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Meet the team: Kate Harris-Slade

Meet Kate, based in Perth, Australia

Our pride for how we help our clients all comes from the people within our team, who are united by a passion for seeing people thrive in a job and organisation they love whilst enabling tech businesses to grow and continue making the world a better place.

Individually, everyone is unique in their approach, expertise and experience. Our team series celebrates those differences, giving you a closer look at the humans behind the growth and success we’re able to offer to our clients and the tech start-up community. 

As a core member of the team, we're thrilled to share Kate's bio and background with you. Candidates and clients are never short of positive words for Kate, her results and passion for what she does. 

Here's more about Kate – 

What are your key areas of expertise at Think & Grow? 

I partner with founders and executives in the global technology ecosystem to help solve their growth challenges. I do this by helping them navigate organisational design, business growth, talent strategies and connecting them to investors and other leaders in the ecosystem who can accelerate their growth. 

What is it about your role that you are most passionate about? 

What motivates me the most in my role is my passion for working with people and supporting them to achieve their goals. My natural inclination towards understanding human behaviour is key to identifying blind spots for both start-ups and individuals in the ecosystem. I take great satisfaction in helping individuals realise their full potential by providing them with guidance, support, and insights into areas that may have been previously overlooked.

As you work a lot with candidates in your role, what advice would you give to people who want to be a stand-out candidate on paper and in person? 

There are many things, however the most important (in my view) are:

Know your why! You should be able to articulate why you do what you do. Start-ups love passionate and curious people who have a genuine interest in what space they are working in.

Improve your communication skills. Communication is vital in everything we do, and while it is a skill that doesn't always come naturally to everyone, being an articulate and competent communicator isn’t just required for client-facing roles these days, it’s imperative across many scenarios in the workplace, so if you know your communication skills need to be improved, take action now. 

These days, people go straight to your LinkedIn profile to find out more about you and your fit in the company, so make it stand out and unique to your personality.  Have some professional pictures taken that showcase who you are, add a punchy headline (include emojis if it’s ‘your vibe’), and a cover picture that depicts your passions or location.

What advice would you give to companies to help them attract and retain talent?

There are many areas I could focus on as this is a largely trending topic. But here are my top tips: 

  • Culture is paramount. Identify your company's core values and align them with the hiring process. While technical skills are important, a positive attitude cannot be taught.
  • Understand the market you are targeting. For start-ups, the expectations of potential employees may not always match the market. The tech industry is highly competitive, and so offering competitive salaries, equity options, and other benefits can help you appear very attractive to talent. While cultural fit and motivation are crucial factors, it's also important to ensure that you are offering the right compensation.
  • Foster honest conversations with your team. Start-ups are often fast-paced, and work requirements can change quickly. It's crucial to hold regular one-on-one meetings with employees to provide support and encouragement and to create a safe space for employees to discuss any challenges they may be facing. While there may be an expectation to push forward and get the work done, remember that we are all human and need to connect with and support one another.

What would you say are the foundations that start-ups should have in place to create a seamless and successful hiring process?

Work with Think & Grow, of course! 😉 Honestly though, it takes a lot of time, so if you don’t have the capacity or knowledge, it’s useful to bring someone in who you trust and with a proven track record to help you create the essentials:

  • Clear job descriptions: Job descriptions should be creative, clear and comprehensive, outlining important business info, company values, relevant and useful links, key responsibilities and success measures. We build innovative summaries for clients and have found this really helps in attracting the right candidates and reduce confusion about the expectations of the position.
  • Streamlined recruitment processes: The recruitment process should be efficient and streamlined to avoid losing top talent to slow and lengthy processes. 
  • Strong employer branding: Start-ups should focus on building a strong employer brand to attract top talent. This includes creating a positive company culture, emphasising the company's mission and values, and offering competitive compensation and benefits.
  • Effective interview techniques: Conducting effective interviews is critical in identifying the best candidates. Start-ups should develop structured interview techniques that assess both technical skills and cultural fit, and involve multiple team members in the process to ensure objectivity.
  • Thorough onboarding process: Essential for integrating new hires into the company culture, and ensuring they have the necessary resources and training to succeed in their roles. 

What is a positive or surprising trend you’ve noticed happening in the Australian start-up community? 

Speaking more for WA as I am on the ground here is the connectivity and genuine people in the ecosystem. I wouldn’t say this is a trend, but a positive aspect of being in a smaller community. There is no West & East Coast in my mind! 

What attracted you to join Think & Grow? 

I’d previously met JJ around 5 years before we spoke again in 2020. People who know JJ can attest to him being a good salesman! But jokes aside, I was really impressed with the business model and could see why both JJ and Ant started the company, with a major gap in the way businesses help bring key hires in. Being able to be part of that journey seemed exciting to me. I’ve learned so much in the last 3 and a half years about the start-up ecosystem and feel like working in such an innovative space, I am continuing to learn all the time!

Connect with Kate on LinkedIn


ARTICLE by Kate Harris-Slade, Partner, 14 July 2024

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