It has been an interesting journey for our business since commencing in August 2009.  On reflection, the most significant challenge has been around recruiting the right people.  Having spent my whole career prior to BRS in corporate cultures where poor performers tend to be masked by the size of an organisation, I underestimated the importance of people in a small start-up.  In a small business, there is nowhere to hide… both bad and good recruitment decisions tend to amplify either positively or negatively.

This crucial insight I believe is so relevant to all businesses.  We say that people are important but do we back it up with our focus on placing critical value on the recruitment process?  Do we ensure that they are aligned to our values?  Do we make sure that new people will enhance our business and fit our culture?

Based on these learning’s, I have captured some key fundamentals when we recruit new team members which align to our six values:

  1. Passion – Regardless of the role they are filing, they need to be passionate about the work they do and also excited about joining our business.  This intrinsic motivation is critical.
  2. Improvement – Are they fixed in their mindset or do they have a mentality focused on being better than they were yesterday.  If people are not open to learning it is very hard to coach them and for them to be open to feedback to learn and grow.
  3. Proactiveness – The ability to be adaptable is now a non-negotiable.  Globalisation, new technologies and industries that are constantly changing means that new personnel need to be adaptable to change and embrace it rather than fear it.  Proactiveness is hard to identify in a recruit but many managers would pay a massive premium for it.
  4. Authenticity – One of my favourite quotes is “be yourself because everyone else is taken”.  Is the person comfortable in their own skin and not trying to be something they are not or trying to be something for someone else?  I love to meet authentic, quirky people who want to make a difference.
  5. Teamwork – Do they enjoy working with other high performers?  Do they love the energy that comes from working with a great team?  Are they selfless and committed to meeting the needs of the team and the business?
  6. Integrity – Being open, honest and taking a bigger picture view when looking at decisions is critical.  What is right for our clients, our people and our business needs to govern decision making of potential employees which ties back to aspiring to do the right things.

The key questions you need to ask is; Will this person thrive in our culture and are other people in our team going to enjoy working with them?  The focus should always be on adding the right person to your business not the best person on the day.  Without cultural fit team members will struggle to pull in the same direction, it’s like trying to set sail with the anchor down. It is not about fault or blame, it is merely a misalignment between wanting the right person for your business rather than the best person on paper. Great people get recruited into the wrong jobs every day!

On reflection, I never used to place enough value on the recruitment process.  I was blinded by a focus on technical skills and experience rather than the things that truly mattered.   This is just one of many insights the last two and a half years have delivered and in my opinion the most important one, given that we are a people business not unlike any organisation! What are the top 6 things you value when recruiting?