I asked a client recently how his business was progressing.
I was aware that he had moved offices into central London and I was interested in how such a move had affected staff.
He hadn’t experienced a mass walk-out or anything – the opposite was actually the case. He expected and planned for those who didn’t want to move to London, but in the end they all moved. A year on, however, there had been a ‘falling by the wayside’ of those less prepared to commute, less prepared for the pace, less prepared for London.
And that was the basis of my conversation. My client was acutely aware that seeking out new talent for the business was an ongoing requirement, but it was a drain on his time. He was busy being brilliant and visionary, and now he also had to direct attention towards recruitment.
“When you’re running a people business, the people issues are never far from the top of the agenda,” I said.
I asked him how he was recruiting – not the mechanism or process – but how did he handle the CV selection and interview? He told me and I considered his response.
I told him that he had a great brand. (He knew that already.) I told him that he had a team of great people. (He knew that too.) Then I told him that he should be using his brand to attract more great people. (He hadn’t heard that before.)
“Businesses recruit with CVs”, I said, “but they should recruit against their brand values.”
Now he was leaning in. “The CVs are functional – they record history, the exams you passed, the jobs you’ve had… they show little else. Assuming a base level of competency across candidates, it’s the personality and the softer skills of a candidate that will make them shine. So if everyone’s qualified with a reasonable degree, the most important differentiator is how they stack up against your brand values – which makes your brand the most important recruitment tool you have. Far more important than the CV.”
By reversing the selection process and selecting candidates based on company values rather than their CV, recruitment changes – for the better. Ultimately, my client continued to check candidate CVs to make sure applicants were qualified and capable, but first and foremost – all applicants had to fit comfortably with the company brand and its values.