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Tips & Advice

5 Minutes with Talent Director Hayden Baker

Marketing Ambassador, Ashan Marambe sits down with The Pond's Digital & Technology Recruitment Talent Director, Hayden Baker, to reflect on the year and find out what’s in-store for 2020.

Hayden joined The Pond in 2019, as the Digital & Technology Director. He comes with years of experience having specialised in digital recruitment at a large recruitment company in Australia and New Zealand. Hayden leads The Pond’s digital recruitment placing top talent across agency and corporate clients. 


What has been your favourite part about working at The Pond? 

“Joining an awesome company that’s continuing to grow. We deal with high-end talent and represent them with panache and a flavour that differs from the traditional, large corporate recruiters. Day-to-day I’m lucky to be working alongside likeminded people who are eager to drive our business forward. I’m at the start of a great journey, both for my professional career and The Pond.”


As the latest addition to The Pond’s leadership team, what do you think makes The Pond different from other recruitment agencies?

“The Pond is a premium and specialist recruitment firm purely focused on the creative, digital and marketing verticals. These days organisations strive to obtain talent that can shape a business in a profitable new direction. With this, the need for creative, marketing and digital experts is increasing. We live and breathe the professions in this space so we can provide a consultative approach and give clients access to high-end talent with the goods to transform their business.”


The Pond is championing transformational talent, in your opinion, what is it and why is it so crucial? 

As evolving technology adds complexity to the way we engage and interact, organisations have to focus on being more customer-centric and personalised to hook their audience. The key is not to become diluted in a competitive and saturated market. We can identify and recruit talent that will transform a business and harness a point of difference.”


What’s next for digital recruitment at The Pond in 2020? 

“Keep it simple. Firstly, continue building on the existing client base we service and secondly to grow the headcount of the digital technology team here at The Pond. In 2020 we are looking to grow The Pond’s presence within the development and technology community through old school networking and sponsorships.”


How do you measure success? 

“Getting repeat business and growing our own internal capabilities to meet our clients growth and changing needs are key indicators for me. Placing talent that sticks is a big one for The Pond as a collective – 4.1 years is the average time our placements stay in roles, well above the industry norm. We take a lot of pride in our service and appreciate client and candidate feedback. I also enjoy the one-off wins like placing talent from the regions or offshore as it’s an essential milestone within their wider journey. You can see the weight lift off their shoulders.”


Why did you decide to specialise in Digital so early in your career?

“Like many in recruitment, I fell into it. In 2011 I was in Melbourne interviewing through a recruitment agency for digital business development roles. I was asked directly by my Recruitment Consultant at the time if I had ever thought about recruitment.  Here, we are nine years later, and I’ve spent the entire time recruiting within digital and technology.“


What do you think are the next emerging digital professions over the next few years? 

“We are seeing a major increase in clients exploring and adopting Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine learning and Automation / Robotics process Automation (RPA). Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) are taking off and there’s continued demand for data specialists as it’s “the new oil”. In the design space, both User Experience and User Interface Designers are highly sought after. Oh, and let’s not forget about security.”


What’s the one tip you would give digital centred clients?

“My one tip is rather basic, yet I see the issue crop up often. Organisations need to invest initially to define and validate an issue or idea. Only after doing your homework should you decide on what technologies and platforms you adopt to ensure you derive a return on your investment. It’s easy to get caught up in the hype of new tech.“


What’s your opinion on digital talent who work remotely? Does it work?

“Interesting question, it entirely depends on the organisation, the reasons for doing so, their openness and their ability to manage remote workers. Even within Auckland more workers want the opportunity to work remotely as they live further out, and commuter congestion is a bit much. Offshoring is a viable option for acquiring skills sets that are scarce in NZ, development costs can be reduced and so can the time to get a product to market as developers are working while you are sleeping. Remote working does not need to mandatory but implemented on a case by case basis.”


What’s one of the hardest roles that you’ve placed while at The Pond?

“Probably my first placement. We had a client who wanted to build a couple of apps and asked me how many developers were required to do so. I put on my consultative hat to discuss what they were trying to achieve and walked them through the entire process of setting up a development team and the resources required to deliver the solutions from scratch. It wasn’t simply taking in a defined and signed off brief, it turned out to be a discovery and education meeting which has resulted in The Pond building an entire team.”


What do wood and alcohol have in common?

“Both need water as part of their development process. Wood is also commonly used in alcohol to give flavour.”


Why do you have to barbeque Pork and Chardonnay sausages rather than fry them on the stove?

 “For the record, the Grey Lynn Butcher’s Pork and Chardonnay sausages are made of excellent produce and are, hands down, the nicest sausages I’ve had. You need to BBQ them to get the smokey flavour as well as create the right texture on the casings. I’m sorry, but the stove just does not cut it.”


Why do you hate grated cheese?

“I actually enjoy grated cheese as it reaches all your taste buds and gives you a better taste. Contrary to what some of The Pond team might think, I still think buying pre-grated cheese is expensive and lazy.”


What’s one thing you want to achieve in 2020?

“I want to grow the team here at The Pond and personally, find one or two new decent investments – maybe a racehorse even (named The Flying Bacon).”


About The Pond

The Pond is New Zealand’s number one specialist recruiter in the Creative, Digital, and Marketing sectors, operating nationwide. The Pond is committed to finding the best creative, digital, and marketing talent in the market, people that last the distance and help transform businesses.


Creative. Digital. Marketing. Recruitment.

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