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Mr Timpson’s Talent

11th May 2017

UK shoe repair and key-cutting business Timpson recruits new staff solely according to which Mr Men characters their personalities resemble – the BBC revealed in April.

mr-men

Image courtesy of www.themistermen.co.uk

Recruitment is a more complex entity than it can first appear. I’m often asked what is the one thing you can do to make your recruitment process successful. The answer is simple: You must devise an approach based on your business and your requirements and not follow the crowd. John Timpson, the 74 year-old Chairman of the Timpson who has been at the helm of the business for 42 years, did exactly that – and the company has reaped the rewards.

“We’re not bothered by qualifications or CVs. We just look at the candidate and work out who they are. Are they Mr Grumpy, Mr Slow, Mr Happy?”

“If they tick all the right boxes then we put them in the shop for half the day. That’s it, I dreamt that up years ago.” says Mr. Timpson, who also empowers his Stores Managers to make their own decisions about customer service and refunds, with a £500 discretionary spend.

Be Mr Choosey

The Timpson model is an example of a business that customised a hiring model to its own needs. I’m not suggesting that you emulate it, but what you can take from it is that you can build your own recruitment process, choosing from the various tools you have on offer. It probably won’t include personality profiling against Mr Men characters, but it doesn’t have to take the standard format of advertise, short list, interview, second interview, hire.

Get Mr Positive

Assessment centres, trial days and work-shadowing – for example – can often help to highlight negatives and positives not always apparent in structured interviews. Psychometric testing, competency testing and practical testing all have their places too.

By integrating tools like these into as structured recruitment process then you are more likely to select and retain the best talent.

Reveal Mr Problem

Start with the end in mind. Draw up a job specification and a person specification. Respectively they will identify the key tasks associated with the role and the key qualities that a person should possess in order to perform them well. Nothing new there – but you might be surprised at how often this is overlooked because of organisational structure, where perhaps a line manager is recruiting independently of the HR function and with very little or no training.

Then, consider, given the nature of the role, how best you might assess a candidate’s suitability. For example, if you are recruiting a sales role, you would probably expect a candidate to perform well in a face to face interview. So, should you perhaps consider putting the candidate in a different environment as well, to reveal other personality traits? Are they a team player? What about their administration skills? Do they get bored quickly? How do they get on with others? Are they doers, procrastinators or thinkers?

Lose Mr Attitude

Skills can be trained, but attitude cannot, so make sure recruit with personalities in mind. Match candidate personalities to the culture of your organisation and to line managers and teams. By taking the time to do this properly (a task that is often overlooked) you will be more likely to attract and retain talent.

Don’t be Mr Reactive

Many of our clients benefit from our Partner Programme. We act as an extension to their business, advising on talent acquisition and putting selection processes into place. We typically manage the whole process in conjunction with key internal people, usually the HR Manager, or Managing Director. By doing this we can plan ahead with the business goals in mind, rather than reacting to demand for talent at short notice. When this happens, companies often have to compromise, as the best people are often already happily employed. Planning ahead, on the other hand, allows time to scope the lucrative market of hidden talent and to take time to build relationships with those potential candidates.

Keep Mr Brilliant

Our strategic involvement assists in retaining talent too. We can identify talent leaks by carrying out exercises like culture and values assessment or exit interviews, which help us to consider strategic changes to processes to minimise the likelihood of good people leaving for the wrong reasons.

If you’d like to know more about our Partner Programme, please email me and we’ll fix up a telephone conversation or meeting.  In the meantime, have fun trying to work out which Mr Men characters you can spot in your team!

You can read the full BBC article about Mr Timpson’s Mr Men technique here.

Yours, Mike.

Posted by Mike Gorshkov

Managing Director at Linea Resourcing

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