We have all heard the expression ‘your people are your business’ and we all know it is true. We have worked with energy suckers and we have worked with inspirational people.

Through my 12 years in recruitment, I have placed numerous people and I have never had to pay a fee back to a client, because the candidate left early. The candidates I place stay in, and love, their jobs because it suits their personality and key behaviour drivers.

My secret is this:

Although they may not know it people look for three things when looking for a new job: corporate culture, day to day duties they enjoy, and the right career path.

1. A company whose corporate values matches their own. Often values are vague and opaque, but sometimes they are clear. If you can find out what values a person holds, it becomes easy to match them to a company. You can do this by asking the candidate their ideal company looks like. You can then investigate what values they hold dear.

 ‘Real company values are the behaviours and skills that we value in fellow employees’ 

 Reed Hastings, Founder Netflix 

2. What is that person’s ideal job? If they could invent their dream job what would it look like? What would they do day to day? This is the most important thing to ensure someone will enjoy coming to work every day. If they like problem solving, put them into an investigations role. If they like objectives, goals and targets; put them in sales. Get this wrong and you will have miserable employees… this is rife in every company I have examined.

3. Crucially, you must also ensure that you know the candidate’s career plan. How impatient are they to progress? Where do they want to go next? Do they want a clear ladder or a non-hierarchical structure? Getting this right limits drop out at the end of years one and two.


In practice, you need to screen these things during your first contact with the potential employee. Ask them the three open ended questions and don’t stop gathering information until you feel you could answer these questions on the person’s behalf. Don’t be tempted to coach them through the process, actively screen people out. This is a game changer!

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Neil Farrell, Managing Director