ISE Partners

Redefining Recruitment: Beyond "Polish" -  Embracing Open-minded Excellence

By Jacquie Lewis  • 

Hiring is hard and hiring managers often face a lot of pressure to make the right decision. In doing so, there may be a tendency to “play it safe”, to hire people similar to those they’ve always hired, those who they feel comfortable with, those who they feel stand a higher chance of success.

Often, when kicking off the search process, a client will say they are looking for a candidate to be “polished” and I always wonder why. Of course any employee should be presentable, able to communicate effectively and act professionally but the word “polish” always makes me feel uneasy. I feel like this word, just six letters long, hides biases and limits the potential for diversity and innovation. As recruiters, our responsibility is twofold: not just to find the right candidate for our clients but also to encourage them to expand their views.

The Hidden Biases of "Polish"

Seeking “polished” candidates, especially when hiring executive support staff, is common, but it's essential to recognise that this requirement can emphasise traits such as conventional attractiveness, neutral accents, private or grammar school education, and degrees from prestigious universities. Instead of focusing on “polish”, why not look beyond the surface level to identify invaluable skills, experiences, and perspectives?

Unlocking the Potential of the Unexpected

Understanding our clients closely enables us to introduce unconventional candidates — individuals who might not fit the exact mould but possess untapped abilities. These candidates can spark innovation, nurture inclusivity and lead to extraordinary outcomes that exceed initial predictions. The next time your recruiter presents a wildcard, get curious and ask why. What could this person bring to the table?

Promoting Open-minded Excellence

Our role goes beyond simply ticking boxes. It involves guiding our clients towards recognising the importance of diverse candidates. By providing gentle education, we can help them understand that a well-rounded team with varied backgrounds and opinions is more likely to excel and adapt to our ever-changing world.

Shaping the Future of Recruitment

Do you work for a company that would like to prioritise merit and potential over stereotypes, where “polished” candidates stand alongside unexpected talents, and where diverse outlooks drive success? Get in touch today, I’d love to chat all things hiring with you.

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