We have just put the final building block for our team in place, having recruited a new Marketing Officer/Community Manager. Our team is now complete (for the time being anyway!) The successful candidate cannot yet be named but I look forward to introducing you to a very special person next month. For now, I wanted to share some thoughts on the recruitment process itself, as it has really fascinated me over over the past few months.
In the last year we have recruited SEVEN staff for DWYL and for some of our various collaborations. I know this number might not seem very large for a major company, but for us it is a huge increase in staff and brings with it a huge responsibility.
When I joined the company we were confident that our work could support our family and it allowed me to leave my previous career. We both knew our personal financial situation and the risks associated with our decision, but back then it was only our salaries to pay, along with the fees of a number of freelancers. But now we find ourselves responsible for the salaries of people we really care about.
Our passion for our work has been the fuel that stoked the evolutionary fire. We were constantly generating hundreds of ideas of how we could be even more effective as a business and as a concept. Last Spring we knew we had reached a pivotal moment in the company’s evolution. Did we forgo the vast majority of our ideas and continue as we were or did we look for help? There was only one decision to be made. When you believe in something so strongly you find the conviction and confidence (and cash) to move forward.
We needed help, but before we could reach out for it we had to first decide what type of help we actually needed. This was a much more difficult decision than deciding that we needed to recruit. Creating the right role is half the battle. Did we need someone to help with all the administrative work (selfishly, yes please!) or did we need to invest more time and expertise in marketing DWYL? Well the honest answer is we needed both but we prioritised the latter. After all, you can have the best products and services in the world, but if no-one knows about them, you can’t serve anyone with them.
Now I am getting to the part that really fascinates me: the people. Would we be able to find people who wanted to be part of our team? Would we be able to find people who were equally as passionate about our manifesto? Would we find people who would make our company better, and be better than us at the jobs they were employed to do? And if we could find someone who fulfilled all this, could we afford them?
The answer to all of these questions was a resounding yes. We quickly discovered that our company, and what it stands for, is hugely appealing. We discovered that in today’s society, with more and more people questioning their position in life, our manifesto rings true. People really aren’t just after money and status. They want their work to count. And thank goodness, because our company is a more enriched place because of it.
This brought us to the most interesting – and challenging – part of the whole process.
Finding out about each person who applies for a vacancy is fascinating. It’s a privilege to hear about their dreams, their experience, their ideas and their motivation for joining us. As part of our recruitment process we request each person submits a 1 minute video as part of their application. We know this is terrifying for many people, but for us it’s invaluable. In that minute we get a real insight into what makes someone tick. Why have they chosen that setting? How do they come across as a person? Why did they choose that particular phrase? Ultimately, can we feel their passion?
If meeting the people is the most interesting part, choosing, and subsequently communicating our choices and decisions is by far the most difficult. And this was particularly true with our most recent round of recruitment.
On the day of interviews we were due to meet four people, but unfortunately one person was unable to make it due to a family emergency. Family is a priority to us all and there was only one place for him to be on that given day. Although we could not meet him then I look forward to meeting him in the near future and finding out more about his motivation. I am a big believer that the universe deemed it not the right time to meet, but who knows what opportunities might lie ahead.
So, we had the great pleasure of meeting three lovely people who were talented, eloquent, ambitious, friendly, and crucially, motivated by purpose. We were honoured that such candidates would want to work for the company that we created, and that they had understood us so well. We also knew that choosing was going to be really tough. Just as we do whenever we need to make a hard decision, we looked at the finer details.
Beth got the job of informing the successful candidate whilst I was left with the unenviable task of notifying the not-so-lucky unsuccessful candidates. The night before my calls/emails I didn’t sleep particularly well. Our company is ultimately all about providing inspiration, tools and advice to create powerful and meaningful lives. But I felt that by telling people they didn’t get the job they clearly really wanted (and were suitable for) my actions were going to destroy dreams rather than help make them happen.
I agonised over how I would deliver the bad news. I knew I had to be honest and constructive for it to have value, but I was also adamant that I wouldn’t take the wind out of their sails. I wanted to remind each person of everything they stood for and what they had achieved and keep their motivation high. The English language is a complex yet beautiful one and I was sure there must be a combination of words and sentences which would convey my message in just the right way.
Each person sent a lovely response to my email, which reinforces the kind of people that we thought they were. It also reassured me that I had managed to go some way to achieving what I’d set out to do. I have no doubt that new challenges and opportunities are on the horizon for each of them.
The successful candidate blew us away. I will take great pride in introducing her next month and we cant wait to see her flourish in her new role, as we know she will.
Our actions influence those around us on a daily basis. Can you think of an occasion when you could have delivered news, your opinion or a decision in a better way?
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Until next time,