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The rewards of an open and flexible recruitment process

In this blog I described the recruitment process Evenbreak used in a recent hiring round. Any recruitment process can only really be evaluated by the outcomes it produces. In our case, we were aiming to attract a number of diverse candidates who had the qualities and strengths required to do the two roles we were trying to fill.

As described previously, we received over forty applications from a diverse range of incredibly talented people, and had the somewhat enviable ‘problem’ of identifying the most suitable ones. They had a lot to live up to, as our existing team, at the risk of sounding immodest (and just a little smug), is pretty remarkable.

In the end, although we were advertising two roles, we just couldn’t choose between two candidates for one of them, and decided to employ them both. So the Evenbreak team gained three new members instead of two. I’d like to introduce them to you.

Kiana, Candidate Engagement Manager

I must confess, my own prejudices kicked in a bit with Kiana at first. How could a young woman of only 24 have the life experience required to carry out such a crucial role for the business? However, I very quickly understood that she has the most amazingly creative mind (demonstrated in part by a videoshe had produced), and had all the qualities we had hoped for and so much more. Her degree in film-making, her experience in campaigning, her human rights approach to disability, and her ability to communicate complex issues articulately and persuasively made her the perfect choice.

Other employers may have hesitated because she has Spinal Muscular Atrophy, meaning she requires a lot of personal assistance, and as a full time wheelchair user would need to work in an accessible buiding. They sometimes also make (inaccurate) assumptions about what she is, or isn’t, capable of. If so, it would be their loss entirely. She may not be able to remove the top from her pen independently, but she engages really well with people, organisations and media and is already making a huge positive impact on the team and Evenbreak’s stakeholders. Thank goodness I ignored my initial prejudice (there’s perhaps a lesson there for us all!).

Cassandra (Employer Engagement Manager)

Cassandra was the first person to respond to the advert, and she was very keen, but concerned that she “might not be disabled enough” as her impairment is a mental health condition. We laughed that in most recruitment situations candidates would be concerned that they might be considered “too disabled”, and it was good to have turned the tables for once.

Cass immediately appealed, because she had a diverse background, including PR and health. She is particularly talented in marketing and social media, and has great writing skills. Her enthusiasm and motivation were what first impressed me, along with her strong desire to make the world, especially the world of work, more inclusive and accessible to disabled people. Another creative mind (like Kiana), she comes up with some amazing ideas, and is incredibly pro-active at finding solutions to improve the way we work. Evenbreak is already more effective as a result.

Adam (Employer Engagement Manager)

When it comes to working with large employers, Adam has experience in spades. Most of his working life has been spent working and engaging with a range of diverse companies. Over those years he has developed remarkable skills in problem-solving, strategic thinking, analytical skills and stakeholder engagement. His progressive condition, Multiple Sclerosis, had made his previous job increasingly difficult, and so reluctantly he left. His personal experience in trying to find work flexible enough to accommodate his health condition attracted him to the approach Evenbreak takes to addressing some of those problems.

Adam describes his immense skillset as ‘old school’ and ‘traditional’. I describe them, even after only two months, as ‘impressive’ and ‘successful’. He is already making some productive relationships with existing employers and ensuring they gain maximum benefit from using Evenbreak.

 

In addition to the demonstrable and amazing qualities that these individual people possess, the magic really happens when they come together as a team.  The four of us share fundamental values around inclusion and diversity, and also have different and complementary life experiences, work experiences, skills, qualifications and talents which combine together to form something really special. It’s early days – we have only been working together for a couple of months at the time of writing – but I feel really excited and optimistic about the future of Evenbreak.

I’m not sure that this would have happened with a ‘traditional’ recruitment process. And I know that such an open and flexible process won’t suit every employer. However, are there elements you could take from it to improve yours? The rewards are plain to see!

To advertise jobs on Evenbreak go here – http://www.evenbreak.co.uk/employers/

To find jobs on Evenbreak go here – http://www.evenbreak.co.uk/jobs

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