ADLIB is a digital and technology recruiter that’s been helping South West startups and SMEs (along with major brands) recruit the right people for over a decade and a half.

We are proud to announce that as a new TechSPARK partner they will be bringing their expertise in finding the right technology talent to our events and meetups.

We caught up with Nick Dean, director of ADLIB, to ask him about how ADLIB came to exist, the best ways to find the right tech talent, how ADLIB are involved with the tech scene in the Bristol and Bath region, and how at events they promise never to talk about recruitment, unless people specifically want them to!

TechSPARK: What is ADLIB and what does it do?

nicholas-dean-director-adlibNick Dean (pictured left): Simply put, ADLIB strives to be the most knowledgeable, honest and straightforward digital, marketing, creative, technology and ecommerce recruiters you will ever meet.

For close to 15 years we’ve immersed ourselves in these communities. Out of this has arisen a highly respected and experienced team regularly called on to share their unrivalled knowledge and connect the finest talent with ambitious startups, thriving SMEs, agencies of all shapes and sizes, challenger brands and global organisations.

“ADLIB started with a burning desire to do recruitment its own way, not in the manner or with the stigma of many other recruitment businesses”


TS: How did it get started?

Digital SpecialistsND: ADLIB was started by a former colleague 15 years ago, and I joined 5 years later. At that stage the company was a team of 3, collectively offering a rare blend of communications, digital agency and recruitment experience. This in turn provided a solid understanding of the sectors they operated in and the burning desire to do recruitment its own way, not in the manner or with the stigma of many other recruitment businesses.

Having worked in the digital space, I was able to develop the business in line with the sector, introducing both technology and digital specialist recruiters to complement our creative, agency and client side marketing teams. In essence, we replicated our business model against the evolution of our client’s teams and continue to do so.

TS: What have been your biggest successes?

ND: Where to start..? Each year feels like the beginning of a whole new era and we don’t make it easy for ourselves. We’re only as good as our last year! The highlights to date, however, include:

  • Towards the end of 2014, completing the buyout of the businesses from the original founder. This was a landmark moment that has put us in a position to enhance growth over the years to come
  • Creating a business that is led culturally by our people, each of which give so much to ensure we’re continually developing, learning and achieving new milestones
  • Undertaking and embracing the GrowthAccelerator programme, from which we’ve learnt so much and created a scalable business model with sound business principles and methodologies
  • Acceptance from the creative, digital, marketing and technology sectors that ADLIB are industry colleagues – This genuinely means so much to us

TS: You concentrate on the fields of digital, marketing, creative, technology and ecommerce, have you found these areas have grown in the South West in the 14 years you’ve been doing it?

ND: Significantly, consider how much the world has changed in 14 years! From a marketing perspective we’ve witnessed the rise of SEO, PPC, UX, ecommerce and Social Media (to name just a few core channels). Creatively speaking we’ve seen how mobile and UX have influenced the role of a designer. And I don’t know where to start with technology and development!

eCommerce SpecialistsWithin the marketing and creative sectors we often see an initial charge of early adopters who get ahead of the curve and charge a premium, whilst more integrated marketers try hard to build new skills into their everyday work.

Once the channel is accepted of value, we often see employers move away from the integrated approach, employing specialists to deliver a specific channel rather than scratching the surface. Take PPC, Social Media or Content for example.

“The commercial world needs to work collaboratively with educational and training organisations”


Within technology and development the growing skills shortage has been apparent to us all. Developers are in such short supply. ADLIB have worked closely with partners such as Bristol Media and the soon to open Digitech school to understand how these challenges can be realistically addressed, as they’re not going to disappear any time soon. Realistically, the commercial world needs to work collaboratively with educational and training organisations.

TS: In your opinion, what is the most important thing a tech startup or company should think about when hiring?

ND: It’s three things actually: Employee engagement. Sharing the company vision. Career development.

Get these right and it will save a fortune in recruiting and a lot of potential headaches!

TS: Do you enjoy being based in Bristol? Why?

ND: We’re based in Bristol because the majority of our team live here, although the reality is – Bristol, Bristol and Bath region, South West, call it what you like – the whole area is thriving.

“The Bristol and Bath region attracts stacks of talented people and is a brilliant place to live and work”


The region is home to some pretty amazing people, attracts stacks of talented people and is a brilliant place to live and work. Many of us here at ADLIB are from other parts of the country, but we’ve all landed here and we’re here to stay.

TS: Are you involved with any events that people can get involved with e.g. networking etc?

ND: We’re delighted to now be involved in the TechSPARK meet ups and events! In addition, and in 2015 alone, we’re partners and sponsors to the Oi (Online Influence) conference in Cardiff on the 7 May, numerous Bristol Media events and Collaborate – the UX conference being held in Bristol in November. We’re also regularly at BIMA thirstdays and the Bristol Bath Marketing Network.

We promise never to talk about recruitment, unless people specifically want us to! We’re genuinely there to learn, grow and be more.

TS: Which tech/digital companies in the region have particularly impressed you?

Agency PeopleND: So many of them are our clients or friends (or a combination of both) and have been for many, many years, it would be hard to know where to start, plus we’d get into trouble for favouritism!

On a serious note there are many, many impressive tech/digital companies in the region. They’re the backbone of what we do and why we enjoy doing what we do.

We’d like to thank Nick for taking time out of his busy schedule to talk to us. You can find out more about the company at the ADLIB website, or by following them on Twitter: @AdLibRecruit 

Talking of impressive tech and digital companies, don’t miss your chance to meet and talk to the best of them in the South West at  Venturefest Bristol & Bath on 9 June.