Searching for a Kool-Aid Drinking Unicorn
In April this year, KJR Australia began searching for a General Manager to manage our Queensland region.
The role of General Manager at KJR is a broad one and while we received many applications from strong candidates, we were struggling to find the right one. Our ideal ingredients were one part digital, one part entrepreneur and one part inspirational leader but this recipe was proving elusive.
Back to the drawing board.
After an unsuccessful first round of recruitment, we reflected on our process and re-assessed our talent attraction strategy. Where was our unicorn hiding?
We mapped out the Queensland market and quickly surmised that the title “General Manager” was unlikely to be resonating with our target audience. We needed to change our language and pitch the role in a way that reflected our key selling points - our culture and our people.
"Leader of Magical Digital People"
Our people are experts at reducing digital transformation risks and our clients think that’s pretty magical. We wanted to make it clear that a leader at KJR would be responsible for a special bunch.
One of our organisational values is to “call it as we see it” and this comes through strongly in our down to earth vernacular. Our ideal General Manager wasn’t someone who loved boring corporate speak so, with this new title, we hoped to deflect the straighty one-eighties.
Come and drink our Kool-Aid.
Successful digital transformation begins and ends with the right company culture.
At KJR Australia, we ensure we drink our own Kool-Aid by fostering an environment of autonomy, empowerment and innovation. Our employees are encouraged to be themselves, try new things, make mistakes and grow. Our leaders have the same freedom when it comes to building their region and developing their people.
This leadership approach and general entrepreneurial spirit was highlighted in the language of our job advertisement ensuring we attracted candidates with the requisite “chutzpah” to embody our culture and grow the business.
We found our unicorn!
Actually, we found several unicorns.
Our updated culture-centric pitch successfully attracted a strong shortlist of competent leaders ready to contribute to our organisation in their own unique way. We were spoiled for choice and thought long and hard about which sparkly horn and colourful flowing mane was the right one for us.
We got it right.
Last week, some of us received an unassuming letter in the mail from Andrew Coffey, our newly appointed General Manager QLD. Enclosed tightly inside a hand-written thank-you note was a small sachet of strawberry Kool-Aid.
So what did we learn from this experience?
- Understand your target audience. Create a market map and identify who your ideal candidate is working for and what they're doing. Speak their language and understand what channels they're active in.
- Culture and values are important. Our unicorns were most interested in understanding what it really meant to drink the KJR Kool-Aid. Not surprisingly, LinkedIn’s 2016 Talent Trends reported that 77% of Australian candidates want to know more about a company’s culture and values when considering an opportunity.
- Don’t be afraid to keep searching until you find the right one. The cost of taking a little bit longer to find your ideal candidate is nothing compared to the cost of making the wrong hiring decision. Review your approach, iterate and iterate again until you discover that magic formula and find your unicorn.