How Companies Identify Talent with Abakar Saidov and Kage Spatz

HR Strategy Series, Real Human Resources

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Beamery Human Resources Hiring Strategies

Some of the most important things we can do is provide better access to work, education and healthcare for all. It is the key to the eradication of poverty and a better world.

As a part of my HR Strategy Series, I’m talking to top experts in the field to teach prospects what hiring managers are actually looking for, while also supporting business leaders in their hiring and retention strategies. Today I had the pleasure of talking with Abakar Saidov.

Abakar Saidov is the co-Founder and CEO of Beamery. Prior to Beamery he worked at Goldman Sachs and Francisco Partners, and founded He’s currently leading Beamery’s mission to put talent transformation at the heart of every business.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! First, please tell us what brought you to this specific career path?

As with many founders, it was a bit of an accident. My brother Sultan, who is one of my co-founders, and I, care deeply about helping to solve the ‘Passport Lottery’ — where you are born has the biggest impact on the opportunities available to you. Sultan and I wanted to work on something that would change that. We were constantly having debates around why it’s so hard for people to find the jobs they love, and how various inefficiencies and biases prevent access to work. That took us down a path of learning as much as we can about how companies acquire, develop and retain talent. We interviewed dozens of talent leaders from small startups to the biggest corporations, which led us to the idea behind Beamery. We’re passionate about working with companies that are putting talent transformation first, companies that want to change and be better, and help them level the global playing field by giving candidates and employers better access to each other and opportunities. It’s really fun and rewarding.

Can you share the most interesting or funny story that happened to you since you started this and what lesson you learned?

Oh that’s a hard one. There are quite a few that spring to mind. One that I remember is from a new employee who started when we were around 120 people, right past the Dunbar number. I walked up to say hi and welcome them to Beamery and they had no idea who I was. I guess I learned a lesson to not assume that we were a tiny company anymore where everyone knows everyone.

Wonderful. Now let’s jump into the main focus of our series. Hiring can be very time consuming and difficult. Can you share 5 techniques to identify the talent that would be best suited for the job to fill?

  1. In some cases, hire for potential vs. hard skills — identify best-fit candidates based on more than just job titles and experience. Sometimes your best candidates don’t have the exact experience you’re looking for but have all the potential in the world to do the job.
  2. Have a solid understanding of a candidate’s skills and capabilities — Gone are the days of rigid databases of candidate’s skills. What we’re seeing now is a shift towards a skill or talent graph — an AI-driven view of both candidate skills and potential. At Beamery, we’re working with our clients to deliver just this so that they can have a more accurate and real-time view of the talent, skills, capabilities, and preferences of their candidates and workforce.
  3. Internal mobility: Don’t overlook your current talent when filling a role. Many team members are curious about growing their skills and having new experiences at work so always be sure to lean on that talent pool when looking to fill a role. It’s a win-win for everyone.
  4. Create a great candidate experience across multiple marketing channels: Your candidates are consuming content, making preferences known, and interacting with brands like Google, Apple, Amazon and Netflix on a daily basis. Make sure your candidate experience mirrors the consumer-like experience they’re used to in their daily lives. Serve up content at the right time to the right candidates through the right channels and be sure to always personalize the experience.
  5. Make recruiters lives easier: Your recruiters are on the front lines so make sure they have the technology and tools to do their best work to attract, find and connect with the best talent and ensure they have an incredible experience from the first touchpoint.

With so much noise and competition out there, what are the top 3 ways to attract and engage the best talent in an industry?

  1. Make it personal and focus on building relationships: This is critical. You can’t take a one size fits all approach. You need to deliver a relevant, individualized and engaging experience to candidates across all channels. Highlight current team members and the work they’re doing, successes they’re having, and the difference they’re making to give prospective candidates a real-life snapshot into the opportunities you offer. Take each engagement with a candidate as an opportunity to build a meaningful relationship.
  2. Provide a consumer-like experience, follow up and nurture the talent: Ensure your candidate experience is on par with what they’re experiencing outside of work via the likes of Netflix, Apple, and Amazon. Make each candidate experience unique, compelling, easily accessible, and highly valuable. Nurture those relationships by delivering thoughtful content and experiences to the right candidates at the right time.
  3. Prioritize capabilities and intent rather than matching job descriptions to titles. This is a big one for us and at the heart of what we’re passionate about. Stop focusing on static job descriptions or titles as a match for qualification. Rather, really get to know what people can do and where they are going.

What are the 3 most effective strategies to retain employees?

  1. Culture: people speak a lot about this in abstraction, but hiring for culture fit helps with retention. Not a surprise.
  2. Mission: employees that are mission-driven, and see value in what they do, stay longer.
  3. Progression: no one likes being static. People need to see opportunities for them to learn and grow; that means pathways to development and an investment in their success. Something like effective internal mobility is often underlooked. Beamery is solving for that — stay tuned!

If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?

Oh that’s a great philosophical question. I truly believe that back on that point of purpose to solve the ‘passport lottery’ — some of the most important things we can do is provide better access to work, education, and healthcare for all. It is the key to the eradication of poverty and a better world.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote” and how that was relevant to you in your life?

Ha! I actually read a book recently called ‘If I Could Tell You Just One Thing’ by Richard Reed. It’s full of interviews of famous people answering that question — if you could tell people only one thing, what would it be? I really like what Bill Clinton said: “The most important thing is to See people. The person that opens the door for you, the person that pours your coffee. Acknowledge them. Show them respect.” I think it’s amazing how easy it is to be absorbed in your own day, and not acknowledge others that can be fleeting interactions. Everyone wants to be seen. The traditional greeting of the Zulu people is “Sawubona.” It means “I See you.” I try to do that.

We are very blessed to have some of the biggest names in Business, VC, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world whom you would love to have a private lunch with, and why?

I think Bill Gates would be top of my list — the things he is doing right now are fascinating. And certainly Jeff Bezos — I very much share his fascination with space. Stephen Colbert and Trevor Noah — they have such wit and sharp minds. The list goes on…. I can’t just have one.

Thank you so much for sharing your insights with us today!

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