Taking an holistic approach to recruitment

Written by
Nancy Lengthorn, managing partner – head of D&I and future talent, MediaCom

05 Aug 2019

05 Aug 2019 • by Nancy Lengthorn, managing partner – head of D&I and future talent, MediaCom

Transform how you bring people into your organisation to future proof its success, writes Nancy Lengthorn, managing partner – head of D&I and future talent at MediaCom.

A business is built on its employees. And that means more than just those at the top. You can have a CEO with the determination to drive the business forward, a board with vast experience and a management team that works tirelessly to uphold client relationships. But without the right staff, from entry-level talent to managers and beyond, your business will not grow.

We need to acknowledge this challenge and turn the traditional business model – being profitable – on its head, making employee wellbeing the number one priority. Nail this, and I guarantee the profits will come. The first step in the journey to prioritising wellbeing is to look at the hiring process.

A CV is simply words on a page

In its 2018 Eye-Tracking Study, Ladders Inc revealed that recent study found that, on average, recruiters spend only seven seconds looking at a CV. While you could argue that this is because we’re all so time poor, that’s missing the crux of the issue: the recruitment process is inherently broken.

The CV is an outdated way of finding the right candidate for the job. Rather than reflecting the person themselves, the skills they have and the experiences they have gained across their life, a CV is often simply what a young person’s parents, careers advisor or teacher tells them would ‘look good’ to a potential employer.

At MediaCom, we no longer use CVs in our recruitment process. Instead, we rely on an open-ended application form that asks people about their personal experiences, different cultures, backgrounds and many other things that can all help to paint a picture of the type of employee they might be.  

Tomorrow’s world warrants different skills

Getting rid of CVs allows employers to look past qualifications to understand how a person might positively impact a business – and losing the constraints of a sometimes meaningless CV can be really freeing. It allows you to understand who a person is, rather than making assumptions based where they went to school or the road they currently live on.

To cite a recent example: in her application, a young candidate explained to us that she had been a carer to two older family members, while also putting herself through education, an insight into her life that highlighted her resilience, leadership potential and empathy. These skills would not have come across in her CV alone, as she had little ‘traditional’ work experience to showcase there.

Invest in your culture to fuel success

Changing the rules when it comes to recruitment shows an understanding that everyone is different and unique – and that diversity and individuality are good business. Diverse employees contribute to diversity of thought and this is what brings original ideas, better connections and greater creativity. Most of all, it helps to build a culture that is inclusive and representative of different cultures, containing a mix of skills and opinions.

Transforming how you bring people into your organisation can help you rethink a host of embedded biases; for example, around being an immigrant within the UK. How do you overcome barriers faced by talented young people whose families expect them to enter a traditional ‘profession’ rather than a creative industry? How do you hire someone who has the right skills but cannot work traditional hours?

Changing the conversation around these types of questions comes down to the culture you nurture and the skills you invest in, and prioritise, as a business. Ultimately, this is how you can ensure you attract, hire and retain the best talent your industry has to offer.