On Episode 92 of The Talent & Growth Podcast we were joined by Isabel McParland, the People and Talent Acquisition Partner at BVNK, who have been on a real growth journey during the last couple of years to the last four months. We were fascinated to hear about how they have managed to maintain their integrity around putting culture at the centre of their hiring process. Isabel shared her insights on how culture-centred hiring can develop your business and grow it in the right way. Read on for the highlights of that conversation. 

What do you mean by putting culture at the centre of hiring?

Throughout the entire process, it’s been very apparent from day one, that having the right skills is important. There’s no two ways about that; you have to have the right skills to do a job, but having the right attitude is also essential. That’s something that we prioritise over everything else. We’ve managed to grow a culture that’s very fast paced and allows the people who work for us to really thrive. In order for that to happen, we have to have the right people come into the business in the first place. 

At every interview stage, culture is assessed by every single individual who does the interviewing. In order to be a successful candidate, you have to pass all of those cultural things that go on throughout the interviews. We either have like absolute yeses, where we cannot wait for individuals to start, or unfortunately they don’t come and work for us. We explain that we don’t just want culture fits, we want culture ads. Those are people whose first question is, ‘What is the culture?’ That automatically tells us that culture is important to them. In order to build a healthy culture, you have to have people who see culture as equally important to them. 

How are you implementing culture in the hiring process?

Our hiring process is structured towards culture. Candidates will always speak to a member of the talent team first. I never like to use the word interview, I always just call it a chat. It’s just so we can understand them a bit more, and they can equally get to know us a bit more.  Then they will speak to hiring managers, and then they’ll speak to me as a member of our executive team. But they always speak to a diverse range of employees, whether that’s people from all around the world, a mix between males and females, etc, we make sure that we are giving a whole view of the business. 

They will always speak to an executive at the end, that’s always the last stage. That’s something that we implemented about six months ago and we’ve seen great results. I think it’s really nice for candidates have buy-in from the executives, and it shows the importance that BVNK places on our talent and the people coming into the business. The flip side of that is that our executives have an opportunity to meet people before they come into the business. The executives also get a say in whether they think they’re going to fit into our culture correctly or not. It really shows that we have buy-in from every stage of the business.

How do you maintain solid and understandable boundaries around our culture, yet still make sure your hiring process and environment inclusive?

We put in good processes that allow us to do things quite quickly. For example, when a hiring manager says they like who they just interviewed, we know what the next step is, without even having to think about it. That does speed things up. I think the next thing is bringing on the right hiring managers who are inclusive, who have the right vision, who know the type of person they want to bring into the team. Outside of a culture-based system we do reference checks. All of our offers will be subject to reference checks, which is to make sure that their previous companies have also seen the traits that we’re looking for as well. We try to be efficient and make sure we haven’t missed anything while being quick.

To hear more about putting culture at the centre of your hiring process, tune into the full episode of The Talent & Growth Podcast here

On Talent & Growth we speak to talent leaders about the challenges they face and their solutions for attraction and retention. If you’re interested in hearing about how companies are building a more diverse talent pool, how you can attract top people from the big players, ways to create a more inclusive interview process or learn about the latest and greatest automation software to make your life easier, then this is the podcast for you.

Recruiters are reporting being ghosted by candidates. While this is frustrating, it’s entirely possible that we’re part of the problem. On Episode 87 of The Talent & Growth Podcast we were joined by Helen Murdoch, the Talent Acquisition Manager at MPB, who explained the importance of feedback in building healthy relationships with candidates and improving their experience of the hiring process. Read on to level up your own recruitment practices. 

Why is improving the candidate experience through feedback so important? 

People want to do better. Giving candidates feedback feels like a really awkward thing to do, and asking them for feedback can feel uncomfortable too. There’s an element of the time that it takes. Without that, though, you don’t have the power to make changes. People get stuck in this cycle of doing what they’re doing and hoping for the best. Talent teams are stretched, talent partners are stretched, recruiters are stretched. It’s this constant cycle of not having enough time, but what feedback does is provide knowledge that saves me more time down the line.

When you’re gathering feedback, you need to get it from all of your candidates. If you get your feedback from the people that you’ve hired it’s always going to be positive, because they’ve got the job. What you’re missing out on is the person who was the runner up, or who you interviewed in your first cohort who didn’t get the position. Ask what they think of that process. It’s insightful to know that. I’ve been able to give solutions to candidates who want more personalised feedback, or for the process being faster. It’s about looking at that whole candidate journey, not just your successful people.

How can we use feedback from candidates to improve and impact the service we’re delivering? 

Feedback is powerful. I’ve been using a lot of the comments to understand what’s going well. People like the fact that we’ve got a real human touch to our process. They want more personalised feedback, so I’ve changed my automated email to include more information and give more personalised feedback whilst prioritising time as a factor. It’s been a rewarding experience to get the positives and turn the negatives around. It’s improved the service that I deliver, because I can engage with candidates as a human being. Feedback helps me develop as a person, and it’s giving candidates a voice. 

Understanding what your candidates want changes everything. It gives me an understanding of what they want when I’m posting a job. What it is may not be obvious to someone who doesn’t have the knowledge of the business that I have. When you’re in a job search it’s emotive because you might be living paycheck to paycheck, struggling mentally or things like that. When you get a rejection it feels awful, but if you have the opportunity to talk to someone and get some tips on how to improve, that can be a really positive thing. That’s why feedback is so important, because it helps us make the system better for the people who are going through it. 

What are your top rules for feedback?

Always be open to what candidates say. If you’re kind of scared about going on this journey, know that it will pay off in the long term, because you’re going to learn from it. Don’t take it personally, like I did. You have to step back and realise that it has nothing to do with you. Recruiters are massively empathetic people and we deal with people in a difficult transition of their lives, who do often give very emotional feedback. We are naturally scared of those negatives because we always want to secure someone that dream job that they want, we want to help our candidates achieve their goals. When they don’t secure it though, giving them feedback and asking how you can do better will either improve your process or reconfirm that you’re actually doing a good job, they just weren’t the right fit. It’s all about improvement, just remember that. 

To hear more about how Helen has implemented feedback to improve her own process as a recruiter, tune into Episode 87 of The Talent & Growth Podcast here. 

On Talent & Growth we speak to talent leaders about the challenges they face and their solutions for attraction and retention. If you’re interested in hearing about how companies are building a more diverse talent pool, how you can attract top people from the big players, ways to create a more inclusive interview process or learn about the latest and greatest automation software to make your life easier, then this is the podcast for you.