What is Digital Transformation?

I have been recruiting IT professionals for over 16 years, and in the past few years, I have become more involved and focused within the digital transformation space. I recruit to some great companies. So, I decided to put together a little article on my take on Digital Transformation, a recruiter’s perspective, and share my thoughts!

So, what is it? –, Digital Transformation is where companies utilize technology to a significant extent to develop their services. It is putting digital at the core of a company and using data and analytics to support and drive business decisions.

It is a company’s mission to evolve, gain competitive advantage, and using technology to achieve this. Then in practice, a digital team or teams are integrated into the organization.

This digital drive requires teams of staff specifically focused on the digital agenda, and this will often require hiring new staff. This is where I come in, I help companies staff their digital journey.

Here is a quick definition of the 3 digital terms:

Digitization – The process of converting information into digital/computer format.

Digitalization – is the use of digital technologies to change a business model and provide new revenue and value-producing opportunities; it is the process of moving to a digital business.

Digital Transformation – This is the integration of digital technology into all areas of a business, fundamentally changing how you operate and deliver value to customers. It’s also a cultural change that requires organizations to continually challenge the status quo, experiment, and get comfortable with failure.

So, what type of positions are typically hired within digital teams, or ‘hubs’?

Different companies will, of course, have different setups tailored best to their business, size, and industry. The bigger the company/digital team, generally the more specialized individuals you have, and can have variants of each role type. Here I will generalize some of the main core positions you would most likely find in a digital set-up:

  • CDO (Chief Digital Officer) or Head of Digital – this is where you would typically start, by getting on board the key accountable for digital change/growth. The CDO has the overall decision and direction, the whole process of the digital transformation, and is responsible for the entire consumer digital experience of the company.
  • Product Director / Product Manager / Product Owner – The Product Director is typically responsible for a key business line or product and has accountability for its product planning, development, and delivery. The Product Manager defines the why, when and what of the product.
  • Scrum Master – The Scrum Master is the facilitator in an Agile development team. This person ensures the team lives the agile values and principles, under the Scrum methodology challenging the team to continually improve the development process. The Scrum Master is often referred to as having a ‘servant leader’ mindset, meaning one who serves their team, an enabler.
  • UX Director – The User Experience Director or Lead has the overall responsibility of the user experience, meaning the consumers touchpoints of the company. UX is key to a company’s product strategy.
  • Agile Coach – The Agile Coach is an expert in Agile, who implements Agile projects and shares/coaches their experience with Project Teams. They oversee the development of agile teams and ensure effective implementation of the Agile process within organizations. There are also Agile Delivery Leads and an Agile PMO.
  • Data Scientist – The Data Scientist is the one who knows how to extract all the data, and the technical skills to solve all the problems. This person is part mathematician, part computer scientist, and a big data expert.
  • Analytics Analyst (AA) / Data Analyst – Analytics, and the study of data, and using this data to drive business decisions is a key function within a digital-driven organization. It is the design and implementation of models and systems to harness the power of data and analytics.

There are various other roles, hybrids, and key job functions that make up the digital hub of a company, however, this just highlights some of them.

Recruiting for Digital Transformation

As you can see from the above positions I listed, a lot of these positions are relatively new, role profiles are changing with technology. Therefore, companies that invest in a major digital transformation are likely to need to hire.

My role as a recruiter is to help companies in building their digital team(s). I get involved either internally by working inhouse for the hiring phases of digital growth, or I can also help clients remotely as an external headhunter. This is also a good description of what my company, Payne Search, does. We hire for digital transformations, and we either do this onsite/in-house, or as an external search process.

I love being a ‘Digital Recruiter’! Every day is a continuous learning process, and I am always growing my network and meeting great people. I really thrive in being a part of a company’s decision-making process, identifying the ‘as is’ and mapping out the ‘to-be’. I absolutely look forward to helping many companies on their digital transformation journey.  So, if you are a company looking to hire digital talent, or a digital talent yourself, please connect with me! You can add me here on LinkedIn, and also my email is christian@paynesearch.com.

Please sign up for our monthly Digital newsletter!

I am about to start a monthly newsletter (the first edition goes out December 1st) that is specifically for the digital space. The content is likely to consist of a blog from me, some articles on key digital topics from ‘the experts’, knowledge sharing, and then some great digital job opportunities. This will be my first attempt at a newsletter, so I will look forward to getting feedback from the community and will be improving and tweaking as we go along (in true Agile style!).

