How your culture impacts who you hire

I’ve worked in recruitment for 25 years. It’s a pretty hectic business – if all’s going well you’ve got any number of things going on, lots of people ringing you, different candidates at different stages, sales to do, searching to do – you get the picture.


And you have to factor for the fact that everyone who calls you assumes you know who they are and what they want to talk about.


So you’ve got to be on the ball.


Recently I’ve been reflecting on the ways in which I’ve changed in my approach to work over those 25 years.


25 year old me loved the constant change, multiple conversations and emails and pinging from one thing to the next. But 45 year old me is much more reflective. I need space to do what is trendily known as “deep work”. I need to think about things. I often find that the best thing to do when a problem presents itself is….wait 24 hours. Often the answer becomes clear with a bit of time. I like to think I’m still good at what I do – better for 25 years experience actually – but I’m different, no doubt.


Now I’m just one person. Maybe this isn’t universal. But reflecting on that (see?) prompted me to think about how that kind of change might impact recruitment and how people build teams.


Of course age is far from the only diversity challenge. But I think it serves to make the broader point.


Because your culture and how you hire has a huge impact on who you get. Those dot coms who advertise their beer fridge and ping pong table and team nights out three days a week and all weekend hackathons – they’re just going to hire 20 year olds. I can’t think of any 50 year old I know (and I know a lot) who wants all that.


So if that’s your culture, you end up with a really narrow team. If we assume you’d be better with a team that has some high energy, fast paced 20-somethings, and some reflective 60 year olds, (and some high energy sixty year olds and reflective 20 year olds – not everyone is the same…) and everything in between and indeed older, then you need to think about how your hiring process and your culture and your on boarding works to allow for that.


It won’t happen by accident but if you shape your hiring in such a way that you can find and appeal to all types of people, you’ll have a much richer team as a consequence.

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