Attitude and aptitude are the main considerations Servest take into consideration when hiring new staff. What can be done to stay ahead of the game in the world of recruitment?

Methods and approaches to recruitment adapt and change in line with changes in legislation, societal attitudes and company progression. Organisations have slowly reached the conclusion that adhering to the

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same, archaic process isn’t always the best way to find out how effective someone’s going to be in a given role. As awareness around diversity and inclusion has grown, companies are looking at recruitment processes that reflect this awareness. In the not-too-distant past, it was all about the black and white CV, cover letter and formal interview process. Nowadays, thankfully, companies are waking up to the idea that this traditional method of recruitment doesn’t necessarily unveil the true persona or aptitude of the individual in question.


We’re all human beings and part of being human means we naturally gravitate towards those that we share things in common. This innate tendency can sometimes trigger involuntary or unconscious bias – meaning that the physical appearance of an individual, the way they come across in an interview, or even their accent can inadvertently influence the recruitment process. It is natural to seek a connection with others but employers must look beyond the commonalities and mitigate unconscious bias by simply being more aware of the pitfalls and by taking baby steps to modify behaviour when necessary.

We can do this in a number of ways. Firstly, be open. Make yourself and encourage others to reflect on personal biases. Have a look around – is there a chance you might have overlooked someone’s potential? It’s only when biases have been addressed that you stand a chance of mitigating them. It’s unlikely that anyone would ever dispute that all human beings deserve the same rights and respect – regardless of whether they’re male, female, black, white, heterosexual, homosexual, or whether they don’t fall into any predetermined social constructs or categories. Regardless, gender equality is unfortunately still a mere spec on the horizon.

For us, attitude and aptitude are the main considerations when we’re hiring, so we really do need to get under the skin of our prospective employees. Servest has recently implemented an ‘Insights Discovery’ programme; a basic profiling tool, used to help individuals determine their personality type. This involves having the candid conversations necessary to jointly figure out whether someone is going to be a good fit for the team. I believe this recent innovation is going to become more important in the recruitment realm, because it can be used as a tool to see whether a person will fit in with the culture of an organisation.

There’s also been a shift in employers’ attitudes concerning the things that were once deemed essential. For instance, possessing a degree used to be a prerequisite for many organisations. In line with April’s apprenticeship levy however, I think that this is changing. If you’re to attract new talent, you need to give people something to get excited about – especially those who are hungry to develop their skills and excel in their career of choice. As business leaders, I believe we have a responsibility to offer young people and entry-level candidates a progression path – not only because doing so will help the employment landscape, but also because an influx of new people means an influx of new ideas. The name of the game is innovation, and it’s crucial to the continuing success of any organisation.

Inspired by the arrival of the levy, we launched a new campaign called “100 Club” to communicate the benefits, dispel the myths and drive interest in apprenticeships across the Group. The FM company’s 100 Club campaign aims to encourage the board of divisional directors and senior operations team to identify and nurture the hidden talent within their departments. Over the course of 100 days, 100 apprenticeships will be offered to the organisation’s shining stars. This ties in with what I was previously saying about trying to mitigate unconscious bias- we need more programmes and training processes like the 100 Club to help in this endeavour.

This is an exciting time to work in the people profession. Organisations are no longer obsessed by policies, regimented systems or with hitting people with their HR sticks! This means that the forward thinking organisations, like Servest, that aren’t afraid of change, can start being a lot more creative and playful in the way that they approach recruitment.


C-J Green is Group HR Director for Servest Group, a leading facilities management provider employing more than 20,000 people over 7,500 sites across the UK. C-J joined Servest’s HR team in August 2009 and was promoted to Group HR Director in April 2014. As head of the HR function, she is responsible for all people services within the UK group - including HR advice, HR shared services, payroll, time and attendance, HR business partnering and learning and development. She also provides leadership to the 40 staff working in the people service functions.