So, if you have made it to the end of this article, I truly thank you for showing interest! Please do sign up to the Payne Search monthly Digital newsletter here: https://paynesearch.com/newsletter/

Digitally thanking you!

Christian Payne

Welcome to Payne Search!

Some tips for doing a great interview!

Javor interviews Christian Payne on what tips he has for giving a great interview

Many of you have probably experienced going through a long interview process, only to get rejected in the end. Maybe it was because you lacked a certain skillset, maybe someone else was more skilled, or maybe, just maybe it had something to do with how you handled the interview. If you feel like that has been the case for you, or want some insight into what works and what does not when it comes to job interviews, then I hope to provide a bit of information that could help you. We at Payne Search have interviewed many hundreds of candidates, and in this article, I will provide a few tips on acing a job interview. You may know some of these things already, you may even know all of them, but give it a read and you may just end up being surprised regardless!

The skills are the bare minimum

If you are applying for a job as a backend developer, then, of course, the necessary programming skills are important. However, most of the candidates invited for the first interview will already have the skill requirements covered. The skills are, in other words, the bare minimum. What you should be focusing on in the interview, is confidently showcasing the required skills however possible, much like with the age-old advice when it comes to writing; show it, don’t tell it.

What you can do, is bring your previous work, your portfolio, with you. If you have done high-end development work, show the code! If you have designed websites, show the websites! A surprising number of people forget this and simply state their skills, but it is vital to connect it to actual work. Do not just say you have programming experience, elaborate on your programming experience, showcase the awesome program you developed! Talk about some of the challenges you have faced in your work and how you overcame them. Talk about some of the biggest achievements, and say it with pride and passion. The interview is not about you listing off your skillset one by one, your CV already did that for you.

A little knowledge goes a long way

Another surprising thing that many candidates seem to forget before an interview is to do their research on the company and the position they are interviewing for. If this seems like common sense to you, then you have had an advantage in interviews you probably did not even know about. Too many candidates show up at an interview only half prepared, in that they only know their own qualities and how to relay them, and have not done any research on the company and position they are interviewing for.

While it is true that many interviews go both ways, where both the employer and the candidate tell a little bit about themselves and ask questions, you should never assume it to be so. Doing your research does three very crucial things; First, it allows you to avoid asking questions about the company that you should know the answers to, ensuring you do not make a fool of yourself. Second, it allows you to ask specific questions that you could not find the answers to on their company website, showing your interest and curiosity. Third, it allows you to answer questions precisely and correctly when they ask what you can do for the company, which brings us to the next part.

Know which problems you can help solve

Many candidates are focused on what the job can offer them – what the salary is, which benefits are on offer, how their life will change if they land the job etc. These are all sensible things to think about, but what is certainly more important at the interview itself is to think like the employer – what are they getting? Yes, they are getting your skillset, but we have already covered that. Instead, you can use the research you did on the company to figure out the specific challenges they are facing and give your take on what could be done to help.

If you are interviewing as a UX developer or designer, you may have noticed that the company in question has a confusing layout when it comes to their menus, that their website is a little on the slow side or any number of other things. This is where you can come with suggestions on how you could solve these things for them, showing your enthusiasm for the position. You have not been hired yet, and you have already started working. Chances are that they already know about whichever problems or challenges they have, and perhaps your suggestions have even been attempted, but that is alright, do not let it deter you. As long as you do not come across arrogant, then lecturing them about their many faults (“suggestions for improvements”), then the interviewers are sure to appreciate that you took the time to assess what challenges they are facing and how said challenges can be attacked. This brings me to the final part of the article.

A fitting personality

This part can be tricky. While it may take a few interviews for employers to know whether they should hire you, more often they can decide you are not the right fit within the first five minutes of meeting you. As the saying goes, first impressions matter. I can certainly testify, that first impressions truly matter! A personality match is something that both candidates and employers are interested in, as a bad fit does not suit either, and while it is easy to rattle off a list of personality traits that will help you, many of them are contradictory. This is quite simply because we all value different traits in others. One thing Payne Search can offer our candidates is that we will know the personality of the interviewer and can prepare our candidates accordingly. We also find candidates that we feel will best fit our client’s culture too.

