Richard Branson’s Top Tips for Hiring the Right Person


HR Insights for ProfessionalsThe latest thought leadership for HR pros

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Hiring someone who doesn't meet your expectations - whether in terms of their personality or performance - can be costly and frustrating for businesses.

Article 3 Minutes

Finding the right person for the job is one of the most difficult tasks for HR departments and a business as a whole.

Recruitment can be a time-consuming and frustrating process, which can end up costing more than you expected. With this in mind, it can be nothing short of devastating when a new hire doesn't live up to the expectations they set out in their CV and during the interview process.

Not only does it mean a lot of money has gone down the drain and you need to start again, but managers can invest a great deal of time and effort into onboarding staff, which can mean they are demoralized when new hires don't work out.

One person with great experience of hiring candidates that are the right fit for his company is Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson.

When it comes to business success it’s all about people, people, people.

The billionaire businessman prides himself on putting his employees at the heart of his company, offering some of the best benefits of any organization including free lunches, unlimited holiday and complimentary flights.

You can argue that, by implementing these benefits, Branson has an even bigger interest in hiring the right employees, as the cost of bringing someone into the company includes offering these elements.

So what advice does the Virgin mogul have for others looking to hire?

Personality is everything.

Branson has touted the importance of having employees that are the right fit for your company for a long time and here's why:

1. Skills can be learned

Most skills can be learned, but it is difficult to train people on their personality.

He explains that most people can learn a job quickly if they are "thrown in the deep end" but personalities are much harder to mold. Identifying the candidates with transferable skills is also important, as things like being a team player and being able to take initiative are advantageous in all parts of a company, but intrinsically difficult to teach.

2. Judgment is key

You have to trust your instinct and put your trust in people.

Personality isn't something that always shines through in an interview, as many people can be shy in this scenario. Because of this, Branson says it's important to trust your gut. Candidates can often be more introverted or extroverted during the interview process than they are normally so look for the ones who seem passionate about the company. He also highlights the importance of finding people who are fun, friendly and want to help others.

3. Qualifications aren't everything

Great grades count for nothing if they aren’t partnered with broad-ranging experience and a winning personality.

Branson says managers can often get "caught up" on qualifications, but he only looks at them after going through everything else. He also has an unconventional opinion on specialists. Although these professionals are sometimes needed, versatility shouldn't be under estimated in terms of its importance in the workplace.

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