I’m currently going through a recruiting round and I thought I’d share some lessons I’ve learnt in recruiting and some questions for you!
1. Highlight the values of your organisation and the place
I’ve found throughout my career how important the values of organisations are over and above their priorities and strategies. Yet, we’re also signposted to the latter by recruiters and not the former. And I say that working in strategy!
The more aligned I’ve been to the values of the organisation the more I’ve felt at home there, the less they’ve been aligned, the less I’ve felt part of a family. I learnt that I can naturally bounce off ideas or explore different issues with someone I share those values with even if they’re in a different job — a social worker, a community organiser, a service designer or a workspace provider — than someone in the same role as me in another council who doesn’t share those values.
How do you demonstrate the values of your organisation to people applying?
2. Show the energy and passion of your organisation
Values, behaviours and energy for wanting to work for me is more important than whether you’ve worked in a strategy team before. But it can be difficult to talk about values without it feeling generic or vacuous. Most organisations will say they’re trying to be innovative, they bring out the best in people, work collaboratively and value their customers.
So I’ve tried to also bring the energy of the organisation to show the extent to which we embody our values. Not just the “corporate energy” but the energy of the people in the council but also our partners too. As increasingly, councils need to be shaping the place they’re in and building movements, this isn’t something we can dictate, we need partners that also share those values and energy.
For people applying, it shows what their interactions will be with other people, as well as world of opportunities to build networks and future careeer opportunities with exciting partners. I also try and show what we’ve learnt on making difficult change happen, rather than just talk about concepts.
And I try to bring to life how the council embodies its values through blogging about how we work, whether it’s at the start of the project, how we test and learn new methods, how we use insights or how we anticipate future trends.
How do you bring to life the energy of your organisation and your team when you’re recruiting?
3. Help people understand who you are as a leader
Applying for a job is about applying to join a team as much as it is applying to join an organisation. I’ve tried to show who I am as a leader and as a colleague so people know upfront what style their potential future manager will have.
It’s not about recruiting for fit, but for values. There isn’t one way to be relational, collaborative, open, brave or creative. There isn’t one way to be a leader either. Writing openly about who I am, how I start a new job, how I lead and how I relate to others is also a way to model how I’d like people to talk about themselves, where they’d like to be, what they’re good at and what they need to develop?
How do you help people understand who you are as a leader?
4. Use different methods to bring out different facets of people applying
I try and use different styles to recruit, starting from the story we tell about the place, the organisation and the role, using particular keywords to target different types of applicants, using networks to reach out to diverse communities, using anonymous recruitment, using psychometric tests, presentation exercises and interviews, as well as open pitching sessions which we’re now testing.
I also reach out to organisations we share similar values with to explore different ways people can work for the team, such as secondments, job swaps or graduate schemes.
What methods do you use to recruit for diversity and creativity?
5. Channel the enthusiasm and effort of people applying
What about for people who have applied or gone through to interview but haven’t made the cut? Like any recruitment, you’ve got people who apply just for the sake of applying, but many others are people who are really passionate about working in the ways we talk about in the job advert. Beyond working for a specific organisation, the want to bring together people around common causes and help them understand, test & scale change in creative & empathetic ways.
How could you channel that enthusiasm (and effort!) so they can connect to other opportunities to make change happen in that way?