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Recruitment Buzz Meets: Derry Holt, Co-Founder of OneUp Sales


With the Recruitment Agency Expo just a few weeks away, we at Recruitment Buzz are eager to gain an insight into what we can expect from the 2-day event. Due to technology sitting at the centre of the exhibition, we were thrilled to interview Derry Holt, the man taking the helm at OneUp Sales. Set to speak at the expo, he today shares his thoughts on how gamification can aid productivity in the world of recruitment.

  1. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your background?

Hey, my name’s Derry and I’m the co-founder of OneUp Sales, a gamified sales motivation platform designed to enable sales leaders to build the sales floor of the future.

In a former life I was a games developer who worked on the Angry Birds series. By night I’m also a professional video games commentator, travelling the world to cover tournaments in front of live audiences for some of the biggest titles on the market.

I’m a firm believer that we can bridge the gap between video games and workplace software to create a more engaging, productive culture for both current and future generations of workers. Personally I’m a jack of all trades; one moment I’m building a cool new feature for our clients, the next I’m shooting off for a sales meeting, then to doing interviews like this!

I love the variety that comes with what I do and I wouldn’t change it for the world.

  1. Can you tell us more about your company?

Funnily enough we started out as a games development house then quickly transitioned into building OneUp Sales! Most games don’t make money and despite our years of experience in games, we thought “hey, let’s do something we’ve never done before and build a web app for a market we’ve never sold to”.

I chalk it in my top 5 of decisions that in hindsight weren’t the best planned.

I also put it up there as one of the best choices because the last 3 years have been a blast. We have a very strong focus on being product-led which means we stay true to our ideology of being the best product on the market and every day the product is improving. We’ve got some super cool stuff in the pipeline – keep your eyes peeled!

  1. Could you give us a sneak preview of your seminar at the expo?

My talk is titled “How Real-time Innovations Are Shaking Up The Way We Manage & Motivate Consultants”. A bit of a mouthful, I know.

My talk is going to steer the discussion away from the ever-present subject of AI for 20 minutes and instead look at the impact real-time technology is having on both managing and motivating consultants. There’s a lot of tech around already for managing (BI tools, automated reporting), but motivating is something I’m very passionate about. In what world is it all justifiable for a recruiter to walk into work on their swanky iPhone X, checking up on the latest trends and browsing social media to then be greeted by clunky, outdated software or whiteboards that haven’t been updated for days? There’s a total disconnect that is going to alienate a lot of new workers from sales-based industries like recruitment and we want to fix that before the problem becomes too great. My talk looks into these issues, the psychology behind human motivation and what recruiters can start doing right now to build this “workplace of the future” I speak about.

And yes, there will be several references to video games. 😉

  1. Looking to 2019, what do you see as the biggest opportunities for the recruitment Sector?

Crikey, there’s quite a few.

The rise of technology means we could see agencies really propel themselves forward when it comes to candidate experience. A few of our clients have began releasing inhouse products for candidates to create a more attractive experience. We’re getting closer to dropping the stigma associated with recruiters and a lot of that is thanks to tech. The more we embrace it, the better (within reason!)

  1. Is there anything on the horizon the recruitment sector should be worried about?

The Brexit fever has passed but it’s going to resurface when we actually leave. I already know of several contacts of mine who are making drastic changes in preparation as their candidate pool tends to exist in Europe. Scary times!

GDPR has gone quiet for now, but when we start seeing companies slapped with fines, I think the fever for that will kick up again too. Any agency worth their salt will be prepared for both Brexit & GDPR so most will be fine, but some will panic no doubt.

  1. What are your thoughts on Brexit and its impacts on your space?

We’re fortunate that we’re a cloud-based service provider and that Brexit only adds a few minor hurdles for us so the impact won’t be awful for the software-as-a-service space.

Everyone has an opinion on it and I think that’s best kept for another medium (or a coffee if anyone wants to have a chat at the RAE, although I imagine there are a million other, better things to discuss!)

  1. What’s the most important piece of advice you would give a recruiter?

Hmm… Technology is your friend. Information overload is very real and I’m conscious that the number of providers is constantly increasing, making it harder and harder to choose. That being said, in the analytics/performance management space that we serve in there are now 3 players. That choice raises the bar for all 3 suppliers, meaning it’s the market that wins in the end.

Also, don’t be afraid to ask your suppliers what their clients think of other suppliers! We get so many ask us about different CRMs and who we recommend. I like to think I’m unbiased in that regard, but I’d encourage anyone to speak to multiple sources before making a call.

  1. Automation: friend or foe to recruitment?

I’m a techy, so I’m a huge advocate for automation. That being said, recruitment is a primarily people business. You can’t automate it all. I think you still need someone at the end clicking buttons to tie things together but if automation can eliminate even 20% of your workload (maybe through suggested candidate matching or automated PERSONALISED emails), then I’m all for it.

  1. What advice would you give to anyone attending the expo this year?

Talk to people! It’s all good showing up, but what are you actively getting out of the expo if you just browse and don’t talk to anyone?

I’m not exhibiting but fully intend on speaking to the majority of exhibitors and having a chat with a few attendees over a coffee. Your time’s precious – use it well.


During Nathan’s early career, he gained considerable experience from across many industries including Sales, Teaching and Retail, however more recently Nathan has delved into the world Digital Marketing and Publishing. Drawing on his past experiences, Nathan brings all aspects of his knowledge into Recruitment Buzz, possessing great research and social media skills.

Born and bred in Wales, Nathan is as Welsh as they come – living in the heart of the Valleys, Nathan proudly takes place as our resident Welsh speaker. However, Nathan’s knowledge of global understanding exceeds the Welsh borders, having lived in London, parts of the US and Ecuador.

Nathan is a self-proclaimed geek, having gained a degree in Natural Science via the Open University in Wales. In addition to his passion for science, he has a love for technology, nature, art and of course football!


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