Build Relationships — Before You Recruit People

In: BlogDate: Feb 11, 2017By: Henry Stewart

In keeping with the 5th Happy Manifesto Core Principle of ‘Recruit for Attitude, Train for Skill’ Semco meet potential future employees even before there is a vacancy.

The Brazilian company Semco, run by Ricardo Semler, has always been a key inspiration for Happy. And visiting their site just now, I came across this great idea: Date Semco. The aim is simple, to get to know people before they have jobs for them to apply for.

We rarely advertise jobs at Happy, or use recruitment consultants. Instead we have a simple sign-up on our web site for people to register their interest in a job here. The result is that we have had over 2,000 people on the waiting list and, when we need to recruit new trainers, we often get over 100 completed application forms from just one email. Crucially this approach targets people actively interested in Happy, rather than those happening to be reading the job pages (in a newspaper or online) when your advert is there.

There isn’t a lot about Date Semco on their website, but I love the concept. Imagine having open days for potential recruits, maybe special events to get to know them, and keeping actively in contact – building relationships and getting to know people for when you next want to recruit.

The idea apparently came from Semco’s “Out of your mind” committee. This meets regularly to discuss weird ideas, ones to which the only sensible response is “You are out of your mind”. Another great idea – just imagine how much fun it must be on the committee and I bet some innovative products and approaches result.

Semco — truly inspirational even after all these years.

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Henry Stewart, Founder and Chief Happiness Officer

Henry is founder and Chief Happiness Officer of Happy Ltd, originally set up as Happy Computers in 1987. Inspired by Ricardo Semler’s book Maverick, he built a company with a reputation for some of the best customer service in the country and one of the UK’s best places to work, winning multiple awards for its culture and philosophy.

His first book, Relax, was published in 2009. His second book, the Happy Manifesto, was published in 2013 and was short-listed for Business Book of the Year.

Outside of work he is a father of three, was Chair of Governors at his local primary and comprehensive in Hackney and a very keen cyclist.

You can find Henry on LinkedIn and follow @happyhenry on Twitter.

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