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Should you be recruiting for disruptive talent?

Published: Friday 24th July 2015

3 male employees headering ball in the office

Richard Branson is not in a bad position to be giving businesses tips on how they should be recruiting for success, but his recent advice to hire disruptive employees might come as a little bit of a surprise to recruiters and recruiters alike.

Sir Richard Branson, entrepreneur and billionaire, said that the new ideas and drive that ‘disruptive talent’ can bring to a business tend to outweigh the fact that these employees can often be difficult to work with.

In the article, published by the BBC yesterday, Sir Richard Branson wasn’t afraid to admit that he would be a difficult employee for any boss to manage, saying that anyone who would hire him would have to ‘accept that I might not do things exactly as he’d like me to do them’.

He added: “Look after me, respect me, and accept that I’m a square peg in a round hole.”

While this scenario might sound less than ideal to many a hiring manager, Richard Branson is not the only person who thinks that hiring more ‘independently minded, rule-breaking, stubborn people like him’ is a good idea.

In the article, Martyn Sakol, managing partner of a recruitment consultancy firm, said that many people who might be considered to be ‘disruptive talent’ can contribute to businesses in many positive ways. For example: candidates don’t simply accept the norm and are relentless in their pursuit of the goal. They think and act differently, spot trends and see commercial opportunities. Disruptive thinkers can give a business an edge over others.

Although it’s highly likely that disruptive talent can help businesses grow and stand out from others, recruiting and working with these types of individuals can often bring up some difficulties.  The recruitment of ‘disruptive talent’ requires slightly different tactics, including a tailored assessment strategy. When the right candidate has been found, it can also take some extra effort to integrate the talent effectively into the workforce, making sure that their talents are optimized and they are surrounded by a team who can compensate for the skills they lack.

David Yiend, chief executive of an agricultural company, has been actively recruiting for disruptive talent for a while.

In the article, he said: “You manage individuals differently, but with everyone working towards a set of common goals. It is vital that everyone’s clear on what the company’s vision is, and then as a team you can succeed.”

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