How did Partyman get started? I started Partyman when I was 16 years-old and made the decision to become a children’s entertainer. From humble beginnings, I have grown Partyman over the last ten years into a £10m turnover business which employs 350 people and includes a hugely successful entertainment company, five indoor playcentres, four day nurseries, three laser combat arenas, a one-stop online Partyman shop, a children’s farm and a teddy bear making business. What challenges have you experienced in the scaling up process? Sometimes you have loyal staff that worked well in the business when you were a startup but don’t fit comfortably into a larger business environment. They find it hard to adjust and end up causing blockages in the business. I try and find new roles for them within the existing business where they may be a better fit. What is your recruitment/interview process? When we are recruiting for team members, we put them through a group interview process to find out if they have the right mindset for a customer-focused role. We are looking for people with a happy, upbeat temperament that are good with dealing with people. For our management jobs, we put people through three interviews and we have an interview board so that no one person makes the final decision. It is important to have a second opinion on people as that is often the best way to avoid costly mistakes. We do also sometimes give applicants a presentation task as it helps to give us an idea of how much they really want the role.
What are you looking for in the ideal candidate? It’s about attitude over skillset. We are looking for happy and hardworking employees that fit in with the culture of the company and believe in our mission. Employing somebody with the wrong attitude can be toxic to a company and we have definitely learned from past mistakes. What kind of contracts have you found works best for your staff? I tend to like to employ people directly rather than rely on freelancers and contractors. We do have a few contractors and certainly there is sometimes a need to employ them. By employing your own staff the business tends to get better loyalty and there is a sense of belonging.
What do you think is expected of you as an employer? When you start employing people, you need to keep them motivated and provide them with opportunities to progress otherwise you will lose them. It is my responsibility to offer them a job that they can make their own and give them the opportunity to grow and progress within the company.
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