Because of this, the best advice we can give our candidates is to learn how to read people and situations. See how they are responding to what you say, and adapt accordingly. Some employers value confidence above all else, others prefer candidates with a humble approach. Again, this is where having done the research on a company is helpful, as it can provide clues to what kind of person the employer is looking for. Two personality traits we can say are always welcome, regardless of the position in question, are passion and enthusiasm. You should never have to fake passion and enthusiasm, and if you find yourself doing so, then you should reflect on whether the position really is something you are looking for.

At Payne Search, we do not just match the right candidates with the right clients, we also coach our candidates, ensuring that they do as well as possible for the interviews, and give them helpful feedback no matter the outcome. I hope this article has been helpful, and wish you the best of luck!

My passion for Blockchain, and moving into this Industry

The past few years the word ‘blockchain’ has regularly popped up on my radar, so I decided to really research deeper, and I can honestly say that I believe this technology has immense potential for both businesses and end-users. After 15+ years of recruiting for the finance and IT sector, it is the newly emerging blockchain technology that has really encapsulated me the most, and it feels natural and right to branch out into this direction. Therefore, with Payne Search I have done just that. It is incredibly satisfying to do something I love, combining my passion for recruitment with an exciting industry that is blockchain.

I have been asked by people who want to know more about blockchain, and what it really is, as my network has noticed my new-found passion! Now, I’m no expert on the technological aspects of it, and I’m certainly not a developer. What I do have is experience recruiting people within the Fintech and digital transformation space, and I speak to the people that are looking to use the blockchain technology.

Therefore, I have decided to write a short article in which I will attempt to clarify what blockchain is, and how it could potentially interest you!

What is blockchain?

First thing’s first, you don’t actually need to understand how blockchain technology works in order to use it, much like you don’t need to know how the internet or your smartphone works. However, it’s important to have at least a basic idea of this technology in order to understand why so many find it ground-breaking. This article would be endless, if I were to really go into the details, so I’ll try to limit myself to the essentials.

Blockchain started as the invention of Satoshi Nakamoto, a pseudonym for a person or group of people (the true identity is still a mystery!). The whitepaper for Blockchain was published almost 10 years ago (October 31st, 2008) by ‘Satoshi Nakomoto’. One of the main problems the blockchain initially addressed, was removing the need for a trusted authority or central server when transferring digital currency. In fact, Bitcoin, the crypto asset most of us have heard by now, became the first digital currency to solve the double-spending problem – a flaw in digital cash in which the same token can be used twice – without using a centralised system.

Blockchain has evolved rapidly since then, and become something far greater than initially anticipated. It was originally intended for the use of bitcoin, but its uses are nearly limitless. In short, the blockchain is a decentralised, incorruptible digital ledger of economic transactions, that can be programmed to record anything we find valuable. The ingeniousness of the blockchain is the security and its decentralised nature.

A transaction on the blockchain could be as follows; you decide to use some of your bitcoin and initiate a transaction. The transaction is broadcasted to a network of peer-to-peer connected computers known as nodes, which then validates the transaction with algorithms. After verification is complete, the transaction is combined with other transactions to create a new block of data, which is added to the existing blockchain – permanent and unalterable – and the transaction is complete.

If this is still confusing, I understand, it can be quite difficult to wrap your head around it. Suffice to say, the blockchain allows transactions of information that are literally incorruptible, due to it not being centralised. In order to hack it, you would have to hack the majority of all nodes (computers) that make up the network, which is extremely unlikely to happen.

There are an infinite number of uses for blockchain technology, and ICOs (initial coin offerings for start-ups in the blockchain space) are taking advantage of this, by offering a variety of services on the blockchain. It is looking something akin to the dot-com boom, where companies were jumping on to utilising the benefits of the web. Well, now we are in the early adoption period of companies looking to be first to market with utilising blockchain technology to offer a unique business service.

Obviously, not all of these services will turn out to be profitable, not all companies will be successful, but it’s easy to see the business value for data to be completely secure, and utilizing a decentralized network. For instance, you can send Bitcoin to someone in another part of the world without having to pay a bank for the transaction, and this transaction is very fast.

