Our favourite Aussie ray of sunshine Sam spills the beans on her career to date, no.1 piece of advice for companies scaling their teams, and top tips for people uncovering their passions.
Sam, Talent + Culture Partner @ Create + Adapt
What did you do before joining Create + Adapt?
I was an in-house HR generalist for about 3 years working in a variety of companies – from local government, to a not-for-profit aged care organisation, to an exponentially growing telecommunications start up. In these roles, I worked on all things HR: end-to-end recruitment, legislative compliance, workforce metrics and analytics, organisational development and culture projects. Since moving to the UK in April, I wanted to expand my scope to an outsourced / consultant-style role, which ultimately brought me to C+A!
What does your current role entail?
My role essentially boils down to partnering with my clients on all things talent (it’s in the name!). This looks different on a client-to-client (and a day-to-day) basis. But, generally speaking, it involves working with and coaching hiring managers on recruitment processes, advising and implementing objective recruitment measures, ensuring the candidate experience is fantastic, as well as looking at employer branding and culture pieces.
What’s the most exciting part of your job?
I love working in a start up, for start ups. Everyone in the companies I work with has a genuine passion about what they’re trying to do, and the same can definitely be said within C+A itself, and that’s what makes me genuinely excited to come to work every day. Also, working within a team like C+A that empowers you to run with decisions and be there for you whenever you need to lean on expert advice makes it so much better.
What has been your favourite customer or candidate moment so far at C+A?
I was working with a Director who needed help ASAP. They had two vacant Head of Department roles, and desperately needed extra hands on the junior end in one of those departments as well. The Director was covering both roles (as well as their own!) and also had a booked holiday coming up – talk about stressful! Within 3 weeks of our brief, both Head of vacancies were filled, and 5 junior members of staff were hired. Leaving the Director to be able to go on their holiday the next week knowing things were sorted. It was a great feeling being able to remove that stress, and with candidates that I knew would be perfect for the job.
What is your favourite C+A value?
Pushing Boundaries. We’re encouraged to try new things, think outside the box, and not be afraid to fail fast and learn from it. It’s resulted in some amazing thoughts coming out of our team and makes me so excited to think where I could take my role.
What was your first job?
My first ever job was a cashier at a department store – things have come a long way since then! I was this quiet girl behind the counter who answered to “Sarah” because that was the previous cashier’s name and my boss kept mixing us up. My first job at C+A actually highlights how far I’ve come as a person! On my second day I was thrown straight into it – helping facilitate an Assessment Centre for one of our clients. 15 year old cashier me wouldn’t have even dreamed of doing that, and I love that I now have the confidence to be able to hit the ground running in ambiguous situations and genuinely enjoy myself while doing it.
What advice would you give to someone trying to find their passion?
Try everything! When I first graduated high school, I had no idea what I wanted to do. My parents wanted me to go into law or medicine, something “I had the brains to do”. I instead went straight into a Fine Arts degree majoring in Creative Writing. After a year of not doing as well as I did in high school and feeling really down on myself about it, I changed into a double degree of Psychology and Criminology and felt the difference immediately. Everything was clicking again, and I was in the zone. I wanted to be a Criminologist and no-one was going to stop me! ….Until I was told by a lecturer there was exactly no jobs in my home town and I’d have to move to Canberra to be able to work in Criminology. For all non-Australians, that’s not exactly where most 21 year olds want to move! I knew I wanted to work with people, but not in a clinical Psychology sense, so I threw my application out for a HR internship, which I got! It was the last place I thought I’d end up when I left high school, but I’ve genuinely never looked back and never been happier!
An underrated piece of advice for a company looking to grow their team:
Culture is everything, and it takes work! I’ve had experience in start ups who have exploded in size, and I think the biggest failing during this growth can be assuming new starters are automatically just as passionate about the vision of the company as those who were with it from the beginning – or that they even understand the vision! It’s so important for a company’s culture and values to be apparent in all aspects of hiring – from the first moment a candidate clicks on the careers page, to the first conversation they have with a member of the hiring team, to interview, to on-boarding, to their first 3 months and beyond. Taking the time to truly live and breathe your values and ensure that culture is maintained through periods of growth is the best investment a company can make.
What do you love doing outside of work?
I get my energy from being around other people – I love spending time with friends, and exploring my new home town of London! Travel is also a big one – you put an Australian within a 2-3 hour flight of anywhere in Europe, and you best believe that Aussie will be at the airport more weekends than not.