27 September 2017

recruit effectively: Climbing Mount Snowdon with Gail and UKFast Enterprise MD, Jonathan.

Climbing Mount Snowdon with UKFast’s incredible leadership team: Gail and UKFast Enterprise MD, Jonathan.

Recruitment is one of the biggest challenges that a business faces. It’s particularly hard in the early days when you have such a small team, adding one new person has a huge impact. It’s essential that any new recruit adds to your culture and doesn’t dilute it. So how do you find that perfect person?

I’ve spent many years finding the perfect way to recruit people and I am still learning every day. The key thing that I have learned is that skills can be taught but attitude is ingrained. When you hire someone who isn’t the best fit for the team, the effect can be colossal. It can knock a whole team’s momentum. Equally, finding the right person can send a team’s productivity skyward!

Here are three lessons I’ve learned when it comes to recruiting effectively:

Recruit with great questions!

Many years ago the son of one of our leadership team created a series of unusual questions. These were so ‘out of the box’ that we still use them today! Examples include: “Would you rather be trapped in a cage or a handbag?’

The answer doesn’t actually matter; it’s the conversation it sparks that counts. Does the candidate automatically dismiss the question or do they have fun with it? Why a cage? Why a bag?

Our culture here is unique and it’s not for everyone. Asking these unusual questions helps us to see if someone is going to thrive in an environment like UKFast, and how they react to curveballs.

Don’t rely on an interview

Whilst you can ask all the right questions, I don’t believe that you can get a fully rounded picture of someone in an interview situation. Candidates are on the spot, they’re nervous and feeling the pressure.

It’s our job as recruiters to help them to relax and be at ease, so that we can get to know the real person behind the interview persona.

Over the years, we’ve developed a series of activities that we include in recruitment ‘assessment’ days. These are high energy, group activity days where people get to know the business and we get to know them.

There are group activities, debates, one-on-one chats and breakout sessions. They really are great fun. In these group activities, much the same as our Snowdon trips that I talk more about below, you can see people’s personalities shine. It’s clear to see who takes the lead, who listens, who has fun, and the like.

Get out of your comfort zones

A huge part of our induction and recruitment process involves leaving your comfort zone. For many years we’ve taken every new recruit, and some candidates, on a hiking trip to North Wales. Staying over in our hotel at the foot of Mount Snowdon, we climb the mountain in the morning then build and sail rafts in the afternoon. The next day, we race through the forest in two teams to see who can reach lunch at the lake first.

It’s incredible to see how people come into their own. There are people up front, taking charge and leading the pack. And there are people who hang back to support the ones who are struggling and encourage them along.

These trips are also an opportunity to really get to know each other and build relationships. I’m excited to restart these trips after a short break so that we could redevelop the hotel into an extraordinary log cabin for the team to enjoy.


Have you found an inventive way of recruiting? Share your advice in the comments below.


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