Would you hire your father? Matthew Willis answers…

I can’t remember when this question was first posed to me, but in the early concept days of The Director-e, we were discussing the perceptions of the over 45s/over 50s from the perspective of the everyday hiring manager and recruiter, such tropes as “lacking energy”, “unable to learn new things” and “aren’t able to use the latest technology”. The question “Would you hire your father?” was thrown out. Assuming that he would want to have his son as his boss (not likely!), the answer almost certainly would be “yes”.

To address the tropes I mentioned earlier;

  • Lacking energy – Cycling around Richmond park on a Sunday morning in all weathers. Don’t know what possesses the man…
  • Unable to learn new things – More seriously, he left the vending and coffee industry after 20 years to start up a recruitment business which is still operation to this day, only to now be running a manufacturing operation in another new sector.
  • Not able to use the latest technology – I do love it when he Skype calls me from the beach in Spain whilst I’m working. And tags me in photos on Facebook. And Instagram.

Now whilst the above is a little tongue-in-cheek, hiring my father would be a no brainer. Case in point, he spent a week working with me in September before starting his latest venture, and delivered what the average consultant would be able to in 2 months. From a financial perspective, the investment that comes from somebody with his experience is unquestionably worth the price. He also did me a pretty good deal.

The respect he is able to command with over 20 years experience in his sector, from both clients and candidates alike, is something that I simply will not be able to until my hair turns grey. When he recommends a candidate to a client, they listen, because he has hired into this industry and knows what good talent looks like. When he recommends a client to a candidate, they listen, because he understands how that business operates from having spent years working with them.

Obviously I’m not suggesting that everyone goes out and hires their parents, but the simple question turned into an exercise that I think every hiring manager should go through when being asked whether the CV in front of them should be excluded because they are “over 50”. In times where shortlisting candidates eventually boils down to coming up with criteria upon which to exclude candidates, I would argue that “being over 45/50” in and of itself should never be one.

If I was to apply that rule to my own business and indeed my clients businesses and my dad was to submit his CV, I would not only be excluding him from ideal positions, but I would also be depriving clients of incredibly high-calibre candidates through irrational pre-conditioning. This would unquestionably be an enormous; illogical and short-sighted mistake as the overall value that somebody of my dad’s calibre, experience and gravitas can bring to a business, should never, ever be under-estimated. He instinctively knows how to adapt to differing cultures, he just understands and has amassed incredible amounts of knowledge and experience in multiple disciplines and technologies and has a consistent track record of leveraging opportunities and delivering success.

We’d love to hear your thoughts…

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