employees have a positive experience – which boosts your employer brand and builds your future candidate network.

Overall OneDayTM is a more efficient, effective way to build your technical teams. It’s the antidote to a fast-paced, competitive hiring landscape.  

Sounds great, right? But OneDayTM isn’t for everyone.

Could you hire in OneDayTM

We get huge amounts of interest in OneDayTM – but many businesses just aren’t set-up to make OneDayTM work. OneDayTM is a tool, not a one-stop-shop solution. 

Here are the five criteria to see if OneDayTM could work for you.

1 – Do you need to hire multiple people, fast? 

OneDayTM is a better way to recruit technical people at scale. If you don’t need at least three technical hires within the next six months, this isn’t for you. That is, growth must be a strategic priority for your business right now. 

Otherwise you’ll struggle to get other stakeholders on-board, even if you personally are 100% committed to OneDayTM

2 – Can you give us exclusivity?  

To make OneDayTM work, we invest a huge amount of time and resource. Like several full-time consultants – even people on-site, in many cases.  

That’s not feasible unless you’re totally committed to working with us, which means trusting us exclusively with at least three roles. In practice, we’ll rarely make our first job together a OneDayTM. We’d usually ask you to give us one or two roles traditionally first, so we can learn your business and you can learn to trust us. Then we’d move to OneDayTM.

3 – Are you overwhelmingly committed?  

OneDayTM is like playing on a sports team together. If you don’t turn up, we can’t play and we certainly can’t win. In other words, OneDayTM only works if all stakeholders are on-side, with full commitment.

That means hiring managers, of course, but also engineers doing the interviews. Your team. HR. The C-Suite. Everyone needs to buy-into OneDayTM or there’s always someone who’ll disrupt the process – and it’ll fail. 

4 – Are you flexible? 

OneDayTM is a people-product – so you never quite know how it will evolve. You rely on our many years’ experience, of course, and deep market knowledge and extensive research. But anything can happen and you have to adapt. 

Like, perhaps that ideal job description simply isn’t on the market for your budget. You’re going to have to either increase your budget or change some must-haves to nice-to-haves, fast. 

5 – Do you have a fantastic employer proposition? 

At heart, OneDayTM is a sales opportunity. It attracts the best technical people on the market to interview, so you can give them an incredible experience and energize them to join your team.  

To do that, you have to actually be incredible. You have to know what makes you, you – and sell that to candidates during the interview day. 

We’re organising a OneDayTM at the moment, for example, where we’re putting on a whole event about the evolution of hybrid tech during the day. The CEO and all team leaders will be there; candidates get breakfast and lunch, meet everyone who matters.

It’s a big deal – but the client should get five to ten engineers out of it. Because everyone who attends has an incredible experience, and leaves feeling inspired and valued. 

Elevate recruitment to turn growth into business-as-usual

OneDayTM is fundamentally changing how high-growth companies in the Netherlands and the UK scale their tech teams. Because the thing about OneDayTM is, it’s not really about OneDayTM.

Ultimately OneDayTM becomes a recurring event that drives continuous growth. It’s a total strategic repositioning of the recruitment function – where recruitment becomes core business, not an add-on. And that’s what needs to happen, if your business is serious about growth.

Arrows Group partner with many of the world’s fastest-growing businesses, to build a strategic recruitment function that accelerates – not stalls – growth. Find out more about OneDayTM.

On Thursday 15th June, we held our annual Sales Conference and AGM at OXO2. The entire offices from London and Amsterdam, and 15 from our Indian office got together for a full day designed to focus on collaboration and agile working across the four tribes. The Sales Conference involved cross-tribe workshops to help us improve the services and quality of work we offer.

The day finished with Colin Burgess, the Director of Operations at Sky, sharing his knowledge and experience of the media and communications industry. He spoke through three main themes: being the real deal; being agile and focusing on the essential, and used his experience to explain these to us. Colin gave us a great insight into what makes good business practice and the importance of building successful relationships, and it was entertaining to all to hear and learn from one of our biggest Clients.

The AGM started in the evening with a champagne reception as everyone arrived back at OXO2 after changing into black tie. Our CEO, James Parsons, spoke about our performance and achievements over the last year and we celebrated the outstanding performances with awards in a variety of areas. He spoke about industry trends, our challenges and our strategy for the year ahead. We learnt about the company he saw Arrows being by 2020 and how we could use our roles and positions in the company to make progress towards this.

The day finished with dinner, drinks and the opportunity to spend time with colleagues from the different offices across the world – something we don’t have the chance to do often enough.


Arrows Group Global, the strategic resourcing group, releases trading update for the full year ended 31st March 2016.  The Board is pleased to confirm that the Group revenues for the full year grew to £40m representing a 23% increase on the previous year with NFI increasing 19.5%.

During the year the Group followed up the successful demerger from its sister company ICG Medical with a share buy out for the original owners that gives James Parsons, CEO, full share ownership of the business moving forwards.


“We are pleased to release such a positive trading update for the past year. We saw a strengthening of demand for both permanent and contract skills in the UK Technology market which grew at 33% and an increase in permanent demand across the European market (15%). As political turbulence continues to affect the UK market this year, our international expansion strategy goes from strength to strength as we experience an increase in demand from European, Asian and US tech hubs which appears set to endure over the next 12 months.”

Attracting and retaining the right talent is an important part of any business, especially those that are expanding quickly. Yet, as the fight to entice and retain talent gets tougher, maintaining a strong talent pipeline has never been so necessary. James Parsons, CEO and founder of Arrows Group shares 3 easy ways to improve employer branding and appeal to current and potential employees.

– B2B Marketing

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Whether to manage scalability or encourage collaboration, cloud skills are in demand across businesses and industries. James Parsons, CEO, Arrows Group shares the three general trends the company has seen amongst its own clients in terms of the specific cloud skills in demand, along with how businesses can manage their search to find the best cloud talent out there.

– Compare the Cloud

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Following the release of exclusive Arrows Group data revealing a 10% reduction in skilled tech workers from within the EU locating to the UK, James Parsons, CEO, Arrows Group shares his position on what the triggering of Article 50 means for the future of the UK’s digital skills landscape, and how we can make sure the UK remains an attractive place to work.

– IT Pro Portal

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As Article 50 is triggered, James Parsons, CEO and founder of Arrows Group Global comments on the impact this could have on the UK technology sector and those workers that make it tick.

– Information Age

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As Article 50 is triggered, James Parsons, CEO and founder of Arrows Group, comments that while many of its implications are still unclear, from a digital skills perspective, we’re already seeing how Brexit is making top digital talent reluctant to come to the UK and flock elsewhere.

– Recruitment International

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What does the triggering of Article 50 mean for growth businesses? James Parsons, CEO and founder of Arrows Group reveals that Brexit has already had an impact on digital skills, with some overseas candidates turning down competitive roles in the UK.

– Growth Business

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As prime minister Theresa May triggers Article 50, James Parsons, CEO and founder of Arrows Group explains that while many of the implications of Brexit are still unclear, we need to make sure the UK is still an attractive place to work for Europe’s top digital talent.

– Computer Weekly

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The trigger of Article 50 signifies significant change. But how will this impact the migration of digital skills in and out of the UK? Amongst other industry experts, Arrows Group’s CEO and founder James Parsons thinks more needs to be done by the government to put the right laws and incentives in place to foster and grow local talent.

– Real Business 

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James Parsons, CEO and founder of Arrows Group commenting on the impact of Brexit on our workforce, and how the UK needs to remain a location with a healthy supply of digital talent.

– Recruitment Grapevine

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