Originally published by Hays Canada.
Your company’s brand values can act as your “true north” because these principles help you to navigate your business during unclear and uncertain periods. These periods could involve adjustments to your service offering, workforce structure, or even those happening on a wider scale within your industry.
Look at Hays, for example. We are a global business operating in the face of regional market fluctuations, unstable economies, and plenty of political upheaval happening at a local level. Taking all variables into account, it can be a challenge to maintain a consistent brand image on a global platform. How do we stick to our true north? We hire employees around the world who have the traits of being ambitious, passionate about people, expert and inquisitive, i.e. – our brand values.
These employees act as universal brand ambassadors for Hays, keeping our brand image intact despite the various inconsistencies, and all because they mirror our brand values. The question is, how can you find employees who can do the same for your business?
Firstly, if you don’t have one already, develop a strong and on brand Employer Value Proposition (EVP). This is the messaging that you should consistently use in all of your recruitment materials and strategies; from your job adverts and the careers section on your website to what you say in the interview room.
This messaging needs to communicate why you are the employer of choice, and these reasons should be aligned to your brand values.
Your current employees
Secondly, your current workforce has a large role to play. These people are the living breathing examples of your brand in action. Look at how they present themselves in a professional capacity, whether it’s at networking events or via their LinkedIn profiles. Be sure that you make your expectations clear, perhaps put a set of brand guidelines together for internal use, and stick to these yourself.
If you can make sure your brand values are crystal clear to your audience on an ongoing basis (and not just when you are actively recruiting) you will have a steady pipeline of talent who have already identified with your values and would jump at the chance to work for you.
Take a closer look at the CVs that come through
When job applications come through, start to think how your brand values translate to a person’s career history, skills and experience, and even hobbies and interests. Remember that your brand values won’t be explicitly listed on a candidate’s CV in these exact words and you may need to dig a bit deeper. For example, at Hays, one of our brand values is being ambitious, and this would be clear on the CV of a candidate who has progressed quickly and upskilled themselves. Knowing how to decipher these brand values on a CV should help you develop a short list of promising, on-brand interviewees.
Tailor your questions
Once you reach the interview stage, tailor some of your prepared interview questions so that they can test for these specific brand values. Once again, you will need to think about how these values can translate to skills and competencies. For example, at Hays, one of our values is being experts in our field. Therefore, during an interview, we will often ask questions about how the candidate immerses themselves in an industry and stay on top of trends.
It would also be an idea to ask them to describe the brand values of their previous employers. If they can do this well, this shows that they have a good grasp of the importance of brand values, and would be thorough in understanding yours if hired.
Analyze their behaviour during the interview process
Keep in mind how your brand values would show themselves in a person’s behaviour and the way they present themselves in the interview, and during any correspondence afterwards. For instance, at Hays, we value being inquisitive, therefore we prefer candidates who ask good questions during the interview. Watch closely and carefully think about how on-brand this person’s behaviour is.
As you can see, hiring people who mirror your brand values depends in part on how consistently you communicate these values to prospective candidates. The rest sits with knowing how to spot these values during the hiring process. It’s not black and white, you may have to read between the lines, but it’s worth it. Like I said in the beginning, brand values are the true north of your organization, guiding you in good times and in bad, but this true north is only as strong as the people you hire..
Rowan O’Grady is the president of Hays Canada.