Life at Matchr: An interview with Samantha Nel, Lead Recruitment Specialist


To share insights into what it is like to work at Matchr, we are launching our blog interview series. We aim to interview our colleagues monthly to bring people closer to understanding more about our remote culture, work environment, and business model we work with our partners.

Our first interviewee to start this series was Samantha Nel. Sam is one of the most experienced recruiters we have on our team. So we were excited to jump into a chat to hear her story on how she became a recruiter 18 years ago and what life at Matchr looks like from her vision. She also shared more about her day-to-day work and some advice to people just entering the recruitment industry.

“Nothing is more rewarding than a client recommending you to an industry friend, or a candidate remembering you years later as the person that changed their career.”

Samantha Nel, Lead Recruitment Specialist at Matchr

Tell us your story; what made you want to become a recruiter?

In University, I started my studies with the plan to go into IT and come out as a Developer; however, after 2 years of studies, I realised that although I loved Tech, I really wanted to be more involved with People. I am a natural extrovert and missed that social interaction when I was stuck behind a PC.

So, after a few changes to my studies, I graduated, majoring in HR and Marketing instead.

I was then invited to a pre-screen call with a Recruitment Agency that wanted to interview me for a Junior Marketing role within a tech firm, and halfway through that interview, my interviewer said, “Hang on, why don’t you come work for us and be an IT Recruiter” …  and being the person that is willing to try everything at least once, I said, “Why not”… That was 18 years ago, and I’ve loved (mostly) all of it!

Tell us about your current role and what does it entail?

I am currently a Lead Recruitment Specialist at Matchr, and I have been very fortunate to work with many different clients across all of the services we offer at Matchr within the 1.5 years I have been here.

With my strong background in Account Management and working both the agency model as well as RPO, I currently oversee a few clients with their various recruitment needs across multiple markets within Europe and USA.

I am still actively involved in the recruitment process as well, and with the support of our very experienced Sourcers, I am able to focus my attention on interviewing candidates and managing them and the client through the recruitment process to successful hires! I manage a small team of 3 people at Matchr too, and get involved with their career development not only from a Matchr perspective but also on a personal level as well. 

I will also most likely be one of the people you meet along the interview process when you apply to join our awesome team! 

What about your current role is the most exciting for you?

The people I get to work with on a daily basis. It’s always been about people – clients, colleagues, and candidates. As we go into the new year, I am excited about the opportunities it will bring. Being embedded with a client and becoming a part of their team, helping them refine, adjust, and fine-tune their recruitment strategies for the new year, and then being a part of it all throughout the year is exhilarating. It is very rewarding to watch the business, hiring teams, and individuals learn and grow! Knowing I was able to get them there is really what drives me to do what I do every day.

I enjoy building strong relationships with both my clients and colleagues and find it exciting to stay in touch and see the fruits of our hard work together.

I believe what we do today has a butterfly effect for the future, and if I can be a positive influence, a knowledgeable source of information, and someone’s or some company’s biggest fan now, I get excited for their future and what dreams they will achieve.

Tell us a little bit about Matchr culture

One question I always get asked by people is, “Don’t you miss the office and being able to build a strong culture with your team?” Without hesitation, my reply is always, “I have never felt as close to a bunch of people I work with as I do with my current team and company.” And my closest team member is 10,408 km away!

Culture is driven and nurtured from the top; our founders eat, breathe and live the Matchr spirit, which infectiously falls down to the rest of the company. Everyone supports everyone within Matchr, whether personal goals and dreams are achieved or small wins like finally getting an offer for a difficult role. We are there for each other, we want to help grow and nurture each other, and we are always looking at celebrating each other’s wins or sharing ideas to resolve any issues. This is what makes Matchr amazing to work for and something I haven’t really experienced before now.

How has working with Matchr helped you grow your career and experience?

I came into Matchr already with 17 years of experience, but that was all African market based and what really attracted me to apply for a role at Matchr was the opportunity to get exposure to the European market specifically, and I have received that plus more!!! Although the fundamentals of recruitment haven’t changed over thousands of years, Matchr pushes the boundaries of best practices and tests out the latest tools and trends on the market.

I have always been attracted to working for a smaller agency that offers flexibility, agility, and the ability to make an impact as an employee, but I also get the opportunity to work with candidates and clients not only in Europe but USA and Asia as well.

My world has expanded, and I now get to not only share and represent the talented South African market in Europe, but I also get to share my knowledge and help grow some of the world’s greatest start-up and scale-up teams and have worked with some great brands like TikTok, Hazelcast, SynergySports, Lepaya and who in their own ways are changing the world we live in and being a part of those journeys is amazing.

Who in your team is your biggest inspiration and why?

Unfortunately, there is not one person; it’s a group of the strongest individuals I have the privilege of knowing and for whom only a few I have met, but my Matchr family who come from or have family in Ukraine. The resilience, strength, and undying commitment to fight for their freedom as individuals, families, and a nation leaves me in awe.

While Matchr is represented by many nations, each with our own struggles, most of us can still look to our friends in Ukraine and pull strength from them to keep going.

They suit up every day and dedicate their week in search of the best talent for their clients whilst surviving in their daily lives with failing infrastructures and war that continues around them. They are all my inspiration, and from my own country’s warrior to them, I quote Nelson Mandela:

“I am fundamentally an optimist. Part of being optimistic is keeping one’s head pointed toward the sun, one’s feet moving forward. There were many dark moments when my faith in humanity was sorely tested, but I would not and could not give myself up to despair. That way lays defeat and death.” 

Keep strong, Ukraine; you are supported by so many in this world!

What could you advise someone who is growing in the recruitment field?

Recruitment is all about people and the relationships you build around you. People work with people, and the junior person you place in a role today could be your Hiring Manager tomorrow. Although 8 billion people on this earth could be potential candidates or clients, the industry you choose to specialize in – and definitely choose one, remains small. Nothing is more rewarding than a client recommending you to an industry friend or a candidate remembering you years later as the person that changed their career. 

Keep it simple. At the end of the day, the recruitment process is a 4 step process – get an open vacancy, search for the talent, get them through interviews and make a hire, but because we work with people every day and we are in an ever-changing world of tech, keep learning, try out new tools, stay on top of what is happening in your industry and strive to stay at the forefront of what is happening next in recruitment! At the end of the day, if you build good and strong relationships with your candidates and clients, all of that other stuff is the cherry on top to make it easier.

We are constantly searching for talented and experienced recruiters. Check the current openings and apply to join us.

Article by:
Inhouse Senior Recruitment Specialist at Matchr
Inhouse Senior Recruitment Specialist at Matchr
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