This pandemic has definitely brought out the best and worst in companies. We have seen some thrive and many fall but the overriding truth becoming apparent is that, either way, your levels of success have never been more indebted to digital than they are now. SEO may have seemed like a luxury; now it is a necessity. For a while, your website was very literally your only shop window, (I will definitely continue to buy beer directly from the brewery) and if the reports are to be believed, it may well be again. As a result, the demand for new digital roles has shot through the roof.
The hashtag #Opentowork has taken over social media and people with vast experience in certain sectors are applying for jobs in areas that are new to them and that they have zero experience in. The question is… is experience necessary? What about the benefits of starting someone off with a blank slate? No hang-ups? Training them from the ground up without the bleed-through of previous bad habits? Of course, if you have studied 10 years at Imperial to become a surgeon it’s probably best that you don’t wade into an operating theatre, but life-threatening circumstances aside, a fresh pair of eyes can be a benefit (although a few of us did our study on the sofa medical degree at Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital so we do know a thing or two). It’s a tricky tight-rope to walk but there are definitely jobs that you might not consider upon first glance, that you could already have the base skill-set for.
Business Development is one of these. When we put out a new job role on LinkedIn for a Business Development Manager we had 200 responses in 48 hours, ranging from the wildly experienced to the graduate. As a relatively small company that’s an incredible response, and we decided that we would not take our responsibility to these people lightly. Typically, a filtration process would occur; looking through candidates LinkedIn profiles and culling those that don’t fit the job description right away, the joys of digital! Unfortunately, you can’t understand the complexity of a real-life human being via a profile.
We sat down and thought about how to go about this and decided to not solely focus on efficiency but instead to put the people first and give everyone an equal opportunity… all 200 applicants. For inspiration, we turned to every teen adventure movie ever made; a series of tests, hoops and obstacles.
*Cue intro music and action montage*
We got each applicant to send us 100 words about why they would fit the role, a one-minute voice clip speaking about their interests outside work and asked them to cc: Sam, my co-managing partner, into the email. We worked out that if each one of us (the two directors) took 100 applicants we could make sure everybody could be seen. It made us realise even further that whilst there’s a lot of good coming from the digital revolution, it’s also incredibly important to remember that behind every profile there is a human, who’s trying to feed themselves. Unlike robots we need food.
It’s been a great experience so far and we would highly recommend that when you next have a job opening if you have the ability to do so, consider everyone. You never know what skills someone might bring in. I am glad to say we have found the most brilliant people to come and work with us. So much so, we’re looking to potentially create an extra role.
There are people out there, asking for a chance, a new start. It’s about investing in the process because if this pandemic has taught us one thing, it is that we’re all unique in our own individualistic ways but we’re all living with some pretty crappy circumstances right now and sometimes all we need is a chance to prove our worth.