Another great way that blockchain could be employed that I find exciting, is within the public as well as private record keeping. An idea that I had could be that universities can store all exam grades/transcripts on current and previous students on the blockchain, and this data could be easily accessible anytime, without the need to go through the university. It would also be impossible to falsify these records without altering all subsequent blocks in the chain – something that would require the agreement of a majority of the network of nodes, which obviously would not happen. In summary, candidates’ university records are safe online, accessible anytime, and completely accurate data. Being a recruiter, this would be incredibly useful for me, and for my clients.

How can blockchain benefit us?

On a personal level, blockchain could benefit us because it could mean services we are already using will soon have far more appealing alternatives. For example, why use Spotify or iTunes if a similar service becomes available where your money goes straight to the artist instead of Spotify or iTunes taking a significant cut? Naturally, from a music artist’s side, they hugely benefit from increased revenue, and the channels to market are significantly widened. The same argument can be applied to many other services. Blockchain has the ability to disrupt huge parts of society, so for that reason alone, I would argue it is worth it to try getting a better understanding of it.

On a business level – and this is where it becomes immensely interesting for me as a recruiter – it is imperative that you stay in touch with where technology is going next. This is a perfect time for companies to take the tentative first steps into the world of blockchain, and for that, you need to hire the right people to help you with development. Similarly, the large amount of new ICOs means that a huge number of specialised developers are needed in order to create the technology needed to bring their visions to life, and this is where myself and my company Payne Search comes in. It will be hugely gratifying to be able to partner with these companies to bring blockchain to the masses, improving future services and ways of working.

Right now one of the biggest challenges companies who want to work with blockchain technology is facing, is finding the right people to do the job. Fortunately, I love challenges and I love recruiting, it is what I do! I have always found it gratifying to search and headhunt the ‘hard to find’ candidates, the top 5%. So now, Payne Search operates in this space of Blockchain recruitment!

3 year anniversary of Code Resourcing – Launch of our new website and logo!

My passion for Blockchain, and moving into this Industry

Some tips for doing a great job interview!

3 year anniversary of Code Resourcing – Launch of our new website and logo!

This month marks the 3 year anniversary of Code Resourcing! It has been an amazing journey and experience so far, where we have seen ourselves grow, not just in size but with a new focus and direction. So now the timing is right to launch our brand new website, and in this article, we will talk a little bit about this.

Code Resourcing has naturally evolved from ‘IT and Finance’ into recruiting within the blockchain space. This is a rapidly growing industry and technological breakthrough, where there is a high demand for skilled employees within this new space. We see this as a perfect opportunity to combine two things we are extremely passionate about, recruitment and blockchain, and to provide the very best to our clients. This does not mean we are moving away from recruiting the pure finance and IT professionals– we merely see blockchain as a natural extension of what we are already doing.

Because of this expansion within Code Resourcing, we decided it was time for our new website and logo, which fully reflects who we are and what we do. We feel that this new website covers how we see ourselves as a company and our passion for our work.

The first thing we had in mind for our new website was the functionality. We are a recruitment company, and it is important that our potential candidates see this, and that they can easily sign up to our database and browse our available positions. Likewise, it should be easy for clients to see what we do and can contact us and enquire about our services.

We did not want the website to be too text-heavy or have numerous tabs and menus. Because of this, we opted for a one-page scroller, taking the user on a journey where they learn who Code Resourcing are. We believe that each part of the website should be telling you a little bit about us. The Twitter feed gives insight into our daily postings about blockchain and recruitment. In the same way, the team, clients and location sections each tell a little part of the entire story that is Code Resourcing.

For the design of the website, we wanted it to immediately reflect that our target clients are within the IT and blockchain industry, which is why we decided on the moving nodes in the background representing the decentralised nature of blockchain. These nodes can also represent us connecting to clients and to candidates. We wanted the same thing for our logo, which is why it came out as three connected nodes, with two of them forming the O’s in Code Resourcing.

At Code Resourcing we value teamwork, and the whole team was part of the decision-making process for the website during our ‘creative Fridays’ at the office. We would also like to acknowledge everyone else involved; A huge thank you to Memoo Webbureau who were the developers of the website – it was a pleasure working with them. They were helpful and understanding of our needs and requests, and we can only recommend them. Another thanks goes out to Chelsea Bellomy, who created our logo and several of the designs for the website, and finally thanks for the consulting work of Naim Digital (Javor Loznica and Mikael Bondum), who project managed it all!