POWER TO THE PEOPLE: HOW PETER HANNAFORD REINVENTS RECRUITMENT

— 26 February 2019

Power 200

Across the world, the fabric of individuals that makes up the data center sector is full of unique minds, inspirational ideas and tireless work ethics. The achievements experienced every day in the data center industry would not be possible without an environment in which every individual can exercise their personal talents and thoughts to create progress on a wide scale. However, woven into this fabric of data center personnel are a few individuals that truly push boundaries, leading the pack by facilitating powerful innovation, showcasing unparalleled expertise and forging new paths for the industry at large.

Data Economy, a complete and global news source for senior IT and operations professionals in the data center, cloud and data sectors, recently published a list lauding the top minds in the data center industry. The Power 200 list, the first installment of what will be a bi-annual global endeavor, includes the world’s most influential data economy leaders from across all different departments and job titles. Although, only one individual from the hiring and recruitment side of the industry made the cut.

Peter Hannaford, Founder and Chairman of Datacenter People, has been observing the shifting paradigms of hiring and adding leadership and value to the industry ever since he started his company in 2010. After working closely with data centers for over 40 years, Hannaford has become sharply attuned to the complexities of finding and keeping good help in such a complicated and technical environment. This deep expertise allows him to leverage unique insight and strategies, helping businesses across the sector work more efficiently and effectively with highly capable employees.

Hannaford worked his way up through the ranks, beginning as a computer operator and ascending through programming and systems development work until he was able to start his first company, Waterfields, in 1989. This business became one of the biggest data center design and build companies in Europe. Next, Hannaford founded Tecnikon, a company that designed and patented the first ever water-cooled server rack with an integrated vertical cooling coil fabricated specifically for high-density computing, which became the design foundation for today’s in-row data center cooling solutions. However, Hannaford still had goals that were yet unsatisfied. Distilling his first-hand experience across the industry, he formed Datacenter People, and its subsidiary Portman Partners, which focuses specifically on C-level executive placement, to address one of the biggest issues facing the sector: finding and hiring great help.

Through top-tier hiring strategies, Datacenter People has become the leading talent sourcing firm across the global data center industry, leveraging offices in London, Singapore, Dublin and Tampa. The firm has developed a unique methodology that focuses on the client: understanding their culture and examining how their business strategies are translated into employee capability to achieve top-line growth. Datacenter People then applies this DNA to specific positions that the client is looking to fill around the world. The firm’s unique focus on this very specific vertical, along with its extensive personal and business connections maintained by regular attendance at global trade shows and conferences, generates unrivalled industry intelligence, enabling researchers to focus on “passive high performing” individuals who are currently employed and proven at what they do. By marketing jobs specifically to this subset of people, businesses can more easily find exactly what they need.

Over the years, Hannaford has seen what an employee’s mindset and dedication can do for a company, regardless of talent. Hannaford sets his company apart by encouraging his clients to understand that the mindset of an employee, along with their ability to truly mesh with the rest of the team, is key to finding and keeping great hires. He acknowledges that this focus on mindset in addition to skillset becomes particularly important when seeking out higher-level employees. Portman Partners, a group company of Datacenter People specifically focused on executive placement, has mastered the ability to find and hire individuals with compatible behaviors, values and motivations, allowing businesses to seamlessly form teams that successfully innovate, inspire and create.

These unique insights, part of a lengthy and thorough history in the data center sector, are what make Hannaford a leading player in the industry and the only recruitment specialist to make the Power 200 list. Hannaford is keenly aware of the fact that workers are the most valuable asset a business has, and when a team is curated well, companies are empowered to reach beyond what they ever thought possible and create the technologies that power our future. This is exactly the philosophy that drives Datacenter People, because when the data center industry is powered by capable teams, the whole world reaps the benefits.