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How to hire superstars for your payments team


Finding individuals with the skill sets to grow your payments team becomes a priority as operations scale, become more complex, or more closely integrated with other strategic functions.

But there is fierce competition from recruiters in ecommerce, retail and fintech. And with a global skills gap and poor awareness of payments careers, finding the right person at the right time is a real challenge.
To overcome it, you may have to cast the net a bit wider than the usual suspects to find your next payments superstar.

Past performance isn’t always an indicator of success

Whether you select candidates based on qualifications or specific experience depends on the level of the role and job requirements, and whether you need them to hit the ground running or have time to help them learn and grow.  

If it’s a highly technical role, then background and capability are important. But so too are personality, soft skills and their ability to augment the existing team.

Some of the most successful payments leaders landed their first payments job with no previous payments experience.

“I never set out to work in payments,” admits Makis Savvides, Director of Global Payments at Wargaming. “In fact, most payments professionals I speak with didn’t either. We all come from different backgrounds and bring different skill sets to the role.”

Many payments leaders have worked in other functions and fell or were pulled into the role, like Richard Haywood, Head of eCommerce Customer and Payments at Ocado Technology, who reveals, “I’ve worked in supply chain, technology and software development. My first step into payments was a bit of a ‘thrown in at the deep end’ when I moved into ecommerce.”

So, when you’re looking for the right candidates, don’t rule anyone out because they don’t have the exact experience you would expect for the role. 

The world of payments goes beyond technical knowledge

There’s no denying that payments is a tech-rich and data-led profession. As Emina Zahirovic, Associate Director, Global Payments for HelloFresh, puts it, “Data is the lifeblood of our operation. I cannot do my job and drive payments performance without it.”

Yet in addition to having an analytical mindset, payments superstars must be flexible enough to take on new challenges and have the soft skills to match. Individuals wanting to succeed in payments should demonstrate an ability to grow, diversify and operate outside their comfort zone. That means being able to work on their own initiative, think outside the box, communicate skillfully with clients and colleagues and make quick decisions.

Indeed, a successful payments professional is part technical expert, mentor, salesperson and diplomat. Though there’s no defined roadmap for a career in payments, you can spot the attributes of a payments superstar by looking at their combination of hard and soft skills.

Find people who are solution-driven

Payments expertise can be learned but problem-solving and managing change is often inherent.  Some people are always looking for ways to innovate and find solutions to problems that others might deem impossible. Often, it’s this attitude that makes them stand out—even if they have no specific experience in payments.

For some, like Carmen Honacker, Head of Customer and Payment Fraud at, the secret sauce is getting the right talent through the door and then giving them the right tools and resources to upskill them to the level you want them to be. She says, “It’s about finding the right fit, the right personalities, and then being able to teach them the technical side of things and show them what’s really important.”

So, it may take time to find the ideal payments superstar for your team, but finding the right talent and keeping them will form a big part of your payments team’s success. Once you’ve found the right people, invest in them and make sure they’re getting as much out of the role as you’re getting out of them.

Find out more by downloading this blueprint to building a world-class payments team.