In my last column for The Drum, I talked about how you had to live and breath your company values for them to be effective and meaningful. It’s a real bugbear of mine when CEOs’, Founders and MD’s blithely ignore the values they proudly place on their walls and websites.
We live in social media driven world in which bad news travels instantaneously and bad reputations become hard to shake. An organisation’s culture needs to be both transparent and directly tied to its employment brand. We’ve worked with some great companies who have taken the time to consciously cultivate and manage their culture, and have worked hard to turn it into a competitive advantage in the marketplace. And that’s a very important point. Recruiting staff is a competitive process at the moment with the very best candidates being a hugely sought after commodity.
Some companies understand this much more than others. Have you ever wondered why certain companies make those amazing hires, have a great management team, are always leading the way in their marketplace and generate consistent growth, while others always seem to be reinventing themselves and have a high staff turnover? That’s because the best companies really understand their culture, where it comes from and how important is to live and breath it from the CEO to the shop floor
This can be very evident when it comes to recruiting staff. I’m always amazed and frankly disappointed when we take a brief from a company when they don’t talk about their values and how that will help them and us select the right candidate.
We’ve all worked somewhere when the management hired completely the wrong person, someone who caused disruption, division and disaffection with the existing staff. They might have had a great CV and track record at other companies with differing values to yours but couldn’t or wouldn’t adapt to your way of working.
So to help avoid hiring the wrong person, I’ve come up with this six stage process we recommend using to ensure hiring the right sort of candidate
Stage one - Identification. What values are we looking for? Understand your values and how they work in the team you are recruiting for. Whilst companies work to shared values, the nuances will be different from say the commercial team to the legal team.
Stage two - Elimination. Take the time to understand what sort of person will definitely not work well in your environment. You should ask the team what they think and also recruiters need to engage with the senior management team at this point. Past experience is often the best guide to future success.
Stage three - Dissemination. Make sure every single person involved in the hiring process knows exactly the sort of person you want and especially the values you are recruiting to.This needs to include all hiring and interviewing managers and it's very important to involve the recruiters and consultancies you might be using.
Stage four - Interrogation. Make sure your interview questions reflect the values you are looking for. Work with your recruiter on designing the questions to ensure that you get the right information and give the candidates the best chance to be able to show you that they fit.
Stage Five - Investigation. Be sure to take references, talk discretely to your network about anybody you are thinking of hiring.
Stage Six. Reflection .Don't hire on the spur of the moment. It is always worth taking the time to think through the process. A day's extra thought can save months of pain.
Remember your culture and values are only as strong as you and your team's belief in them and your strength in applying them. Stay strong as it will be worth it.