The Body Shop has recently launched a new 'open hiring' approach to recruitment in an attempt to remove barriers for candidates from disadvantaged backgrounds. This will see candidates being offered certain roles on a first-come-first-served basis, regardless of background and experience, and without any interview or CV required.
The programme is going to start with 175 temporary Christmas positions, for which candidates will only be asked three questions: whether they are legally authorised to work in the UK, whether they are capable of lifting 11kgs, and whether they are able to work for up to eight hours in one shift.
For any organisation looking to meaningfully improve social mobility, recruitment is a key place to start. The goal is to ensure that recruitment is sufficiently wide and strategic so as to remove any unseen barriers based on socio-economic background. Whilst individuals from lower socio-economic backgrounds who have not had the benefit of careers advice may struggle with a traditional recruitment process, this does not mean they are without potential or skills and cannot bring important diversity of thought.
For entry-level roles where training can very easily be provided on the job, open hiring is certainly an approach to consider. Obtaining an entry-level role is often an important first step on the path towards progression. Whilst the thought of not vetting a CV may seem like a risk, there may be some excellent candidates who simply have not had the guidance to know how to prepare this type of document to a high standard. The fact that these candidates may not have had the same work experience as others does not mean they will not be enthusiastic and able to learn and develop quickly. If employers do not take some action to promote equality of opportunity, the gap will only widen.
However, for an open hiring approach to have the intended benefit, it is vital to think about where these roles are advertised. Many organisations can fall into the habit of publicising their roles in set ways without addressing how that impacts the recruitment pool. Whilst online advertisement is often seen as a good way of reaching far and wide, not every candidate will have access to a computer or the internet. It is also worth considering how the advert is worded. Is the language sufficiently inclusive to give everyone that reads it the confidence to apply?
The Body Shop has considered these points. It has launched its programme in partnership with Movement to Work, an employment and outreach organisation focused on young and disadvantaged people, in order to target those who may otherwise find it difficult to secure employment. To me, this really demonstrates how its values influence the way in which it operates as a business.
I am encouraged by this approach. I will wait to see with interest whether other employers follow suit.
Antonia Tony-Fadipe, inclusive hiring lead at The Global Body Shop UK and global functions, said: “Open hiring focuses on a person’s potential rather than their history, and we’ve seen it can be a powerful way to find talented and loyal employees.”