CVs are BS.. this is what we did instead

#OpenRecruitment at Bagelman is all about getting to know the real person behind the CV.. In fact we don’t give a monkey’s about the CV. By learning the hard way we realised that the ubiquitous curriculum vitae isn’t all its cracked up to be, surprise-surprise! Lets face it, they are full of BS! Couple that with an interview that is the perfect opportunity for someone to present the best possible most perfect version of themselves the old model of recruiting doesn’t cut it.

We need to get to know who people are, how they connect, how they communicate, how they react under pressure, how they work in a team.. And, we want to give people the opportunity to get to know us, how we tick, what our values are, how we work together and what our purpose is.

We do this by hosting regular open workshops. Anyone can attend, the dates are listed online and promoted via social media and community organisations. We don’t advertise, and we don’t specify a person specification or must have experience. Instead, we encourage people from all backgrounds to get involved and work with community organisations to try to reach people on the first rungs of job ladder after rehab or coming back to the workforce from difficult life experiences.

The workshop is an immersive 2–3 hour experience for 10–12 candidates. During the session we carry out exercises to learn people’s likes and dislikes, how they see themselves as part of a team, how they react under pressure, how they communicate and so on. Normally at the end of the session its pretty clear who is aligned with Bagelman.. we quickly move on to second phase of process which is a hands on trail shift in one of our stores.. here we give people a safe space away from the glare of expectant public to show us how they move and how they might deal with the physical side of the job.

So far the process has identified more candidates than we have had openings for.. leaving us with hard decisions to make about who to offer work to.

The best bit? Its working! During 2016 our staff turnover was over 100% with 55 new starers during the year and the same number of people leaving the team, thats a big number, but better than the industry average which can be as high as 400%…imagine that :/

We launched OpenRecruitment in Jan 2017 and so far this year our staff turnover has reduced to 55%. So we have pretty much halved the churn in 10 months. And, the level of engagement and staff happiness around the business bares out the data. We are working towards a more collaborative and supportive team structure and away from the old mechanisms of command and control. The joint results are that the teams are better integrated, more motivated and are rewarded with trust and being part of a great place to work.

Whats next? We want to work on diversity. We have considered taking the workshop away from the relative safety of central Brighton and into some of the more challenging communities on the fringes of town.. we know there are great people there who, for whatever reason, are being held back from venturing into the world of work.. if we can help that journey in even a small way we would be proud. And, we never know, there might just turn out to be our next team leaders in waiting.

Our projection for the next year is that the market for casual workers is going to get increasingly tough as Brexit approaches.. but.. we are ready. As we learn and improve our process so that we are identifying the most suitable people our turnover will reduce further and we will hold the workshops less frequently as a result. Also in 2018 we will be expanding Bagelman into two new towns so for the first time we will be deploying our workshop programme to recruit a team from scratch in new locations.. this is new and exciting ground for us but we are confident we will find the very best people as we go.