Dan Shiel explores AI, Competition and Tech Talent Acquisition


After gaining 9 years experience in recruitment (7 of those specialising in the gaming space), Dan joined us as a Principal and has been with us for just over a year and a half.

We thought it was about time you got to know Dan a little better.

Why did you join Scede.io?

I started my recruitment career agency side. After several years of success, I started my own recruitment agency, specialising in the online gaming industry.

I then considered moving into Talent Acquisition, as my passion within recruitment is finding the important hire. A lot of agency side firms focus on ‘bums on seats,’ irrespective of best fit for the client. I wanted to do more than that.

At the same time, I noticed a shift within recruitment. Some innovators were trying out  new models, better ways to serve clients. Some of these ideas were gaining traction. I wanted to be part of that.

After speaking with Matt (Scede.io’s Co-Founder), I knew I’d found the perfect home.

Scede.io’s embedded talent model allows recruitment to be treated like a craft. It also allows me to integrate into each start up and fully immerse myself in their culture and needs.

It wasn’t just the model that attracted me to Scede.io, it was also the team I would be joining.

This business was founded by former Skype, Spotify and Google Recruiters – I’ve already learned so much from them and thanks to our collaborative nature, I will always keep developing.

Scede.io is everything I’ve been looking for.

What would you say is the biggest change in recruitment since you started?

The biggest change I’ve seen since joining the recruitment industry is the sheer amount of recruitment agencies competing with one another (even in a niche industry like gaming!).

According to Agency Central, 4,529 recruitment agencies launched in 2016 – that’s a 13.7% increase on the previous year!

A saturated market means there is a lot of competition. This competition affects everyone –  clients, recruitment agencies, talent managers, candidates, recruitment consultants, everyone!

However, I think competition is a good thing.

Competition means that anyone who is involved in talent acquisition needs to be better. We now have to be a lot more creative, accurate and attentive when reaching out to people.

If you’re not being creative, accurate and attentive, you need to evaluate your approach.


What’s your particular focus within Scede.io?

Due to my previous experience in the gaming industry, I now help game development studios find the best product and technical talent.

As an embedded talent partner, I’m also responsible for hiring plans, reporting, building an employer brand, onboarding and more.

I am currently partnered with some amazing clients including Wooga, Toca Boca and Space Ape Games.

What is the best piece of hiring advice you can give?

To successfully grow a gaming studio – everybody needs to get involved in hiring.

Like any other team, the talent function performs best when empowered, treated as an equal and given access to Hiring Managers and C-Level members.

When everyone is engaged in the hiring process, the quality and speed of hire increases.

So my advice to any start up is to ask yourself the following questions:

  • How important is it to you and your business to find the best talent?
  • Does your current structure reflect that level of importance?
  • Are your talent ambassadors given the right access?

What new skill would you like to learn and why?

I’d like to learn more on candidate assessments.

More specifically, testing people in the hiring process. Things like:

  • Pair programming vs Tech test?
  • Length of test?
  • What is a reasonable time investment to expect?
  • Does this successfully identify the best people?

At Scede we’ve seen a variety of approaches and I’m intrigued to turn this into some insights into what works best.

What’ does life outside of work look like?

Due to our embedded talent partner model, I’m lucky enough to travel to major tech cities. I’ll often tag a few days onto each trip to see some sights and learn about the city’s culture.

When I’m at home I like to play football and poker (albeit very occasional these days) and spend time with family and friends.

I must admit that I’m also guilty for getting hooked to mobile games! I’m currently obsessed by ‘Fastlane: Road to Revenge’, released by one of our clients; Space Ape Games!

There is a lot of talk that recruitment needs to be disrupted, what changes do you predict will happen to the industry?

There are a lot of predictions saying that the rise of AI and automation will make recruiters obsolete.

I personally don’t think this will happen as the ‘human touch’ is essential. There are certain cases when you have to go against logic and patterns.

Having said that, I am looking forward to seeing how future tools can help us perform better for our clients.

I do expect to see more gaming studios and start ups implement a talent function at the embryonic stage of their lifecycle rather than relying on external recruitment agencies.

I think these companies will begin to understand the many benefits of hiring an internal recruiter, or working with a recruitment partner that offers a more embedded service, like Scede.io.

I’m proud to be in a part of the recruitment industry that I believe will continue to grow. If I’m right, it’s  a very exciting time for us all.

If you’d like a conversation with Dan about scaling your games studio or advice on hiring, please get in touch here.

We work with high growth gaming studios to ensure they hire the best staff for their companies and their environments. We work with you, on site, as part of your team. We’ve helped to build teams for Supercell, Klarna, Farmdrop and more. If you’d like help building your team, get in touch here .


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