leadership

The right person, the right “brand”

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The essence of a person, their brand, might not show up in a CV so it’s up to the recruiter to identify it.

The right person, the right “brand”

Marcia Griffin

No matter the size of the organisation, people matter hugely. In today’s tight labour market finding the right people is a challenge.

My question to chief executives is this: unless it’s a highly technical job that requires specific training (and sometimes even then), are we asking the right questions to find the right people?

My biggest challenge as a chief executive was always finding the best sales people. That was the nature of my business – direct selling – and I found the key to success lay in finding out what motivates people and what they really stood for.

I believe brands are not just something attached to a business. As individuals, we are in fact brands: we stand for something, and in looking at potential employees it’s important to understand that brand, that real DNA. The real brand may not show up in the CV or the recruitment company may not have discovered it, so in a tough market chief executives may have to dig further.

Does the brand and that potential employee stand for integrity, hard work, loyalty, commitment and good thinking? Or, in fact, does the brand stand for negativity, blame, laziness, dishonesty and lack of loyalty?

There may be university degrees or other external signs of success, but how will this person really bring value to your organisation and your team?

I once called a former employer for a reference and was told: “I am not prepared to say anything because last time I gave a poor reference I ended up in court.” In the end this person agreed to answer my questions only. The key question to ask is: “Would you employ this person again?”

I am amazed at the number of people who do not reference check thoroughly. This means understanding who you are getting the reference from – what is their brand?

A chief executive told me recently that she employed someone in an administration position who had had no previous experience and few computer skills. But what she had done in her life – raising her children as a single mother and studying part-time – convinced this chief executive that here was a person with real character and determination. After weeks of training, the new employee proved to be a gem. Her brand was meticulous organisation and attention to detail and loyalty. She was always prepared to go the extra distance and totally reliable 10 years later. She was a good choice.

Yes it takes time to understand someone’s brand. But unless we take the time and trouble to determine someone’s real brand, we can miss out on some real winners both in our social and business lives.

To read more Marcia Griffin blogs, click here.

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